Atheist Mega-Churches

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Carolann Neely-Engelhaupt's picture
Atheist Mega-Churches

I'm wondering what others think about atheist mega-churches that are now forming in the US, UK, and Australia. The founders are Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans. I understand that atheists want to find like minded people. To me, however, the "mega-churches" concept seems almost as if these people are forming an atheist religion. It seems they are copying the practices of other churches, i.e., meeting on Sunday, erecting large edifices, passing a collection plate, and following other practices involved in a religious church service. The only difference is the lack of worship of a god. So please let me know what you think. I'd be interested to hear other opinions on the subject. You can find more information about the churches at

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mysticrose's picture
I don't agree with such

I don't agree with such rituals. These atheist are simply imitating the works of religions and will do no good in a long run. Atheist should be free enough for what they want to do and not because the church required them. They can for a group but not like churches.

Leticia's picture
Well put!!

Well put!!

SammyShazaam's picture
I know that some atheists

I know that some atheists would like to find alternate ways to connect to their community that are not religious based, and that can be challenging. However, I don't think that Atheist mega churches make any sense! There's plenty of common traits we can draw upon to find people in the world who share our interests, focusing on a non-interest kind of misses the point.

Carolann Neely-Engelhaupt's picture
Well thought out comment.

Well thought out comment. Thanks.

Carolann Neely-Engelhaupt's picture
Well thought out comment.

Well thought out comment. Thanks.

Spewer's picture
Since atheists are united

Since atheists are united only by a lack of particular belief, we are an otherwise very diverse group. I think these institutions have a place for some atheists, especially in areas hostile to atheists. I don't think I would go to one, but I'm not going to judge someone who may find value there.

Carolann Neely-Engelhaupt's picture
I understand there are those

I understand there are those who may find value there and they shouldn't be judged for wanting the theater of a church service. I wonder if the mega-churches might not want to call themselves something else and maybe not following the format of a church service. I worry that atheism may be construed as a new religion.

efpierce's picture
I have heard atheism is the

I have heard atheism is the new black, the "it" thing and other such social or pop culture things, but atheism is the new religion? That's a crazy concept! :)

Sheldon's picture
Atheism can't be a religion,

Atheism can't be a religion, by it's primary commonly used definition.

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

When people use the word religion in this way it's a metaphor, and has no resemblance to monotheistic religions, which makes the idea of a church type experience a little bizarre to me.

Zaphod's picture
Interesting, strange to say

Interesting, strange to say the least. Do these guys have any websites?

Carolann Neely-Engelhaupt's picture
Zaphod's picture
Hmm, not exactly my cup of

Hmm, not exactly my cup of tea. That link at least, I guess, seemed a little to suspiciously Christian based to me and I think it may deserve some scrutiny to make sure they are not try to take advantage of recent converts trying to fill the seemingly empty void of religion in their lives and seeking to take advantage of them.

Woeler's picture
We should not lower ourselves

We should not lower ourselves to the level of the religious community. We have to stand above it, and these 'religion immitations' are not helping at all.

Zaphod's picture
Agreed, if imitation is the

Agreed, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery why would any atheist with a shred of dignity imitate religion? I do see having a need to get together but and maybe even congregate to get some of the benefit our religious counterparts have but why would we imitate them why would we put ourselves through such ridiculousness? If you want a religion don't call yourself a an Atheist.

efpierce's picture
They are like the christian

They are like the christian or muslim zealots that make their own religions look bad in my opinion. Calling yourself and Atheist and creating a church doesn't sit very well.

ginamoon's picture
I do not think that they can

I do not think that they can be called atheist if they will be forming rituals or some sorts of things other religions have. It sounds like that they will be just another form of religion or beliefs just like any other.

aberingi's picture
I think that it is a good

I think that it is a good alternative to the new religions and old ones.

Like Soccer in the first place.

So, The Olympics and all the sports and stadiums are the new churches.

We, human beings, are social animals.

They need to mix with the crow and feel a sense of community.

I support the iniciative.

It is another expresión of atheism.

All the natural criticism from the virtual atheists is based on the way the media has called this iniciative "Mega Churches".
Nevertheless, from all I have read the call themselves Sunday Assembly:

"The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrate life. Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more. Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one".

Many virtual atheists around the world have overreacted to the media (mostly manipulated by capitalism, including the Vatican as number one manufacturer of weapons).

I am 60. and rational militant atheist since 1968.
Internet is already 20 years old.

The best invention by humankind since the wheel.

I don't see nothing wrong with the atheists persons that like to come out of the closet and meet face to face with other atheist. The opposite of virtual atheists. When I was 20, I saw the world very differently. I was very ignorant of my surroundings. I still was short from being a matured person. Despite that I left Spain in 1973 to avoid the compulsory military service on top of being atheist I was antimilitarist.

