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After a schism, a question: Can atheist churches last?
Sunday Assembly founders Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans have begun to franchise their "godless congregations."
January 4th, 2014
09:00 AM ET

After a schism, a question: Can atheist churches last?

By Katie Engelhart, special to CNN

LONDON (CNN) - The Sunday Assembly was riding high.

The world’s most voguish - though not its only - atheist church opened last year in London, to global attention and abundant acclaim.

So popular was the premise, so bright the promise, that soon the Sunday Assembly was ready to franchise, branching out into cities such as New York, Dublin and Melbourne.

“It’s a way to scale goodness,” declared Sanderson Jones, a standup comic and co-founder of The Sunday Assembly, which calls itself a “godless congregation.”

But nearly as quickly as the Assembly spread, it split, with New York City emerging as organized atheism’s Avignon.

In October, three former members of Sunday Assembly NYC announced the formation of a breakaway group called Godless Revival.

“The Sunday Assembly,” wrote Godless Revival founder Lee Moore in a scathing blog post, “has a problem with atheism.”

Moore alleges that, among other things, Jones advised the NYC group to “boycott the word atheism” and “not to have speakers from the atheist community.” It also wanted the New York branch to host Assembly services in a churchlike setting, instead of the Manhattan dive bar where it was launched.

Jones denies ordering the NYC chapter to do away with the word “atheism,” but acknowledges telling the group “not to cater solely to atheists.” He also said he advised them to leave the dive bar “where women wore bikinis,” in favor of a more family-friendly venue.

The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC. Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.

Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”

In a recent interview, Jones described the split as “very sad.” But, he added, “ultimately, it is for the benefit of the community. One day, I hope there will soon be communities for every different type of atheist, agnostic and humanist. We are only one flavor of ice cream, and one day we hope there'll be congregations for every godless palate."

Nevertheless, the New York schism raises critical questions about the Sunday Assembly. Namely: Can the atheist church model survive? Is disbelief enough to keep a Sunday gathering together?

Big-tent atheism

I attended my first service last April, when Sunday Assembly was still a rag-tag venture in East London.

The service was held in a crumbly, deconsecrated church and largely populated by white 20-somethings with long hair and baggy spring jackets (a group from which I hail.)

I wrote that the Assembly “had a wayward, whimsical feel. At a table by the door, ladies served homemade cakes and tea. The house band played Cat Stevens. Our ‘priest’ wore pink skinny jeans.”

I judged the effort to be “part quixotic hipster start-up, part Southern megachurch.”

The central idea was attractive enough. The Assembly described itself as a secular urban oasis, where atheists could enjoy the benefits of traditional church - the sense of community, the weekly sermon, the scheduled time for reflection, the community service opportunities, the ethos of self-improvement, the singing and the free food - without God. I liked the vibe and the slogan: “Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More.”

Shortly thereafter, Assembly services began bringing in hundreds of similarly warm-and-fuzzy nonbelievers. The wee East London church grew too small, and the Assembly moved to central London’s more elegant Conway Hall.

The Assembly drew criticism, to be sure—from atheists who fundamentally object to organized disbelief, from theists who resent the pillaging of their texts and traditions. But coverage was largely positive - and it was everywhere.

In September, a second wave of coverage peaked, with news that the Assembly was franchising: across England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States and Australia. That month, the founders launched a crowd-funding campaign that aims to raise $802,500. (As of mid-December, less than $56,000 had been raised.)

Still, prospective Sunday Assembly franchisers seemed exhilarated. Los Angeles chapter founder Ian Dodd enthused that he would “have a godless congregation in the city of angels.” In November, his inaugural Assembly drew more than 400 attendees.

But as the atheist church grew, it began to change—and to move away from its atheism.

“How atheist should our Assembly be?” wrote Jones in August. “The short answer to that is: not very.”

Pippa Evans, Assembly’s other co-founder, elaborated: “‘Atheist Church’ as a phrase has been good to us. It has got us publicity. But the term ‘atheist’ does hold negative connotations.”

Warm-and-fuzzy atheism gave way to not-quite atheism: or at least a very subdued, milquetoast nonbelief. Sunday services made much mention of “whizziness” and “wonder”—but rarely spoke of God’s nonexistence.

The newer, bigger Sunday Assembly now markets itself as a kind of atheist version of Unitarian Univeralism: irreligious, but still eager to include everyone.

