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Community => Meetups and Conventions => Topic started by: cspanther on April 19, 2008, 01:27:45 AM

Title: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: cspanther on April 19, 2008, 01:27:45 AM
Hello everyone,

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?
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: MommaSquid on April 19, 2008, 02:32:26 AM
Quote from: "cspanther"
...by the way, the smartest way to be poor is to accumulate loads of debt while getting an education that has no practical value.  
(http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k227/MommaSquid/smileys/happyrotfl.gif)


Welcome to the forum, cspanther.  BTW, I am originally from Whitehall, PA (which is near the ABE Airport).  Happily living elsewhere for almost 15 years.


As to your questions:  I've never been to a face-to-face atheist meet-up, but I consider my time spent in atheist forums to be just as worthwhile.  I need the sense of community that atheist forums bring, and I guess if there were a meet-up nearby I might check it out.  I agree that we are all strong individualists, but that doesn't have to be incompatible with community gatherings.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: cspanther on April 19, 2008, 04:52:53 AM
MommaSquid,

My mother used to live in Arizona, near Mesa, and she absolutely loved the landscape.  She would always rave about the open, flat expanses as compared to the hilly, tree-saturated terrain of PA.  She also loved the various types of rock formations, particularly the areas that featured large red rock mounds or mountains (although I'm sure they are large enough to be considered official mountains).  When I visited her in the summer of 2000, she took me to what is reputably the "New Age" center of the U.S.  I remember being struck by the redness of the rock formations and mountains; it exhibited a seemingly unnatural quality that, for a moment, made me think that I was transported to some sort of fantasy land (ok, so I'm not well traveled).  The characteristic color scheme of PA's landscape is just so different than that of Arizona (you could say that I experienced "color shock", to be distinguished from culture shock).  

My sentiments exactly!  In some respects, I think that such atheists proclaim their individualism as a way to explain their anti-organization/community stance due to a disposition of anti-social elitism; that is to say, because they equate intelligence with being a "non-joiner".  The assumption here is that to join any sort of organization or community is to cease thinking for one's self or to sacrifice intellectual autonomy.  So in order to maintain intellectual integrity and superiority, one must shun the mind-numbing collective at all costs (sorry if all that was too psycho-babble-ish).  What do you think?
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on April 19, 2008, 07:22:35 PM
I could understand some atheists not wanting to join an atheist group that has a specific goal in mind if they do not agree with that goal.  But the average atheist get together is simply a way to be around open minded people who are less likely to judge you for thinking differently.  Most atheists can't speak their  minds around most people without being outcast....since humans are social beings it would only make sense to want to be able to socialize in a friendly setting...the best way to do that, imo, is have a free-thought meeting group.  

If people want to be anti-social, that's their choice...but being anti-social certainly has nothing to do with being an atheist.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: myleviathan on April 19, 2008, 09:50:27 PM
I can tell you I feel pretty isolated in conservative SW Florida. We do have a Unitarian Church that has a secular humanism class. I did visit the church once, and I liked it. But the average age is probably around 60 or so. I didn't feel like I fit in. Also, 8:00am on a Sunday morning is simply way too early. I think it would be great to have a younger crowd of atheists to hang out with. I'm still getting together with my old believer friends from time to time. I  love them, but there's a big part of my life I can't share with them anymore. I should probably just start one at the college I'm going to. I would totally go to an informal dinner group, or book reading group or whatever. Like minds should stick together.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: MommaSquid on April 19, 2008, 10:52:50 PM
Quote from: "cspanther"
MommaSquid,
,,,The characteristic color scheme of PA's landscape is just so different than that of Arizona (you could say that I experienced "color shock", to be distinguished from culture shock)....  

Color shock is a great way to describe it!  Every time I visit my parents, I'm dumbstruck by all the shades of green.  AZ and PA are beautiful in completely different ways.  

Quote from: "cspanther"
...  So in order to maintain intellectual integrity and superiority, one must shun the mind-numbing collective at all costs (sorry if all that was too psycho-babble-ish).  What do you think?

I agree; many gatherings feel mind-numbing.  Not that I'm brilliant, but I do like a certain level of intelligent, rational conversation.  Too many people are willing to settle for less.  (You comments were'nt too psycho-babble-ish at all.)

BTW, myleviathan, I agree that 8 a.m. is heinously early for a meeting of any kind, let alone church!
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: rlrose328 on April 20, 2008, 05:00:39 AM
I think atheists have the potential to share MANY thoughts and beliefs in common, despite not having a unifying belief system to cling to.  We believe in life, living good lives, eating food, breathing.   ;) )
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: dodgecity on September 06, 2008, 12:07:29 AM
Quote
the notion that building a community of atheists or organizing atheists around a common cause is somehow a contradiction.

Annoying, indeed! Not to mention absolute rubbish.

Quote
such atheists proclaim their individualism as a way to explain their anti-organization/community stance due to a disposition of anti-social elitism; that is to say, because they equate intelligence with being a "non-joiner".

I couldn't have said it better. How dare they attribute their cockiness and apathy to atheism? The truth is, they are just cocky and apathetic people, who just happen be atheist. Don't let them discourage you.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: afreethinker30 on September 12, 2008, 08:36:06 AM
I wish there were more meetups around here.But have seen none close to home.Only other atheists I know that are close one is a 17 yr old who is hell bent on taking the man down,and my hubby and I know his stance on everything and a couple but they turned out to be redneck hicks who are card carrying NRA members,racist,swingers who are stuck in the 80's.  :hmm:
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Will on September 12, 2008, 06:41:53 PM
We should organize when needed. In ancient Greece, the city-states were basically autonomous until organization was needed, for things like policy or defense. Atheists, like the ancient city-states, like our individualism, our autonomy. We also, though, are stronger in numbers.

It seems like a case-by-case question.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Jolly Sapper on September 12, 2008, 06:56:02 PM
At first I was a bit confused by what was meant by "organize atheists."  

Getting together as a group of like minded people, no problem.

Getting together as a group to support some common cause, a cause other than directly related to personal belief, no problem.

Getting together as a group of atheists to go knocking on doors at eight in the morning on a Saturday to hand out blank pamphlets to convert people to a lack of belief in invisible super friends, I'm not a huge fan of.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: rlrose328 on September 12, 2008, 09:21:37 PM
Quote from: "Jolly Sapper"
Getting together as a group of atheists to go knocking on doors at eight in the morning on a Saturday to hand out blank pamphlets to convert people to a lack of belief in invisible super friends, I'm not a huge fan of.

Oooohhhh... the pamphlets are supposed to be BLANK!  No wonder I was having so many doors slammed in my face... MINE says THERE IS NO GOD in big letters.  Okay... I'll fix that.  :beer:
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: PittsburghBrandon on September 14, 2008, 01:13:00 AM
Free-Thinkers and Atheists should absolutely organize.  Here in Pittsburgh we have several groups that fit the needs of any skepticly minded person.  We have a CFI chapter, a Freethinkers disscussion group, several book clubs and a drinking skeptically chapter.

You can learn about them all at http://www.steelcityskeptics.net
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Stoicheion on October 01, 2008, 06:38:28 PM
Quote from: "rlrose328"
Quote from: "Jolly Sapper"
Getting together as a group of atheists to go knocking on doors at eight in the morning on a Saturday to hand out blank pamphlets to convert people to a lack of belief in invisible super friends, I'm not a huge fan of.

Oooohhhh... the pamphlets are supposed to be BLANK!  No wonder I was having so many doors slammed in my face... MINE says THERE IS NO GOD in big letters.  Okay... I'll fix that.  :hail:  RAOTFL I love you rlrose! you are awesomeness
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: rlrose328 on October 01, 2008, 07:24:07 PM
Quote from: "Stoicheion"
:blush:   :cool:
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: SteveS on October 01, 2008, 09:19:13 PM
Hey cspanther welcome to the board!

I don't know about all this organization stuff.   If there was a meet-up near me, I might check it out.  But honestly, depending upon the people, I may or may not like it.  I obviously feel motivated enough to talk to other atheists to post on this board, though.  So who knows?  I would see a meet-up hopefully as an opportunity to socialize with intelligent and interesting people.  It would be more socially rewarding and enjoyable then it would be "productive" or "goal oriented".  Otherwise it becomes a form of activism, which of course I might not agree with.  I tend to be somewhat apathetic when it comes to activism.

