May 7, 2008

Time For Atheist Churches?

With increasing numbers of freethinkers "coming out" and openly identifying themselves as atheists, agnostics, and/or secular humanists, some are suggesting that secular churches may be useful. Of course, atheism is not a religion, and the concept of atheist churches strikes some as a bit silly. Still, I do not think we should hastily dismiss the idea without carefully considering the advantages they might bring. Besides, calling an institution a church does not necessarily mean that it must resemble religious churches.

Imagine having an atheist church in your community. What would be the potential benefits? I suggest that they would include at least the following:
  • Increased sense of community, belonging, and social support
  • Increased public presence (i.e., atheists would be more visible to both believers and nonbelievers)
  • Improved organization, facilitating activism and lobbying
  • Education and mentoring for members
For more on atheist churches, see this op-ed from Digital Journal.

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