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. Xav

    If the woman from Chicago wants "place to check in and think about things bigger than the day-to-day" she should start a book club and choose topics which existentialist themes. Or start a group and call it "Atheists For Justice" where you can meet and have goals (striving for equal rights, whatever). "Churches" are never going to be taken seriously by outsiders (or even many other atheists); and one reason for that is many people became atheists to get away from church mentality.

    January 6, 2014 at 9:12 am |
  2. Live4Him

    @truthprevails1 : Morals were around long before religions were ever invented

    Morals are based upon a set of beliefs that become the common standard. Since a religion is a set of beliefs, then it must have come first. However, organized religion probably came later.


    January 6, 2014 at 9:08 am |
    • igaftr

      Since animals have morals, and no religion, morals come from our animal ancestors.

      January 6, 2014 at 9:11 am |
    • sam stone

      morals are based on empathy, not a common set of beliefs

      again, lie4him, you blow smoke to support your weak point

      January 6, 2014 at 9:22 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Lie4Him: Religion hasn't always been around, so no you, as always, are biased.
      the following should open your mind a little and hopefully help you understand morals a little better: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/02/14/morality-and-religion-are-they-genetic-adaptations/

      January 6, 2014 at 9:27 am |
      • Live4Him

        @truthprevails1 : Lie4Him

        Next time, try to respond politely and like an adult. Then we can have a discussion. As it is, I didn't go past you slander.


        January 6, 2014 at 9:30 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Live4Him: Try opening your mind and looking beyond your bible for answers.
          I didn't slander you...you might wish to look up the definition of the word.

          January 6, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • Live4Him

          @truthprevails1 : Try opening your mind and looking beyond your bible for answers.

          I probably quote more non-Christian sites on this forum that you quote Christian sites. And yet you claim that I don't have an open mind?

          @truthprevails1 : I didn't slander you...you might wish to look up the definition of the word.

          It depends upon what you consider libel vs. slander (or written vs. speech). On these forums, most people put about as much thought into what they are saying / writing as they do in their ordinary conversations. On the other hand, when these terms were coined, libel referred to a much more deliberate disparagement since it took time to write, edit said writing, and then subsequently publish said writing. So, considering that posting on forum is on the spur of the moment, I would posit that slander is the more accurate of the two terms, regardless of the actual method of communication (written vs. spoken).


          January 6, 2014 at 9:57 am |
    • jensgessner

      "Morals are based upon a set of beliefs that become the common standard."

      That is only correct for religious morality, whereas immoral acts are supposedly decreed by a higher power.
      Secular morality, on the other hand, is based on harm prevention, a simple, principle behavior that is learned by most social animals. An action that is harmful to the group is considered immoral. This social norm precedes religion by thousands of years.
      With devolution of religious influence in our society, we see a trend away from 'decreed', religious morality toward one that is centered on harm prevention. Action that was considered immoral before may be de-criminalized if it does not harm anybody (i.e. gay marriage).

      January 6, 2014 at 9:36 am |
  3. Scott

    As an athiest I see that there are two types of athiests:

    Jerks and friendly people.

    The jerks get all up in folks face about the evils of religion and basically preach athiesm.

    The friendly people don't hold a belief in God but do not begrudge those who do.

    As part of the 2nd group I wish that the term "athiest" was not burdened by including the first group.

    January 6, 2014 at 9:04 am |
    • Live4Him

      Unfortunately, we see too many of the former on this forum. Perhaps you would like to stick around and show them how to debate others with respect?

      January 6, 2014 at 9:11 am |
    • igaftr

      You have confused atheist with iconoclast, though often they are both so the error is understandable.
      Also, I can be far more outspoken without the threat I normally get from christians when I question their belief.

      You can call me a jerk, but what do you call a christian who calls me sinner, fool, swine, and that I'm going to hell...all taught by your book, so christians are taught to be jerks from their book.

