‘Atheist Church’ Begins Global Mission

rNnBiIf it looks like a duck…

Via Salon:

Yesterday, The Sunday Assembly—the London-based “Atheist Church” that has, since its January launch, been stealing headlines the world over—announced a new “global missionary tour.” In October and November, affiliated Sunday Assemblies will open in 22 cities: in England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, the United States and Australia. “I think this is the moment,” Assembly founder Sanderson Jones told me in an email last week, “when the Sunday Assembly goes from being an interesting phenomenon to becoming a truly global movement.” Structured godlessness is ready for export.

The Assembly has come a long way in eight months: from scrappy East London community venture (motto: “Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More;” method: “part atheist church, part foot-stomping good time”) to the kind of organization that sends out embargoed press releases about global expansion projects. “The 3,000 percent growth rate might make this non-religious Assembly the fastest growing church in the world,” organizers boast.

There’s more to come: In October, the Sunday Assembly (SA) will launch a crowdfunded indiegogo campaign, with the ambitious goal of raising £500,000 (or, about $793,000). This will be followed by a second wave of openings. “ The effort reads as part quixotic hipster start-up, part Southern megachurch.

Dig deep for a few pennies to throw into the collection plate indiegogo campaign and keep reading.

, , ,

  • Andrew

    I just hope they don’t start an Inquisition against agnostics.

    • Simon Valentine

      or hope that it goes as well as planned? better than the gay coup? ;) or a hookup at a bar? :o walking an isle? >.<

      nihilist speaking here, so ~ conservation, hunger, and love. pain is immaterial hunger and a knot in conservation, if not a null-like anomaly sometimes known as love. conservation is discipline.

      perhaps you would ask them not to tread on what they can't repair? fair?

      • Andrew

        I don’t understand what you’re saying.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          its best not to try to understand it. Drink in the awkward taste of the words and move on…. or just abstain.

          • Simon Valentine

            it honestly doesn’t take much

            there are inquisition plans that fit the truth of your hopes; agnostics are on the fence; hooking up and crossing fences; marriage poses fences …

            conservation as an observation. fighting fair. “look, these significant ants are fighting again”.

            dupe aside, do you ‘feel’ i’ve ‘countermanded’ or ‘contradicted’ or left open the window to do so?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            no not at all, I just prefer to balance on the fences and observe both sides; i prefer different fences and different sides though. I was merely representing the extra mental effort it requires to decipher your cryptic (and the mild unease upon realizing that i might be starting to understand it).

            also who said I had any hopes? Hope is castrated desire; it is puppydog eyes to enchant others to do your bidding out of pity or otherwise learned helplessness.

          • Simon Valentine

            if only i could “be the not me” and know that side of things >..<

            =D

        • Simon Valentine

          i am not disinclined to favor death, given a fair fight.

          inquisition – for against

          is such not an inquisition?

          • Andrew

            I don’t know.

          • Simon Valentine

            a well of an answer :)

            “is such not an inquisition” not an inquisition? ad inf.

            investigation down to the Plan(c)k! and we still won’t know whether or not changing a plank makes it a different boat (:

  • Mathew Sympsun

    Putting “church” in the name just makes it sound like another religion. Which it pretty much is. But if it’s supposed to be the absence of God and religion, then they are failing by using the term church, which immediately sets people up for a religious response.True atheism would not even reference Christianity. Whereas now it seems that the only people who spend as much time thinking about God as a Bible Belter does are the extreme Atheists.Which means that Atheism is essentially just the branch of Christianity that doesn’t believe in God. A church is a church is a church.

  • Haystack

    I used to identify as atheist simply because I was unconvinced that there is a god…that’s all it meant…but now atheism is more and more becoming something you “join.” A “movement,” a “tribe,” an “affiliation.” You say you’re an atheist and people think of Dawkins and evangelical anti-religion.

    So now I usually say “agnostic” or “non-religious” or something like that.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I like “ignostic polydeist”. speaking of mostly nonsense but not quite.

      • emperorreagan

        I say I am whatever the person speaking is so that they won’t try to engage me in convertsation.

  • echar

    I only wish I had thought of it first. I want to be grotesquely rich and influential, like Thulsa Doom.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    NOW can we start calling new atheism a christian sect?

    • Jin The Ninja

      too late. i already do.

      reactionary movements are nothing without the forces that provoked them.

      i think new-atheism can be almost solely defined by its relationship to and subsequent modelling on the catholic church/ institutional christianity.

      • Andrew

        It’s not too late. You were just ahead of your time.

        • Jin The Ninja

          i’ve always thought of myself as bit ‘avant’ anyway;)

    • DeepCough

      Shall we call them “Ultraprotestants?”

  • DeepCough
  • FreakyFranks

    Sounds like yet another religion has emerged out of the anti-religious. As the late great George Carlin said, “Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I just hate groups of people.”

  • Sean

    Atheism is so 2007.
    I’m an anti-theist.
    Seriously.
    Well….a spiritual anti-theist that is.
    My spirituality is of the Carl Sagan variety…mixed with some fever dream mystic madness.
    If anything, I think it should be emphasized that mystic spiritual life needn’t be associated with ANY semblance of “organized” religion.
    Religion has had it’s day…and is really nothing but a chore these days, and a real plague at worst.
    It’s high time the spiritual impulse was divorced from structured man-made religion.
    So….while this group/event is somewhat silly, I for one am ALL for it. Why not? Let’s try something new and see if it sticks.
    Luckily, if something DOESN’T work, atheists will be the first to dump it and move on. Can we really say the same for the religious? Of course not.