As far as individualism goes, I certainly don't see it as "at odds" with community.  Wouldn't a community of individualists just be a community of people who believe that individual rights are what is most important?  A group of people who formed the community for the purpose of safe-guarding individual rights?  If you view pure collectivism as one extreme, pure individualism is its antithesis.  Both are types of society; both are types of community.  The United States of America, while arguably changed at least somewhat from its inception, was widely considered to be a society on the "individualist" side of the equation.  It probably still is.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Stoicheion on October 01, 2008, 09:34:52 PM
you're welcome ^_^
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: DennisK on November 08, 2008, 01:26:47 PM
By organizing for some causes (which I would be supportive) I would think you would run the risk of having a number of sects (similar to religious devisions) due to an individuals beliefs not completely conforming the groups views.  Our numbers are impressive, but if we have a 'platform' to define our beliefs, those numbers would diminish IMO.  

I, personally, am yearning for meetings with people locally to discuss various atheist topics.  I want to talk with and learn from smart people whose minds aren't tainted with religion.  I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, however, living in the south has upped my intellect significantly by comparison.  I enjoy atheist forums, but they aren't the same as face to face interaction.

Ho-Humm.  Anyone in Wilmington, NC, USA wanting to gather, let me know.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Elvis Priestly on November 14, 2008, 08:01:12 PM
I hope the penalties for crossposting here aren't too severe. I just posted a similar response to a poll in the Philosophy segment, but  I think it is relevant here.  

I personally think that atheists should start organizing with others who have similar behavioral codes and ideals. The social aspects are nice, but I am more concerned about reducing discrimination against atheists and increase public acceptance.

Check out this video on youTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4fQA9mt-Mg

It points out that there are US states that still have laws preventing atheists from holding public office. It also gives a quote by the first President Bush (I have not personally verified it) where he says he believes that atheists should not be considered US citizens.

I can't remember where I ran across it, but I saw a statistic saying that 16% of the US population does not believe in god. This is a large minority that has almost no voice in politics or any other aspect of public life. I am regularly annoyed by the Religious Right, and I see no 'Secular Center' to balance that out. It seems that only the communists support actual atheism, and I am a fan of free markets, so I can't go there.

I haven't really looked for groups advocating the rights of atheists in the US. Does anyone know of such a group that operates on a national (or even statewide level)? I'm curious... and I'm in Seattle, WA if anyone knows of local groups.

Being part of an organized group with similar ideas doesn't mean you can't be a free-thinker as well. Refusing to organize with others who have similar goals does mean you will be politically powerless.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: crocofish on November 14, 2008, 08:54:27 PM
Quote from: "Elvis Priestly"
I haven't really looked for groups advocating the rights of atheists in the US. Does anyone know of such a group that operates on a national (or even statewide level)? I'm curious... and I'm in Seattle, WA if anyone knows of local groups.
I recently heard Lori Lipman Brown speak here in the Dallas area.  She is the director of Secular Coalition for America (http://secular.org/). She was a guest on the Colbert Report recently.  You can check out their web site for all the details.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: oldschooldoc on November 17, 2008, 11:31:57 PM
I really believe that a group of atheist could come together very successfully. In my view, the majority of atheist tend to be intellectually stimulating whether I agree with everything they say or not. I am a recently self-outed atheist, and it feels so damn good! My only wish now is to meet others who share at least the core values that I do.

I believe religion is a superstitious plague that has claimed the lives of too many people.
I believe religion has been given a free pass. Like Richard Dawkins says, it should be a discussable topic, not hands off by some unspoken rule.
I believe it is my right, under our secular constitution, to express my atheistic views without being harassed.

Unfortunately, I live in rural South Texas. Lord help me (lol, sorry I couldn't resist.)

OldSchoolDoc
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: DennisK on November 20, 2008, 05:51:25 PM
Quote from: "Elvis Priestly"
I personally think that atheists should start organizing with others who have similar behavioral codes and ideals. The social aspects are nice, but I am more concerned about reducing discrimination against atheists and increase public acceptance.

I agree, Elvis!  I am coming to the point where I would like to contribute to a cause to further the voice of atheistm.  I understand the 'herding cats' argument to a certain degree, on the other hand, I see it as a crutch for those who are fearful to put their neck out (I am not exempt from this fear).  The Creationists have gone unchecked for too long resulting in a clusterfudge of church and state marriage (or engagement at the least).  Not to mention the fact that religion, in general, gets a free pass as Dawkins and others have stated.

How many children's lives are ruined every day by religious indoctrination?  It's like the cycle of pedophilia.  It infects a child's mind and they grow up infecting others with their disease because their minds are altered, maybe irreparably, at such an early age.  There may be more hope in fighting the disease of church than that of pedophiles.  There certainly is a lot more medicine available to combat religion -knowledge.  Just a little bit can cure one.  The only problem is you can't make someone take it.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Elvis Priestly on December 09, 2008, 06:21:14 AM
Quote from: "DennisK"
Quote from: "Elvis Priestly"
I personally think that atheists should start organizing with others who have similar behavioral codes and ideals. The social aspects are nice, but I am more concerned about reducing discrimination against atheists and increase public acceptance.

I agree, Elvis!  I am coming to the point where I would like to contribute to a cause to further the voice of atheistm.  

Well then, you could always blog about atheist issues on my website  :D  http://www.thechurchofmike.org.  My supposed 'disciples' in The Church of Mike told me they wanted to blog, and swore they would write articles regularly.  They are flaking on me in a big way. I'm trying to decide what more to do with the site to build an audience beyond just having a few entertaining pictures.  Maybe it could move into activism, or maybe it stays as mostly humor. Anyone who is interested in contributing, feel free to PM me.

Or you can check out this info and get involved with a more established organization:

Quote from: "crocofish"
Quote from: "Elvis Priestly"
I haven't really looked for groups advocating the rights of atheists in the US. Does anyone know of such a group that operates on a national (or even statewide level)? I'm curious... and I'm in Seattle, WA if anyone knows of local groups.
I recently heard Lori Lipman Brown speak here in the Dallas area.  She is the director of Secular Coalition for America (http://secular.org/). She was a guest on the Colbert Report recently.  You can check out their web site for all the details.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on December 10, 2008, 03:47:37 AM
Speaking of Lori, I was at the same speaking event and really enjoyed it.  I also met her at a party the night before...she is very personable.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Chimera on December 10, 2008, 05:23:16 PM
I think the thing I miss most about not going to church anymore is the community. It was nice to have a place to go a couple times a week and be with other people and enjoy their company and conversation and know we had common interests.

Also, I don't think we'll be seeing an atheist group putting on a Christmas pageant anytime soon. LOL
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: rlrose328 on December 10, 2008, 05:41:45 PM
Quote from: "Chimera"
I think the thing I miss most about not going to church anymore is the community. It was nice to have a place to go a couple times a week and be with other people and enjoy their company and conversation and know we had common interests.

Also, I don't think we'll be seeing an atheist group putting on a Christmas pageant anytime soon. LOL

Same here... I really miss the built-in community that comes with attending a church.  Potlucks, outings, events... even bible study... those times to get together with others who share your worldview.

Our local Meet-Up group has Rational Sunday School 2x a month at a local community center.  They put together two programs, one for tweens/teens and one for under tween (so to speak).  The tweens usually play games, have popcorn, maybe watch a movie.  The youngers have music, games... always a rational theme of some sort.

COming up this month, they'll discuss the origins of Santa, learn about Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, etc., have a treat exchange, and have an opportunity to give back (brin canned items for the local food bank and/or donate a toy for the Ronald McDonald house.  They do these charity things several times during the year as well with the kids.

While the folks who orgranize the event do their thing, the rest of us moms either sit in and enjoy or we find a room and just hang out to talk... of course, we usually always end up discussing religion or politics.  LOL!
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Schuyler_Howland on January 14, 2009, 04:49:01 AM
its only natural for people with the same beliefs to communicate with each other and meet up. Why should atheism be any different?
just because you don't believe in a god doesn't mean we shouldn't try to establish a community. i think one of the main reasons why atheism is frowned upon here in the states is because there are very few atheists who are willing to make a community.

I think this is also another reason why atheists are always labeled as "angry", because there is a lack of an inner community, a lack of support with each other. so when we have something to say, we often have to shout to be heard. and people take that shouting and say it's anger.

as long as you are not establishing one set of beliefs within your disbelief (if that makes any sense) everything should be open forum. you would need some organizers, but they shouldn't be considered "leaders" seeing as everyone's words should have the same gravity.

I do believe that atheists need to come out of the closet and organize to make themselves heard.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: curiosityandthecat on January 14, 2009, 01:42:49 PM
Quote from: "Schuyler_Howland"
I do believe that atheists need to come out of the closet and organize to make themselves heard.

I completely agree. However, having said that, a number of atheists in the US live in areas that are... shall we say, hostile. Make a shirt or a sign to wear that just says ATHEIST, wear it around one day when you're out doing your shopping and whatnot, and see if anyone treats you any differently. There's still a great deal of animosity and fear directed toward the atheist label. It's unfortunate, but true.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Nazzer on January 14, 2009, 08:55:24 PM
@The Original Poster:


The only time I agree with this sentiment is if the organization is a gathering "in the name of" atheism (Like to perform activities that could be called "worship"). If these people are gathering just because they are atheists and feel that atheists should gather, than it's indistinguishable from religious gatherings, who gather just because they feel it is a requirement.

