Author Topic: Atheist churches  (Read 833 times)

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Offline Chronos

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Atheist churches
« on: November 10, 2013, 10:48:30 PM »
Atheist 'mega-churches' take root across US, world

Quote
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 sermon, a reading and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.

...

"The idea that you're building an entire organization based on what you don't believe, to me, sounds like an offense against sensibility," said Michael Luciano, a self-described atheist who was raised Roman Catholic but left when he became disillusioned.

"There's something not OK with appropriating all of this religious language, imagery and ritual for atheism," said Luciano, who blogged about the movement at the site policymic.com.


Sunday Assembly


« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 02:04:25 PM by Chronos »
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Online One Above All

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 02:43:04 AM »
Seriously?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2013, 09:51:15 AM »
Someone wants to pass a collection plate.  (I'm not getting up on Sunday morning...or any other day for an atheist church...what nonsense.)
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2013, 09:58:03 AM »
Seems a little odd to me, unless it's intended as parody.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2013, 10:14:15 AM »
I'm saving 10%, sleeping late on Sundays, not hanging out with the credulous and not being told how  to live my life (well, not by a church)... Why go back in the name of atheism?
This is dangerous - conflating the definition of atheism with theism
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 11:20:17 AM by neopagan »
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2013, 11:15:44 AM »
why would anyone need to go to a churchlike building on a sunday morning to profess non belief?

I can go to my local on a friday night and hear rousing music, an inspirational talk followed by some quiet reflection

Offline G-Roll

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 01:01:23 PM »
Is this just an attempt to piss of Christians? Why else call it a church?

I don’t like this because it seems a poor attempt to give the metaphorical finger to the theist community. It also blurs the supposed line of atheism and atheism being a religion. I can hear it now "you are an atheist? Do you go to church?"

If it’s a place where ideas of secularism, community, humanity, and philosophy can be discussed with crappy music that place already exists. It's called Ted Talks.

Offline Zankuu

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 01:17:02 PM »
^ I agree.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 01:48:14 PM »
So will we start to see non-faith healings?  Non-blessings? and such?      Is there a non-preacher and where did he/she get his/her non-training?
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Offline Ataraxia

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2013, 02:55:41 PM »
These churches are the equivalent of non-philatelists getting together and showing off their non existent stamp collections to one another.

Are the people who attend these churches normally the ex-Christian type, who struggle to let go of the familiarity of this specific social aspect, or are they just trying to stick one to the Bible thumpers?
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2013, 03:10:07 PM »

I could see some ex-xians who were disowned by friends and family seeing this as a way to fill in some cultural connection they miss. 

 I talked recently to someone who had heard "I was converting to atheism" (knew something was wrong when I heard that). He basically had tried numerous churches and was disillusioned with xianity... bottom line, he liked the pot luck dinners and the kiddie groups and all the trappings, but hated the arrogant, holier than thou beliver types.

 He wondered if atheism was the way to go.  Sadly, he went away much distressed as he was still enamored by the blinking lights of religion and magic - I had only logic and reason to offer...
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Offline Jag

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 05:42:59 PM »
Tax exempt status. It could be that simple.

I'm not sure how this could be distinguished from a UU church though.
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 05:53:38 PM »
I am not totally against it unless they make it into a ritual. The one benefit that religious groups bring is a feeling of community and support. If atheists form a community to meet and help each other, set up charities and other organisations, it could have a useful purpose.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2013, 06:00:02 PM »
Tax exempt status. It could be that simple.



That couldn't possibly be any motivation could it? How would any one individual member benefit from the organisation having a tax free status?
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Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 06:05:57 PM »
Tax exempt status. It could be that simple.



That couldn't possibly be any motivation could it? How would any one individual member benefit from the organisation having a tax free status?
I sure hope that was sarcasm. :o
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2013, 06:12:52 PM »
It wasn't. Maybe I'm missing something here. What benefit would an atheist church being tax free have for individual members?
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Offline G-Roll

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2013, 07:09:01 PM »
Quote
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 dozens of Sunday Assemblies. They hope to raise more than $800,000 that will help atheists launch their pop-up congregations around the world.

http://news.msn.com/us/atheist-mega-churches-take-root-across-us-world?ocid=ansnews11

Could this have something to do with it?

Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2013, 07:28:56 PM »
It wasn't. Maybe I'm missing something here. What benefit would an atheist church being tax free have for individual members?
So you don't think preachers like Pat Robertson and others don't benefit from tax free ministries?
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2013, 07:30:51 PM »
Quote
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 dozens of Sunday Assemblies. They hope to raise more than $800,000 that will help atheists launch their pop-up congregations around the world.

http://news.msn.com/us/atheist-mega-churches-take-root-across-us-world?ocid=ansnews11

Could this have something to do with it?

