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London Atheist Activist Group (informal community) Message Board 1. MAIN FORUM - (non-Islam) › First atheist church in the UK

First atheist church in the UK

Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,069
This was posted by AtheismUK.

I get it, and welcome it ...just a shame that they called it a church. Surely we can come up with a better name for an atheist place? I suppose it is in a church building though,...it's kinda funny the church allowed it!

Islington gazette

Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans will bring together a godless congregation in the Nave in St Paul’s Road, Canonbury for services – with wedding ceremonies and funerals for non-believers even on the cards.

News of the church, which will meet on the first Sunday of every month starting with a service on the Feast of Epiphany on January 6, comes after the census results revealed last week that nearly one in three residents are atheists.

Mr Jones and Ms Evans, a musical improv comedian who had a BBC Radio 4 show called Showstopper, came up with the idea for The Sunday Assembly after agreeing they liked many aspects of religion but didn’t believe in a god.

“We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement,” said Mr Jones, who recently became the first person to sell out the Sydney Opera House by personally selling all tickets by hand.

He continued: “It’s part atheist church and part foot-stomping show. There will be a speaker on a theme each month but there will also be an awesome house band, which Pippa will lead. We’ll be helping people try and stick to their new year’s resolutions in the first service.”

The comics will invite speakers to talk on a theme every month, starting with children’s author Andy Stanton, who writes the Mr Gum series, on the topic of beginnings. Future guest speakers include fellow comedians Josie Long, Lucy Porter and Arthur Smith.

Mr Jones added: “We all should be ludicrously excited every single moment to be alive in one of the best countries in the world. If the church becomes a useful place for others, that would be a good thing. We just want people to feel encouraged and excited when they leave.”

But the Rev Saviour Grech, Catholic parish priest of Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Amwell Street, Finsbury, said: “How can you be an atheist and worship in a church? Surely it’s a contradiction of terms. Who will they be singing to?

“It is important to debate and engage with atheists but for them to establish a church like any other religious denomination is going too far. I’m cautious about it.”
A former member
Post #: 91
It's quite near where I live, actually. It's a de-commissioned church, used as a Steiner School.
Sam
user 60360252
London, GB
Post #: 26
To be honest, I don't get it or welcome it.

It's one thing for those atheists who are also antitheists to form a group where they, for example, express their opposition to religion and take action against discrimination against atheists or even against religion more generally. But this more organised social, philosophical - if that's the right word - aspect is more than bizarre. I fear it causes a confusion of values. Atheism is and should only be a lack of belief in the existence of a supernatural deity. It doesn't and shouldn't say anything about your politics or your character (hobbies, etc).

Oh and I can't stand it when dimwitted religious people claim that atheism is 'becoming' a religion and this sort of thing is only likely to play into their hands. An atheist church with regular services? It's basically mimicking religion.
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,070
To be honest, I don't get it or welcome it.

It's one thing for those atheists who are also antitheists to form a group where they, for example, express their opposition to religion and take action against discrimination against atheists or even against religion more generally. But this more organised social, philosophical - if that's the right word - aspect is more than bizarre. I fear it causes a confusion of values. Atheism is and should only be a lack of belief in the existence of a supernatural deity. It doesn't and shouldn't say anything about your politics or your character (hobbies, etc).

Whilst atheism is on;y about a lack of belief,surely most of us aspire to be rational as a whole life philosophy, and empathetic. Any encouragement of this, without religion and superstition is surely a positive thing.

Oh and I can't stand it when dimwitted religious people claim that atheism is 'becoming' a religion and this sort of thing is only likely to play into their hands. An atheist church with regular services? It's basically mimicking religion.

That's why I don't like it being called a church.It isn't a church because there is no worship of a supernatural entity going on. But religionists saying that kind of thing are to be ignored as you can't reason with them anyway. However if I'm in the mood I'll usually ask them what religion actually means. Since they can't answer I'll say atheism is the opposite of religion, since religion means believing extraordinary claims with no evidence. And then the old "atheism is to religion as 'off' is to a TV channel". That normally kills that piece of stupidity and they go ever so sheepishly quiet.
A former member
Post #: 92
I'm moderately uneasy about calling it a church (though the term does appropriately apply to the building itself) I can see that most religionists are not isolated but draw strength from being part of a congregation whereas atheists, until recently, did not club together to compare notes, reassure each other, tell rude jokes about religion, etc. This is why I joined LAAG of course. As it's so close to me (about 10 stops on the bus) I'll have a look-see & report back.
Barry R.
user 10723166
London, GB
Post #: 561
The inclusion of the word 'church' was not a good idea, in my opinion.

The press and many religious types will gobble this up and puke it at us for a long time to come, I fear. We all know where we stand on this 'atheism-is-a-religion' eyewash but many people don't. Rightly or wrongly there will be surviving brain-donors out there who will be forever saying that, "Yeh, but you av got yorr own church aintcha?"

The opportunity to use a former church-building for the hosting of music and laughter is a great idea and hugely ironic, but surely they could have avoided the 'C' word.
Richard F
user 2543752
London, GB
Post #: 927
"Atheism is and should only be a lack of belief in the existence of a supernatural deity. It doesn't and shouldn't say anything about your politics or your character (hobbies, etc). "

Sorry Sam but this gets my goat. WHY do we have a lack of belief? Although there will be many different reason (some complex, some detailed), most will be based around the principle that it doesn't make sense. We've thought about it, looked at the reality of it, and it doesn't hold together as a rational position. The concept of 'god' is as flawed as the people who fabricated it and I choose not to believe in it. The fact that I choose not to believe in it DOES say something about my character. The fact that I call myself an atheist says that I see theism as something harmful (to differing degrees) and I don't want it in my life.

I accept that there are others details (like Politics with a capital 'P') that can be different between atheists but I would argue that there are some principals that are guided by 'what makes rational sense' (e.g. Free speech)

For the record, I don't like the word 'church' being used, and aren't Humanists doing this sort of thing already?
Adrian
KingHell
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 364
I have invited the two people behind it to come and present their ideas to us and am waiting to hear back from them. It would certainly make a great January meeting!
Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 1,082
"Atheism is and should only be a lack of belief in the existence of a supernatural deity. It doesn't and shouldn't say anything about your politics or your character (hobbies, etc). "

Sorry Sam but this gets my goat. WHY do we have a lack of belief? Although there will be many different reason (some complex, some detailed), most will be based around the principle that it doesn't make sense. We've thought about it, looked at the reality of it, and it doesn't hold together as a rational position. The concept of 'god' is as flawed as the people who fabricated it and I choose not to believe in it. The fact that I choose not to believe in it DOES say something about my character. The fact that I call myself an atheist says that I see theism as something harmful (to differing degrees) and I don't want it in my life.

I accept that there are others details (like Politics with a capital 'P') that can be different between atheists but I would argue that there are some principals that are guided by 'what makes rational sense' (e.g. Free speech)

I agree Richard, unhindered speech, as long as it complies with the law e.g not inciting racism etc. should be one of the given fundamentals for any non believer, yet the organiser of the 'other' atheist group is of course infamous for censoring (actually deleting) opinion that doesn't agree with her exact doctrine (I use the word deliberately ;-)), so maybe we can't actually take this as read for atheists either? Of course it is entirely possible that she's is in a category of her own!biggrin
abdul h
user 8366561
London, GB
Post #: 462
I will try to go, I like the idea of it.
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