However, if they are gathering for social reasons, then I think it's very good, especially in communities like my own, where being an atheist is oftentimes a lonely experience. Meeting with like-minded people does a lot for one's general happiness, and prevents one from feeling like an outcast.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Schuyler_Howland on January 15, 2009, 01:52:22 AM
Quote from: "curiosityandthecat"
Quote from: "Schuyler_Howland"
I do believe that atheists need to come out of the closet and organize to make themselves heard.

I completely agree. However, having said that, a number of atheists in the US live in areas that are... shall we say, hostile. Make a shirt or a sign to wear that just says ATHEIST, wear it around one day when you're out doing your shopping and whatnot, and see if anyone treats you any differently. There's still a great deal of animosity and fear directed toward the atheist label. It's unfortunate, but true.
I know it may be hard, it may be difficult for people to do. but you have the right to be the person who you choose to be, and not expressing yourself as you normally would out of fear of how people may treat you is basically succumbing to terrorism.

I freed myself from religion so i wouldn't have to live in fear anymore. not so i could hide myself.

and if atheists congregated together, it would be easier because you aren't doing it alone. atheists need to make themselves more vocal so people can see that we are not angry, hateful individuals. if we become more vocals and simply talk to people about what an atheist really is, it could clear up so much misconception that is the root cause of atheists being treated differently.

maybe this is just my equal rights activist side coming out, but if you want to be treated fairly you have to make yourself vocal, regardless of how people treat you. you can't facilitate change by playing it "Safe".
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Aerlinn on January 28, 2009, 02:02:36 AM
Without reading any other replies (which I will do after posting mine, probably much to my dismay  :P ) I can understand why some atheists would be reluctant to join an organization based on atheism.

One of the fundamental beliefs of many atheists is that organized religion is problematic. When you get a bunch of people together who are all preaching the same unique ideas, they tend to stand by those ideas due to a sense of loyalty to the group. They gain a sense of belonging from it, and it becomes a faction. This sort of congregation can be dangerous. But congregation is one of the tenets of our society. (USA) So religion is tolerated in all its forms. This is also why the KKK continues to exist. When you have the right to congregate, you take the bad with the good.

Also, many atheists (myself included) have reservations about joining a "club." Our beliefs are our own and we don't need others to validate them for us. By joining a group, you lose your individuality and contribute to an amalgam of ideas; some of which may contradict your own. That leads back to my first point. If you feel inclined to be a part of the group, you will protect its ideals. Thus, you gain a sense of belonging and become a faction.

The only way to be part of a group based on beliefs, and maintain your individuality, is to stand opposed to the group. Also known as: traitor. Expect that title if you follow this path.

Believe me, I've considered trying to congregate the local atheists. But the only way to do it safely is to make it casual and require nothing from anyone. Ever. That's counter-productive, but it's the only safe way to unite them.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on January 28, 2009, 02:16:32 AM
Quote from: "Aerlinn"
Believe me, I've considered trying to congregate the local atheists. But the only way to do it safely is to make it casual and require nothing from anyone. Ever. That's counter-productive, but it's the only safe way to unite them.

That's how the group I organize is organized.  People just show up and talk/listen over dinner and stuff like that. There is never a large goal in mind; other than to be able to speak openly among friends.  Of course, we let deists and agnostics join too; it's a "freethought" group and not specifically aimed at atheists.  I agree that it wouldn't work if made it into a goal oriented group.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Aerlinn on January 28, 2009, 02:44:40 AM
Quote from: "laetusatheos"
That's how the group I organize is organized.  People just show up and talk/listen over dinner and stuff like that. There is never a large goal in mind; other than to be able to speak openly among friends.  Of course, we let deists and agnostics join too; it's a "freethought" group and not specifically aimed at atheists.  I agree that it wouldn't work if made it into a goal oriented group.

Just bring people together and let them be.

I like that. :)

Is that something you do with friends and family, or is it a local thing? Or is it a forum get-together?
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: SallyMutant on January 30, 2009, 08:51:06 AM
CAN I HAS GOOD WORKS?
I would love a meetup wherein the object is to do a food drive, soup/sandwich for the homeless, mentoring a kiddo, --wow--a Freethinker Habitat build.
I would also like meetups where the object is to hang out and have a buncha beer too.

If you really miss church, you will be at home, yet not judged, at any Unitarian church. After the terrorist guy shot people at the Unitarian kids' performance of "Annie" last spring, we  attended a memorial service  at our local Unitarian Church. We made it quite clear that we were there only to mourn in solidarity with them, and that we were there as friendly athiests neighbors. They were A-OK with friendly athieism and invited us to join them, as athiests. First Jefferson  (got to love that name for a church) has a very churchy look and routine, but very un-churchy congregants.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on January 31, 2009, 12:39:00 AM
Quote from: "SallyMutant"
I would also like meetups where the object is to hang out and have a buncha beer too.

Clicky---> viewforum.php?f=29 (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/viewforum.php?f=29)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: G.ENIGMA on February 07, 2009, 12:09:50 AM
Quote from: "Jolly Sapper"
At first I was a bit confused by what was meant by "organize atheists."  

Getting together as a group of like minded people, no problem.

Getting together as a group to support some common cause, a cause other than directly related to personal belief, no problem.

Getting together as a group of atheists to go knocking on doors at eight in the morning on a Saturday to hand out blank pamphlets to convert people to a lack of belief in invisible super friends, I'm not a huge fan of.


I can just envisage it now :unsure:   the man says to his wife  "their probably athiest witnesses" :P
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Cemetery on February 20, 2009, 03:28:45 AM
I don't see anything wrong with ppl with things in common meeting together.  In fact, I have just joined a local atheist group. I think this "meeting of the minds" is always a good thing.  Our group is having movie night (Religulous) next month & then we're going to discuss a book on atheism in April.  I hope you're able to get a good group going.  Good luck to you.

~C
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Sorz on March 25, 2009, 03:22:51 PM
One of the advantages of religions has been to "create communities" - this has made many faiths strong.
If atheists are to be strong, and even happier, they need to create more COMMUNITIES.
A solitary atheist is not a happy bunny.
When people say atheists are more grumpy and angry then theists, they unknowingly speak of atheists who generally tend to be more isolated from the community.
If you find atheists who are part of the community and interacting, you will find they are not so angry and grumpy :blush:
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: maestroanth on April 04, 2009, 12:13:08 PM
Quote from: "cspanther"
Hello everyone,

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.  ?


I thoroughly read this, and you are, sir,  intellectually deprived. (I think that's the nice way of saying retard without of a strike 3, lol).

Due credit is #3 (lol) in your point.  And (Yes, I like to toy with people), you read a dawkin site or book.  

But Dawkins is retarded too.  I only see two logical beliefs (Dawkins is a shabby philosopher); there was no uncaused cause is my atheist conclusion; time is infinite. Or a Deist supernatural thing; that started this catastrophe we call "life".  = me? my belief? plain and simple agnostic.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Twiddler on April 04, 2009, 04:59:48 PM
Quote from: "maestroanth"
Quote from: "cspanther"
Hello everyone,

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.  ?


I thoroughly read this, and you are, sir,  intellectually deprived. (I think that's the nice way of saying retard without of a strike 3, lol).

Due credit is #3 (lol) in your point.  And (Yes, I like to toy with people), you read a dawkin site or book.  

But Dawkins is retarded too.  I only see two logical beliefs (Dawkins is a shabby philosopher); there was no uncaused cause is my atheist conclusion; time is infinite. Or a Deist supernatural thing; that started this catastrophe we call "life".  = me? my belief? plain and simple agnostic.

First of all, cspanther has a different opinion, I don't see why you need to start calling people idiots (and come back when you have an insult about a person that is more than he or she's "retarded" or a "retard."  It's a ridiculous cop-out for an insult if I ever saw one).  Another thing, you do realize that people can see that you are agnostic by the "worldview" section off to the right when you post, right?  Because it seems like you have a need to remind people that you're agnostic in almost every single post you have on here, and its pretty annoying.  We get it.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Ihateyoumike on April 04, 2009, 10:37:05 PM
Quote from: "Twiddler"
First of all, cspanther has a different opinion, I don't see why you need to start calling people idiots (and come back when you have an insult about a person that is more than he or she's "retarded" or a "retard."  It's a ridiculous cop-out for an insult if I ever saw one).  Another thing, you do realize that people can see that you are agnostic by the "worldview" section off to the right when you post, right?  Because it seems like you have a need to remind people that you're agnostic in almost every single post you have on here, and its pretty annoying.  We get it.