In a way, this is a smart move. According to the 2012 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 20% of Americans have no religious affiliation, but just a fraction of those identify as atheists.

A godless congregation is likely to draw crowds if it appeals to what Herb Silverman, founder of the Secular Coalition for America, calls “big-tent” atheism, which includes “agnostics, humanists, secular humanists, freethinkers, nontheists, anti-theists, skeptics, rationalists, naturalists, materialists, ignostics, apatheists, and more.”

But atheists who wanted a firmly atheist church—a Sunday Assembly where categorical disbelief is discussed and celebrated—will not be satisfied.

As the Sunday Assembly downplays its atheism, it also appears increasingly churchlike.

Starting a Sunday Assembly chapter now involves a “Sunday Assembly Everywhere accreditation process,” which grants “the right to use all the Sunday Assembly materials, logos, positive vibe and goodwill.”

Aspiring Sunday Assembly founders must form legal entities and attend “training days in the UK,” sign the Sunday Assembly Charter and pass a three- to six-month peer review. Only then may formal accreditation be granted.

This is not an East London hipster hyper-localism anymore.

Selling swag and charisma

Organized atheism is not necessarily new. French Revolutionaries, for instance, were early atheist entrepreneurs.

In 1793, secularists famously seized the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to build a “Temple of Reason.” They decorated the church with busts of philosophers, built an altar to Reason, lit a torch of Truth - and brought in an actress to play Liberty.

A half-century later, French philosopher Auguste Comte drew acclaim for his “religion of humanity,” which imagined an army of secular sages ministering to secular souls. London has hosted formal atheist gatherings for almost as long.

History suggests, then, that there is nothing inherently anti-organization about atheism. As Assembly’s Sanderson Jones puts it, “things which are organized are not necessarily bad.”

To be sure, Sunday Assembly members in the United States say they've long wanted to join atheist congregations.

Ian Dodd, a 50-something camera operator in Los Angeles, had long been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church; he enjoyed it, but wanted something more explicitly irreligious.

Nicole Steeves of the Chicago chapter found herself yearning for a secular community—a “place to check in and think about things bigger than the day-to-day”—after having her first child.

But it is one thing to support an atheist "church" - where the ‘c’ is small and the effort is local - and another to back an atheist ‘Church’ that is global and centralized.

The former responds directly to the needs and fancies of its community. The latter assumes that its particular brand of disbelief is universally relevant—and worthy of trademark.

Centralized atheism also feeds hungrily on charisma, and Sanderson Jones, who resembles a tall, bearded messiah - and who, despite the SA recommendation that Assembly hosts should be regularly rotated, dominates each London service - provides ample fuel.

But it remains to be seen whether the Sunday Assembly’s diluted godlessness is meaty enough to sustain a flock.

“Because it is a godless congregation, we don’t have a doctrine to rely on,” explains Sunday Assembly Melbourne’s founder, “so we take reference from everything in the world.”

So far, Assembly sermonizers had included community workers, physicists, astronomers, wine writers, topless philanthropers, futurologists, happiness experts, video game enthusiasts, historians and even a vicar. The pulpit is open indeed.

My own misgivings are far less academic. I’m simply not getting what the Sunday Assembly promised. I’m not put off by the secular church model, but rather the prototype.

Take an October service in London, for example:

Instead of a thoughtful sermon, I got a five-minute Wikipedia-esque lecture on the history of particle physics.

Instead of receiving self-improvement nudges or engaging in conversation with strangers, I watched the founders fret (a lot) over technical glitches with the web streaming, talk about how hard they had worked to pull the service off, and try to sell me Sunday Assembly swag.

What’s more, instead of just hop, skipping and jumping over to a local venue, as I once did, I now had to brave the tube and traverse the city.

Back in New York, Lee Moore is gearing up for the launch of Godless Revival - but still speaks bitterly of his time with the Sunday Assembly network.

Over the telephone, I mused that the experience must have quashed any ambition he ever had to build a multinational atheist enterprise.

“Actually,” he admitted, “we do have expansion aims.”

Katie Engelhart is a London-based writer. Follow her at @katieengelhart or www.katieengelhart.com.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Faith • Houses of worship • Leaders

soundoff (4,535 Responses)
  1. D. L. Farthing

    it appears that the Atheists/Godless groups have learned to do it the same way as the accepted religious organizations & churches, have political like splits that form the different facets of religion that we have today. So therefore the un-Church is born.

