CNN stumbles into “a church without one big player: God:”
Sunday’s congregation in Cambridge is a meeting of the Humanist Community at Harvard University and the brainchild of Greg Epstein, the school’s Humanist chaplain.
A longtime advocate for community building, Epstein and his group of atheists have begun to build their Cambridge community and solemnize its Sunday meetings to resemble a traditional religious service.
To Epstein, religion is not all bad, and there is no reason to reject its helpful aspects.
“My point to my fellow atheists is, why do we need to paint things with such a broad brush? We can learn from the positive while learning how to get rid of the negative,” he said.
For Epstein, who started community-building at Harvard nearly 10 years ago, the idea of a godless congregation is not an oxymoron.
“We decided recently that we want to use the word congregation more and more often because that is a word that strongly evokes a certain kind of community – a really close knit, strong community that can make strong change happen in the world,” he said.
“It doesn’t require and it doesn’t even imply a specific set of beliefs about anything.”
Epstein is not alone in his endeavor. Jerry DeWitt, who became an atheist and left his job as an evangelical minister, is using his pastoral experience to building an atheist church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
CNN seems to think this news, when the idea of a Godless church has been woven deep into the firmware of “Progressivism,” ever since Friedrich Nietzsche and the men whom historian Martin E. Marty dubbed “The Bearded God-killers” (Nietzsche, Marx, Darwin and Freud) had their heyday in the late 19th century. However, man is hardwired to believe in something, and the following century could be viewed as one long attempt at finding an alternative God via totalitarian regimes (Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.), and the nature-worship of radical environmentalism. Not to mention drugs — recall Tom Wolfe exploring the religious motivations of ’60s drug users in his seminal mid-1970s essay “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening,” which as the second half of its title implies, is a lengthy treatise on all sorts of ways to build alternative religions that replace God with the self.
Oh — and then there’s Obama cult of 2008 which had no small amount of building BHO into an alternative God — including by a lot of people who should have known better. But then, as Umberto Eco wrote in 2005:
G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it — he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.
Found via Maggie’s Farm, which quips, “Atheist Churches…In my view, there is nothing wrong with social clubs.”
Related: Aaron Clarey on “When Atheists Aren’t Really Atheists.”