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. nathan

    Anyone who thinks its the book of the religion that causes the wars is just as crazy as the people who try to use the book to justify the war. Its all really stupid and backwards to me. The books say what they say, trying to stretch them to mean one thing or another is counter productive to the goals religion tries to accomplish.

    January 6, 2014 at 6:04 am |
    • WASP

      that isn't totally correct.

      religions main objective is to "spread the word" however throughout history religion was spread at the point of a sword,then by rifle fire. conquest has been religions main tool in achieveing "converts".

      January 6, 2014 at 6:50 am |
  2. nathan

    I understand these people are atheist and don't believe in god, but it says they get the goods for their sermons from pieces by scientists and stuff, why not passages from religious texts still? Just because you don't believe in god doesn't mean you can't use the texts to better yourself from the teachings. I mean I have no real religious affiliation but the morals I have learned from going to Sunday Church with my grandparents most of my life is what made me into the person I am today.

    January 6, 2014 at 5:58 am |
    • truthprevails1

      If people need a book to get their morals, then they're not moral to begin with. Morals were around long before religions were ever invented and those books ever written and morals will be around long after religions die.

      January 6, 2014 at 6:24 am |
  3. polycarp pio

    Atheist church=OXYMORON.. PP

    January 6, 2014 at 2:09 am |
    • Chris Weiss

      Other religious oxymorons:

      "Christian Scientist"
      "creation science"
      "Just war"
      "Holy war"
      "Virgin mother"
      "Immaculate conception"
      "Holy land"

      As an atheist, I see this as a joke that has been taken too far. Personally, I hope this "schism" brings this experiment to a close.

      January 6, 2014 at 2:39 am |
  4. robert burns

    Atheists do not want/need to go to church. This piece speaks to a minor subset.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:59 am |
  5. Dude

    Having an atheist church makes as much sense as a church of monotheism.
    Simply a gathering of people who agree on the number of deities and nothing else.

    Some atheists believe the entire universe is the product of physics and chemistry.
    Others believe in a wide range of higher consciousness, collective intelligence, a greater will etc. Just not in the form of a deity.

    I have found many atheists to be strict fundamentalists, in that they cannot tolerate any variation from a strict and literal non-belief and any belief in anything beyond a measurable physical universe to be a form of blasphemy.

    In short, organized atheism is everything that drove me away from other organized religions.

    I would enjoy an organization where one could engage in a philosophical discussion without having two slightly different Christians turn it into a holy war. An atheist church would not be such a place.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:53 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      "I have found many atheists to be strict fundamentalists, in that they cannot tolerate any variation from a strict and literal non-belief and any belief in anything beyond a measurable physical universe to be a form of blasphemy."

      I'm not sure what you're suggesting atheists should do to NOT be perceived as fundamentalists in the way you depict. At the core I'm a skeptic. If someone believes in a God(any god) and I ask them to explain to me how they know this the answers I get don't withstand scrutiny. The same thing happens if I ask people to explain ghosts, souls, an afterlife, angels, demons, alien visitors or the nature of anything beyond our universe. It's the lack of verification of any sort that compels me to withhold belief...nothing more. The myths, fantasies and imaginations of men do not count as evidence and no other evidence exists.

      January 6, 2014 at 5:39 am |
  6. Rohit

    Don't mistake this church with a religious church please for the following reasons:
    1. Atheism is not a religion. It's the idea that God of any religions of humanity does not and cannot exist.
    2. This church doesn't need following. We don't need anyone to believe anything and there is no sabbath or a set of laws.
    3. This church should NOT go along the lines of regular churches according to atheists themselves. It's the mockery of religion and it's stealthy tactics to gather money from it's followers and establish a pseudo moral code of conduct that we need to take into account which this Atheist church doesn't and would not do.
    4. I wouldn't be surprised if this church didn't last because it's not supposed to. No atheist is the same and cannot be tamed.
    5. Atheists are like cats and cant be herded.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:28 am |
  7. gene

    just a bunch of fools mocking religion and trying to get rich. not much to see here

    January 6, 2014 at 12:42 am |
    • Joel Oilsheen

      You must be thinking of my church of Jeebus. Just remember to put money in the donation plate on your way out so I can buy more grease to put in my hair.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:50 am |
      • pat a

        I really don't get why people need to change the name of something to make their point. by mocking that guys name, you're kinda overdoing it and coming across as extreme. so you don't like that joel guy, okay fine. so make your point and move on. changing his last name to "oilsheen" isn't that clever because it sounds like something a 10 year old would say. it's as immature as saying "Richard Hurtz"

        January 6, 2014 at 2:09 am |
  8. Peter225

    Any truth to the rumor that masturbation goes on at this "church"?