    January 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
  2. Reality # 2

    For new members of this blog:

    Churches for atheists? Give us a break!! It is obvious a money-making con. We will see when said "church" files their IRS Form 990 this year.

    January 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
  3. StrangeLogic

    Yes. It's dumb to admit that we have no answers rather than point to a 2000 year old recycled scripture that will die out much like its predecessors. Or do you believe in Zeus?...

    January 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
  4. StrangeLogic

    Not believing in scripture? You are very confused.

    Atheism is the LACK of belief. It claims no beliefs.

    January 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
  5. Observer

    Religion:

    .. the belief in a god or in a group of gods

    : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

    So both sides can say they are right and it still DOESN'T MATTER at all.

    January 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
  6. Ellis

    The theology debate is mostly a problem of semantics. If we define the human person as God and all being equal we have a formula based on a universal axiom that is all inclusive. It could be called humanism or whatever but would not exclude any thiestic concepts established although from the individual worldview evil is what is against each person and enlightenment is simply to know the common good defined as everything) hat is or heaven on Earth. Eternal life is in the present from zero to infinity.

    January 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And then there is this:

      The Apostles'/Agnostics’ Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      And this:

      "Death's Debt is Paid in
      Full

      Death's debt is then and there
      Paid down by dying men;
      But it is a promise bare
      That they shall rise again. "

      Al-Ma'arri

      January 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
  7. eyeswideopen

    JJ. To answer your question. Yes.

    January 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
    • JJ

      What question was that?

      January 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
      • eyeswideopen

        The only question you asked me in your post. The answer is yes

        January 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
        • curious in cancun

          which post

          January 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • JJ

          Oh..how odd...you incoherently started a brand new thread and didn't answer within the appropriate one. Your answer is "yes" to the following? This is astounding! You are the first human on the planet to have this evidence. Please share!

          "What made you suspend logic and reason after 35 years? Did you all the sudden discover evidence of the existence of a deity? Did you even go further and decide this god had an actual son who was named Jesus?"

          January 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
  8. NorthVanCan

    Atheists should have a place to hang out, but to call it a church would be confusing to the religious people.
    They might think atheism is a religion .

    January 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
    • No Name

      That's because it is a religion silly!

      January 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
      • paperbottoms

        Take that up with Merriam-Webster you moron. You can't make your own definitions up in order to make yourself immune from reality.

        January 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
  9. NorthVanCan

    The guy looks like Jesus Christ Super Star.
    LOL

    January 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
    • Andrew

      Ted Neeley

      January 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
  10. Will

    why do all the atheists look similar? they should be on the cover of an indie album or something

    January 5, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
    • JJ

      Why do all Christians look like Rev. Ted Haggard or Benny Hinn?

      January 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
      • or this dude

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY83xQLUQLg&w=640&h=360]

        January 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
      • sorry - here's a "better" pic

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05GAeQ45YxU&w=640&h=360]

        January 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
  11. eyeswideopen

    Atheists do not believe they have a soul. People of faith, any faith, believe they do. This is the core of all faiths. Its that simple. To argue that there is no God, is to also believe you have no soul. That your life ends when you die, while people who believe in God, myself include, share the belief that something happens to our soul when we die and there are consequences as to how we lived our lives, that determines where our souls go.

    January 5, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'eyeswideopen' is an instance of a Strawman Argument.

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      January 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • JJ

        Yes, this is a great example of a straw man.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
      • eyeswideopen

        LOL, I was an atheist for over 35 years. (yawn) Its the same o same o that I would say myself. Seen it, heard it, done it.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • JJ

          What made you suspend logic and reason after 35 years? Did you all the sudden discover evidence of the existence of a deity? Did you even go further and decide this god had an actual son who was named Jesus?

          January 5, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        •  

          [Cue music for The Squished Kitty Chronicles]

          January 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
    • NorthVanCan

      Everything you say is correct. It would be also correct to add people of faith feel justified in their actions .
      Much like suicide bombers.

      January 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
      • eyeswideopen

        No I disagree. Their just disturbed human beings that would take another life.

        January 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • bmurdoc

          In the Bible God is responsible for over 2,000,000 deaths.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
        • JJ

          2,000,000? Ha...he slaughtered far more than that. Remember all the men, women and children and pregnant women he drowned in the great flood. Think of all the abortions he perform every second of every day via miscarriages.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
    • No Name

      If they think love is nothing more than brain chemicals, they shouldn't be allowed to have kids.