My advice to you Twiddler (and anyone else who is tired of this guy's drivel) is to put him on your "foes" list. It will automatically block the 4 or 5 useless posts he puts in every thread. Then the only way you'll see his posts are if you want to, or if someone quotes it.

Since I'm not a mod and can't boot him, it's the second best option.

Side note to mods: Please do not take this post as me saying you guys and gals are not doing a great job, you really are. I understand you're trying to give people like him more of a chance, and I am fine with that. I am just trying to help others who may not know how easy it is to ignore someone.

Second side note to mods: Maybe the "foes" list can be changed to something like the "ignore list". I was hesitant to put him on it simply because it was called the "foes" list since he is not a foe of mine, just someone who's opinion I no longer wish to read about. That seems to fit a little better with the "happy atheist" theme of this forum.  :idea:
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: curiosityandthecat on April 04, 2009, 10:41:47 PM
Quote from: "Ihateyoumike"
My advice to you Twiddler (and anyone else who is tired of this guy's drivel) is to put him on your "foes" list. It will automatically block the 4 or 5 useless posts he puts in every thread. Then the only way you'll see his posts are if you want to, or if someone quotes it.
Sidenote: I'm doing this. Thought about it before but never got around to it. So, I apologize in advance for the lack of wit and "flame" in response to those 4 or 5 posts.  :)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: maestroanth on April 05, 2009, 11:46:47 AM
Quote from: "Whitney"
I could understand some atheists not wanting to join an atheist group that has a specific goal in mind if they do not agree with that goal.  But the average atheist get together is simply a way to be around open minded people who are less likely to judge you for thinking differently.  Most atheists can't speak their  minds around most people without being outcast....since humans are social beings it would only make sense to want to be able to socialize in a friendly setting...the best way to do that, imo, is have a free-thought meeting group.  

If people want to be anti-social, that's their choice...but being anti-social certainly has nothing to do with being an atheist.

I admit I'm not atheist, but I think it's the duty of the mind/soul to speak you mind.  This is where I have to give Dawkin's credit.  He attacks religion like a hound; however, as I find he is missing some of the non-doctrine values which religion implies, or motivation for religious existence.

Namely, the uncaused cause.  Well, I'm going to stop, b/c like my music professor I can go on and on.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on April 05, 2009, 10:28:11 PM
Quote from: "maestroanth"
I thoroughly read this, and you are, sir,  intellectually deprived. (I think that's the nice way of saying retard without of a strike 3, lol).

Due credit is #3 (lol) in your point.  And (Yes, I like to toy with people), you read a dawkin site or book.  

But Dawkins is retarded too.  I only see two logical beliefs (Dawkins is a shabby philosopher); there was no uncaused cause is my atheist conclusion; time is infinite. Or a Deist supernatural thing; that started this catastrophe we call "life".  = me? my belief? plain and simple agnostic.

Nope....strike 3.  Take the extra free time this will leave you to talk to your wife and work things out in your life.

It is not civil to call someone "intellectually deprived" when you are just trying to avoid using the word retarded.  Civil conversation is saying "I don't agree for x,y,z reasons."

If you feel like commenting on this post go here:  viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3062 (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3062)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: maestroanth on May 12, 2009, 06:11:14 AM
Quote from: "Whitney"
Quote from: "maestroanth"
I thoroughly read this, and you are, sir,  intellectually deprived. (I think that's the nice way of saying retard without of a strike 3, lol).

Due credit is #3 (lol) in your point.  And (Yes, I like to toy with people), you read a dawkin site or book.  

But Dawkins is retarded too.  I only see two logical beliefs (Dawkins is a shabby philosopher); there was no uncaused cause is my atheist conclusion; time is infinite. Or a Deist supernatural thing; that started this catastrophe we call "life".  = me? my belief? plain and simple agnostic.

Nope....strike 3.  Take the extra free time this will leave you to talk to your wife and work things out in your life.

It is not civil to call someone "intellectually deprived" when you are just trying to avoid using the word retarded.  Civil conversation is saying "I don't agree for x,y,z reasons."

If you feel like commenting on this post go here:  viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3062 (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3062)

Can I call you intellectually deprived?  Or should I get on another computer and sign up with another username (the library has tons of them) to do that?

JUST KIDDING..................!!!!!!!!!

My wifey and I are fine. :)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Phillysoul11 on May 12, 2009, 06:48:29 AM
Quote
But Dawkins is retarded too.  I only see two logical beliefs (Dawkins is a shabby philosopher); there was no uncaused cause is my atheist conclusion; time is infinite. Or a Deist supernatural thing; that started this catastrophe we call "life".  = me? my belief? plain and simple agnostic.

While I'm not going to try and cypher the grammatical horror that is your post I find it interesting that someone else sees Dawkins as the poor philosopher that he is. Don't get me wrong, he's a sharp, intelligent biologist but he needs to stay as far away from philosophy as he possibly can. What happened to the real philosophers? Nietzsche, Russell, Hume? I'm so sick of the crap thats been coming out of Hitchens and Dawkins lately. You guys have your own areas and fields of specialty, stick with them.

bah
/emorant
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: pauldavis on October 14, 2009, 11:36:53 PM
First, let me give you the short answer: Yes, but ...

This touches on a rather fundamental question relative to the term "atheist" itself.  If one defines oneself in terms of others' beliefs, (I am an atheist, I am also an aSantaClausist and an aleprechaunist and so on) one is limited in the range of where a group such as that could go.  OK, we all don't believe there is an invisible man up in the sky, so now what?

I think that's the point of such groups as CFI (Center for Inquiry) and the Council for Secular Humanism -- to turn the matter around in a direction where there are no predefined limits.

I've felt for some time that there was a crying need for a group or groups to organize for the purpose of supplanting the functions that religions have historically co-opted, providing those functions without the embedded bullshit factor.  Such a group would, I think, ideally not be organized around any particular ism but rather specifically for the purpose of providing things like social meeting opportunities (dances and parties come to mind), supplemental education (bullshitless Sunday School promoting critical thinking to young people), acting as a focal point for helping the needy, providing low-cost day care, eldercare, and so on.

To keep it from being overtaken by religious opportunists, the organization should probably have a requirement in its charter for all activities to be free from the promotion of things not tangible (or words to that effect), but I think a successful group would be one that didn't identify itself with any particular ideology but rather worked and existed for strictly down-to-earth goals.

A secondary benefit of that would be to draw in the don't-give-a-shitists.  My sense is that these are perhaps the majority of the non-godly population.  They don't believe in gods, and they so firmly don't believe in them that discussing the matter endlessly is extremely boring to them.

But going to a dance?  Now that would be a different matter entirely!
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on October 15, 2009, 12:55:54 AM
Paul,

We have something called the Church of Freethought (COF) here in Texas.  It is self described as a superstition-free church and was mainly organized to offer a sense of community to those who have a secular worldview.  They have a Sunday School and do community outreach (volunteer work).  It's been growing a lot recently and it wouldn't surprise me if day-care or maybe even school is eventually something they can offer.

We also have the DFWCoR; which is basically a coalition of all the Dallas/Fort Worth secular groups.  Each group also offers a means to meet other secular people socially; some are just meetup groups while others are organizations. The above mentioned church is also part of this group.

In Houston there is a volunteer organization called SECULAR Center USA...which it does have a specific goal in mind however still broad enough to incorporate many types of secular individuals...basically to make visible that secular people do a lot of good for society through volunteerism and other humanitarian efforts.  Their intention is to have the group to continue to branch out to other areas until it has international presence; they seem to be on the right track for it to work.

For those that don't care to be part of an obviously freethought/secular organization.  There are tons of other meetup groups that can fill the social need of community is a secular manner.  I'm not really sure how it could replace the role of a church without doing basically what the COF has done.  Part of why a church creates community is that everyone who attends has some common view that brings them together.  Are you thinking of something that is a community center which just happens to have a secular set of goals?  How would something like that attract members who have anything in common?
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: jeffakil on November 14, 2009, 01:34:45 AM
I think it would make sense for atheists to organize for political reasons but other than that I don't think atheists have enough in common to organize. In m experience, most atheists have little in common other than our disbelief in God. I just can't see how this would work. I am as concerned about every one else about fundamentalism, discrimination, and bigotry of all types but I also think that we would be kidding ourselves if we think that a bunch of people with little in common can sustain any sort of reliable social structure. Some of the atheists that I have encountered happened to be homophobic, some are just apathetic beings who seem not to care about anything, and some more are just closed minded bigots. I am sure there are many of us that are fun, loving, open-minded, caring people, but none of these traits or any other characteristics that are important to me are typical to the atheist condition.