    January 6, 2014 at 12:34 am |
    • Jane

      You mean like at the religious churches? Don't think it's as bad here cuz they can't ask god to forgive the messmaking.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:52 am |
  9. Dave Green

    I don't care if people want to start secular churches. Whatever floats your boat, but these people are not jut "atheists," and they aren't starting churches simply because they do not believe in gods. They have more to their world views than that. So, I would personally prefer they call it something else, instead of giving it a label that implies they speak for all atheists.

    You wouldn't call a christian church, "The church of theism.," so why call soe secular church a church of atheism? In most cases these people are not just atheists, they are anti-theists or anti-religious. Certainly not worldviews that I necessarily agree with as an atheist.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:32 am |
    • John H.

      Quite right! All atheism is is the lack of a belief in a god. So the only thing you are going to get all atheists to agree on is the nonacceptance of the claim that gods exist. Anything else(even the claim that there are no gods) is in addition to atheism and may not be shared by all.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:21 am |
      • Jones

        Lack of belief in god is a funny way of trying to push your views. Seems like you don't understand what atheist believe. Unlike theists we have the ability to believe if we find reason enough too. Having this options lets us decide our beliefs on our own. With religion you are told from a young age 9-13 (the same age child soldiers are brainwashed seeing as it is the most influential time in a child's life). At that age you are scared into not being able to questions your own faith it's kind of pathetic. Atheist have the ability to take information from many different source to allow us to come to the logical conclusion. You are in fact stunted in your thinking. We have provided the facts and are waiting for a good arguement, which has yet to be made. It's jut sad how blinded by faith( belief without facts) people that base there life solely on the word of a man made book that has been proven to re written throughout history. The fact that atheist can take many different opinions and use them to better themselves just shows another great step in our evolutionary process. You don't see an atheist killing someone while shouting there is no god

        January 6, 2014 at 2:43 am |
    • Josh

      I do agree with the point you made about these people being primarily anti-theists. Seems there is a new trend coming (very strongly in America recently) and that isn't atheism, which is simple non-belief in a deity of any kind like you seem to be. Anti-Theism is what I'm seeing more and more of these days, and in a militant fashion. It isn't enough for these people to not believe in God but they crusade around like the very people they hate trying to covert theists from the errors of their "ignorant and unintelligent ways" (as you will see on the CNN message boards any time religion is brought up). To those people I would like to say I have no issue with someone being an atheist. If you want to talk about God you'll ask me. Not gonna shove it in your face otherwise. However, show me the same consideration instead of insulting me and my beliefs any and every chance you get.

      I don't see how countering what they see as a hateful organization by being just as hateful or even more so is a good tactic... What could possibly go wrong, right? If they want to show us evil theists how evil we are how about showing us how those whole "loving respect" and "tolerance" things are done since they claim to be so much better at it. Otherwise they are just drawing battle lines and word is theists don't tend to shy away from those. After all, Jesus said the world would hate us because of him... Theism isn't and never was supposed to be a Pop-Culture Hit.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:37 am |
      • pat a

        you're right, the militant anti-theist agenda is probably the reason for the split. those splinter groups just want to talk about how religion is wrong and cite what they believe to be hypocritical verses from the bible. this jones guys sounds like he wants a more positive message.