      January 6, 2014 at 9:15 am |
    • tallulah13

      I believe in freedom of speech, and I believe that religion is not above criticism. If that makes me a jerk, so be it.

      January 6, 2014 at 9:50 am |
    • doobzz

      As an atheist, you should learn how to spell atheist.

      January 6, 2014 at 11:23 am |
  4. MdaVT

    I love it. Fundamentalist, Main Stream and Evangelical Atheists.

    January 6, 2014 at 8:54 am |
  5. Amused

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


    January 6, 2014 at 8:49 am |
    • Live4Him

      Sounds like it to me.

      January 6, 2014 at 9:02 am |
  6. bcl1

    Didn't South Park have an episode about different factions of atheists going to war against each other (I guess you could call them non-holy wars?)?

    January 6, 2014 at 8:36 am |
    • drake mallard

      Unified Atheist League Allied Atheist Alliance

      January 6, 2014 at 10:16 am |
  7. Lawrence of Arabia

    What a mockery... A gathering of non-theists that meet on the Lord's Day in ex-churches...

    2 Peter 3:3-9 – Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

    But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    January 6, 2014 at 8:35 am |
    • JWT

      And yet nothing about your version of a god is relevent to this.,

      January 6, 2014 at 8:39 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        First off, it's not "my" version of God since there is only one God. Second, God, and what He says to mankind through His word is relevant to any topic.

        January 6, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What part of God's word is relevant to the study of symplesiomorphy?

          January 6, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • JWT

          Different people have different versions of gods and believe they say different things,. Personally I have no god at all and what others people think their gods says has no meaning.

          January 6, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • igaftr

          I found over 400 "one true" gods...how can you be so certain YOUR god is the correct one.....short answer is ...you can't.
          ALL of the other have as much credibility as yours.

          January 6, 2014 at 9:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'm all for repentance. I hope child molesters, liars, thieves and all the rest of the evil-doers stop doing what they are doing. But you ask for more. People must believe in your little god.

      January 6, 2014 at 8:41 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        "I" ask for more? All I did was quote the Bible. This world would be a better place if people would turn from their wicked ways. But if there is no God, then where is your standard for determining what is evil and what is good? If there is no God, then there is no wickedness in child molestation. It's just wrong in your particular opinion.

        January 6, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • Charm Quark

          You might deny that there are lots of gods and yours is the only true one but there are billions of people that would dis agree. You do know that you are a religious fanatic, LofA.

          January 6, 2014 at 8:48 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "but there are billions of people that would dis agree"
          So truth is determined by a majority vote? That may work in toothpaste commercials, but not in reality.
          And you call me a fanatic? What an understatement!

          January 6, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • midwest rail

          Lawrence, there are billions of believers who disagree with you. That distinction does make you a fanatic.

          January 6, 2014 at 8:57 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Yes you are a jesus freaking fanatic as much as an islamic fanatic is the same, the reason being you know beyond doubt the only truth. Of course you are wrong.

          January 6, 2014 at 9:01 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Yes you are a jesus freaking fanatic as much as an islamic fanatic is the same, the reason being you know beyond doubt the only truth. Of course you are wrong."
          So you call me a fanatic for "knowing" there is only God, and you are somehow not a fanatic for "knowing" there is no God? There's another word for you – hypocrite.

          January 6, 2014 at 9:08 am |
        • Charm Quark

          I am a Deist, BTW. You are a fanatic because you reject any other belief that others have. That part of you borders on the insane, your posts prove it. You are the only arbiter of what god is, correct?

          January 6, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "You are the only arbiter of what god is, correct?"
          No, I'm not the arbiter of anything... The Bible is.

          January 6, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Why is your tome, the bible, any more true that the Vedas or Theogony, because you and your cults say so? That is opinion. You believe it so it must be the truth, BS, LofA.

