A Church of Atheism?

Question from Andrew:
Is there a ‘church’ where atheists congregate; a community of some sort?

Answer by SmartLX:
Church, not really. Communities, yes.

Atheism doesn’t have an official church, otherwise Alain de Botton wouldn’t have argued that it needs one in his new book Religion for Atheists (an argument with which many prominent atheists have publicly disagreed). A quick Google only reveals an entity called the First Church of Atheism, which ordains people online and frankly looks like a simple con job.

It could perhaps be argued that Unitarian Universalism is a church for atheists, if not a true church of atheism. It welcomes people of all faiths or no faith, and provides the community and ritual of regular church services without any doctrinal or dogmatic requirements. If that’s what you’re after, knock yourself out.

As for plain old atheist communities, those are all over the place and come in many flavours. Some are even called that, like the Atheist Community of Austin (which runs the TV show The Atheist Experience). To find one near you, just google “local atheist groups” (without the quotes) or go straight to atheists.meetup.com. Not all communities are physical; a little more searching will turn up all sorts of online groups as well.

One thought on “A Church of Atheism?”

  1. Atheists have a number of communities as SmartLX’s mentioned, but no real strictly “atheist only” place of physical congregation that I’ve heard of. I doubt any organization would be willing to shell out big bucks to make such a place (and individual atheists will fall off their chairs laughing if you ask them for donations to build such a place).

    I do sometimes think that having a place of physical congregation for atheists could foster a feeling of community – much like church going or temple going does. There would be a lot to discuss in atheist “churches” – you could have a lot of intellectual “sermons” from popular speakers – or maybe debates on social issues … anything. Would be much more progressive than discussing why god loves us or why we are sinners (or why we should meditate an hour daily).

    But easier said than done. Getting atheists together is probably like herding cats …
    Also, for the life of me, I can’t see atheists singing hymns of any sort together 🙂 or performing any ritual of any sort together. It will fizzle off mid way and everyone will probably go off and drink beer and try to forget what they just tried doing.

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