I starting losing my faith when I was 15, and for several years I used the word "atheist" as my main label. I tried for years to find a community where I could find people that shared my views. Much has changed since then, I never found such community, I have traveled a little, and met people with different backgrounds. One of the main things that an organization needs is a purpose, and it seems to me that for the most atheists lack one.

Don't get me wrong, it makes sense to form small groups to discussed philosophy, atheism, and different topics with others, but that's more like a book-reading club, not a real community.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: i_am_i on November 14, 2009, 02:43:17 AM
Atheists organizing to do what? To accomplish what? I always thought that being an atheist means that I'm on my own, with my own thoughts and my own way of living my life.

So what would we do? Sit around and talk about how there's no such thing as god?

It seems that it would be better for atheists to join community groups, to be involved in making people's lives better, to work to get food for hungry people for example.

But I don't see any point in atheists getting together just for the purpose of getting together as atheists. Just because someone is an atheist doesn't mean that we'd have anything else in common. I mean, surely there are some Republican atheists out there.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: jeffakil on November 14, 2009, 03:35:18 AM
Quote from: "i_am_i"
Atheists organizing to do what? To accomplish what? I always thought that being an atheist means that I'm on my own, with my own thoughts and my own way of living my life.

So what would we do? Sit around and talk about how there's no such thing as god?

It seems that it would be better for atheists to join community groups, to be involved in making people's lives better, to work to get food for hungry people for example.

But I don't see any point in atheists getting together just for the purpose of getting together as atheists. Just because someone is an atheist doesn't mean that we'd have anything else in common. I mean, surely there are some Republican atheists out there.


Exactly my thoughts. I feel that if I am going to join a community group, I want to do it to get something done, to work for the greater good, and I don't see the point in having an atheist only group for that.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on November 14, 2009, 07:43:20 AM
One thing most atheists tend to have in common other than disbelief in a god is a tendency to be open minded and more able to approach those with differing views in a civil manner.  We are all human and, being so, have a natural tendency to want social connections.  In my experience organizing freethought meetups and talking with fellow atheists in person is that we do have a lot in common while having our differences....just as you would find in any other social group.  

In my town there is a community of freethinkers called the North Texas Church of Freethought and they manage to get around 150 people (mostly atheist) to willingly attend monthly services.  I'm currently in San Antonio for a Freethinker Conference and it is expected to have almost 200 people in attendance (maybe more, but then we might run into space issues).  We had libertarians, democrats, and maybe even republicans all in the same room tonight (my hotel room...Squid was here too!!!) and the commonality of not being religious or theistic brought us together.

We may not agree on everything  and some atheists may be assholes; but we can find enough common ground to make a community that most can appreciate.  After all, it tends to take a certain type of personality to be openly (or at least admitting it to yourself) atheist in the society most of us live in.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: McQ on November 14, 2009, 04:46:53 PM
Quote from: "Whitney"
One thing most atheists tend to have in common other than disbelief in a god is a tendency to be open minded and more able to approach those with differing views in a civil manner.  We are all human and, being so, have a natural tendency to want social connections.  In my experience organizing freethought meetups and talking with fellow atheists in person is that we do have a lot in common while having our differences....just as you would find in any other social group.  

In my town there is a community of freethinkers called the North Texas Church of Freethought and they manage to get around 150 people (mostly atheist) to willingly attend monthly services.  I'm currently in San Antonio for a Freethinker Conference and it is expected to have almost 200 people in attendance (maybe more, but then we might run into space issues).  We had libertarians, democrats, and maybe even republicans all in the same room tonight (my hotel room...Squid was here too!!!) and the commonality of not being religious or theistic brought us together.

We may not agree on everything  and some atheists may be assholes; but we can find enough common ground to make a community that most can appreciate.  After all, it tends to take a certain type of personality to be openly (or at least admitting it to yourself) atheist in the society most of us live in.

Wish I could have attended. Sounds great.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: CaptainRitalin on November 16, 2009, 11:59:05 PM
Hey guys!  I actually just found this forum today and read this entire post.   So since I am a virgin poster, I will say that I am a college neuroscience student and I plan to get my MdPhD.  I am very into the skeptical movement.  
The biggest thing I think atheists lack is political sway.   I think that we need to throw our political weight around some.  The health care bill that just passed congress will pay for christian science prayer.  I think we need to be outraged at this and fight it.  I love the independence of the atheist movement, but there are times in my opinion where we need to band together.  I also think having a social community is very important.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: 1minion on December 14, 2009, 12:03:17 AM
I recently joined my local Freethinkers club (more like a beer drinker's club so far). The club is quite new to the city (1 year anniversary/festivus party on the 20th) and it already has more than a hundred members, but only a small group of those do everything and organize everything.

I think building a community of like-minded thinkers is useful in the long run, but I also think effort has to be put into maintaining good relationships with all kinds of people, no matter what differences there might be between philosophies and ideologies. We don't have to agree on everything, but we should be able to mix and mingle without everything turning into a god/godless war every time.

Or maybe I'm just an idealist.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: leonswan2000 on December 31, 2009, 02:18:01 PM
The reasons for Religious groups to organize and meet seem infinite and required. Without an agendnda the only reason I can think to meet is to say hello. I dont want to promote atheism. Attraction rather than promotion. I believe educated people will find atheism naturaly if grudgingly. I have a hard time seeing a booth at the fair extoling the virtues of atheism. It doesnt promise you life after death and cant make your puppy well or team win if you pray hard enough. If I knew of an Atheism event going on near me I would make every effort to be there. Just for the purpose of being around of people who accept me. Im tired of everyone wanting me to burn in Hell. Its such a wasted effort.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: mzuniga on February 22, 2010, 03:03:08 AM
The problem, as I see it, is that people are not motivated by what they don't believe. They are motivated by what they do believe.

The problems then with athiest organizations is that athiests, as athiests, don't believe in anything. For example, I might be an athiest who also happens to be a Scientologist. Or I might be an athiest who worships nature. Or, I might be a Secular Humanist (which is what I actually am), who has nothing in common with the other two, except for the rather unimportant fact that none of us believe in God.

You'd have better luck, I think, if you try organizing Secular Humanists. However, this organization must also include non-athiests, such as agnostics and deists. And you really need a purpose - something better than hanging around a table with a few beers and saying "there is no God."

I suspect your best efforts would be around political action. Like writing your congressman about a particularly overly religious government legislation or action. Writing pamplets to your local Board of Education describing why evloution is a science and why Creationism is not. Stuff like that.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: orandj on February 28, 2010, 05:25:02 PM
Atheists sometimes like to think of themselves as cats that cannot be herded. Is there an arrogance here? Can there be anything so different about atheists that make us intrinsically unable to unite? (regardless of whether that's a good idea or not?) By pushing such an argument are we suggesting that because we are 'free birds' we just can't work as team? We just can't be tamed; we would never lower ourselves to towing anyone's line? Surely this isn't a strength, it's a self limiting weakness? Perhaps we need to get over ourselves a little! Basking in our ‘irreverence’?

For me atheism is a deeply significant position, one of which humanity can be rightly proud; a kind of coming of age, a profound moment of independence.

I hope that one day not believing in Gods will be the norm, and so atheism will indeed represent a complete irrelevance, but right now it remains highly significant. Given this, why should atheists deny themselves the obvious benefits of community?

And, in the spirit of this general discussion, can I suggest you have a look at this link viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4529 (http://www.happyatheistforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=4529) to a thread that tries to create a new symbolic atheist event, a moment whenI hope atheists (in fact all folks) can comfortably feel part of something much bigger than themselves.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: elliebean on February 28, 2010, 07:47:16 PM
Arrogance?

I think you've missed the point a little.

Many atheists feel very stongly about their atheism and/or hold it to be important to their identity. But I can't see most atheists seeing this as something that can closely identify them or create some kind of tie with anyone else. It just isn't enough in itself.

Atheists comprise people of every disposition, intellect, education, political persuasion, worldview, belief system, sexuality, gender, race, nationality, age, economic status, language, lifestyle, interest, hobby, fanaticism, clothing style, music genre, and everything else apart from theism. Atheists are as diverse as the general population. Any two given atheists may have much, little, or nothing in common with each other, besides having no belief in gods. Given how likely or unlikely it is for anyone to have a lot in common with anyone else, it's no mystery why all atheists or even most atheists cannot be expected to unite solidly. Can theists of all persuasions unite as one? No, they cannot. Many of them are bitter enemies for any number of reasons, and atheists are no different in that regard.

Atheism in itself is just not enough to make me feel any strong sense of solidarity with, for example, a racist-homophobic-FoxNews-conspiracy-theory-following-fascist-antichoice-country-music-fan-who-tortures-puppies-for-fun and also happens not to believe in god; nor them with me. It's just not close enough to the core of either of our identities, nor should it be.