          January 6, 2014 at 9:37 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Of course, The Lord's Day varies depending on the sect. Jews, Rastas, and 7th Day Adeventists say its Saturday, for example, whereas most mainline Protestant and Catholics keep it as Sunday.
      Most days of the week have their own gods anyways – Saturn, Frigga, Odin, Thor etc.
      The folk trying to build this positive atheist community aren't trying to be blasphemous – they're trying to adopt a familiar format. When you're trying to build a pseudo-religious group in heavily Christianized areas and want to try to wipe away the negative connotations associated with being branded an atheist, it makes sense to try and mirror the form and function of the organizations that are already doing it. When the natives rub blue mud in their belly buttons, the safest thing for a stranger to do is to rub it in just as solemnly.
      Especially in America, the irreligious have a long and tought road to hoe if they want to be perceived as being just as legitimate a forum for community service as Christian churches. By and large, Americans don't trust non-believers.
      At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.
      This bias means that instead of perceiving imitation as a form of flattery, the knee jerk reaction of many religionists is to take it as a heretical insult.
      But groups seeking to help their community should welcome other with the same goals, whether they're doing it to please a god or not.

      January 6, 2014 at 8:52 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        No, the Lord's Day isn't disputed to anyone who reads their Bible. Why do we meet on Sunday morning? The Old Testament established the 7th day of the week (Saturday) to commemorate that God rested after creation. This was the Sabbath. When Jesus came, He was resurrected on the first day of the week – Sunday. From that time on the church met on the first day of the week to commemorate the resurrection. As a matter of fact, throughout the rest of the New Testament, you never find them meeting on any other day, and it became known as the “Lord’s Day.” Although the Scripture never dictates specifically on what day we are to meet, we meet on the Lord’s Day to commemorate the resurrection of Christ, and to follow the long line of men who have done so for the life of the church.

        Acts 20:7 – The church began worshipping on the first day of the week to commemorate the resurrection of Christ
        Matthew 28:1-9 – Jesus rose on Sunday (“day after the Sabbath” – Sabbath was Saturday)
        Mark 16:2,9 – Jesus rose on Sunday (“on the first day of the week”
        Luke 24:1-12 – Jesus rose on Sunday (“…on the first day of the week,”)
        John 20:1 – Jesus rose on Sunday (“… on the first day of the week)
        John 20:26 – the disciples met 8 days later on Sunday, where Jesus appeared to them again
        Acts 2:1 – Pentecost (birth of the church) was on a Sunday (Leviticus 23:16 – Feast of Weeks: Sabbath plus 50 days equals Sunday)
        1 Corinthians 16:1 – money collections be taken on the first day of the week (Sunday) for the preservation of the ministers of the gospel
        Revelation 1:10 – by this time, the day of worship had become known as the Lord’s day – this referring to resurrection day; the first day of the week

        And as to those who wish to "help" their community... I don't want help from someone whose only basis of comparison for what is right and wrong is their own opinion. If someone denies there is a God, then their only standard for morality is their own experience which can be horribly skewed.

        January 6, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days"
          – Colossians 2:16

          Are you seriously trying to say that nobody but members of your religion are enti/tled to give charity?
          That a starving, homeless person should refuse warmth, food and shelter from anyone who doesn't identify their religious beliefs?
          Are you against the group Doctors Without Borders?

          January 6, 2014 at 9:16 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I would certainly question their morality... For instance, if there was a so-called "crisis" pregnancy, would that doctor recommend an abortion? And so on...

          January 6, 2014 at 9:28 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Last year in Chile, an 11 year old girl was impregnated by her step-father.
          Do you think it was right of the Chilean government to force her to carry the child to term?

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

          "If someone denies there is a God, then their only standard for morality is their own experience which can be horribly skewed."

          If someone imagines there is a god, then their only standard for morality is their imagination, which can be horribly skewed.

