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Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,651
Sorry Roger, much as I would enjoy hearing the band, following Sanderson's vacuous response to atheist criticism in the Daily News I won't be putting any more pennies on his plate. He really hasn't got the faintest idea what he's doing.
Jason, I assume you mean these two gems?:

1/ "We're big fans of religion. We think churches do great things," Jones said."

Hmmm. Maybe they're trying to ingratiate with the Americans, so as not to get some loony fundy Xtians bombing them or something? I'd be scared going over to America if I were doing what they're doing, so if a bit of licky licky minimises that threat it's fair enough in a way? I think they mean it though, unfortunately - and I'm not convinced all this worldwide activity isn't at least partly for furthering their own career and fame as comics either. But again, if that's the case, that's fair enough too, if it does them personally some good as well, why not. If the side effect is to spread atheism as a concept, then I have no quarrel with any of that.

What I do find unforgivable though, is this bit:

2/ "I didn't realize how many militant, fundamentalist atheists there are,"

Militant???? Fundamentalist??? About the two most nonsensical, oxymoronic words and ideas to use when discussing atheism/atheists. What a big fat own goal. Expletive! expletive! expletive!. Really, the mind boggles - it's as though they've never thought about the issues at all. Instead they seem to see atheism as merely an empty happy-clappy concept with all the trappings of religion save for non-god belief - being led, not allowing questioning, following traditions blindly ("Traditions are good" said Sanderson, as a fait accompli!!)

Despite all that, I think the net effect of the S.A will still be a positive one in terms of spreading atheism - or at least, 'atheism lite' - no?

'Atheism lite', because despite their slogan of " live better, help often, wonder more" I think it's an "I"m alright jack" sort of non challenging format in reality. It's close to those 'humanist' accomodationists who often refuse to even acknowledge they're atheists at all. They tend to be the ones who ignore that whilst they're sitting on their supposed high horse, people who've had religion forced upon them are suffering all kinds of torments. Yet they see themselves as morally superior to 'atheists/humanists' who challenge religion/faith, somehow! - just as religionists see themselves as superior to non believers!

What an irony. But still, better than nothing? (Though I find it harder to 'forgive' these people than I do with religionists - the latter are usually deprived of privilege & education, and have been brainwashed from birth - the former usually have had the opposite set of conditions, yet behave to all extents and purposes as though they are believers, with the same superiority complex and all)

In the caption comp this month I asked what the opposite to an atheist clergy was - I think we've found the answer! I had very mixed feelings about the S.A already - but Jason, this latest thing is making me lean towards what you've said. Vacuous seems to be the right word.


Roger
user 33309642
London, GB
Post #: 244
I have to say that the weakest bits in each SA is when Sanderson tries to be "profound" - it just doesn't work. I cringe.

They are starting some discussion groups & other teams planned to do "good works" I believe, so some good may come of it despite the admittedly dubious front end.
A former member
Post #: 2
In my opinion Saderson and his Sunday Assembly are abusing the term "Atheist" for a wrong purpose. A few days ago I had posted comments on their website, but surprisingly, they block my comment twice. I still don't understand how atheists are buying their words, Unfortunately these people are only pretending to be an atheist without knowing the right definition of atheist in nowadays context. They are converting atheists into a sect, which is wrong for the image of atheism worldwide.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,658
A few days ago I had posted comments on their website, but surprisingly, they block my comment twice.
REALLY? YET Another atheist outfit using censorship??!!

And the latest gaff by Sanderson calling atheist 'militant and fundamentalist', is as Jason said, vacuous at best. Downright stupid in my book actually.

Roger made the remark 'dubious front end' and I actually came onto this thread to say that I don't have a serious problem with the front end as such. I can see the value of what is essentially a religion-copying outfit, for non-believers. And that's not supposed to be a derogatory comment, just reality, and I think there is room, value and even a need for it - especially for those who leave religion as adults. They may well miss the trappings of religion, being led, told they're 'good' etc. A soft landing place is a good idea because groups like LAAG, whilst friendly in reality, I know are sometimes thought of as intimidating (I have several emails like this from worried new people).

So whilst the S.A's format didn't hold any appeal for me personally (and we did happen to go as a group to probably THE worst event of theirs that we could have, with the Xtian pastor as the speaker!), the only thing I actually OBJECTED to, was the lack of being allowed to discuss or refute what was fed to us as irrefutably fact. Such as "traditions are good". Being TOLD (not asked!) what is 'good' is a step too close to religion, and I think Ramesh is right that this goes against what is surely at the heart of atheism - being allowed to/encouraged to question!

Their strapline says 'wonder more', but they don't seem to be living up to that, especially if they're not allowing comment.
Roger, you said they were starting discussion workshops and that's positive so maybe they are addressing this, in part at least.

