The questions we get most often

What type of services can you perform as an atheist minister?

You will be able to perform the following services:

-Weddings

-Funerals

-Commitment ceremonies

-Last Rights

-Any other role reserved for members of clergy

 

Are there any perks of being a minister?

Ministers command a general level of respect from the public. Some parking lots also have reserved parking for clergy. You can have clergy level access to prisons and hospitals. There are many other possible privileges depending on the local community.

 

As atheists, why would you call yourselves a church?

We use the word “church” because we are meeting the legal definition of a church. By doing so, we are granted the same rights under the law that traditional churches receive. This allows us to ordain ministers, so that they may perform ceremonies for other atheists. If we were just a group, and not a “church” it would not be legal for us to do this. So we call ourselves a church. We also believe that as a group of people with similar beliefs, that we actually are a church.

 

What would an atheist church establishment be about?

We believe that the only good purpose traditional theistic churches serve is that of community. They bring together like-minded people, and give those people a network of support. We feel that as atheists we are missing out on this feeling of community. If we were tobuy a physical church, we would have weekly Sunday meetings, gather and discuss many things like current events, scientific discoveries, political issues facing atheists, local news, community events, etc.

 

While adults participate in a weekly discussion, their children would attend “Sunday School.” There they would do scientific experiments, learn how to paint on a canvas and how to bake bread, talk about various religious mythologies, discuss important historical moments, create and tend to a garden, etc. But the most important thing they would be doing is forming relationships with other non-theist kids. Relationships where they need not fear how their lack of belief will affect their friendships. They would be in a place of no judgment, and they would have the community that religious kids have and likely take for granted.

 

What would kind of support would you offer each other?

We would offer a place for newly-realized atheists to come for support. We could offer advice on how to “come out” to family and friends. We would, at the very least, be a place for the new atheist to feel safe, to meet people who understand. If someone in our congregation had something tragic happen, we could all come together in support, with casseroles and babysitting and pancake breakfast fundraisers.

What is the point of all of this?

Essentially, we’re people. Just like theists. And we crave the same things from a community that they do. Our goal is to provide these things to non-theists.

 

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Published by

Paul J. McMaster

The best church ever

18 thoughts on “The questions we get most often”

  1. If I had a church, I’d hold services on Saturday afternoons. Saturday mornings I watch football (soccer) on TV, and many folks prefer to sleep in; and Sundays I play football in a men’s amateur league.

  2. I think an atheist church is alright idea, I only joined this to mock theists, but a good idea would be a private atheist school.

  3. also some atheist homeless shelters to help our brothers and sisters in need.

  4. “We also believe that as a group of people with similar beliefs, that we actually are a church.”

    That’s the one thing I don’t agree with.
    The ONLY thing all atheists have in common is the lack of a belief in a god.
    That’s not a belief. It’s the lack of a belief.

    OK, legally you are a church, but that should only be for legal technicalities.

    The only thing atheists should be discussing and be concerned about are:
    1. Upholding the separation of church and state
    2. Stopping discrimination against atheists
    3. Raising money to help those in need.

    Politics, science, art, etc. have nothing to do with atheism and there are many groups and organizations that already cover those topics.

  5. In response to Andrew’s post. Every theist is an atheist with regard to every god and theology they do not believe in. You and I are as atheist as the Catholic Pope with regards to Zeus, say.

    Regardless of that, the Atheist Church is just as legitimate as any, I say. There’s no reason to say a group of people can’t have more than one purpose (indeed, most organizations do have more than one purpose, often named after their primary purpose). The purpose of the church is to have a community presence, just like any church. There’s absolutely no reason to think that people shouldn’t talk about arts, science (science isn’t an ideology, don’t forget), politics, or anything. That’s a bit like saying schools should be strictly for education which doesn’t pertain to the core STEM stuff. Sure, while I’d love to see sports removed from educational buildings, I doubt there are many people who would also say we ought to get rid of the music, art, political, and other classes.

    But furthermore, saying we ought to have only one directive is really missing the point. As long as theism attempts to address these issues, there’s no point in saying we ought not to address them equally. I think it’s perhaps a better idea to model it after something more like a skeptics’ society, but that’s just my personal preference. It’s also well and good to argue that perhaps modeling it after a church will work because that model has worked for at least a few millennia.

