Monday, November 11, 2013

New USA Atheist 'Churches:' Mainline Competition

Whereas evangelical churches have drawn believing Christians from the declining mainline church denominations for decades, the latest worry for the religious left is the loss of agnostics who've been attending mainlines solely for the sense of community. The new draw is a 'church' that includes everything non-believing Americans want, but without, what they consider, the silly God and Bible stuff.
"I think it's a good thing. That we should have diversity. . . . it's what America is based on."
-- Annie Poag, who often attends East Nashville Presbyterian Church with her husband
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Atheists Crave Church Fellowship, but Absent God

Atheists Find Agreeable Churches Good for Family

Atheist Proposes Godless Religion, Complete with Sermons

Atheists' Nativity Displays Dominate Christmas Scene

In addition, read Liberal 'Churches' Continue to Wither and also read Liberal 'Churches' Conforming to Decadent Culture

UPDATE 2/21/15: Colleges Hire Atheist/Humanist Chaplains for the Nonbelievers

-- From "Sunday Assembly founders launch 'atheist church' in Nashville" by Heidi Hall, The Tennessean 11/6/13

. . . the founders of Sunday Assembly, British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, say they're looking forward to visiting the fledgling group personally Thursday night. In fact, Jones said, he'd even like to learn something about church planting – and there are plenty of experts in Nashville.

. . . It's a philosophy that's worked well for Evans and Jones, who launched the first Sunday Assembly — frequently shorthanded in media to "atheist church" — in London less than a year ago and, within weeks, were drawing a capacity crowd. They now head up 30 congregations around the world, with major U.S. locations in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

On Oct. 20, Jones and Evans launched an campaign aimed at raising 500,000 British pounds, or about $805,000, to reach even more people. It was up to about $42,500 Wednesday morning.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Atheist 'mega-churches' take root across US, world" by Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press 11/10/13

Nearly three dozen gatherings dubbed "atheist mega-churches" by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia — with more to come — after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year. The movement fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians is no joke.

"There was so much about [Christian church] that I loved, but it's a shame because at the heart of it, it's something I don't believe in," Jones said. "If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?"

Sunday Assembly — whose motto is Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More — taps into that universe of people who left their faith but now miss the community church provided, said Phil Zuckerman, a professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont.

During the service [in Hollywood], attendees stomped their feet, clapped their hands and cheered as Jones and Evans led the group through rousing renditions of "Lean on Me," ''Here Comes the Sun" and other hits that took the place of gospel songs.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "London-based 'Atheist Church' Launches New Congregation in Nashville" by Jessica Martinez, Christian Post Reporter 11/8/13

Jones says attendees can expect future Nashville gatherings to be what he referred to as "jam sessions with a purpose" where they will listen to mainstream pop songs being performed by a band. He also says the meetings will be implemented in a "leaderless" format in order to create an inclusive environment for all attendees while they celebrate life. The group also invites people from different faith backgrounds to attend and say their focus is to help people live better lives.

So far, the organization has garnered much support from atheists around the world. In London alone, the monthly services have a regular membership of 600. Within three months after its inception, the congregation began holding two services each Sunday that they met, and by their fifth month, they moved into a larger venue to accommodate their growing church.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "'Atheist Church' Looking to Raise $800,000 to Spread Movement Online" by Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter 10/21/13

"If we increase people's social capital by creating real-life communities and supporting networks, then we can increase wealth, without spending loads. It's social capitalism. And we think the best way to create more of these meetings IRL [in real life], is to harness the power of networked computers, so that we can get away from networked computers," Jones added.

The Sunday Assembly officially launched in January 2013, and describes itself as a godless congregation that celebrates life, with a motto to "live better, help often, wonder more," and a mission to "help everyone find and fulfill their full potential."

It has reached 35 different cities in the world, including major locations like London, New York, and Melbourne. Its ambitious goal is to plant 40 atheist churches within a year, and close to 1,000 within a decade.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Mainstream Media Give Voice to Atheists, Heretics, & Apostates