    • Haystack

      Religion is like mysticism for kids.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      The allies of chaos are terrified of all forms of human organization. They still have the desires of the benefits of organization, but unwittingly serve chaos which is indifferent to the benefit of its allies.

    • Cortacespedes

      Yeah, I have referred to myself as a “Carl Sagan” level agnostic and my atheist friends cringe! They’re like “how can you be not 100% in?”

      And all I can say is, I am smart enough to know, that I am NOT smart enough to know.

    • thisbliss

      There’s a lot to be said though for proper group ritual which allow for authentic spiritual experience. The main religions have become ineffectual in providing this unfortunately, while still maintaining quite a large influence on the collective mind.

      • Sean

        Totally agree.
        I’m an antitheist…..who is all for group ritual and completely right-brained mystical experience.
        As McKenna was fond of saying, the Archaic Revival is indeed upon us….and I for one, am glad.
        People today crave an avenue for that spiritual impulse….but without the bull shit baggage of religion.
        I used to be one of those people that laughed at the silliness of Burning Man….until I gave it a try.
        Boy was I wrong. Sure, there are lots of people you can’t help but roll your eyes at….people who talk on and on and on about their recent encounter with the ghost of Crowley or some-such nonsense.
        BUT….MOST of the people there were super cool…and the experience itself was utterly beautiful and communal. It changed my life.
        And to see THAT many people amassed into a city….that then left ZERO trace they had been there on the environment….showed they indeed practice what they preach. It was an amazing experience…one I couldn’t recommend more highly…especially to the skeptic, as I was once one of them.

        • thisbliss

          “People today crave an avenue for that spiritual impulse”

          I think so too, whether they are aware of it or not, we all want to belong to something bigger than ourself to lose/lessen the ego. McKenna also used to say something to the effect that our culture has effectively destroyed its spiritual knowledge and we’re either going to remember it (archaic revival) or create a new heritage.
          The burning man experience sounds spot on. It seems like the primal feeding of our need for music for ecstatic purpose combined with losing ourself in the group has been one of the most effective paths to the spiritual experience. That and/or power plants!

          • Sean

            Indeed.
            I’m always sad that McKenna died so soon…
            He died JUST before things got REALLY interesting.
            Imagine what his talks would sound like today? How interesting would it be? I can only imagine….sadly.

            For me, people like McKenna, Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson, and Sagan encapsulate what the new spirituality ought to be. Rational, skeptical(of EVERYTHING), and willing to lose oneself in the flow of nature.

            It kills me that the best thinkers of that vein are now dead. The guys I mentioned above….all dead. It’s lame.

            Do you know anyone living today who is of the same breed as those people? For me…the comedian Duncan Trussell is as good as it gets, as far as I can see. He’s an amazing guy.
            But I wonder if there’s anyone else. I’d love to know….

            However, I think people like McKenna were truly one of a kind. No one like McKenna ever existed before…and never will exist again. He was amazing.

          • thisbliss

            “Do you know anyone living today who is of the same breed as those people”
            Obviously Lee Camp or Joe Rogan….. Kidding! although I do like listening to them they aren’t a patch on Terence. At the same time it occurred to me that maybe its a similar thing to musical trends how McKenna appealed to a certain generation just as guys like Rogan or say Pinchbeck will appeal to the next.

          • Sean

            Ehh….I guess.

            I like Rogan and listen to him all the time….but he’s absolutely not at the level of a McKenna or Alan Watts.

            Honestly, I reiterate that Duncan Trussell is the closest person I’ve found to that spirit. He’s a truly smart, witty, moral guy….and super interesting.

            Pinchbeck….nah. I like him. His book “Breaking Open the Head” is brilliantly interesting. But, as a public speaker he just plain sucks. It’s almost painful to watch. That’s just not his strong suit….but he is a good author.

            Alex Grey’s TED talk really made me appreciate him. It was an amazing talk. Before that, I just knew him as “that guy who worked with Tool and makes mystical anatomy paintings.”
            But he’s so much more. He works in TONS of mediums(especially when he was younger) and has very interesting ideas. The TED audience was mesmerized by his whole talk.

            But….it really seems like the generation that was active through the 50s to 90s like McKenna, Alan Watts, Robert Anton Wilson, Ram Dass, Bill Hicks, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, etc…..that generation of thinkers was unparalleled….and regrettably, they’re ALL dead. Well, not Ram Dass…but, sadly, he’s close enough. :(

            I just don’t see anyone today with quite the same level of mastery of language, public speaking, novel ideas, etc.

            The people we have now, like Jason Silva, basically just parrot what a bunch of brilliant dead guys said 20 years ago.

            We need a new crop of thinkers to consolidate the ideas surrounding our amazingly interesting world. It’s almost like the current crop of thinkers isn’t good enough to match the incredible world we are living in right now.

            It almost seems like the brilliance of those men in the past is now so diluted through online media….that singular voices like theirs cannot rise to the top. Because….surely they must be out there. I just wish they were more vocal. Hell, I’m this close to going out and doing speaking tours myself…just to reignite the fire again. :) Maybe one day…when I’m a bit older and have accomplished other things I want to get done in this short insane life.

  • jasonpaulhayes

    “Structured godlessness is ready for export.” … or not.

  • Rob Lai

    Hold on… will comment… when can stop… laughing… LOLOLOLOLOL!

21
More in Atheism, Atheist church, mission
Little Richie Dawkins

This satirical cartoon sums it up rather well. What do you think? by Mike Booth

Close