      January 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
      • JJ

        If you think that some magic sky fairy is speaking to you then you shouldn't be allowed to have kids.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • No Name

          If you tell your children that we cease to exist after we die is a depressing belief and you shouldn't be allowed to have children.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          "If you tell your children that we cease to exist after we die is a depressing belief and you shouldn’t be allowed to have children."

          If you raise your kids to believe only what is comforting & to disregard inconvenient facts, you're doing them a terrible disservice. Part of growing into adulthood is understanding the real world, & accepting that it isn't all about us.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • bmurdoc

          If you force feed nonsense down your children's throats you shouldn't be allowed to have children.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
    • Richard Daly

      I understand that religious people believe that there is life after death.
      Unfortunately, when you die, your body transforms first to maggots, then flies until all flesh is consumed or
      dried to dust.
      Sorry about that eye opener.

      January 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
      • eyeswideopen

        So you don't believe you have a soul. Just say that . Of course I know my body will decay and turn to dust when I'm gone. as will yours. Its a question of whether or not you believe you have a soul. So do you believe you have a soul? Yes or no?

        January 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Many people talk of a soul, but as there's no evidence of a god, it's not something that carries on after you die.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          What is a soul?

          January 6, 2014 at 10:19 am |
      • EB

        "For you are dust, and to dust you shall return" Gen 3:19 Richard the Bible agrees with your point of view but it also gives us hope for a resurrection from the state of non existence Acts 24:15.

        January 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          Why in the world would you consult an ancient book to find out if you get to live in some form or another after you die!?

          January 6, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • StrangeLogic

      All people who do not believe in god do not believe they have a soul? Ignorance..

      January 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Bagel Mode

    This whole article is kind of a red herring. Most atheists that I know have no need of a church. Personally, I'd rather not be associated at all with the religious connotations that are inevitable with the word "church".

    January 5, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
    • William

      I'm Agnostic, and feel the exact same way, I don't want to be a part of ANYTHING called a Church, or anything gathering overtly Churchlike.

      January 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  13. No Name

    So atheism is a religion? Suck on that fact atheists!

    January 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
    • Joe Mahma

      Yep, and I'm starting a "church" based on the worship of rocks. Wanna join?

      January 5, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
      • No Name

        Is that your lame way of denying that atheism is indeed a religion? Heard all the excuses in the book. Atheism is and will always be a religion.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          Or not

          January 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • Sue

      No Name, as people with names have said,

      "Atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color."

      "Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby."

      Maybe that will help you begin to understand.

      January 5, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
      • No Name

        Lame excuse is still a lame excuse. Save your bull. Atheism IS a religion regardless of the lies you say,.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • Sue

          No, my quoted statements are correct. You just lack the courage to admit it.

          January 6, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • G to the T

          And what are the tenants of this atheist religion you seem to think exists?

          How can you have a religion based on the how you answer a single question about reality? I'll be first to admit this church was a dumb idea, but really, you are trying too hard.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      No it's not a religion. You will notice this problem is happening because it seems one group seems to moving more towards introducing god

      January 5, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
      • No Name

        LOL its still a religion! ^_^

        January 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          How is it in any way a religion?

          January 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • No Name

          By atheistic logic, any religion that has a church is a religious cult thus atheism is also a religion and a cult. Atheist logic BUSTED!

          January 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          My forehead busted from slapping it so hard.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          Yeah that logic only works if atheists as a collective group had churches, which they don't, but even that logic fails if you believe the term church used here is the same as a religious place of worship.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
        • No Name

          Blah Blah Blah. Atheism is indeed a religion. Shove it atheists!

          January 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
        • paperbottoms

          You probably have one of those honor roll bumper stickers on your car don't you...

          January 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          Why is atheism a religion? Can you tell us?

          It would be fun to read your thoughts.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          Ha, really? That's your argument huh? So you are reduced to either a troll or a hypocrite believer.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • No Name

          Me a troll? No, more like speaker of truth. Atheist lies cannot defeat truth. Atheism IS a religion. Get over it.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • Observer

          No Name,

          NOPE. It all depends on which dictionary definition is used.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          Then a hypocrite believer then. I'm not fussed.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • No Name

          Now I know for a fact that atheism is indeed a religion. Look how many atheists are trying to claim its not! Just proving my point more ^_^

          January 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          That passes for logic with you does it?

          January 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
      • Sean Horton

        How can an atheist group want to introduce something it claims doesn't exist? That's confusing.

