Atheists in a Christian society

I was a Christian when young and after 30 years of questioning, I became an atheist. I don't worship satan or eat babies, I just don't believe in a god. A (Greek prefix for NOT) THEIST (from the Greek meaning believer in a god). A-THEIST, not a believer in a god. Period. But while that is what I believe, I respect the right for other people to believe whatever they want as long as they don't hurt others.

It is very much a Christian society in the US where I live, and the socialization found in churches just isn't available to the atheist. Now in the future, it may well be that atheists will have healthy, supportive socialization outlets just like religious groups do now, but atheism isn't really an alternate religion, it is just nothing. and there is no support right now. I like to use an example of A-santa-ists, or people who don't believe in Santa. While someone who believes in Santa likely expects presents on Christmas, leaves cookies out for Santa to eat and sends a letter to the North Pole (or email?) telling Santa they have been good and what they want for Christmas, there is no counter position for someone who doesn't believe in Santa, they just discontinue their prior beliefs. But maybe they still like the positivity and presents that came with Santa, so they have to look to new outlets to satisfy those desires. So we give presents to each other and sing and eat together.

Likewise, that is the atheist story. Stop believing in god and lose benefit of the positive meetings and relationships believers in god enjoy. But there is no alternate outlet to look to for replacing the positives lost when you stop believing in god and can no longer attend a church and fellowshipping with positive people. It doesn't have to be that way but currently that is pretty much how it is.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this other than trying to save my soul?
 

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Thanks, Murrmurr. I was aware. I have already hooked up with the local affiliates and it was just a weekly meetup at a pub, something I really couldn't get into.
 

Murrmurr

Well-known Member
Thanks, Murrmurr. I was aware. I have already hooked up with the local affiliates and it was just a weekly meetup at a pub, something I really couldn't get into.
Yeah, some areas have better gatherings than others. In a city near me, atheists actually have a church and it's a very large one. It doesn't have pews and stuff, it has tables and chairs instead, plus a stage and dance floor and an activities room. They're open for meetings 3X a week and have 1 special event a month.

Where I live they just have meet-ups.
 

officerripley

Senior Member
Location
Porlock, Calif
You and I are in a similar situation, LS and being a childfree female adds even more obstacles since in this area, all females in my age group seem to be interested in is grandkids and religion. If you haven't already tried meetup.com, there may be something there for your area. Even if not, don't give up; I'm hoping things on meetup will be picking up soon if/when the Covid loosens its grip. Hang in there.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
I was a Christian when young and after 30 years of questioning, I became an atheist. I don't worship satan or eat babies, I just don't believe in a god. A (Greek prefix for NOT) THEIST (from the Greek meaning believer in a god). A-THEIST, not a believer in a god. Period. But while that is what I believe, I respect the right for other people to believe whatever they want as long as they don't hurt others.

It is very much a Christian society in the US where I live, and the socialization found in churches just isn't available to the atheist. Now in the future, it may well be that atheists will have healthy, supportive socialization outlets just like religious groups do now, but atheism isn't really an alternate religion, it is just nothing. and there is no support right now. I like to use an example of A-santa-ists, or people who don't believe in Santa. While someone who believes in Santa likely expects presents on Christmas, leaves cookies out for Santa to eat and sends a letter to the North Pole (or email?) telling Santa they have been good and what they want for Christmas, there is no counter position for someone who doesn't believe in Santa, they just discontinue their prior beliefs. But maybe they still like the positivity and presents that came with Santa, so they have to look to new outlets to satisfy those desires. So we give presents to each other and sing and eat together.

Likewise, that is the atheist story. Stop believing in god and lose benefit of the positive meetings and relationships believers in god enjoy. But there is no alternate outlet to look to for replacing the positives lost when you stop believing in god and can no longer attend a church and fellowshipping with positive people. It doesn't have to be that way but currently that is pretty much how it is.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this other than trying to save my soul?
There are some humanist groups scattered around the country. I don't know where you live, but here is the Denver group's website. They might have links to others.
https://www.secularhub.org/

I've been to a few of their meetings. They often have well known speakers and they even have a rock band. I don't go regularly since it's kind of a long drive to get there, and I don't really have any desire to socialize, but it seemed like a good group.
 

tbeltrans

Senior Member
I have only known a few people who declared themselves Atheists. Most people I know who aren't a part of some religion seem to be Agnostic rather than outright Atheist. The Atheists I have known have all been quite intelligent and thoughtful people who can readily present how they reached their conclusion, but none seemed particularly interested in belonging to a group in support of their chosen beliefs. So I wouldn't know where you could turn for that.

