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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:12 PM

What happens at an atheist church?

Not many sermons include the message that we are all going to die and there is no afterlife.

But the Sunday Assembly is no ordinary church service.

Launched last month, as a gathering for non-believers, it is, in the words of master of ceremonies Sanderson Jones, "part foot-stomping show, part atheist church, all celebration of life".

A congregation of more than 300 crowded into the shell of a deconsecrated church to join the celebration on Sunday morning.

Instead of hymns, the non-faithful get to their feet to sing along to Stevie Wonder and Queen songs.

There is a reading from Alice in Wonderland and a power-point presentation from a particle physicist, Dr Harry Cliff, who explains the origins of dark matter theory.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21319945

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply What happens at an atheist church? (Original post)
The Straight Story Feb 2013 OP
Bay Boy Feb 2013 #1
The Straight Story Feb 2013 #2
jehop61 Feb 2013 #12
Iggo Feb 2013 #14
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #3
cbayer Feb 2013 #5
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #10
cbayer Feb 2013 #13
Cary Feb 2013 #4
longship Feb 2013 #7
Cary Feb 2013 #9
longship Feb 2013 #11
Cary Feb 2013 #15
longship Feb 2013 #16
Cary Feb 2013 #17
longship Feb 2013 #18
Cary Feb 2013 #19
longship Feb 2013 #20
Cary Feb 2013 #21
longship Feb 2013 #22
Cary Feb 2013 #23
dballance Feb 2013 #6
Rob H. Feb 2013 #8
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #24
cbayer Feb 2013 #25
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #30
Buzz Clik Feb 2013 #26
Lint Head Feb 2013 #27
The Straight Story Feb 2013 #28
Ian David Feb 2013 #29

Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:21 PM

1. I thought the major attraction to being an atheist

was being able to sleep in on Sundays.

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Response to Bay Boy (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:24 PM

2. Maybe they have an open bar. I would get up on Sunday for that

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Response to Bay Boy (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:28 PM

12. Yes

that was my first thought.

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Response to Bay Boy (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:55 PM

14. That's not an attraction. It's just a beautiful side effect.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:32 PM

3. Actually, it sounds pretty good. And any activism I do

under the auspices of that church would be tax deductible, no?

But I really like sleeping in on Sunday. Maybe they could have an 11:00 mass. That would be about right, and communion/happy hour would come right about noon, which is perfect.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:56 PM

5. I'm not sure you understand the tax laws concerning non-profits.

The group itself could claim 501(3)c status and become a tax exempt non-profit and any individuals making contributions would have the right to deduct those. But activism would not be tax deductible.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:26 PM

10. That's my point. Activism is OK if you are a religion

Maybe that's not what the tax code says, but when was the last time any church got its tax status challenged?

(That's a rhetorical question. I'm sure it must happen sometimes, but only in the rarest, most extreme cases. Mostly religions get a free ride.)

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:47 PM

13. Not really. Activism is ok if you are a 501(3)c non-profit organization.

It can not be applied to individuals activists, but can be applied to any organizations, including religiously based ones, that qualify for 501(3)c status.

The IRS has been very, very negligent in enforcing these rules, but it hasn't been very effective with any 501(3)c's, claiming lack of resources to pursue.

There have, however, been cases where both progressive and conservative religious organizations have been challenged by the IRS for endorsing candidates. They are permitted to endorse causes or positions but not candidates.

The blame for this lies with the IRS, not the churches.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:32 PM

4. What if I argued that there is no substantive difference between certain atheists and theists?

There are religions that I would consider to be benign, as opposed to others whom I would refer to as fundamentalists.

There is no real reason why anyone must interpret the Bible literally and there are compelling reasons to believe that it is evil to do so. God doesn't have to literally be something we would refer to as any kind of entity and even the most strident atheist would have to admit that there must be a huge body of knowledge that we, as the limited beings that we are, are oblivious to.

I view the Bible as being a story told by deeply religious people in search of their creator. It is a metaphor. Who or what that creator really is or isn't, I don't expect to ever know but it stands to reason in my mind that serving humanity is service to that creator.

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Response to Cary (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:48 PM

7. Interesting post, Cary.

But first, many non-believers do not like the strident tag applied to their unbelief (or others of a similar nature). Forgive me for calling you on this, but it is too much of a stereotype for me to let go. Atheists are just like any other group of people. A few are assholes; most are just like most reasonable people. That's why many of us cringe when we see these tags applied to us.

However, the rest of your post is right on target. It is one I would embrace if I believed in gods. It is also one which many, if not nearly all, believers here embrace.

I try to be a good citizen on the DU Religion forum because I fervently believe that the solution to some of the world's most pressing problems stem from a kind of religiosity which brokers no dialog. That when people's beliefs are so calcified, they lose sight of solutions which would solve the inequities as they so stridently wish.

Too many want to do that by suppressing that dialog. Any rational atheist or theist should see the madness in that, and what that very suppression has inflicted, and is inflicting, on humankind.

I would gladly stand next to you to help solve these issues, as would a vast many of my atheist brethren.

That's how difficult problems get solved.

Thank you for your insightful post.

