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A Church Without Religion?

Discussion in 'Faith and Religion' started by tulianr, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    I'm not quite sure what I think of this. My initial reaction is that a Church without a religion is as daft as an Atheist Chaplin. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with secular humanists gathering for camaraderie and mutual inspiration, and organizing charitable interests.

    I suppose the use, or usurpation, of the religious vernacular is what causes me to arch an eyebrow.
    Atheist 'mega-churches' take root across US, world

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — It looked like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Several hundred people, including families with small children, packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational talk and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.

    Nearly three dozen gatherings dubbed "atheist mega-churches" by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia — with more to come — after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year. The movement fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians is no joke.

    On Sunday, the inaugural Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles attracted several hundred people bound by their belief in non-belief. Similar gatherings in San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the camaraderie of a congregation without religion or ritual.

    The founders, British duo Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, are currently on a tongue-in-cheek "40 Dates, 40 Nights" tour around the U.S. and Australia to drum up donations and help launch new Sunday Assemblies. They hope to raise more than $800,000 that will help atheists launch their pop-up congregations around the world. So far, they have raised about $50,000.

    They don't bash believers but want to find a new way to meet likeminded people, engage in the community and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.

    The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a study last year that found 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years. Pew researchers stressed, however, that the category also encompassed majorities of people who said they believed in God but had no ties with organized religion and people who consider themselves "spiritual" but not "religious."

    Sunday Assembly — whose motto is Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More — taps into that universe of people who left their faith but now miss the community church provided, said Phil Zuckerman, a professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont.

    It also plays into a feeling among some atheists that they should make themselves more visible. For example, last December, an atheist in Santa Monica created an uproar — and triggered a lawsuit — when he set up a godless display amid Christian nativity scenes that were part of a beloved, decades-old tradition.

    "In the U.S., there's a little bit of a feeling that if you're not religious, you're not patriotic. I think a lot of secular people say, 'Hey, wait a minute. We are charitable, we are good people, we're good parents and we are just as good citizens as you and we're going to start a church to prove it," said Zuckerman. "It's still a minority, but there's enough of them now."

    For atheist Elijah Senn, the morning was perfect.

    "I think the image that we have put forward in a lot of ways has been a scary, mean, we want to tear down the walls, we want to do destructive things kind of image is what a lot of people have of us," he said. "I'm really excited to be able to come together and show that it's not about destruction. It's about making things and making things better."

    Atheist 'mega-churches' take root across US, world - Yahoo News
    Yard Dart likes this.
  2. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    First reaction was what the hell!! But then the libertarian side of me says "good for them".. It is those that try to dictate to me how I and those of simaler beliefs enjoy our holidays..
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Even atheists need to belong to a tribe. No problem with it to me.
    chelloveck likes this.
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    If your Church is the church of "no god" then shouldn't we ban "no god" from all public buildings, schools, and courts, as they have? Could we not then press for the return of God to public buildings in fairness?;)
    Sapper John, tulianr and fmhuff like this.
  5. fmhuff

    fmhuff Monkey+++

    Religion: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    Since Church merely means "Assembly" I suppose you could create the church of the sniffing dog if you wanted to.

    As far as God and Church goes I think this story about the old Cowboy who goes to church fit's a great many liberal churches today.

    "One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.

    The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.

    As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. "Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church." The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.

    The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, "I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church."

    "I did," replied the old cowboy.

    "And what was his reply?" asked the preacher.

    "Well, sir, God told me that he didn't have a clue what I should wear. He said he'd never been in this church."
  6. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    I agree. Since atheism is now a religion and a church, any and all atheist teachings need to be banned from publicly funded forums. This includes schools. I have heard it said that the constitution guarantees a "separation of church and state". If this is true then Atheism and all atheistic practices need to be banned from schools.

    Ok, now where does that leave us? it's kind of like the logical conundrum "everything I say is a lie". Now on the other hand, if we actually follow what the constitution says, and not what atheists and liberals have convinced so many it says, we would not be in this situation. Everyone would be allowed to practice their religion (or lack of) as they see fit, in any location they see fit. It's amazing how we only end up in situations like this when we contort and twist the constitution until it is almost unrecognizable.

    Our founding fathers got it right, all we need to do is read what they said and follow it. It's really not that hard.
    Sapper John, tulianr and kellory like this.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Just teach them to read...it is freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.
    Sapper John and bfayer like this.
  8. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    No problem here but thinking.....I don't understand why atheists would even want something called a church and hold some kind of service on Sunday. I think they are just having some kind of BS social event and calling it a church service.
    Yard Dart and tulianr like this.
  9. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    They are trying to normalize the idea of atheist church.. Make it socially normal and excepted..
  10. natshare

    natshare Monkey+

    So now Atheism is a religion, and we can tell them to stuff it, when they whine about God in government, prayer in schools, etc?? Awesome!

    Sarcasm aside, if you stop and think about it, Jesus didn't have a religion either, but he sure had church, didn't he? Too often, religions put too much of their (flawed) understanding of God's word into their beliefs, and not enough pure, simple faith......which explains why we have so many religions, doesn't it?

    I prefer faith over religion.
  11. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Jesus did not really have a "church". He spoke to dozens/hundreds/and thousands about the kingdom at hand and coming soon. He spoke to them about their freedom from sin and forgiveness of past sins. He spoke to them about their relationships to other believers and to those outside these "circles" of believers. It was Paul and the other disciples who started churches all around the Mediterranean Sea--which spread into many other regions. The simple gospel(truth) message of Jesus's prophetic birth, life, death, resurrection, reappearance, and ascension was preached by them across the known world. It was true then and today also--those who ignore/ridicule/scorn it have their own agenda. Nothing new or unique--happened while Jesus was alive and still is today. Agnostics, atheists, scoffers all have to struggle with that simple yet profound fact of life. Time will tell if it is true or just some "goat herders tale".
    tulianr, Yard Dart and BTPost like this.
  12. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    Here here!!
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