Tony
 

tbeltrans

Senior Member
My wife and I attended a Unitarian Universalists church for a time back when my wife wanted me to go to church with her. I said I would continue to go IF we could find something that didn't push a religion. The people in this church consisted of a variety of backgrounds and beliefs, from Atheism to Christians to Jewish people and a whole variety of other backgrounds, all finding commonality in social concerns. One thing that really stood out to me was the really high level of intelligence they all seemed to have, as well as the serious thought they each put into their beliefs and why they believed as they did. I really enjoyed the conversations. I liked the fact that they had a cool jazz group playing the music at the services, so I jumped in and played guitar with them. Unfortunately, my wife eventually decided she didn't like some of things they decided to pursue as social issues. I miss those people.

Tony
 
I have only known a few people who declared themselves Atheists. Most people I know who aren't a part of some religion seem to be Agnostic rather than outright Atheist. The Atheists I have known have all been quite intelligent and thoughtful people who can readily present how they reached their conclusion, but none seemed particularly interested in belonging to a group in support of their chosen beliefs. So I wouldn't know where you could turn for that.

Tony
Perhaps you were just making a general comment that you didn't know any atheists that were particularly interested in belonging to a group of people in support of their chosen beliefs, but if you were directing the comment at me, you get me wrong. I am not interested in being with a bunch of atheists because they are atheists. I would love to go to a church and fellowship with nice people but as soon as I tell them what I really think about what they believe, I will be shown the door. Are don't tell me just not to mention what I believe. I like intelligent people and you don't find other intelligent people by being passive, standoffish or unclear.
 

tbeltrans

Senior Member
Perhaps you were just making a general comment that you didn't know any atheists that were particularly interested in belonging to a group of people in support of their chosen beliefs, but if you were directing the comment at me, you get me wrong. I am not interested in being with a bunch of atheists because they are atheists. I would love to go to a church and fellowship with nice people but as soon as I tell them what I really think about what they believe, I will be shown the door. Are don't tell me just not to mention what I believe. I like intelligent people and you don't find other intelligent people by being passive, standoffish or unclear.
I would not be at all surprised to find I had gotten you wrong, as you say. I have certainly been misinterpreted in this forum on a number of occasions, so I am sure I could easily do the same thing. If so, I apologize, and appreciate the correction.

If I am understanding you correctly now, might I suggest that maybe the Unitarian Universalists might be worth a try? At least the church we attended for a time would have welcomed you. They certainly welcomed other Atheists. So just maybe there is a possibility that other similar churches might be likewise welcoming.

With regard to your statement "Are don't tell me just not to mention what I believe", I am not going to tell you to do anything, as I don't feel that is my place here. I can only suggest something that might be helpful (and also might not, only you can truly know that for yourself) and hope that eventually we will grow to understand each other. We don't know each other and will probably never meet in person, so we must remember that during the course of our interactions here.

Tony
 

Sunny

SF VIP
Location
Maryland
Here, in the Washington, DC area, there is an atheist group which doesn't use the term "atheist" in their name, but they are. It is WASH, which stands for the Washington Area Secular Humanists. They have very good speakers, and some social functions, though not as often as the average church. I have a friend who belongs, and have occasionally gone to one of their meetings as a guest. Their web site is wash.org .

For years, my late husband and I were active members of the UU (Unitarian Universalist) religion. They are a wonderful group of people, not necessarily atheists, but many are. It's a religion with a very liberal outlook on life, beautiful services, with choirs, great music, etc. They are the nicest group of people I've ever seen in any religious congregation.

I don't belong now, as I just don't feel the need for an organized religious group. But although I am ethnically Jewish, I would identify more as a UU if asked for my religious belief. I absolutely recommend trying it to any atheist or agnostic looking for a supportive group. Part of our weekly service was called a Search for Meaning, recognizing that everybody has their own individual search for meaning in life.
 
To be the contrary person I am, while I have no comment on your message, I do have a remark to make about your signature. Documentation is like sex: when it is good, it is very, very good; and when it is bad, it is better than nothing. I am a computer programmer and in that context I would much rather no documentation rather than bad documentation. When the code changes but the documentation doesn't the documentation can totally take you down a rabbit hole.
 

Warrigal

SF VIP
I was a Christian when young and after 30 years of questioning, I became an atheist. I don't worship satan or eat babies, I just don't believe in a god. A (Greek prefix for NOT) THEIST (from the Greek meaning believer in a god). A-THEIST, not a believer in a god. Period. But while that is what I believe, I respect the right for other people to believe whatever they want as long as they don't hurt others.

