Even if the music isn’t as good.
Further to: Religion can certainly be without God but it can’t be without consequences (because ideas have consequences in a way that entertainment doesn’t), here’s an article at the Huffington Post on atheist megachurches:
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.
It also plays into a feeling among some atheists that they should make themselves more visible. For example, last December, an atheist in Santa Monica created an uproar — and triggered a lawsuit — when he set up a godless display amid Christian nativity scenes that were part of a beloved, decades-old tradition.
“In the U.S., there’s a little bit of a feeling that if you’re not religious, you’re not patriotic. I think a lot of secular people say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. We are charitable, we are good people, we’re good parents and we are just as good citizens as you and we’re going to start a church to prove it,” said Zuckerman. “It’s still a minority, but there’s enough of them now.”
That impulse, however, has raised the ire of those who have spent years pushing back against the idea that atheism itself is a religion. More.
Well, excuse us, but if people want to spend as much time advocating that there is no God as others spend advocating that there is one, it is not meaningful to say that that person’s activities are “not religious.” In a functional sense, they are. Especially if they think that their beliefs can generate moral prescriptions like the Ten Commandments of atheism or result in the growth of megachurches.
This trend should help with assessing cultural fairness in schools regarding statements about the universe and life derived from atheism vs. those derived from theism. If the atheist megachurch is fronting the Darwin-in-the-schools lobby to the exclusion of all other approaches to evolution, no matter what the evidence base, how long will it be before something long obscured becomes obvious: They are proceeding from cultural presuppositions too.
Rather than deciding winners and losers, we need a more pluralistic approach, and eventually one will probably emerge. The alternative is, one cultural group is forced to fund the imposition of another cultural group’s key assumptions about life on all children in compulsory school systems.
Sure. Recipe for needless social conflict #3…
One driver of this atheist megachurch trend could be profound discomfort with the new atheists, who not only aren’t liked as a group but aren’t liked for good reasons. (If you are an atheist who does not routinely want people fired for espousing other traditions, maybe you would prefer to non-worship with non-new atheists?)
While we are here, see also guy at Salon wants atheists to stop behaving like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins. Sorry. Horse. Out. Barn.
Also: New atheism: When you’ve lost The Nation, you’ve lost all
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