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Bryan Preston

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November 13, 2013 - 5:00 pm

Atheist-Church

Yahoo needs to get something straight. In its report, it calls these new atheist gatherings “mega-churches.” But they’re not “mega” and they’re not churches.

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 talk and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.

Nearly three dozen gatherings dubbed “atheist mega-churches” by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia — with more to come — after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year. The movement fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians is no joke.

They sing songs, they hear a sermon, they meet and greet. But it isn’t a church. It’s a club.

The word “church” has a specific meaning — it’s the body of believers in the global context and a Christian place of worship in this specific context. Just as a mosque is an Islamic place of worship.

Notice which word the atheists are attempting to steal and render meaningless. One, not the other.

“Mega-churches” are typically churches with thousands of members, some have tens of thousands. None of the clubs in Yahoo’s piece have anything close to that scale of membership. They’re all in the hundreds at most.

So they’re not mega, and they’re not churches.

The anti-churches are being set up both to mimic the authentic church, and to provide something that churches provide members.

“There was so much about it that I loved, but it’s a shame because at the heart of it, it’s something I don’t believe in,” Jones said. “If you think about church, there’s very little that’s bad. It’s singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?”

Sunday Assembly — whose motto is Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More — taps into that universe of people who left their faith but now miss the community church provided, said Phil Zuckerman, a professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont.

As a Christian, this makes me sad. We’re wired to need and want community. But if you don’t believe in what the church is teaching, the few rituals that survive in the mega-church setting make no sense. Why take on the symbols of belief? Why go out of your way to mock those who do believe? Calling these clubs “churches” is an act of intolerance and aggression against believers.

******

Cross-posted from the PJ Tatler

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
What do you get when you cross a Unitarian-Universalist with a Jehovah's Witness?

A guy who goes around knocking on doors for no particular reason.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congrats, kids! You've just reinvented Unitarianism ... and only a couple or so centuries late.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Atheist "churches" makes perfect sense to me because atheism in its purest form requires faith - to the same degree - but in opposite direction - to that of religious faith. It should now be clear that our first amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...") applies to organized atheism every bit as much as to organized religion. We must not allow our federal government to establish atheism - nor to establish a particular church - nor to establish Islam. Our first amendment demands that we must have separation of official atheism from state to the same degree that we have separation of church (and mosque, and synagogue) from state.

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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Rather silly to call it a 'church'. Perhaps a gathering hall or something.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
What do you get when you cross a Unitarian-Universalist with a Jehovah's Witness?

A guy who goes around knocking on doors for no particular reason.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now this is funny.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very funny!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
> Atheism suffers from all the same problems any organized faith does. Namely self-important blowhards using it as a platform to spew their own brand of hatred at the world.

That's a pretty broad brush you're using there.

And how exactly does using this forum to spew your own brand of hatred at organized faith separate you from all that self-importance?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Christians are being murdered by the thousands by Muslims from north Africa to Indonesia and you're upset about this nonsense?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Considering the fact that Atheists have proven to have a higher massacre rate on Christians and Jewish people than even Muslims, yes, we definitely need to be very much afraid in regards to what the Atheists are doing regarding "this nonsense," especially considering they pulled something similar in France during and after the French Revolution, also leading to the butcher of several thousand, if not hundreds of thousands of Christians within just a few years.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
However Muslims have a higher overall massacre rate in general, primarily on Hindus, Buddhists, and followers of African native religions, but also a considerably number of Christians.
So if we are to go by raw numbers, we still need to be a bit more concerned about Muslims than Atheists at this time.
(And of course it demonstrates why Atheists are only the second most intolerant religion on the planet.)
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Technically, Atheists aren't a religion. For them to be a religion, they need all of the following three:

A. A belief in supernatural beings and/or supernatural powers,

B. A belief in an afterlife,

and

C. A belief system.

The top two are most important to it, with the third just being necessary to hold it together. Without the two, all we have is a belief system or philosophy. Atheists lack A or B.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
That is there, this is here.

This being here makes it much harder to even try to deal with that there.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congrats, kids! You've just reinvented Unitarianism ... and only a couple or so centuries late.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can only like this comment once...'>>........
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope they open up a high school here in California so DeLaSalle, Mater Dei, Marin Catholic, Valley Christian, Oaks Christian, St. John Bosco, Loyola, or Serra can crush them in football.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, this amuses me greatly. The anti-G_d movement is rendering itself not serious and trivial when they do this. Also it mirrors how secularism took over the world of faith by taking its terms, modes of thoughts and even its folkways and replacing them with their own. By all means, let the Atheists act like a 'church' - it will render them lame and insufficient when you compare them to a real one..........
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Atheist "churches" makes perfect sense to me because atheism in its purest form requires faith - to the same degree - but in opposite direction - to that of religious faith. It should now be clear that our first amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...") applies to organized atheism every bit as much as to organized religion. We must not allow our federal government to establish atheism - nor to establish a particular church - nor to establish Islam. Our first amendment demands that we must have separation of official atheism from state to the same degree that we have separation of church (and mosque, and synagogue) from state.

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't get it: if they're atheists, wouldn't that be free of a specific religion? Are they then Christian atheists? That makes no sense. That's like a leech that only attaches itself to tall people. That means these particular atheists don't exist without the Christian church, so they kinda are leeches. What would atheists be without Christians?

Shouldn't they have an anti-mosque, or a Porta-Mosque, or are they the type of leeches who prefer not to get their hind ends blown to kingdom never come? Certainly atheists understand the concept of fear, and that there is less to fear from the Christians they mock than the Muslims they don't mock - a contradiction in thought and misreading of satire.

Perhaps the atheists should buy enemas and use them five times a day and shout "Wal-Mart Is Great" from a tower. Plus they could always really mock god by making t-shirts that say "I am gay" in Arabic and walking in large groups eating pork chop sandwiches to halal meat shops in Dearborn, Mich. to get butchered.

As usual, "cutting edge" comedians actually fear being cut with an edge and so take on soft targets that don't merit their scorn by definition.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, being free of a specific religion is being irreligious. You still have faith, you just don't like any of the ways other people have organized to express it.

A-theists are expressing their own particular faith, like Mono-theists (believing in a specific individual deity), Poly-theists (believing in a specific group of deities), Heno-theists (who believe in their specific individual deity but acknowledge that others might legitimately have legitimate deities as well), and a few others. The faith of A-Theism is that there is no deity at all, a belief they cannot prove except by ranting about not proving negatives and whining that the failure of Theists of various sorts to prove the existence of a deity or deities constitutes proof of their belief of the absence of a deity.

As such, it is inevitable that having a faith they would require a social community to validate it, particularly if they feel "oppressed" by believers, especially exclusionary believers, of other faiths.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
As sad (and completely inaccurate on the atheists part) this travesty is, this isn't the first time atheists tried to create a pseudo-religion on atheism, I'm afraid. I think the first time they pulled this kind of stunt was with the Jacobins' Cult of Reason (you know, that thing where they made a prostitute a goddess of reason and defiled Notre Dame for it) during and after the French Revolution, prior to Napoleon's takeover.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Belgium's #2 "religion" (pre-Islamic immigration) is an organized form of secular humanism (Vrijzinnigheid/Laïcité in the two national languages) that has its own holidays, rites of passage,… and is recognized and subsidized by the state as a "recognized form of worship".

Oh, and the 19th Century French statistician and philosopher Auguste Comte actually created a "Religion of Humanity" which for some reason has followers in Brazil to this day
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_of_Humanity
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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