It is very much a Christian society in the US where I live, and the socialization found in churches just isn't available to the atheist. Now in the future, it may well be that atheists will have healthy, supportive socialization outlets just like religious groups do now, but atheism isn't really an alternate religion, it is just nothing. and there is no support right now. I like to use an example of A-santa-ists, or people who don't believe in Santa. While someone who believes in Santa likely expects presents on Christmas, leaves cookies out for Santa to eat and sends a letter to the North Pole (or email?) telling Santa they have been good and what they want for Christmas, there is no counter position for someone who doesn't believe in Santa, they just discontinue their prior beliefs. But maybe they still like the positivity and presents that came with Santa, so they have to look to new outlets to satisfy those desires. So we give presents to each other and sing and eat together.

Likewise, that is the atheist story. Stop believing in god and lose benefit of the positive meetings and relationships believers in god enjoy. But there is no alternate outlet to look to for replacing the positives lost when you stop believing in god and can no longer attend a church and fellowshipping with positive people. It doesn't have to be that way but currently that is pretty much how it is.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this other than trying to save my soul?
Try volunteering for some charity work. You can find satisfying relationships without the requirement to adhere to a religious philosophy. I have been both Christian and atheist and have always found purpose and meaning as a volunteer.
 

officerripley

Senior Member
Location
Porlock, Calif
I think sometimes where you live has something to do with it; seems like here in the States, especially in the smaller towns, rural areas, that's the 1st thing they ask you, "Which church do you attend?" And most of those smaller places seem to have more churches (and usually all protestant Christian; few or no Catholic churches, synagogues, Muslim temples, Buddhist temples) than anything else. (Except bars or cocktail lounges; they seem to go hand-in-hand with areas with lots of churches.)
 

Dana

Senior Member
Perhaps you were just making a general comment that you didn't know any atheists that were particularly interested in belonging to a group of people in support of their chosen beliefs, but if you were directing the comment at me, you get me wrong. I am not interested in being with a bunch of atheists because they are atheists. I would love to go to a church and fellowship with nice people but as soon as I tell them what I really think about what they believe, I will be shown the door. Are don't tell me just not to mention what I believe. I like intelligent people and you don't find other intelligent people by being passive, standoffish or unclear.
.
What am I missing here? You say : “I would love to go to a church and fellowship with nice people but as soon as I tell them what I really think about what they believe, I will be shown the door.”

….and quite rightly so..I would also escort you to the door. Let me get my head around this. You go to a place of worship and then proceed to tell people what you “think” about their beliefs? Huh???
 

officerripley

Senior Member
Location
Porlock, Calif
I think Canada is a more secular society. we tend to view religion, (like politics,) as private. Can’t imagine being ostracize over such.
I think you're right. On this and other sites I visit, there are some members from Canada, Australia and the UK and they also seem to be more secular than the U.S. There are different theories about why that is; the one I remember learning in school was that the colonists came here to the US for relig. freedom, but over the years, research has shown that that wasn't the only reason; sometimes it was to move somewhere with fewer taxes and to make more money. (Which would explain why the U.S. is one of the more money-loving companies in the world, IMO.)
 
.
What am I missing here? You say : “I would love to go to a church and fellowship with nice people but as soon as I tell them what I really think about what they believe, I will be shown the door.”

….and quite rightly so..I would also escort you to the door. Let me get my head around this. You go to a place of worship and then proceed to tell people what you “think” about their beliefs? Huh???
Just giving an example of where you can meet nice people on a regular basis. Fellowship is just friendly association with people. Doesn't have to involve worship. And I wouldn't proceed to tell people what I think, at least not without some kind of prompting, rather it just doesn't stay secret too long. I used to go to Mass with my wife when we were first married but I wouldn't sing or bow my head for prayer. I really enjoyed going, but eventually felt I was being disrespectful and stopped going.
 

Dana

Senior Member
Just giving an example of where you can meet nice people on a regular basis. Fellowship is just friendly association with people. Doesn't have to involve worship. And I wouldn't proceed to tell people what I think, at least not without some kind of prompting, rather it just doesn't stay secret too long. I used to go to Mass with my wife when we were first married but I wouldn't sing or bow my head for prayer. I really enjoyed going, but eventually felt I was being disrespectful and stopped going.
I rarely go to church myself,...although brought up in the Catholic tradition, I’m a multi faith type of person and I really don’t want to change people’s beliefs nor do I like them attempting to change mine. I hope you find what you are looking for…

Welcome to the forum 🌷🌷
 

Gary O'

Well-known Member
Location
Oregon
Likewise, that is the atheist story. Stop believing in god and lose benefit of the positive meetings and relationships believers in god enjoy. But there is no alternate outlet to look to for replacing the positives lost when you stop believing in god and can no longer attend a church and fellowshipping with positive people. It doesn't have to be that way but currently that is pretty much how it is.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this other than trying to save my soul?
Ever consider sports?

Golf....the nineteenth hole is a great place to socialize
aaand, there's no offering
but
you may have to buy a round from time to time

As far as your soul, any hole with a dogleg will cause you to give it up for par
 


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