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Old 11-21-2011, 10:24 AM
 
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Ive noticed that there are a few camps around the country for atheist children in particular, in addition to national conferences and seminars for atheistic Secular Humanists ; this in addition to such entities as American Atheist Association and others, who offer regularly scheduled local meetings with agendas , material handouts, and collection of dues.

Is atheism becoming rather church-like , and what do you foresee for the future ? Please discuss. Thanks.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 007.5 View Post
Ive noticed that there are a few camps around the country for atheist children in particular, in addition to national conferences and seminars for atheistic Secular Humanists ; this in addition to such entities as American Atheist Association and others, who offer regularly scheduled local meetings with agendas , material handouts, and collection of dues.

Is atheism becoming rather church-like , and what do you foresee for the future ? Please discuss. Thanks.
In some ways that has already happened with atheists churches. But the main problem with spreading the Good Word of Evangelical Atheism has been the problem of herding cats.

Organization, mass rallies, pulpit - thumping and a concerted irreligious propaganda machine had to be necessary if atheism was to amount to anything more than a couple of teenage hooligans blowing lon plastic trumpets while following a praise - Jesus procession.

Provided we are aware of the dangers and keep our reason and sense of humour, this is not going to turn into a church of Athe. But the movement needs a degree of cohesion. That this was lacking was very clear a decade ago.
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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I think the answer is yes and no.

I do believe that organized atheism is appearing more, however this is certainly not the first time, even just in America. Non-theistic belief has a long history. The Humanist manifesto was penned in 1933, and the IHEA (International Humanist and Ethical Union) was founded in 1952. Before that there was a great interest in atheist and agnostic belief in the US, known as "the Golden Age of Free Thought", from the 1850's up to around WWI. Robert Ingersoll was one of the better known orators and writers. Freethinkers, Skeptics, Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics have always been a part of the fabric of American society. After WWI, there was a religious resurgence that has lasted more or less until today.

As far as church-like, I tend to think no more that a hobbyist group, or a youth organization. There is no heirerachy or doctrine.There are no rituals or no prescribed services. Generally, they are groups of likeminded people who are trying to build a social support network for themselves, express solidarity with each other, and use their collective voice to influence public perception and policy. More of a combination social club and political action network.

NoCapo
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Old 11-21-2011, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Originally Posted by 007.5 View Post
Is atheism becoming rather church-like , and what do you foresee for the future ? Please discuss. Thanks.
To the extent atheism becomes institutionalized, dogmatic, and disrespectful of its opponents, in my view it has fallen into the same error as organized religion. I call this "big 'A' Atheism". I am more of a "little 'a' atheist". All a-theism is, is "without god(s)", not "anti-god" or "anti-church". As soon as you define yourself in terms of what you're opposed to, you're in trouble.

I prefer to define myself in terms of what I'm in favor of, which is freedom of thought, personal responsibility, open inquiry, and so forth. I believe that deism works against these things rather than for them. I don't need to define a credo or organization or set of rules for others in order to pursue those goals and interests. And I certainly don't need to impose my belief system on anyone else.
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:01 AM
 
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That does address a valuable point - isn't a movement or organisation which exists solely to oppose something with nothing to offer itself, flawed at the start?

But, if atheism is just part of a rational worldview, just that part which is considering religious claims, then it avoids all those problems, or rather, we see that the problem didn't really exist. It only looked like it because we thought of atheism out of its context. That made problems for it in considering the supernatural, unreligious concepts of gods and - as said, the lack of any positive agenda.

The rationalist worldview is already in place, working away quietly and providing all the things we use and rely on daily while the vociferous theists shout the odds about their religions and claim all the credit for their imaginary gods.

We atheists should see that we are rationalists like other rationalists and we all ought to be pulling for a rational world where unproven claims are not given credence but critical study and kids are not taught to believe a particular religion but how to reason. Atheism would then not need to be a particular movement but just the default of not believing in god - claims.
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:06 AM
 
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No. It is just doing what is normal for humans. Suggesting it is becoming church like is really reaching.

Humans often congregation, meet socially, or for groups and camps around things that are common interests to them. Be that religion, lack of religion, football, art, music or whatever. This is just what humans do because humans are a social animal.

So it has nothing to do with atheism becoming like theism or vice versa. It is simply that people.... atheist or not.... are a social creature that likes to congregate around common themes and ideas and interests.

Having said that, atheists are of course very likely to be interested in educational camps and resources that explicitly do not contain unsubstantiated ideas. That is hardly a surprise. A vegetarian is also likely, when considering cookery classes, to choose one for their children that does not use meat over one that does. If something you disagree with permeates most of the options available to you, you will naturally be attracted to the options where this thing is absent.
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Florida
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A benefit I would see to any atheist groups is to offer support to those still unwilling or afraid to be open and honest...'come out' in other words.
It's difficult for some people to go against the crowd.
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Old 11-22-2011, 05:24 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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Originally Posted by 007.5 View Post

Is atheism becoming rather church-like , and what do you foresee for the future ? Please discuss. Thanks.
No, this is a stupid question.
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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No, this is a stupid question.
A rather gruff, rude reply. Seems that someone is messing with your belief system. Oh, you do have one!
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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No, this is a stupid question.
Looks like theres a few of your atheist colleagues in this thread who think organized Atheism has some trappings of a religious church. Would they be stupid then ?
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