This morning while doing my breakfast news scan I saw an article about a new Sunday morning congregation coming to New York City. They call themselves a “church” for atheists, although “place of assembly” may be a more appropriate and respectful term. I say that because for Christians, the Church is metaphorically the “body of Christ,” and this is not such. Imagine them calling it a godless mosque or synagogue, it would just sound silly. Church shouldn’t be used as a general term, but I digress.
The England-based assembly will start off in Manhattan and tour a bit to see if there is a viable place to set-up a permanent location in the US. The founders aren’t overtly hateful towards people of faith and are clearly fans of organized religion saying “We’re big fans of religion. We think churches do great things.” I find this both interesting and vexing, because I commonly hear people say they are against organized religion, but aren’t sure about faith, while this group is the opposite.
This should not be a surprise to any in America and is the logical next step of the “feel good, everybody goes to heaven” churches that have already become popular. Although the article presents this as being a completely novel idea, similar assemblies are already in existence here. Just down the road (that’s right, in the South) is a “Unitarian Universalist Fellowship” where there is no dogma and not all congregants are expected to believe in God, let alone Jesus Christ.
So, I don’t have a problem with this at all, though I’d prefer them not call it a church, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to consider this a religious organization. If they focus on having fun on Sundays and helping the community (legitimately helping, not just creating community gardens) I think it’s fine for these people to have a place to go. On the other hand, if they are “evangelizing” godlessness then I find this very upsetting. Either way, I don’t think it would be shocking to see a few of these churches stick, though I doubt they will receive sufficient funding.
Check out the video below for more. After a courteous and thoughtful discussion on Twitter, I’m interested in hearing your opinions. Is it silly for atheists to go to an atheist church? Is that the antithesis of atheism, or does it make perfect sense?
Please share in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
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- Baby Boomers as First Godless Generation in America: One reason suicides soaring among us (over-50.typepad.com)
- Atheism Is Religion: British Atheist Group ‘Sunday Assembly’ to Mark Its U.s. Debut…is Sending Missionaries to Asia and Africa Next or Never? (katenews2day.com)
- British atheist group looking to expand will host sermon at city dive bar (endtimebibleprophecy.wordpress.com)