          January 6, 2014 at 11:44 am |
    • sam stone

      Your god is a vindictive, petty pr1ck. Get off your knees and stop being such a southern fried sycophant, slave boy

      January 6, 2014 at 9:26 am |
  8. Ray High

    I'd rather spend time with people with whom I have something positive in common. Atheism just means I don't believe in gods. That means I don't have belief in gods in common with anyone. Anyone out there enjoy performance art or hot-rodding guitars and computers?

    January 6, 2014 at 8:25 am |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    The burgeoning and increasingly vociferous atheist community would benefit from some type of cohesion.
    Church groups offer a place for like-minded people to form a community and hopefully work together towards a common goal. The traditional church format is familiar and proven to work for religious communities, but with no caste of clergy or need to display pomp and circ.umstance for the glory of a god, I don't see why it should be a.ped by the irreligious.
    If a non-believer feels the need for such a congregation, I think the Unitarian Universalists have that covered already.
    That being said, if the goal is to mainstream atheism and combat the st.igma attached to the label, a ti.tty bar is probably not the ideal environment to stage meetings.

    The greater problem is that atheists are not a hom.ogenous group. A group defined by what they do not believe can have a hard time deciding what it is they do believe in enough to cooperate.
    Building a congregation of freethinkers is a bit like trying to herd cats...

    January 6, 2014 at 8:23 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      as opposed to religion finding it easy to herd their sheep ...

      January 6, 2014 at 8:26 am |
  10. DrXym

    Sounds like these people are just out to make some money. So basically like a church.

    January 6, 2014 at 7:58 am |
  11. OffendedMan

    Funny how a certain mentality and a certain "look" go together. This bearded "freethinker" and plain wife could be any rural church minister and spouse. They may think they're being "rebellious atheists" but they clearly are not that different from religious folk.

    January 6, 2014 at 7:41 am |
  12. zoyclem

    If these people don't believe in God, why bother with having a church?

    January 6, 2014 at 7:20 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Why do people who believe in a god require churches? Could they not as easily worship their god from their home?

      January 6, 2014 at 8:32 am |
  13. Chuck

    Atheist Church, makes as much sense as Gay Marriage and Obamacare

    January 6, 2014 at 6:48 am |
    • truthprevails1

      What is wrong with gay marriage?

      January 6, 2014 at 7:02 am |
    • dude

      obvious troll

      January 6, 2014 at 7:38 am |
    • Ryan JN Razo

      What's wrong with Obamacare?

      January 6, 2014 at 7:59 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      don't feed the trolls.

      January 6, 2014 at 8:24 am |
  14. doctore0

    Stupid thing this atheist church... just go to the cinema,pub.. play computer games, make love blah blah, endless stuff to do out there

    Yea I am an atheist!!

    January 6, 2014 at 6:42 am |
    • Phly

      Sometimes my fellow non-believers do stupid things; this is one of them. Last place I'd ever want to be is a church-so many memories of lying pastors, hypocrites, sappy music, and downright annoying people...no thanks!!!

      January 6, 2014 at 7:55 am |
  15. Ron Joseph

    I would be fine with this Atheist religion as long as I could still think being gay goes against everything that is natural in the world.

    January 6, 2014 at 6:10 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      There is no secular reason for denying gay people the same rights as hetero people. Appeals to nature don't apply as the animal kingdom is full of examples of gay behavior. And yes at the core we too are animals. Only religion makes the claim that homosexuality is wrong and that man is something other than a sophisticated ape.

      January 6, 2014 at 6:18 am |
    • truthprevails1

      How does being gay go against everything that is natural when it is seen in over 1400 species?

      January 6, 2014 at 6:25 am |
      • Reality # 2

        1400 species? Reputable references please.

        January 6, 2014 at 6:47 am |
        • truthprevails1


          January 6, 2014 at 7:01 am |
        • truthprevails1


          January 6, 2014 at 7:07 am |
        • Roddy2112

          HA!!! And Reality #2 slinks back to his dark corner.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:30 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
About this blog

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.