No offense to country music fans. :cool:


That said, I think it's possible and worthwhile to organize as many of us as can be reached between those kinds of extremes, it just severely limits our numbers when one considers everything that must overlap for that to happen. At the very least, a certain amount of understanding is necessary between people who espouse different types of atheism, eg. strong, weak, etc. This forum seems to have made a good start at that.  :bananacolor:
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: orandj on February 28, 2010, 08:19:04 PM
Quote from: "elliebean"
Arrogance?

I think you've missed the point a little.

Many atheists feel very stongly about their atheism and/or hold it to be important to their identity. But I can't see most atheists seeing this as something that can closely identify them or create some kind of tie with anyone else. It just isn't enough in itself.

Great post. Thanks. I have come across the arrogence I speak of elsewhere, I am new to this site and should add that I have had no such experience here. I should have made this clear. Apologies.

However, I'm not done yet. So what would be enough in itself? I still say an atheist position is more than a good enough reason around which to make some form of collective. Yes I see your point that other aspects of people's views, esp ones which people may find repugnent, may outweigh the fact that we share with them their lack of belief in Gods. But, the same argument applies, does it not, for any position around which people might unite? I ask again, why must atheists deny themselves the benefits of community?


Quote from: "elliebean"
That said, I think it's possible and worthwhile to organize as many of us as can be reached between those kinds of extremes, it just severely limits our numbers when one considers everything that must overlap for that to happen. At the very least, a certain amount of understanding is necessary between people who espouse different types of atheism, eg. strong, weak, etc. This forum seems to have made a good start at that.
[/quote]

Sounds good to me. However,as soon as someone sets up any group, there will be people who want to join that you or others view as undesirable. This is not a reason for not starting a group, it's an inevitable dilemma that in some ways helps the group identify the extent of their commonly held position.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: elliebean on February 28, 2010, 10:40:14 PM
Points well taken.
Quote from: "orandj"
Sounds good to me. However,as soon as someone sets up any group, there will be people who want to join that you or others view as undesirable. This is not a reason for not starting a group, it's an inevitable dilemma that in some ways helps the group identify the extent of their commonly held position.

I suspect what happens, more often than not, is not so much that we (the group) see so many individuals who join as undesirable, but that many individuals perceive the group itself as undesirable, for one reason or another, and therefore never consider joining.

However, I don't think those people constitute a majority of atheists. From my experience with the people I've met, while "atheism" is all-inclusive, atheists are typically...well, not typical... compared to other people in other groups. The members on this forum are a diverse group, from all walks of life (and I'm happy to see how welcoming and tolerant we are of each other's differences so far), but if we take the example of political affiliations, you don't usually find the run-of-the-mill, binary, republican/democrat self-identification so common in the wider population. We (atheists) represent the full range of left-right politics, but I see a lot more independents, libertarians, socialists, anarchists, etc. within our ranks than you might find proportionally outside of them. A lot more out-of-the-box thinking too.

So maybe there's some hope for us. :)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: orandj on February 28, 2010, 10:53:10 PM
Quote from: "elliebean"
The members on this forum are a diverse group, from all walks of life (and I'm happy to see how welcoming and tolerant we are of each other's differences so far), but if we take the example of political affiliations, you don't usually find the run-of-the-mill, binary, republican/democrat self-identification so common in the wider population. We (atheists) represent the full range of left-right politics, but I see a lot more independents, libertarians, socialists, anarchists, etc. within our ranks than you might find proportionally outside of them. A lot more out-of-the-box thinking too.

So maybe there's some hope for us. :)

Even if there's not, (and I think there is) there's only one course of action and that's giving it a go..that's all humans have ever done, sometimes we wish we hadn't, but there you go..you learn by your mistakes for sure! Enjoyed our discussion. You are right that atheists are especially diverse in views...I wonder if this could actually end up being an advantage ?
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: elliebean on February 28, 2010, 11:55:40 PM
In the long scope of things, I imagine it will. :)

What I'm wondering now is whether it would be more advantageous to try to get atheists with all our differing views to try to come together or for atheists to push for more acceptance and recognition of their presence and their rights within each of their other communities. Perhaps the former has to happen in order for there to be a concerted effort toward the latter.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: orandj on March 01, 2010, 07:55:02 PM
Quote from: "elliebean"
What I'm wondering now is whether it would be more advantageous to try to get atheists with all our differing views to try to come together or for atheists to push for more acceptance and recognition of their presence and their rights within each of their other communities. Perhaps the former has to happen in order for there to be a concerted effort toward the latter.

In order to get acceptance do we not first require community?..so we are an effective force? May be we are arguing the same point largely ..I understand your reluctance to ask atheists to unite...if religions can fracture along so many lines then atheists seem to have even more excuses to do the same. I agree it would be a mistake to expect atheists to unite around a common manifesto...more simply we seem to be demanding that atheists should be free to enjoy the same social networking/priviledges other lobbying groups have.

Given this, what do you think of the Ancestor's trail event? I know it's on another continent  :sigh: but...as a form of non-theist symbolic celebration?http://www.ancestorstrail.net/
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: elliebean on March 01, 2010, 11:59:51 PM
Quote from: "orandj"
...more simply we seem to be demanding that atheists should be free to enjoy the same social networking/priviledges other lobbying groups have.

Throw in agnostics and other non-religious, freethinking people and we would make up a very large minority, to be sure.

Quote
Given this, what do you think of the Ancestor's trail event? I know it's on another continent  :)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: i_am_i on March 02, 2010, 12:10:21 AM
I can see someone organizing an event for athiests in a cool nightclub, a place where young single people wouldn't have to worry about striking up a conversation with a wacko Christer and the older folks could drink and dig on the music in peace, knowing that there aren't any morons about.

It would be great! Really interesting people hanging out, nice and relaxed, with a great jazz band on the stand and no sky-god fruitcakes in the room.

Make it a once-a-week event. I'd be there religiously. Well, you know what I mean.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: orandj on March 02, 2010, 07:40:57 PM
Quote from: "i_am_i"
I can see someone organizing an event for athiests in a cool nightclub, a place where young single people wouldn't have to worry about striking up a conversation with a wacko Christer and the older folks could drink and dig on the music in peace, knowing that there aren't any morons about.

It would be great! Really interesting people hanging out, nice and relaxed, with a great jazz band on the stand and no sky-god fruitcakes in the room.

Make it a once-a-week event. I'd be there religiously. Well, you know what I mean.

Check out this in UK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFYuwQ2grbQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFYuwQ2grbQ)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: TheAntitheist on March 21, 2010, 08:35:58 PM
Isn't atheism simply non-belief?  Passive by definition?  Not really a great clarion call to organise around - which is why all those "we are the one true faith" shouters seem so attractive in comparison.

Antitheism, however, represents active oppostion towards religious belief.  Its active element automatically makes it a stronger proposition for attracting support, interest, a "following" if you will.

Personally, any organised approach to tackling faiths and their associated nonsense gets my vote - be it passive or active (as long as it is within the law, of course!).  For those looking for a practical way to further their atheism or antitheism, check out my facebook page which includes examples of active opposition, highlights failings among theists, etc... Just search for "The Antitheist" in facebook and take a look - become a fan if you feel like it. :)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: pinkocommie on March 22, 2010, 12:38:33 AM
Quote from: "TheAntitheist"
Isn't atheism simply non-belief?  Passive by definition?  Not really a great clarion call to organise around - which is why all those "we are the one true faith" shouters seem so attractive in comparison.

Antitheism, however, represents active oppostion towards religious belief.  Its active element automatically makes it a stronger proposition for attracting support, interest, a "following" if you will.

Personally, any organised approach to tackling faiths and their associated nonsense gets my vote - be it passive or active (as long as it is within the law, of course!).  For those looking for a practical way to further their atheism or antitheism, check out my facebook page which includes examples of active opposition, highlights failings among theists, etc... Just search for "The Antitheist" in facebook and take a look - become a fan if you feel like it. :)

TheAntitheist, this is not meant to be directed specifically at you, your post just reminded me - I'm getting annoyed/tired with all of the new labels people are throwing out to explain exact positions and levels of activity within the atheist community.  I've been told before that I shouldn't call myself an atheist, I should call myself a free thinker, an agnostic, a humanist, an antitheist, etc. etc. etc.  I can understand why some people feel these labels are necessary, but advocating for a specific term over another term seems like a ridiculous waste of time to me.  Call yourself what you want, if someone asks go ahead and explain, otherwise let's focus on what's important, not what we freaking call ourselves.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on March 22, 2010, 03:22:15 AM
Quote from: "TheAntitheist"
Isn't atheism simply non-belief?  Passive by definition?  Not really a great clarion call to organise around

I don't know...seemed to work pretty well for this forum  ;)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: i_am_i on March 22, 2010, 03:37:05 AM
Quote from: "Whitney"
Quote from: "TheAntitheist"
Isn't atheism simply non-belief?  Passive by definition?  Not really a great clarion call to organise around

I don't know...seemed to work pretty well for this forum  ;)

Exactly!
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: TheAntitheist on March 22, 2010, 08:55:09 PM
Fair points guys - it's just that from personal experience I know a number of people who don't believe in a god but see absolutely no point in associating with that especially or organising around it (and why should they?  I don't believe in invisible hedgehogs either but have no burning desire to create a community with other like minded folk).

