Jerry Newcombe Doesn’t Get the Atheist “Church”


Ah it’s been a while since we visited WND and this one’s from Jerry Newcombe.

The media’s been all over the Atheist Megachurch idea from the UK, never mind the fact that it isn’t a church and isn’t very mega. It’s a meeting.

There’s an old joke that says: How do you describe an atheist at his funeral? “All dressed up with no place to go.”

The mirth is astounding. 

Now, all jokes aside, there is a place atheists can go on Sundays. There’s a new type of “atheist church” that has been founded by a couple from England, and apparently it’s taking off.

Writing for the AP, Gillian Flaccus penned an article called, “Atheist ‘mega-churches’ are now a thing in the U.S as popularity spreads from U.K.”

These groups, write Flaccus, are “people bound by their belief in non-belief.” They have had large gatherings in Los Angeles, “San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities.”

The founders are “British duo Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans,” who are on a “tour around the U.S. and Australia to drum up donations and help launch new Sunday Assemblies.”

The services consist of singing secular songs, inspirational talks and times of reflection.

I don’t see the point of it.

No seriously?

Hindu Temples are also secular with many in the UK having dual uses as youth centres. They are a place to socialise as well and many Hindus base their meet-ups around the temple. Many temples also have active clubs and encourage it’s members to play sports and generally not just pray.

I just found I can do all those things without having to be at the temple.

Okay, maybe for some atheists the idea of a sing-a-long may be comforting,  maybe they like the inspirational talks and maybe they like to reflect.

But one can meditate without invoking the gods.

Basically, it’s religion without God.

Well and Volleyball without human sacrifice is religion without the gods too.

It’s not. It’s the social aspect of religion. It’s the social aspect of any club. It’s a support group for atheists.

It’s a free country, because of our Judeo-Christian base (and that of England), so the atheists are free to assemble or not, just as anyone else is. Only in nations tied to a Christian base does that freedom exist. (It certainly didn’t exist in the Soviet Union, which was based on atheism.)

Except for all those painful, shameful and tragic historical actions where the “Judeo-Christian Base” did terrible things to everyone else.

Considering Angola has “banned” a belief (No one expects the Angolan Inquisition!) due to it’s Christian mores one can hardly take this line seriously.

The rejection of a Christian base is intrinsic to these nations and their free speech. What Jerry doesn’t understand is that the US constitution was created specifically to separate political power from religious groups and that has been the case until quite recently. He won’t recognise the side that’s religious and political for the same reason it’s hard to see your own spleen.

The UK’s systemic desolation of the religious base has lead to one of the freest societies on the planet. Same for France, Germany and the Scandinavian nations. Why? Because the idea that Christianity allows you freedom of speech is laughable. The same Jerry  Newcombe would probably stand against the rights of the GLBT and Women’s healthcare.

And if Christianity was the unified code of absolute morality then why did it take 2000 years of absolute heartache, violence, slavery and destruction of civilisations until it reached this benign enlightenment. I don’t know about you but even I can get things done faster than that.

But why accept a cheap imitation when you can get the real thing, possibly down the street?

Because we don’t believe in your carpenter god? He is a silly god, the angry and irate god of the Old Testament. Just look at the Orthodox Jews who literally have to contort their lives to live around his idiotic commandments. Your gods don’t exist whatever they may be in the same way that you don’t think my old ones existed.

As for a cheap imitation? You are so interested in pleasing your gods but  no Christian song encompasses the pain and pleasure of love and life. There are songs that have the heart and souls of their writers poured into them that encompass the widest range of human experience. Can you  understand the idea behind Hammer to Fall and it’s shout against the Cold War’s Pointlessness? Do you see the pain in NIN/Cash singing Hurt? Can you understand the emotions behind Gimme Shelter or the pain behind Sister Morphine? Music doesn’t need a god to burn you and change you deep within.

Pain, Love, Suffering, Happiness are all human emotions. Something that is not understood by  those who write religious songs which provide their uplift by making you ignore your problems.

Music tells a story and secular music does so with the idea that we are human and prone to human ideas and feelings. I would rate even the most poppy nonsense of Justin Beiber as something more valid and human than the lip-service blindly  recited.

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small is not sung completely any more. Do you know why Dear Christians?

Because the Rich Man in his Castle, the Poor Man at his gate. Your god allegedly made them that way. The song was about “being in your place”.

These atheist churches meet on Sunday mornings, the traditional day of church. It’s a fact that the Jewish sect known as Christianity worshiped Jesus on Sundays because all the earliest Christians (who were Jewish – Peter, Paul and Mary, and all the Apostles) believed Jesus had risen from the dead on “the first day of the week.”

Okay, I often go to watch the football on a Sunday and I don’t do so because I worship Yaya Toure in a Christian Manner. And this logic is nonsensical. Any religious activity done by Christians on a Friday is therefore Islamic since that’s their sabbath.

The idea of atheists going to church brings home to me the notion that we are all hard-wired by the Creator to worship.

This is why I didn’t like calling it a Church. It’s a social club. Idiot Religious People Are Going To Denigrate My Lack of Belief In Their Gods Because Someone Stupidly Called A Social Club A Religious Building Name.

If there is one place I would go to worship it is this church.

We all worship something. According to the Bible, we’ll ultimately either worship Jesus, or we’ll worship something less; we’ll worship the creature rather than the Creator.

And this is why we think you guys are a bag of arrogant fuckers who destroyed cultures as thoroughly and as viciously as people such as the Khmer Rouge.

Not really. I don’t pray to science to give me answers.

The 17th century French mathematician and Christian apologist Blaise Pascal said there’s a God-shaped vacuum in every heart, just waiting to be filled.

