I'm new to this forum, so I guess, in the name of social etiquette, a brief introduction is called for before I jump into the topic at hand.
I'm an ex-Bible-thumper who de-converted and became an agnostic (with strong atheistic leanings) shortly after graduating from seminary. Since then, I went on to earn degrees in psychology and philosophy (by the way, the smartest way to be poor is to accumulate loads of debt while getting an education that has no practical value).
Over the past few months, I've been spending the majority of my free time co-organizing a freethought meetup in North Eastern P.A., a relatively conservative area typical of small town clusters. In my efforts to recruit participants, I've encountered what is, in my opinion, an annoying characteristic among some atheists; namley, the notion that building a community of athiests or organizing atheists around a common cause is somehow a contradiction. From what I've gathered thus far, this rationale is rooted in three primary points: (1) atheism, by definition, doesn't advocate or promote a particular set of positive principles or tenents on which a community or organization would be based, (2) atheism inherently entails a strong streak of individualism, and this individualism is incompatible with forming an organization or community of atheists, (3) atheists are obviously nonreligious (some anti-religious), and becoming organized or cultivating community in any fashion is to be religious about atheism, which is oxymoronic.
All that said, I'm wondering if any of you who are either organizers or participating members of an atheist group of some sort have encountered this mentality? And what are your thoughts on the issue?
Also, for those of you who take the anti-organization position, I'm wondering if you would be willing to share you rationale?