However if they really are censoring comment we'll be withdrawing LAAG support for S.A's remit, as freedom of expression is one of LAAG's core principles. But let's not jump the gun. Ramesh, it could just be a technical glitch - have you tried contacting Sanderson and asking?
Adrian
KingHell
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 604
I've never been but the one I nearly went to was the 'vicar' one so just as well I didn't make it (ahem). I think I'd prefer my 'assembly' to be much more Bacchanalian! Preferably with nudity, gambling and no set finish time. That seems a long way from what Sanderson International plc seems to be doing!
A former member
Post #: 3
No Ginny. I do not intend to contact Sanderson, I only want him to respond to my comment. Because we often hear from religious people that Atheism is a Religion, and atheists are only seeking for an alternative to religion, this is one among the many myths labelled on atheism, which is wrong, and we, the atheists are just trying to demystify those myths by clarifying our position with arguments. Then, how come that a group emerged as the atheists (or at least, which they pretend to be) to imitate religious ritual such as "a congregation in atheist church", and nobody care? If these people, after leaving their church still have a nostalgia of religion, they cannot be considered as atheists, this is my personal opinion, because they could do more harm than good to the values of atheism.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,662
No Ginny. I do not intend to contact Sanderson, I only want him to respond to my comment.


Hi Ramesh,

I think you might have misunderstood me; what I meant was, if they are not allowing your comments that's ridiculous and unforgivable for an atheist organisation! For whatever little it's worth, LAAG would withdraw support if this is really the case. But sometimes there can be technical problems with webpages, so I just wondered whether it was worth double checking with them to make sure they really are blocking your comment/question, or whether it is just a technical problem.

Out of curiosity, what was your comment/question to them anyway?

Because we often hear from religious people that Atheism is a Religion, and atheists are only seeking for an alternative to religion, this is one among the many myths labelled on atheism, which is wrong, and we, the atheists are just trying to demystify those myths by clarifying our position with arguments. Then, how come that a group emerged as the atheists (or at least, which they pretend to be) to imitate religious ritual such as "a congregation in atheist church", and nobody care? If these people, after leaving their church still have a nostalgia of religion, they cannot be considered as atheists, this is my personal opinion,
I understand why you feel so strongly about this actually. And as I said, there are many aspects of it that turn me off too. I certainly wouldn't bother going again, it doesn't have any positive value for me personally and is more annoying than uplifting. But but but ...I think atheism needs many different approaches to succeed, and what works for us personally may not be what works for others. If this religion-copying version of atheism helps some people to at least think about atheism as a positive, as a place they can go and sing songs and have tea, then even if they are only rational as far as letting go of god belief (and perhaps not rational in any more than that), at least it's a start - no? At least they will be able to be counted officially as as 'non religious' or even atheists - and that means the religions will start losing their grip on politicians and law making.

...they could do more harm than good to the values of atheism.
Well, we have had loooong discussions about 'the values of atheism'. Strictly speaking, according to the official definition, atheism means only "a lack of god belief", and has no other 'values' attached to it.

However Richard Francis and others here think we should try and change that to mean "without the practice of fabricating supernatural agency". And actually, I am changing my mind about this. I now think they're right to try and change it. I was resistant to it originally because I felt it would significantly lower numbers of people that could be counted as 'atheists', and therefore weakens our position politically. But I think Richard Francis' definition is actually far more what atheism SHOULD mean.

But still, I don't think we can say there is a right way or a wrong way "to be atheist", otherwise we will be as bad as the religionists?! If some people get a positive feeling from getting together with other non believers and just simply having tea and small talk (rather than trying to further their own thinking and/or trying to change things for those who are suffering forced religion), then much as I don't like it either - I don't think we can say they're not 'proper atheists'. (Though I get and sympathise with what you mean, Ramesh!)

Personally I can't understand why ALL atheists aren't outraged at religion being forced onto others, and doing something about it, but unfortunately many have just not thought about it like that. There are selfish/self-absorbed/irrational/pompous­/lazy atheists/humanists, just as there are selfish/self-absorbed/irrational/pompous­/lazy religious people.

Sometimes I think we have to work on getting atheists/humanists to understand the issues more than on the religious! I certainly find the religious easier to 'forgive' the lack of understanding of these issues, since they're usually victims of indoctrination and circumstance. Atheists/humanists should know better, but sometimes they think they're being PC by NOT discussing the issues!! As you say Ramesh, these atheists/humanists can do more harm than good when they don't allow debate and discussion of challenging religion.
Roger
user 33309642
London, GB
Post #: 249
(Incidentally - although I don't always respond, I usually read & appreciate your contributions Ginny. You put a lot of time & thought into your sometimes lengthy & painstaking posts. Thank you!)
Angela D.
user 71491512
London, GB
Post #: 71
There is no such thing as perfect atheism, just as there is no such thing as perfect religion.
It's crazy, to me, I think, but there are some atheist who think that atheism is some form of religion, so they are religious atheist!

Somewhere or no where, I declare, never to despair, sitting in my little high chair.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,666


Somewhere or no where, I declare, never to despair, sitting in my little high chair.
Darlene,

I just love your comments, never change please! love struck
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