So? Pascal’s wager is stupid because the god that well exists could be the Smoking Mirror and then Christians will have a lot to explain about their behaviour.

The Bible says God created us, and we will give an account before Him one day. In the fourth century, St. Augustine wrote in his classic book, “Confessions,” “You have made us for Yourself, Oh God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”

The Bible also says you shouldn’t eat owls and that locusts are delicious and that the wearing of mixed fibres is anathema. And everyone’s holy book says the same thing, yours is no different.

The shorter catechism from the Westminster Confession of Faith from the 1640s asks: “What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

I remember years ago when an atheist acquaintance told me he loved to watch a certain preacher on TV every week. He loved his sermons because they were filled with motivation, goal-setting, uplifting stories. If the preacher mentioned God, the atheist would just edit that out, in his mind.

Okay, that’s one atheist.

I don’t require a god to tell me uplifting stories because I see humans doing uplifting things. I mean a few weeks ago I wrote about religious people sending rosaries to a major disaster zone instead of useful things and the tragedy is in the minds of these religious people, the rosaries are more important. There are real stories of real human beings doing amazing things and it’s just the most tragic thing in this discussion to hear people turn AWAY from those remarkable people and instead blindly kowtow to something that’s imaginary.

That’s like saying “Oh the Red Cross? Who Cares about saving millions from Polio and eradicating Smallpox, I would much rather read about how Superman saved us from Darkseid….”

Unfortunately, many Christian churches have unwittingly done the same, removing essential tenets of the Christian faith. It’s sad to think that in some of our Sunday assemblies of professing Christians, there is no longer an emphasis on Christ’s atoning death for sinners and His resurrection from the dead. But that is the heart of the Christian message – from Day One to the present. Note the ancient creed, still repeated in many churches to this day: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.”

And he still hasn’t arrived. That doesn’t mean he is late, it kind of means he isn’t coming back. Because you know… mythological creatures tend to not keep their promises.

In one sense, a “cross-less Christianity” makes just as much sense as an “atheist church.”

The Apostle Paul said to the Galatians, do you think I’d still be facing all this persecution if it weren’t for my preaching the cross? He also said to the Corinthians, my goal was to preach Christ and Him crucified.

Sigh I really do wish those guys called their social club a social club rather than a church. It just sounds stupid having to tell people that atheists don’t believe in any churches. I never believed in any church. I thought it was really silly and I came from a religion filled with demons that gained powers in the moonlight, gigantic snake men and gods for everything.

Meanwhile, the whole idea of organized atheism (especially the militant, full-time kind) seems contradictory – because they spend all their energies fighting against God, whom they claim does not exist. If they really believed it, they wouldn’t care.

I don’t fight against god anymore than I fight against unicorns or the forces of Mumraa the everliving.

I am forced to push my atheism and my secularism because our society is under constant threat from people forcing others to follow the rules of their specific imaginary bronze/iron age friend. I do not pick on the Jains because the Jains are not trying to teach people that the best way to live is through starvation. The Jains are not trying to change the laws so that none of us may eat meat. The Jains are not trying to place  statues of the Thirthankaras in schools.

It is Christians trying to ban the GLBT from having any rights, it is Christians trying to ban women’s healthcare and force the teaching of biblical superstition as an equal fact in science classrooms. It’s the same with the other twI nevero major religions on the planet (Hinduism and Islam) and the many minor religions such as Judaism, Sikhism and even Buddhism.

I don’t care about your imaginary friend unless you start justifying your actions to reduce the rights of others because your imaginary friend says so.

With Thanksgiving coming soon, and “atheist churches” apparently on the rise, I’m reminded of what G. K. Chesterton once said: “The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.” He also said, “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”

And my namesake said that a man can either have faith or he can have intellect.

Okay I am curious and I will bite. If I am in the region I would like to attend a single “service” of this Atheist Church. I would very much like to speak to the creators of the atheist church if only to go “Sigh! Why did you name it this!”.

Comments

  1. Pen says

    I know someone who occasionally attends ‘uplifting’ Sunday talks at that Alain de Botton place in London. Whatever. Personally, I worship behind closed doors at the church of the extra pillow and fluffy duvet, every Sunday without fail.

    I really don’t get the point of the atheist Sunday meeting thing, especially in the UK. Nobody, I mean next to nobody, goes to church anyway, so what would atheists be missing out on? Besides, what’s wrong with the cinema, the theatre, the pub, the walk in the park, or curling up with a good book? But if you do go, I hope you blog about it so I can find out what goes on there.

  2. opposablethumbs says

    I’m with Pen on this. I really, really don’t get the appeal! I’d rather have a lie-in, a walk in the park if it’s fine or meet a couple of friends to enjoy a looooong conversation at the pub. Hell, I’d rather go shopping – and I bloody hate shopping.

    “Atheist church” my arse. Spouts a load of bollocks does that Alain de Botton!

  3. Frodoallan says

    The really annoying thing is how everyone keeps calling it an “Atheist Church” when the organisers are very clear that they call it an assembly or godless congregation. They don’t describe it as a church.

  4. Wrath Panda says

    Avi @ 2:

    I may drag Mancunian Readers out to Church and then go out for lunch/pint.

    A church/pub crawl? Alternate between the two; sermon then pint. Nothing could possibly go wrong with this plan, Shirley?

    That said it’s been so long since I even set foot in a church, if we’ve been wrong all this time, I’d probably spontaneously combust as soon as I crossed the threshold.

  5. Al Dente says

    Newcombe sez:

    According to the Bible, we’ll ultimately either worship Jesus, or we’ll worship something less; we’ll worship the creature rather than the Creator.

    All the best holy books say “worship OUR god(s) because our holy book says so”. That’s supposed to be a compelling argument.

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