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Response to longship (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:14 PM

9. Please notice that I said "even the most strident atheists."

I did not in any way say that atheists are strident. Atheists are people. Some people are strident. Hence I used the term to refer to "even the most strident" in order to refer to the extreme.

I didn't actually apply any tag to you, unless of course you are "the most strident atheist." I don't know you and you don't seem to me to be the least bit strident.

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Response to Cary (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:28 PM

11. Didn't mean to offend.

Maybe I should have put the first paragraph as last. My bad. I desperately need an editor. Alas, I do not. So you're going to have to accept the fact that my intent might not be obvious.

I liked your post, and I agree with it.

But atheists still do not being labelled strident anymore than blacks like being labelled uppity. We're a bit sensitive about that. I apologize that you took it wrong.

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Response to longship (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:22 PM

15. No offense taken and no apology necessary.

I think there's a difference between what I said in a hypothetical way and suggesting that atheists are strident.

I would never dream of suggesting that atheists are strident. My only real point is that the distinction between someone who may believe in God and an atheist may not be as clear as one might think.

I, myself, was raised as a Reform Jew for example. I was never told I had to actually believe in God. Not once. It isn't a pre-requisite as far as I know.

What I know of Unitarians, likewise, they don't have to believe in any particular thing. I believe Buddhism is likewise not something you have to believe in "God" in order to believe it.

In fact I think one can make a case for Christianity in this regard.

I'm actually not sure Longship. One could rightfully accuse me of being an atheist but so what? I understand you're a bit sensitive and I'm sorry if I said something that might offend you. Of course that wasn't my intent.

I also don't think you can necessarily lump all atheists into one category. Am I wrong about that?

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Response to Cary (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:46 PM

16. You want a fight? Put a bunch of atheists in one room and lock the door.

But please understand why many activist atheists do not like the word "strident".

I am reasonable with reasonable theists. I am anti-religion, but not anti-believers. Nor do I think ridding the world of religion is either a realistic, nor a possible goal. I only wish that religion would become a less virulent and more benevolent form of meme.

That's the world I would like to live in -- where people get along, in spite of differences.

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Response to longship (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:09 PM

17. A lot of people don't like a lot of things.

The definition of strident:

1. Loud and harsh; grating.
2. Presenting a point of view, esp. a controversial one, in an excessively and unpleasantly forceful way.

There are people who are strident. So what? I don't see why you're making a big deal of this.

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Response to Cary (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:37 PM

18. Because the word strident is so often used in conjunction with the word atheist.

As I wrote above. That's like the word uppity used in conjunction with African-American.

I have been a non-believer all my life. The one characterization of non-belief which I have a problem with, is that we're all strident, or some other negative adjective. We hear or read it all the time. It's the one go-to rhetorical attack that is used by those who would wish to disavow and nullify any political or social power to non-believers.

In short, it is at best an ad hominem, which, as a skeptic, I must reject.

Or, to put it bluntly, one may disagree with me or my position, but if one disagrees, they should not call me strident simply because I defend my positions. Instead, I would much prefer that they would defend their position on the facts instead of using ad hominem.

It's not merely a rhetoric difference. It's a matter of defending ones position with facts instead of casting negatives on ones opponent simply for lack of a positive or rational alternative.

Ad hominem

As always. Thanks for your respectful reply. I hope I made my position on this clear. (I really do need to get an editor!)

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Response to longship (Reply #18)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:24 PM

19. Sorry but I don't buy any of that.

As for civility, I always strive for it.

I don't always succeed but I generally fail only upon provocation. Turning the other cheek has never been my strong suit.

But you have certainly been civil.

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Response to Cary (Reply #19)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:52 PM

20. As have you been very civil.

I much appreciate the discussion. However, I do wish you would understand why atheists do not like being called strident, or other such. Again, negative adjectives do not advance an argument.

Again, I respect your respectful disagreement. Thanks for the colloquy.

I will be looking for your thoughtful posts here in the future.

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Response to longship (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:59 PM

21. I wish you would understand that I in no way referred to atheists as strident.

Or other such.

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Response to Cary (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:54 PM

22. That's good, because many of us are very pleasant people.

Thank you ever so much.

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Response to longship (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:37 PM

23. Longship, people are pretty much people.

I suspect that atheists are neither any better nor any worse than any other group. I am not a religionist.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:43 PM

6. Wow, They Have a Lot More Members Than that Church of the Pastor Who Was Offended by Having to TIP

at Applebee's. According to reports her Christian ministry only has about 15 members.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:08 PM

8. I would've gone for the Powerpoint presentation

It sounds really interesting, although I'm positive a lot of the math involved would've been way over my head.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:20 AM

24. gag me with a dog bisquit. 'atheist church'

 

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #24)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:49 AM

25. Whatever you say.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #25)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:46 PM

30. thanks!

 

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:52 AM

26. Sounds awesome! I've never really believed in agnosticism, but I always liked going to their church.

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:58 AM

27. Which day would be the unsabbath day?

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Response to Lint Head (Reply #27)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:59 AM

28. Would change each week based on a die roll or random number generator

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Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:03 PM

29. An Atheist Church is the answer to my prayers. Oh, wait. n/t

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