The atheist equivalent to the Bakkers maybe? What's that old saying?

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Offline magicmiles

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2013, 11:25:10 PM »
It wasn't. Maybe I'm missing something here. What benefit would an atheist church being tax free have for individual members?
So you don't think preachers like Pat Robertson and others don't benefit from tax free ministries?

That's different to an atheist church as described. I seriously doubt there will be anybody profiting from it in any way, and that the only donations it receives would cover expenses and nothing more. But, who knows.
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Offline Willie

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 01:01:44 AM »
Some services that churches provide:

weddings
funerals
networking (church members will often help each other to find a job, a place to rent, or a reliable plumber)
emotional support during difficult times (with a corresponding obligation to contribute such support for others)
pot luck lunches or dinners (not everyone likes those, but I do)
just hanging out with agreeable people and enjoying their company

Why shouldn't atheists be able to have that too? Keep the good stuff, throw out the woo. An atheist church sounds like a fine idea to me.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2013, 09:38:28 AM »
It wasn't. Maybe I'm missing something here. What benefit would an atheist church being tax free have for individual members?

In the US, any donations you make to a church are tax free - sounds an awful lot like a benefit to an individual to me.  I used to give a sizeable amount to my former church and claimed a deduction on my income taxes every year.
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Offline Jag

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2013, 03:43:10 PM »
Re: tax free status and what I meant by that remark, and I didn't expect to be absent for quite this long.

It didn't even occur to me to consider individual member benefits of a tax free status beyond the donations being a write off. I was thinking of two ways it might be genuinely useful, and one that's just funny to me.

1 - It's actually a perfectly reasonable way to structure a non-profit organization "disguised" as a church (a little role reversal never hurt anyone, aye?  ;)) and has the benefits of having a sort of build in participation structure from the board of directors - Sunday mornings at <whatever time>.

2 - Whether theists see it this way or not, churches are in many way run just like any other business, with the distinct advantage of very little oversight outside of the church community and a tax exempt status that could be highly attractive. I can see the appeal to both scrupulous and unscrupulous people - atheists have the same cross section of human traits as any other group, at least a few of us are likely to be less than pristine  :o

3 - It amuses me to think that this is just a well-orchestrated nose-thumbing at the exemption status of churches.

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2013, 08:47:54 AM »
It wasn't. Maybe I'm missing something here. What benefit would an atheist church being tax free have for individual members?

Actually some very important items. First and formost, the barriers to forming a 501C3 organization, including fees, are considerably lower if you are applying as a religious organization. Most state laws for utilities, property tax, sales tax, zoning, and so forth give vast preference for a building of a religious organization. Furthermore the 179 pages of regs the IRS has for a 501C3 to retain its status drop to about 17 pages of regs for a religious organization.

So with an atheist church, you now have created a fraternal organization/social club where all the dues are tax deductable and what it does is at lowered costs.

Not that I still don't find the whole  idea a little silly, but it isn't entirely without solid financial benefits.
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Offline Jag

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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2013, 09:04:36 AM »
It wasn't. Maybe I'm missing something here. What benefit would an atheist church being tax free have for individual members?

Actually some very important items. First and formost, the barriers to forming a 501C3 organization, including fees, are considerably lower if you are applying as a religious organization. Most state laws for utilities, property tax, sales tax, zoning, and so forth give vast preference for a building of a religious organization. Furthermore the 179 pages of regs the IRS has for a 501C3 to retain its status drop to about 17 pages of regs for a religious organization.

So with an atheist church, you now have created a fraternal organization/social club where all the dues are tax deductable and what it does is at lowered costs.

Not that I still don't find the whole  idea a little silly, but it isn't entirely without solid financial benefits.
As a church, yes, silly. As a business plan? Not silly at all, in fact it's pretty damn smart.
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Re: Atheist churches
« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2013, 06:44:33 AM »
Hubbard's son wrote a book called "L. Ron Hubbard: Myth or Madman?" In it, L. Ron Hubbard is quoted as saying to a convention of science fiction writers, "If you want to make money, start a religion."

When I follow the link, I am led to the word DONATE in a large bold font in white on a green background. What am I to think?

For me, the point of atheism is causing people to think. It is simply to reduce the followers of Christianity/Islam/Hinduism/Buddhism and their influence to the level of worshippers and status of the followers of Zeus[1] It is not to create a Borg of indoctrinated atheists, who are united and led by some charismatic figure, and who, by their presence and numbers, will enforce their will on others.
 1. There are still a few: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/feb/01/religion.uk
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