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Re: Atheist church? [Re: Stephanie - Weight Loss] #453268 09/18/08 01:11 AM
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Ah - gotcha! smile


Michelle Taylor
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Re: Atheist church? [Re: Stephanie - Weight Loss] #453428 09/18/08 04:03 PM
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The following is the definition of Religion in the Oxford english dictionary.

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. 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.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
7. religions, Archaic. religious rites.
8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow.



Ethical societies being considered religious in the U.S. seems to be related to not paying taxes.

The tax status of Ethical Societies as religious organizations has been upheld in court cases in Washington, D.C. (1957), and in Austin, Texas (2003). The Texas State Appeals Court said of the challenge by the state comptroller, "the Comptroller's test [requiring a group to demonstrate its belief in a Supreme Being] fails to include the whole range of belief systems that may, in our diverse and pluralistic society, merit the First Amendment's protection."

By definition I would argue that religion requires a belief in a "supernatural being" although point number 6 in the definition goes more to your argument. Basically anybody could get tax exemption in the U.S. based on this point. We all have something we believe in and follow devoutly, something that we derive our ethics from, therefore we are all religious. It does not follow however that the building we attend is necessarily a church. It may be a football stadium, it may just be my house.

Besides atheism is not my source of ethics. It is simply a word used to define someone who does not have a god belief. Therefore it does not even meet point 6 in the definition.

Conclusion, an atheist church is a silly notion.

Re: Atheist church? [Re: Skeptic] #453442 09/18/08 05:24 PM
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Under those rules, yes atheis "church" does not fall into the guidelines. But than neither does Buddhism, really. They do not believe in a godhead either.

I still think it is a lovely idea to have a place for atheists to gather to support one another, especially during difficult times.

When my son has been hospitalized for his Asperger's in the past- I have had my church to turn to.

It would be nice for atheists to have the same type of support system within a community of people that hold the same beliefs (or rather non-beliefs).

And it can be very lonely being the one always on the outside. I just don't think these leaders are doing anything than trying to offer a service to fellow thinkers that has not been there before.


Michelle Taylor
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Re: Atheist church? [Re: Stephanie - Weight Loss] #454409 09/24/08 04:05 AM
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I agree with Kendils, I'm an atheist and I think an 'atheist church' or whatever term you'd give to the organization makes as much sense as an anarchist government.

Atheism is a lack of belief, a lack of doctrine.

As an atheist I follow a solitary path and chose to leave the concept of 'like-mindedness' behind in my family's methodist church.

However as an atheist I also understand the feeling of isolation and secrecy. The only person in my christian family that even has the slightest hint that I'm atheist is my mother; I had to endure "Don't you believe Jesus died for your sins?!" over and over (I always told her I wasn't sure, that I never met the guy and wasn't quite sure what she meant by 'sin' anyway). Lucky for me the questions stopped; she is pretty open minded and would never disown me for my beliefs - as a Christian she's just honestly fearful for my soul! However I could never outright tell her that I'm an atheist. I think if I told my grandparents they would die on the spot.

Back to the point, I think mixing the terms 'atheist' and 'church' does not make sense - however I do understand the need for support as an atheist and fully agree getting together with other atheists could be a breath of fresh air.


And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Re: Atheist church? [Re: Delirium] #454531 09/24/08 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted By: Michelle Jean


Atheism is a lack of belief, a lack of doctrine.

As an atheist I follow a solitary path and chose to leave the concept of 'like-mindedness' behind in my family's methodist church.

However as an atheist I also understand the feeling of isolation and secrecy. The only person in my christian family that even has the slightest hint that I'm atheist is my mother; I had to endure "Don't you believe Jesus died for your sins?!" over and over

Back to the point, I think mixing the terms 'atheist' and 'church' does not make sense - however I do understand the need for support as an atheist and fully agree getting together with other atheists could be a breath of fresh air.



I have an advantage of many atheists/agnostics. I'm a rarity -- a second generation agnostic. So, my parents are perfectly comfortable with my not having a religion, not raising my son in a religion. No concerns for our souls, just lots for our health and well-being.

However, I don't think that we should HAVE to follow a solitary path, merely because we aren't mainstream. If you choose to, that is a different matter. Church, to me, is a sense of society, and not taking the dictionary definition, since words do evolve over time (remember when "gross" only meant 12 dozen?), I view the idea of an atheist church as a good one. The idea of a cohesive community, a support network (last thing I would want, should my dh die, is to have my support network tell me that he was in heaven, or that I would see him again after I die, the usual murmurings given at funerals) -- it's very appealing. Shared values that have nothing to do with religion... yeah, that is a plus. And maybe, just maybe, the theists would be able to see that non-theists do indeed have morals, values, ethics. I've never needed a hope of heaven or a fear of hell to keep me from doing bad things. (So, are their values less strong, that they need that external reward/threat system? I suspect, like anything, it depends on the person.)



Re: Atheist church? [Re: Ms A] #454639 09/25/08 12:53 AM
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That's a good way to look at it...I was reading your post and the horrid image of my funeral in my family's church popped into my head! Ah! I'm twenty but death can creep upon you any time, I should write some little bit stating I do NOT want an orthodox funeral... I'll work on that smile



And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Re: Atheist church? [Re: Delirium] #457352 10/06/08 09:05 PM
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Who needs a church? If you have the need to talk to someone, invite them over for coffee and cream pie cool and have a good ole time. Sounds good to me.

Re: Atheist church? [Re: cream pie] #464764 10/31/08 04:57 PM
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I'm dealing with the whole "solitary path/isolation" thing right now. My husband and I moved to WA two years ago. We have no family close by and it's been hard making friends. We both work full time and he takes classes on-line for his Master's degree. We don't have kids and don't really plan to either. The only social interaction we get is from people at work, but it's hard to find people we would really want to socialize with outside of work. Since we aren't religious, we don't get that sense of community. I have been thinking of joinung a UU church for some time now. There are several in the area.
I think the idea of an Atheist "church" is a great one. Why should the theists be the only ones to have a sense of community.

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