To me, antitheism is a distinct and separate position (and, similarly, I'm sure that if I considered people that did believe in invisible hedgehogs to be a real threat to freedom and progress then I would be moved to resist them).  However, I can also see how it might just be considered a matter of semantics.

But, hey, I'm just a newbie!  :)
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: elliebean on March 22, 2010, 09:07:21 PM
I think too many theists would have difficulty distinguishishing anti-the-ists from anti-theists.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: Whitney on March 22, 2010, 09:11:04 PM
I don't think atheists are necessarily antitheists...I for one am not an antithiest and see no reason to try to make everyone atheist.  So, I and others like me, would not organize around antitheism but might want to socialize with other atheists.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community?
Post by: pinkocommie on March 22, 2010, 09:25:07 PM
Quote from: "TheAntitheist"
Fair points guys - it's just that from personal experience I know a number of people who don't believe in a god but see absolutely no point in associating with that especially or organising around it (and why should they?  I don't believe in invisible hedgehogs either but have no burning desire to create a community with other like minded folk).

To me, antitheism is a distinct and separate position (and, similarly, I'm sure that if I considered people that did believe in invisible hedgehogs to be a real threat to freedom and progress then I would be moved to resist them).  However, I can also see how it might just be considered a matter of semantics.

But, hey, I'm just a newbie!  :(  Short version - I totally understand wanting to describe oneself as accurately as possible.  Sometimes I worry about people differentiating too much between fellow non believers because it may end up creating a kind of toxic denominational-ism which, as we see in religion, is counter-intuitive to progress.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Persimmon Hamster on November 06, 2010, 04:29:23 AM
This thread is great.  It articulates everything I've found myself thinking recently.  Never before have I seen so many posts that all echo my own thoughts exactly, even the posts that are in direct contradiction to each other -- because whenever I think about this issue I swing back and forth within minutes myself.  But this thread has been here since 2008 and it stopped after 5 pages?  What's with that?

Several people said that atheists would have a hard time finding a common belief/goal/motivation/whatever.

I can think of one goal that I am pretty sure a large number of American atheists would support, and that is separation of church and state.  I myself am getting pretty sick of watching religion shape public policy, and election results, etc.  But what can we do about it?

I think public opinion of atheists, especially in rural areas, is pretty low.  I'm just speaking from my own experiences there.  I feel compelled to change this somehow.  I feel that if we could truly turn that around, we could get out of the situation we're in now where a political candidate who isn't a Christian has very little chance of getting very far.  That's my main concern.  I don't care if candidates are Republican, or Democrat, or Libertarian, or Libertarian Socialist, or Socialist.  I just care that they are atheist, and have a chance.  Actually I'd be almost as excited if they were Muslim, or Buddhist.  But ideally, atheist.

But how?  Well, I think atheists who all would support that goal could get together, and negotiate that.  In as democratic a manner as possible.  This thread does a lot of theorizing, and so do I, but to get actual results you actually have to come together, commit to stop the theorizing and to start hashing out actual details.  If you can't all agree on some points, you negotiate -- as long as your belief in the common goal is strong enough to warrant giving a little here or there on some points.  If not, you walk away and let those who remain continue negotiating.

What might such negotiation look like?  Well if I were at such a gathering, I wouldn't beat around the bush and I would encourage you not to either.  Say what's on your mind!

First, I would say we need highly regular gatherings.  Once a month is not enough.  You don't make progress without a steady, honest commitment to results.  You won't work out all the negotiations in the first gathering, either.  Disagree?  We'll talk about it.  

Next, I would say we need to commit to regular community service, and the nature of that service would surely be a subject of heated debate.  But the point is, people may not all like Christians, deep down, but I believe most will at least think to themselves, "at least they help the poor."  "At least they have good intentions, I can get behind that."  We need them to say the same or similar things about "atheists".  We need to identify ourselves as atheists clearly (a term like free-thinker would help avoid the existing stigma, but I want to kill the stigma and reclaim the term).  We *want* to be stereotyped, because we should know that's what people are going to do no matter what -- but we want that stereotype to have a positive light.  We want some control over our stereotype.

Next, I would even dare to say that eventually, when the gatherings get so large they can't be held in someone's home, when we start to have expenses associated with, say, "advertising" (printing fliers to call for volunteers or to post at local businesses), or anything else, and when we know we can trust each other enough, we need some dues.  An atheist "offering", to the common cause.  We let the gubment tax us, for their own ends, why not tax ourselves and do as we see fit?

And, I would say that our goals *should* include becoming so large we don't fit in a home or a garage or a large shed.  I'd love to see a mega-"church" on the corner some day, and see people driving by, saying, "what's that?"  "That's the atheist church."  But atheists are against churches, you say?  I say, who cares, let them call it a church if they want, we know what it is.  It's a building where we meet, where we set up our tables and cook our chili for the soup kitchen, where we bring in a speaker of some kind.  It's a symbol, a monument, to this stereotype -- this word we unite under, "atheist", and the efforts we are making to contribute to society.  We know we're nothing special, we know what our goal is -- to show that we aren't degenerates, that we value the benefits of society and civil rights and have morals and want to contribute to a happy future for humanity.

And if you would disagree with any of that, then great, say so, and by the process of negotiation we will arrive at a platform.  And if someone doesn't agree with that platform, they don't have to be there.  If this results in the creation of multiple factions/sects/whatever, who cares?  I suppose I have "faith" that reason and the atheist tendency to prefer it over all else will naturally cause any faction to still have altruistic motivations at its core and will still contribute to an overall improvement in public opinion.  The individuals lacking altruism, or not believing in it, won't even show up, and will just stay at home, like they are now, and complain or criticize us.  They won't be as publicly visible so it won't hurt anything.  That's my theory!  The only danger is if we think it is within some significant number of atheists to unite and do the opposite -- to act in ways that will decrease public opinion.  Like to unite and start terrorizing people or something.  But why would an atheist do that?

I just don't know how much longer I can sit around and do nothing, and if I do something, I really want the world to know that an atheist is doing it.  You can see my world view over there, I'm going with "ignostic" right now, we could debate awhile about whether I'm truly an atheist -- I would grant anyone at least the possibility that something you could call a god exists (personally I find it very improbable and lacking anything even barely approaching convincing evidence).

But the word the world seems to oppose, is "atheist".  That's the word I want to change the public opinion of, even if I'm not sure if I am one, in the strictest sense.  Ya know?

Incidentally, I do believe in helping others.  So, while one could interpret everything I've said as just wanting to do *anything* to turn public opinion around, fortunately, one obvious way to do that happens to align with my true sentiments.  What I'm saying is, it's not like I want to robotically enact community service in order to trick people into thinking I'm a good guy.  I like to think I'm already a good guy, and I want them to know that, and to know I'm an atheist.  So when they hear someone else is an atheist, they will start to think that maybe they're a "good guy" too.  

But I don't know how many people live around me that would actually do this.  I intend to start attending freethinker/secularist meetups in my area to get a sense of that.  And you know, I think I might just believe in this strongly enough that just maybe, quitting my job, uprooting my life, and going wherever the most atheists are may not even be out of the question if that seems to be the only way.  That's how ticked off about things I am.  Sometimes.  Often.  Usually.  :P
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Inevitable Droid on November 08, 2010, 11:39:37 AM
I'm still thinking about the question this thread raises.  I'm going to see if there's any organized freethought activity in my local area.  Meanwhile, three preliminary comments:

1. Web community satisfies a lot of my social needs.  This message board is a good example, of course.  To me this board is the equivalent of a pub, where we gather without any purpose except to shoot the breeze.  Task-oriented web communities would also be possible.  I tossed off an idea for one at this thread: Atheist Ethical Community - http://www.happyatheistforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6146

2. I of course agree with many others that the one political opinion we would all almost have to share is secularism, and that opinion could form the nucleus around which even cats like us might herd.

