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.

 

Consider donating to ourbuy a physical churchfundraiser today or get yourself aWallet I.D. in ourStore to help offset the operating costs of the FCA! Your support allows us to continue our mission, expand the acceptance of atheism, create an accepting atheist community, and push for atheist rights.

Tips for Atheist Ministers Performing a Wedding

Here are a few tips to consider if you plan on officiating an atheist wedding, ideas for what to say, and suggestions on what to avoid:

Know the law of the land

The anti-federalist spirit of America is alive and well in our nation’s marriage laws. Fifty states have produced fifty different standards, and sometimes they even differ on the county level. Before you agree to officiate a wedding, make certain that you fully understand your local laws. Call your local marriage licensing office to gain some insight and see what steps you need to take to help people get hitched.

In many states like Texas, Colorado, and Washington, all you need is your FCA minister title and your signature on the marriage license. However, more restrictive states require additional paperwork, including showing some sort of certificate, identification, or letter of good standing. States like Nevada require that you register with the state, and the application may take several weeks to process, so some due diligence is necessary for you atheist Elvis impersonators before your first Vegas wedding.

 

What the heck do I say?

In case you didn’t realize it when you decided to use your ordination, officiating a wedding requires public speaking. Hopefully, this is an activity that you are comfortable with already. (If not, you may want practice speaking in front of friends, family, and/or pets right away.) Preparing what to say during a wedding takes some careful planning, join the minister group Wedding Ceremony Ideas and check out the files section, Rev. Katherine Parks did a great job putting together a list of sources for ideas. Be sure to involve the bride and groom in this conversation. Ask them questions like, “How focused on atheism do you want the ceremony to be?”, “What ideas have you always wished for?” These open ended questions will give you more insight into what you need to incorporate into your presentation.

In the end, don’t stress out about the exact wording. Five years from now, few people will remember what you said during the ceremony, but rather how you said it and how you made them feel. Stand tall, use dramatic pauses, and make eye contact with as many people as possible. As the ceremony’s host, you hold the steering wheel of the crowd’s emotions. Make certain that you project the mood you want everyone to be in.

 

Represent the A-Team proudly

No pressure or anything, but you are a diplomat for the atheist community. We at the FCA know all of you atheist ministers are hip, fun, articulate people. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misgivings and myths about atheists. It is important to remember that we are an underrepresented minority in most public settings.

You don’t need to wear an armband to adequately declare your atheism. This event is not about you; it’s about the love of two people. If you are approached by wedding attendees after the ceremony, a good rule of thumb is to keep your religious affiliation secondary. However, if people ask where you were ordained, there is no need to conceal your affiliation; feel free to name drop the FCA. This might spark a civil dialogue with a person who knew nothing about atheism before.

Hopefully, you find these tips helpful as you prepare for your upcoming wedding. Many of you were asked to consecrate this event for a specific reason – most likely a close relationship with the bride and/or groom. You are a part of a chosen few. Relish in this unique opportunity to help two people express their love, because it is a moment that you won’t soon forget.

How can I help the FCA?

Help support the FCA by heading to our online store now.

What better way to demonstrate your official title as an atheist minister than an ID card to carry in your wallet or a Certificate of Ordination to proudly hang on your wall? (In fact, if you buy both, you get a discount.) As a community, the more that we can do to show off our status as ministers, the better our chances of gaining more complete acceptance and attracting new members.

Encourage your friends and family to get ordained today!

Becoming ordained online is a free and simple way to join an emerging community of like-minded religious skeptics. As more people become comfortable in expressing their atheism, the FCA continues to offer a virtual sanctuary for this growing community of non-believers. It’s important to send a simple message: You are not alone in your skepticism.

For all of those who have already supported the First Church of Atheism, we offer our heartfelt gratitude. We wouldn’t be where we are without you. We encourage you to keep up the good work that you do. You are proof that science and reason can make our world a better place.