        January 6, 2014 at 2:15 am |
      • Jones

        Again to think that atheist are angry and against religion for no reason is just more ignorance on your part. The fact is that religions impacts everyone's life on a daily basis, how is that right. Imagine if the world was full of people who believed in a cookie monster, laws are made and enforced in the name of this so called cookie moster. So much that if you don't believe you are seen as an outcast. How would you react to this? We are angy because such a foolish idea dictates many of our daily activities. Atheist don't hate religion they just want it out of there daily life, sort of like how the people that created this country wanted it to be

        January 6, 2014 at 2:50 am |
  10. donwhitebread

    Two things: What if they'd just called it a club? Then half this discussion wouldn't be happening.
    And twenty, or certainly thirty years ago, this discussion would also not be happening, because people could not admit to being atheist without risk of serious social repercussions. The world is changing and many old prejudices are breaking down.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:31 am |
  11. eprobono

    I am a committed atheist, but if I wanted to hear nonstop petty bickering I'd go to my family reunion rather than this dysfunctional gathering.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:30 am |
  12. David Waltzer

    I am surprised this article makes no mention of Ethical Culture, particularly the NY Society for Ethical Culture(NYSEC), which is a secular religion that has been in action since the 1870s building a community that works for social justice and ethical exploration. There are about 50 Ethical Culture Societies in the US. They don't incorporate any god or mythology or dogma except maybe "deed above creed".

    January 6, 2014 at 12:30 am |
    • Gollum

      Logically, once you talk of ethics, you stop talking of atheism. The only reason ethics could still exist is the vanity of man to think he can be good, despite there being no good. That is why North Korea is the only truly atheist nation.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:33 am |
      • jensgessner

        Utter nonsense, Gollum.

        The people of North Korea worship their leader as deity. NOTHING atheistic about it.

        January 6, 2014 at 12:39 am |
        • Gollum

          Leader, a very earthly word.

          January 6, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • Gollum

          Leader, a very earthly word and concept. Something you can see or touch.

          January 6, 2014 at 12:48 am |
        • jensgessner

          Just like 'lord' or 'father'. What is your point?

          January 6, 2014 at 1:12 am |
        • HalS

          Wasn't Jesus supposedly an earthly being? "A living God" which was followed by many before his death. Therefore I agree with jensgessner on North Korea.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:29 am |
        • jensgessner

          ALL totalitarian systems are inherently religious. Their leaders are FREQUENTLY elevated to the status of deity, or they makes use of a religious personality cult. All totalitarian systems demand from their subjects religious-like obedience.

          There is NO difference between Theocracies and other totalitarian systems; they merely differ on the OBJECT of their worship.

          The myth about all the 20th century atheist tyrannies is a vile smear.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:43 am |
  13. Neo Atheist

    There is only one thing that all atheists have in common. They understand that there is no verifiable proof of the existence of god.
    Religions can't even agree on what god is, and each sect, group, all claims they are right and everyone is wrong. If you are a Mormon, all others are going to hell, if you are a Catholic, all others are going to hell, if you are Baptist, all other are going to hell. So, if all religions are correct, then no one will be going to heaven because everyone is going to hell. At least atheists can agree on one thing.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:22 am |
    • Gollum

      You have just begun to think. There's more to it.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:30 am |
  14. Dr E

    Sounds like one hot mess to me.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:08 am |
  15. ken meyer

    How the hell (ooops sorry) can you call your meeting place a Church.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:07 am |
    • Gollum

      Church is a common noun. As is temple. Religion(s) don't have exclusive rights over them.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:31 am |
  16. Paul

    Who would get out of bed on a Sunday for any reason other than God? If I was an atheist, I'd chill till noon. As it is, I'm a Christian who's happier than a possum with a head of cabbage that I went to church today. The preacher looked right at me (in a small Assembly of God church in frozen Minnesota) and gave me a message from God. I don't care if anyone thinks I'm crazy. I don't care if you think its a crutch. I heard from God today, and it sure beats believing we're products of chance with a hopeless existence on a spinning ball of fire and ice.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:07 am |
    • Anon

      believing might be nice, and make you feel warm and fuzzy, but that doesn't make it true. I value truth even if it is cold. Other people require the crutch of feel goods, and warmth, and that is ok. Humans are social and like to feel like a part of something, I just don't need religion or god for that.

