Hello! This is the public page for "Contra Costa Atheists and Freethinkers (CCAF)." Most of our events are in the cities of Pleasant Hill, Concord, and Walnut Creek — Contra Costa County — San Francisco Bay Area, California.
PANDEMIC NEWS: CCAF was in a holding pattern for over a year because of the pandemic, although we continued to pay our Meetup fees and maintain our website with its history. We recently had our first in-person meet-up with fully vaccinated CCAF members, and we were looking forward to more such meet-ups soon. Unfortunately, the new Covid variants have put those plans on hold again for the time being as we try to keep abreast of safety issues. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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You may find our group interesting if you subscribe to the idea that knowledge of reality advances most effectively by using the appropriate methods of scientific inquiry:
We especially encourage you to disclose your atheist views as a method of educating the uninformed public about who we are — and that we are many!
Note: Among other things, the terms "atheist" and "freethinker" generally refer to a person who does not believe in any gods. (A "theist" actively believes in one god or many gods. An "atheist" does not actively believe in any gods.) While atheists and freethinkers likely agree on this issue, they may or may not agree on other important issues.
Also note that it is unnecessary for an atheist to prove that there are no gods. To be an atheist, it is sufficient to find the evidence for any gods unconvincing, and the arguments for any gods unpersuasive. There are hundreds, and probably thousands, of so-called gods imagined in human history that have become little more than curious cultural footnotes. The Secular Student Alliance has illustrated this in a wonderful periodic installation called the "Graveyard of the gods." (See link below.) For atheists today, current notions of any gods remain equally unconvincing and unpersuasive.
As we have learned from the LGBTQ community, an effective strategy for promoting positive change for atheists — and others — is to come out, stay out, and speak out. The Openly Secular campaign provides one way you can come out and tell your story:
CCAF endeavors to provide informative and enjoyable activities that promote opportunities for discourse — and fun — without endorsing beliefs in gods or other supernatural ideas, either ancient or new.
If you have a belief in any gods, or in astrology, angels, reincarnation, ghosts, heaven, hell, auras, and the like — then our group is not for you. Unless it's from a sociological or critical perspective, we are also not interested in debating more modern mythologies surrounding acupuncture, reiki, homeopathy, UFOs, ancient astronauts, creationism, intelligent design, and so on. We look for plausible theory and verifiable evidence — not anecdotal stories or unsubstantiated belief.
Our meet-ups happen at irregular intervals, at varying times, and on different days. This is partly to allow all members a chance to participate within their schedules. Our activities have included thought-provoking talks by invited speakers... • discussions about various topics, including videos and books... • group rendezvous at museums, clubs, movies, and restaurants... • organized hikes and tours... • and just getting to know each other at parties or salon discussions at a member's home.
Suggestions for new activities are always welcome.
IF YOU WANT TO JOIN CCAF:
• You will need to be signed-up with Meetup. However, CCAF is a private organization, and requests to join will be reviewed. This is to provide a measure of security for members who are not yet ready to announce their atheist views to casual online visitors. This is also to discourage commercial solicitation or tacit endorsement of weird ideas.
• Provide a recognizable photo of yourself with your membership request.
• Do not hide your general Meetup interests and other Meetup memberships.
• Also, please be prepared to answer a few simple questions fully and honestly. Note that we may ask for clarification. If you can't receive, or don't answer, a message from us through Meetup, we might not approve your membership request. So, it is important to have your Meetup preferences set to receive messages from Meetup organizers. CCAF is not just a list service for events.
These requirements add a level of security to our group, which often has events in private homes.
Although CCAF is affiliated with other atheist, freethinker, humanist, and skeptic organizations, we do not share our membership list. Our general focus is to provide a safe, local community forum for atheists while making ourselves visible as a group to the general public. While we are now mostly a "social" group, we are also ready to inform and mobilize members for action if local issues directly impact the status of atheists.
For more general news and information affecting atheists, we recommend the following organizations: • Freedom From Religion Foundation • American Atheists • Secular Coalition for America • Atheist Alliance International • Center For Inquiry • Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science • Secular Student Alliance • American Humanist Association • Americans United for Separation of Church and State • Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers • American Civil Liberties Union.
Most importantly, we support efforts to protect the secular values that are the foundation of American government — being free from religious discrimination and tyranny.
A brief history: Beginning in 2006, CCAF was originally known as "Atheists and Freethinkers of Contra Costa County." It was organized around an email list of interested individuals. In July 2011 CCAF migrated to the Meetup platform, which provides useful membership and organizational tools. We pay a bi-annual fee in order to maintain our website on Meetup. Our finances are readily available for review by any member. Donations are always welcome, but never required.
If you have additional questions about our group, please email us: contactCCAF@gmail.com
Note: We are monitoring recent and ongoing changes to the Meetup organization, including its philosophy, intent, and online functionality. Also, there is now a large difference between the original desktop version of Meetup-CCAF and the mobile version of Meetup-CCAF. Many features of the desktop version are no longer available, or they are more difficult to access. We appreciate any comments about your experiences involving the two versions.