The media is abuzz with stories about atheist churches, whether it’s the Sunday Assembly gatherings around the country, Jerry DeWitt’s new group in Louisiana, the Houston Oasis or other such entities. My friend Jim Underdown, head of CFI Los Angeles, went to a Sunday Assembly and says pretty much exactly what I would say about them:
The meeting itself consisted of music, upbeat speaking, a dash of comedy, a little inspirational information, and some socializing. The positive tone was similar to that of a high school pep rally, and was devoid of any god or religion-bashing. Most people seemed to want to feel good, not angry.
Aside from some poor acoustics and being too close to the daycare area, I wouldn’t say anything negative about the gathering. The attendees seemed to be pleasant and happy to be there.
Would I go again? Probably not. I’m just not a pep rally kind of guy. Even as a football player, I rolled my eyes at too much rah rah talk. Too much optimism makes me uncomfortable. Besides, I already have wonderful friends and am not looking for anything more to do on Sunday mornings.
But I will say this: I hope the Sunday Assembly continues on. If non-believers want to gather and sing and feel good about themselves, more power to them. The secular among us should find as many ways to get together and be happy as they can. Just because it’s not my cup of tea doesn’t mean others shouldn’t participate.
Hear, hear. Though I enthusiastically believe that atheists and humanists should participate in interfaith gatherings (I’ll be speaking at one soon), I have pretty much zero interest in going to an atheist church. I have a nearly allergic reaction to group singalongs in any form. And I’m not getting up on a Sunday morning for virtually any reason. But I’m all for these groups popping up for those who want them. I am in favor of building a wide variety of atheist/humanist communities and activities because we have people with a wide variety of needs and preferences.