      I'd rather enjoy science and reality, while still feeling awesome about helping the people around me.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:14 am |
      • Counterww

        Immature comments. Not all truth can be proven, and spiritual truth rally is truth, you just cannot conceive of it as you are a materialist.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:33 am |
        • Observer


          Speaking of "immature comments", please use a dictionary to see the definition of "truth".

          January 6, 2014 at 1:44 am |
    • Neo Atheist

      Sounds like you have a mental disorder there. Might want to go see a doctor. He can help you. Not some fictional deity.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:15 am |
      • theBigE

        See, resorting to insults is where you fail, Neo Atheist. Argue it all you want, but if you were committed to reason as you claim, you'd understand that.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:22 am |
        • Anon

          It is merely a failure to communicate, not of fact and rationality. Some atheists feel the only rational response to irrationality is ridicule. For me it varies...

          January 6, 2014 at 1:40 am |
    • Tony

      Paul, I'd put you in the gutless cowardly wimp group, rather than the merely crazy group.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:27 am |
    • HalS

      Paul, I certainly would not judge you for being a believer. It makes you happy – from what I gather from your post. It's either that or you are slightly enamored by your preacher. And please, I mean no offense by that.

      I cannot speak for anyone else here nor do I represent the views of anyone other than myself – I simply do not believe in God. By nature, I have always been a skeptic and religion was just one of those things I consciously decided quite young, I wasn't flying blindly on. Free will, isn't it?? I have no concern for the after-life. To be brutally honest – if there is one, I rather not spend an eternity with the very same people who constantly tell me that if I don't accept Jesus, I am going to H4LL. That would be eternal damnation to me! I live an honest, frugal and charitable life; not because I am afraid of what happens to my "soul" after I die but because that makes me happy.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:13 am |
    • sam stone

      Why do you feel the message was from god?

      January 6, 2014 at 4:57 am |
    • Phly

      Do yourself a favor and read the God Delusion THEN read the bible (or any holy book for that matter) from cover to cover. If you're still a believer after that...

      January 6, 2014 at 8:00 am |
    • Chikkipop

      If human progress depended upon folks like you, we really would have a hopeless existence!

      Here's hoping you grow out of your childlike state.

      January 6, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • G to the T

      I can see that. Ignorance is bliss after all...

      January 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  17. RRDelmar

    Let's put up like this, If you put up a bunch of wanna be god's in a room, what do you expect, even before, they can't even shut their mouth about hating to have god, how much more you put them in one cage... it's a gladiator arena,, that's why I love to have something to look up for, than something to look up for that doesn't look up into you.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:01 am |
  18. OJFL

    So what exactly do they do in an atheist church? And why do they have churches at all?

    January 5, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
    • Hadenuffyet

      I can't remember how many times I've heard self proclaimed atheists say it's not a religion.

      January 5, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
      • Neo Atheist

        Its not a religion. A religion is a belief in something higher than yourself. Atheism is understanding that there is no verifiable proof of the existence of god. Calling Atheism a religion is like saying Not stamp collecting is a hobby.

        January 6, 2014 at 12:14 am |
      • WilltheFree

        Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

        January 6, 2014 at 12:26 am |
      • sam stone

        self-proclaimed atheists?

        like self-proclaimed christians?

        self-proclaimed vegetarians?

        self-proclaimed broncos fans?

        truly, is putting the words "self-proclaimed" in front of atheists your petty attempt at making light of them?

        if so, pull the crucifix out of your rectum.

        January 6, 2014 at 5:02 am |
      • Chikkipop

        "I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard self proclaimed atheists say it’s not a religion."

        1.) Besides self proclaimed atheists, what other kinds do you run into?

        2.) What new information have you found that would suggest atheism IS a religion?

        January 6, 2014 at 10:53 am |
    • l33ter

      According to the article you "lecture on the history of particle physics" and sell "Sunday swag".


      January 6, 2014 at 12:12 am |
    • Nigels

      I'd assume everything an ordinary church does minus biblical quotations/God stuffs.

      It's essentially just a social organization from the sound of it. Honestly it's pretty cool. Help out others with volunteer work, get together with like-minded people on Sundays, all without being forced into believing in an invisible man in the sky/being threatened with eternal punishment if I don't do a number of things written on a rock two thousand years ago.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:39 am |
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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.