    But the final point is, as atheists, we are making a decision. I think Penn put it best this way. It’s roughly the way I look at it. A belief is something you act upon, it’s active. You believe gravity is going to keep working, so you act as though you believe in it. Similarly, if you believe (or don’t believe) in god(s), you also similarly act in such a way.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTWlQaZ0DWo

  6. I think, that as a “church” of Atheists, that we should spend our time not worrying about theists and worrying about the general well being of our fellow man. Be they Christian, Muslim, Hindu or whatever. Our arms should be open for anyone seeking an alternative viewpoint to an absolute truth. For some, they are satisfied by the flying spaghetti monster or perhaps even bacon. Or they may believe in a vengeful god who turns people to pillars of salt and persecutes those who praise a god’s name. I, however, am not Job or whoever.

    I have read the bible many times over and know the inconsistancies in it. We are, only human and we do make mistakes. It is only through science and reason we can advance our species and eventually break the bonds of our planet. Religious fervor only makes us more isolationalist and prone to a rather predictable end.

    Reason must win over all. Without reason, we are reactionary beasts. Without thought, we lose our evolutionary advantages and might as well wear furs and beat the ground with bones while fearing fire and thunderstorms.

  7. I have read Andrew’s comments and what he says about ending discrimination, helping those in need and upholding the separation of church and state are all true and noble goals yet there is more that can be done. As an atheist I lost community when I left the christian church. It would be nice to be in a group of like minded people. Since I am new to this at level of support and education would be useful. Andrew brought up working with others. Service to others gives purpose to life. There are many miscnceptions about atheists propgated by the chrch and these need to be countered.

  8. In response to all, as well as Andrew. We can create tolerance for our beliefs (or lack of) by communicating the similarities of what we all want to accomplish in life. If we want separation of church and state? We need to treat other churches and religions as we would like ours treated, with dignity and respect. I have been out of the closet as an atheist for many years, it is not a rash choice by any of us, it was one that we felt compelled to express publicly. We can be evangelists for tolerance and rational treatment of all belief systems. My .02 as I love religion and religious studies, they all have beauty and philosophical purpose, we have the benefit of not having the negative as its all PHILOSOPHY, not fact.

  9. As atheists I feel we should discuss and address the damage that belief in the imaginary is doing to humanity. I have many topics but consider just these few; because of religion we cannot make any serious headway on extending human life because death is a crucial part of being elevated into the spiritual world, or consider population control, we are just about out of planetary resources but religions still encourage fast population growth.
    There are so many things religion and false belief are damaging.

  10. How fortunate we are to have such a forum to share the truth about reality with our world! The most gorgeous thing I ever heard was when my 6 year old daughter asked me what ” God”, was…That was my proof that I had rid my next generation of bonds of religion. To watch children live a life without fear of death and acceptance of an end vs cramming their brilliant minds with stories and death analogies is refreshing and vital to the necessary social evolution needed in this time. I look forward to growing a local Church and funding the future of truth with my efforts.
    Reverend Thomas Power Sr.

  11. Greetings,
    I’m not following the thread above, per se, but one of the things I’ve noticed in Texas, and it may be in other areas as well, public school buildings – cafeterias/gymnasiums – are used by “churches” with little or no rent. That is a possibility for folks who would like to actually get together on a weekend to talk about things going on in the community, whether it be about community service, separation of church and state (irony in the public school building), or any number of things that the atheist community in your area would like to work on or toward.
    I got in touch with FFRF about churches using school buildings, and considering all of the work they do, I thought we could do something about “churches” in school buildings. As it turns out, there is nothing to be done about it. That being said, we could/should take advantage.
    Cheers,
    Reverend Bec

  12. I joined here with the aims of total acceptance, regardless of any personal held beliefs from any person approaching me.

    I became a minister for the same reason. I would offer the services of this position to anyone in need.
    I care not what the person believes, but only that they are safe, loved and even if not agreed with are understood.

  13. We do qualify as a church. Andrew, I think, said that he doesn’t agree that we are a church because of a lack of belief. However, I think that it could easily be perceived that atheists share a belief that there are no deities, so we qualify as a church, technically.

  14. Also, I think it would be cool if we had a minister uniform. Maybe exactly like a Catholic preist, only in reverse…like all white with a black frock. Lol.

  15. Andrew misses a (somewhat contrarian) point; by not accepting the god claims of theists, we DO have a common belief system — that of believing these claims are unsupported by evidence presented. That this is TRUE just moves our belief system into the category of “justified true belief”.

    Cognitive dissonance solved.

  16. I think this is a platform for every aithiest who wants to secure his/her aithiesm… They are unable to understand how to raise his /her aithiesm voice. So our responsibility to connect that person and give a right direction…..

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