Atheism by: Mark Taylor

Views and opinions of authors are not that of the FCA
User submitted by: Mark Taylor

Atheism is the belief there is no god the word atheism originated from the Greek (atheos), meaning “without god”. Atheists tend to be sceptical of supernatural claims, citing a lack of empirical evidence. And the best explanation so far for why the natural world looks the way it does is the theory of evolution first put forward by Charles Darwin

Evolution is the process by which a population or species change over time to better there survival in an environment, this is a fundamental part of biological studies. Some critics say Darwin’s studies were only a theory and have no creditability. When people refer to the theory in this way they suggest is only a guess. Evolutionary studies are not guess work but scientifically proven study. Some argue with the lack of a missing link disproves man evolution. Even though fossils have been found some religion say man was created by intelligent design. The alternate explanation to this is what if a race of intergalactic genetic engineers visited earth and decided it would benefit for a race of logical and problem solving mammals and genetically alter some of the primate species to create what we are today if enough people believed that then you have an alternative religion. Even with the lack of evidence and same theory can be applied to man was created in gods image (imago dei).

thanks

Reverend mark taylor
Middlesbrough
England

by: Tim Jousma

Views and opinions of authors are not that of the FCA
User submitted by: Tim Jousma

I am a relatively young atheist but feel so free and happy since making this decision that it has trumped every other “religious” based choice I have ever made. Simple reason being, I have made a decision based on logic I have always realized yet failed to accept simply because the tradition I grew up in prevented me from realizing I could say they were wrong. Simply because something has been around for thousands of years doesn’t make it true.

Now I do find myself in a bit of a quandry. While I respect folks like Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and others, I’ve come to be a little hesitant in accepting what I feel is their attempt at condemning anyone and everything associated with Christianity. Maybe I’m over simplifying it and I encourage folks to correct me line of thought if I’m not seeing things in the correct way. But I don’t find EVERYTHING assocaited with the Christian faith for example to be totally evil.

I think the Golden Rule as presented in Christendom is a great way to live your life. Treat others the way you want them to treat you. That’s just common sense. I don’t care if Jesus or Stone Cold Steve Austin said it. When it’s wise advise, people should follow it. Me personally, I have a problem with being so vehemently against other folks beliefs. Not that I don’t feel I can’t defend my beliefs but I feel we live in a world where it’s ok to say we’re going to agree to disagree. Yes, there are elements of religion in general that are leading us towards untold evil, pain, and hardship and we should be fighting that tooth and nail. I personally feel we should praise them for doing what’s right….all the while pointing out that their acts of kindness aren’t due to some magical creature in the sky who forces us to do it. We do it cause that’s what human nature impels us to do.

I love the freedom Atheism has given me. I don’t hate religion. I don’t have an anger toward a God creature if he or she even exists. I just feel that there’s too much evidence showing that there is no spiritual grand poohbah running the show. Plus I really don’t want to associate with folks who take their religion too far, i.e. politicians and extremeists. This world will be a peaceful place once we shed this last crutch we’ve had since the cave man days.


Thanks. And while you’re on the web check out my website

http://bullshitfighter.wordpress.com

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just read a great article over at Raptitude.com about Ralph Waldo Emerson and I am intrigued. I will certainly be reading more from him and at Raptitude.

But It was this Emerson quote and David’s critique that really caught my eye.

“Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. — `Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

Remembering this quote has protected me from so many instances of shame and self-doubt for things I’ve said and stances I’ve taken. One truth I keep encountering again and again is that one cannot stay the same person throughout life. As we experience more and more, our perspectives change and consequently so do our beliefs. Change is the unchangable state of the universe, so how could one’s beliefs stay the same throughout life?

Yet society seems to value a certain consistency of belief. We are expected not just to share our opinions, but to be them, to swear to them as a lifelong conviction. People proudly declare, “I am a conservative. I am a Christian. I am a Democrat.” If you equate your beliefs with yourself in this way, there is no room to ever genuinely reconsider, not without an insurmountable bias towards the beliefs you’ve already embodied. You’ll always feel a compulsion to protect those beliefs, as viscerally as if it’s your internal organs that are threatened, because you consider them to be just as much a part of you.

When someone is that afraid of being contradicted, they are no longer concerned with the truth, only with protecting their priceless investment in what they have said. To honor a statement you made yesterday as a binding declaration of who you are is a tragic, yet extremely common mistake. This is the fundamental error that plagues humanity: to mistake one’s ego for oneself. Enforcing an impossible, lifelong consistency in what you say and believe can only lead to dishonesty and despair.

Someone whose opinions change freely with experience is clearly someone who is not guided by dogma or the expectations of others, but instead by a clear internal compass of inquiry and honesty. To such a “pure and wise spirit,” it is far more important to seek the truth than to be regarded as having had it all along. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” said Emerson.

Whenever I feel a pang of regret for something I’ve said, I remember that all I did was speak what I thought at the time in hard words, even if today I speak different ones. It’s only human.

Via-Raptitude.com

If more people, god fearing and atheist, acted like this we’d be doin’ pretty good.

Thoughts?