3. I recently conceived the notion that religion doesn't have to be based on faith, but could be based on hope instead.  Religion has a strong community aspect that many find appealing, even some atheists.  What if there were religions based not on faith, which atheists reject, but on hope, which atheists could embrace without qualm.  I am running an experiment based on this notion, although this particular experiment is focused primarily on learning if atheists would want to be able to officiate weddings themselves, or have their weddings officiated by other atheists, openly.  See the link at my sig if curious.  But hope can obviously look in many directions, all ahead in the future, but veering off sideways from there to gaze at possibilities in the arts, medicine, technology, education, research, lifestyle, conservation, exploration, or anything else that inspires hope.  Perhaps this is the future of religion for an increasingly atheist humanity: sacred space, sacred time, sacred community, around hope.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: The Magic Pudding on November 08, 2010, 01:17:18 PM
Quote from: "Inevitable Droid"
3. I recently conceived the notion that religion doesn't have to be based on faith, but could be based on hope instead.  Religion has a strong community aspect that many find appealing, even some atheists.  What if there were religions based not on faith, which atheists reject, but on hope, which atheists could embrace without qualm.  I am running an experiment based on this notion, although this particular experiment is focused primarily on learning if atheists would want to be able to officiate weddings themselves, or have their weddings officiated by other atheists, openly.  See the link at my sig if curious.  But hope can obviously look in many directions, all ahead in the future, but veering off sideways from there to gaze at possibilities in the arts, medicine, technology, education, research, lifestyle, conservation, exploration, or anything else that inspires hope.  Perhaps this is the future of religion for an increasingly atheist humanity: sacred space, sacred time, sacred community, around hope.

Religion does seem to have the stench of the supernatural hanging about it, I think the word is better avoided.
And the hierarchy passing down their judgement on right thinking I can do with out.
The green/conservation movement offers some people a focus.
Ahh, I think I'll go with the cats, even though I don't like them.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Thumpalumpacus on November 08, 2010, 05:40:10 PM
I have no interest in joining a "movement".  I pay attention to some secular organizations, in order to support their support of the "wall of separation", but I have no desire or interest to be a member of any group.  I find the idea distasteful.

As far as religious perceptions of the irreligious, I simply do my best to be a good man and live a good life, and make my lack of belief plain; after that, those who know me are free to judge based on whatever criteria they desire, because I don't really care what they think of me anyway.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Khalliqa on December 05, 2010, 12:06:43 AM
Forming a temporary community seems sound.. as a buffer to the alienating tyranny of the greater society...

A long term goal of community would not be feasible without agreed upon core values and tolerance for others who are not atheists..  

However, there are predominantly atheist societies that are tolerant of diverse views..  so it is realistic..
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Inevitable Droid on December 05, 2010, 09:07:20 AM
Quote from: "Khalliqa"
Forming a temporary community seems sound.. as a buffer to the alienating tyranny of the greater society...

A long term goal of community would not be feasible without agreed upon core values and tolerance for others who are not atheists..

Why would a temporary community be more sound than a permanent one?  Does it follow from your next statement?  Regarding that, why would feasibility depend on tolerance for non-atheists?

I agree that a community, to be viable for any length of time, long or short, would need some agreed upon core values, as expressed in some agreed upon purpose(s).  If an atheist community, such purpose(s) would need to transcend atheism itself, since atheism is simply a negation, an absence.  We could take as our starting point the epistemology that many atheists share, that which endorses knowledge seeking through three modalities, and three only, namely, logical empiricism, math, and formal logic.  Thus an atheist community could be one whose purpose was to celebrate, promote and defend the practice of, education in, and non-dilution of, logical empiricism, math, and formal logic.  The non-dilution component would preclude any tolerance for creationism or intelligent design.  But yes, I think tolerance for anyone who could fully participate without hypocrisy and without disruptiveness could make sense.  Deists, some Buddhists, Wiccans, and Reform Jews could all probably clear that hurdle.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Khalliqa on December 05, 2010, 11:18:20 AM
Quote from: "Inevitable Droid"
Quote from: "Khalliqa"
Forming a temporary community seems sound.. as a buffer to the alienating tyranny of the greater society...

A long term goal of community would not be feasible without agreed upon core values and tolerance for others who are not atheists..

Why would a temporary community be more sound than a permanent one?


There is currently no homogeneous atheist communal body and as such any attempts to form one now would bring together the diverse  REASONS for atheism..  Some are atheist out of study..  others are atheist out of social isolation and do not really understand their own moniker.. :-/   The thing that all atheists have in common however is a rejection of acceptance of God and this alone is not sufficient to began a community but it is sufficient enough for support against the larger society..

I think temporarily the above reasoning for unification makes sense but it would not last long..  so yes..  my confidence in such a thing temporarily does follow from the following statements..  regarding the necessity of core values.. for a more permanent community..

but my main and primary concern was that, as you have also acknowledged,  a community would have to move and unite around something more than atheistic belief..  and there  is no guarantee that an atheistic definition would yield a cohesive and passionate unification for other values...  that does not mean I know the probability of such a thing happening only that there is a disconnect present there.. (mainly because I am aware that predominantly atheistic societies do exist...  so I am aware that it is possible..  while in theory.. especially here in America, I see the diverse reasons for  people becoming atheist as a seeming big hurdle to overcome... and it gives me pause..)

My latter concern was that  once common values are established..  a viable community has to interact with the rest of the world and allow for tolerance of those who will think differently lest it becomes tyrannical..  I did not thing that tyranny was a goal so ..  it was added as sort of addendum...
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Inevitable Droid on December 05, 2010, 02:44:03 PM
Quote from: "Khalliqa"
was that, as you have also acknowledged,  a community would have to move and unite around something more than atheistic belief..  and there  is no guarantee that an atheistic definition would yield a cohesive and passionate unification for other values...

Maybe a passion for thinking could be the driving force?  I'd like to see freethinker grammar schools, which wouldn't push atheism per se, since children are too inexperienced at thinking to be able to defend themselves, but would push thinking as a discipline.  Teach children to come at the world from a perspective of logical empiricism, mathematics, and formal logc, and they will arrive at atheism on their own - and even if they don't, they will have learned to think, which can only be good, for them and for our country.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Whitney on December 05, 2010, 03:44:05 PM
Quote from: "Khalliqa"
There is currently no homogeneous atheist communal body

Eh hem...
American Atheists http://www.atheists.org/ (http://www.atheists.org/)
Atheists United International http://www.atheistalliance.org/ (http://www.atheistalliance.org/)
United Coalition of Reason http://unitedcor.org/national/page/home (http://unitedcor.org/national/page/home)

These are just as homogeneous as any theistic organization...you can't expect any group to be able to please everyone.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Khalliqa on December 05, 2010, 04:56:32 PM
Quote from: "Whitney"
Quote from: "Khalliqa"
There is currently no homogeneous atheist communal body

Eh hem...
American Atheists http://www.atheists.org/ (http://www.atheists.org/)
Atheists United International http://www.atheistalliance.org/ (http://www.atheistalliance.org/)
United Coalition of Reason http://unitedcor.org/national/page/home (http://unitedcor.org/national/page/home)

These are just as homogeneous as any theistic organization...you can't expect any group to be able to please everyone.


Thank you for the links..  My reference was all encompassing however.. I did not communicate, but should have stated, my intention was all atheists..

My acknowledgement of various atheistic societies was an attempt to balance my initial generalizing by letting it be known that I was not absolutist in my opinion..
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Whitney on December 05, 2010, 06:09:17 PM
I don't get your point then because it seems unreasonable to expect that such a broad group could find common ground outside of lack of belief...I'd even go so far as to say that it is undesirable for all atheists to have common ground other than not believing in god.  If we could ever unite under one thing it would be the idea of freethought and then there are plenty of deists/theists who would also happily join in.
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: Khalliqa on December 05, 2010, 07:09:13 PM
Quote from: "Whitney"
I don't get your point then because it seems unreasonable to expect that such a broad group could find common ground outside of lack of belief...

In many discussions atheists are treated as one group.. My experiences are such that when atheist speak of themselves are of spoke of they are seen as one entire body.. I saw the query and responded assuming they were referring to all atheist..  and responded in kind..  refuting that notion and acknowledging that there are communities that are in existence that are dominant, but not uniform, in the atheist worldview.. In addition, such generalized referencing necessitated a balance so that I would not be confused as someone who is absolutist simply because I responded to what I thought was an absolutist query..


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I'd even go so far as to say that it is undesirable for all atheists to have common ground other than not believing in god.  If we could ever unite under one thing it would be the idea of freethought and then there are plenty of deists/theists who would also happily join in.

I agree .. This was my point as well..  Broadly.. unity would have to occur beyond the rejection of god..
Title: Re: Should Atheists organize. . . should they seek community
Post by: periwinklefish on January 15, 2011, 06:59:09 PM
:)