        January 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • Cedar Rapids

          I would suggest some agnostics got in.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
    • JJ

      So, can I now get together with some fellow atheists and become tax exempt? What about starting a group that practices the hobby of NOT collecting stamps?

      January 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
      • No Name

        Atheists overuse that lame excuse. If you can't accept that atheism is a religion, you do it for a selfish and ignorant reason. If you actually admitted to yourself and to the world atheism is a religion, atheists couldn't attack and mock religion anymore. That's why internet atheists won't do it. Your childish world would be shattered.

        January 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • StrangeLogic

          Childish world? I'm sorry. Maybe everyone should believe in fairy tales and magical beings like you.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • No Name

          Atheism is a fairy tale.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • Observer

          No Name,

          Like the talking non-humans, unicorns and dragons in the Bible?

          January 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • No Name

          And the atheistic explanation of the origin of life is better?! LOL!!!! Atheists give a good laugh at how stupid and dumb their beliefs are!

          January 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • StrangeLogic

          Not believing in scripture? You are very confused.

          Atheism is the LACK of belief. It claims no beliefs

          January 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • Observer

          No Name,

          Do you believe in talking non-humans, unicorns and dragons like the Bible says?

          January 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • StrangeLogic

          Yes. It's dumb to admit that we have no answers rather than point to a 2000 year old recycled scripture that will die out much like its predecessors. Or do you believe in Zeus?...

          January 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • JJ

          I hope you're only 9 years old then you might be somewhat forgiven for being so brainwashed by your parents and just ignorant. If you are any older then I suggest you educate yourself a bit and seek out a trusted adult who can help you.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • StrangeLogic

          Let's get back to his original claim:

          If you can't accept that atheism is a religion, you do it for a selfish and ignorant reason.

          What is the argument here? Atheism most certainly is not a religion because it is the lack of belief. I don't understand the selfish ness and ignorance. There is no logic used to connect a lack of belief with be selfish or ignorant. If anything, atheism claims ignorance of answers, whereas religions claim to have ally he answers, which science proves daily to be utterly ridiculous.

          A tweet from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson today:

          If Noah's flood carved the Grand Canyon 4400 yrs ago, then it nicely exposed rocks at the bottom, laid 2-billion yrs earlier.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          No Name

          There is no atheistic explanation of the origin of life. We don't know the origin of life yet although there are several possibilities that seem most likely, but that doesn't mean a god did it.
          There is scientific evidence of Big Bang, geology, evolution, and more which show that the creation myths are incorrect, and that personal gods as described by the various religious texts do not exist.

          January 5, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      No name suddenly facts are important to you for some reason?

      January 5, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
  14. Sounds Fishy

    Somebody smelt an opportunity and started an atheist "church". Another guy saw the opportunity too, and split to do his own "church". I detect the scent of money.

    January 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
  15. Phelix Unger

    I don't find anything wrong with atheists getting together to share their thoughts about the world in which they live. I don't think a church is an ideal setting for atheists, it might make more sense to find a place without religious anchors. Maybe these particular athiests are using churches to become recognized as a religion being a non-religion for tax purposes. Maybe these people are gathering to perhaps try and gain enough numbers to create political gravitas, and effect change.

    January 5, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
    • Sounds Fishy

      A non-religion religion ! LOL! Will the atheist church members pray to the Dear Leader?

      January 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
  16. Nick

    If I looked like they did, I might be inclined to say there is no God as well.....

    January 5, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
  17. Just like any other church - it's there to MAKE MONEY

    Organized religion is a business. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

    January 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
  18. Javier

    I'm not religious but really what is the point of this church? Give it up....we already have enough idiots pushing for useless causes that detract from the real issues

    January 5, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
  19. Elliott Carlin

    Seems xtheists have two looks....the grainy granolas–see the pic under the headline to this article, or the guys who wear the black dress shirts with black jeans. they'll usually opt out of the hair coloring: that shock of silver hair just breathes wisdom.

    January 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
    • not statistically valid survey sample

      really?

      January 5, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
    • bmurdoc

      From your stupid post it's obvious you know very little about wisdom. Now, off you go, you little indoctrinated sheep you.

      January 5, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
  20. Elliott Carlin

    They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Way to go xtheists. Your compliment is taken. HA

    January 5, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
    • JJ

      They are just fucking with you Christians and laughing at you and you are falling for it as intended. Congrats. What an imbecile!

      January 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.