To make it short, what I mean is that the people under twenty born with the internet don't have the capacity to understand, that all these masses that go to sporting events, are the real people.

I met internet in 1996. I was 43. It was the biggest global culture shock in the planet until the "Internet bubble" exploded around 2000, aged 7. The babies that were born then they are 13.

They are Internet now, So I am very happy for this generation. But many older atheist persons, and we are many millions,
DON'T have access to internet, the Sunday Assembly will draw the masses out of the stadiums to amazing gatherings of freethinkers having fun and fulfilling their need to socialize as people.

Anyhow, Let's be open minded, freethinkers and tolerant amazing atheist people.

Atheistically Yours

Jorge Aberingi

Leticia's picture
It sounds to me like a

It sounds to me like a distasteful mockery... what I find really disgusting about churches is the Money Making machine that could be employed in actually helping others...this mega church is not only the wrong thing to call it...and I'm just hoping is the same family that opens up a mega Christian church that wants to double up their money!!!! Otherwise is a disappointment to me!!!

efpierce's picture
I agree with you! It's the

I agree with you! It's the greedy, money grubbing churches that make it all seem so bad for everyone looking in on it.

mattyn's picture
So since this atheist mega

So since this atheist mega church was formed by a group of comics, are they intentionally mocking atheism or is that just a perceived side effect?

firebolt's picture
I think I am misunderstanding

I think I am misunderstanding something? Is this a real church or is it a joke being played on religion in general? Either way, I'm not sure if I like it.

Zaphod's picture
I am not sure if these

I am not sure if these churches are real but if they are, I don't think they are a good idea and I don't trust the people behind them.

mickron88's picture
"Atheist Mega-Churches"

"Atheist Mega-Churches"

is this real?....atheist have church?..hahahahah

Cognostic's picture
Could not disagree more.

Could not disagree more. Here is my problem with it. People already talk about "converting to atheism." This is not a slip of the tongue. It is a fact, especially for people who arrive at atheist "beliefs" from religion.

Now, if you are an atheist you are already vomiting over that last sentence. "What beliefs?" Atheism is not a set of beliefs. It is not a world view. It is a response to a single proposition, "Does God exist.: The theist says "Yes, I believe god exists." The atheist asserts, "You have not convinced me. I have no reason to believe your God is real."

What the mega churches do is allow atheists to be lazy and ignorant. They can believe in atheism based on the authority of the church. They can believe in atheism based on popularity. They can believe in atheism based on the community pressure around them. They can believe in atheism based on the authority of the speaker. They take their religious belief and simply assert "I now believe in atheism." This is BULLSHIT!

Christians, in general, perceive the world through their magical belief system AND NOW WE ARE ENCOURAGING PEOPLE WHO CALL THEMSELVES ATHEIST TO DO THE SAME. Atheist Churches do not allow people to understand a world absent of this "belief thing" they do. This is why Christians are always claiming "Atheism is a belief too." That's how they see it. They are, in general again, lazy. They don't do the reading. They don't do the research. They just want to sit on their butts and believe. They see the world through a belief system. The Mega Churches feed into this laziness. It turns Christian sheeple into Atheist sheeple.

I have watched a few clips of one service where the idiot running the show replaces the word "Amen" with "Darwin."

Preacher: Give me a "DARWIN"
Congregation: (Mindlessly and without thinking, eyes glowing brightly..) DARWIN

I want to vomit.

I am not saying atheists should not get together. I am asserting that Church was a bad idea from it's conception and it is still a bad idea today. It replaces logic and reason with stupidity, ignorance, and laziness. I will never be a member of an atheist Church and I will continue to challenge anyone who treats Atheism as a belief system.

Cognostic's picture
@Aberingi: " Our mission: to

@Aberingi: " Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one". (Hitler had the same plan.)

So you are saying that you believe there is no god. This position by its very nature is no different at all than the Christian claim that there is a god. You have a congregation of blind fools making assertions that they can not prove based on faith. In case you have not heard, the concept of god us "UN-FALSIFIABLE?" Running around pretending you know shit that you can not possibly know is exactly what the Christians are doing. Feeding lies to the congregation and simplifying issues to the point of absurdity is exactly what religions do. Your vision is shit. It is no different than Communism, Nazism or Marxism.

I also want to touch on the Church model here. Billions of dollars collected with one or two percent actually going to assist the community. Calling it an Atheist Church allows it to do the very same thing. I admit I would be a bit more accepting if all the finances were clearly provided to the public. At least their manipulation of people through feel good moments would be overt and not slimy like those of the Churches we know today.

arakish's picture
Is not Atheist Republic an on

Is not Atheist Republic an on-line atheist church?



mickron88's picture is a church....AR is a church....AR is a atheist church...

we got preachers here right?

Sheldon's picture
"Stand-up comedians Sanderson

"Stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans started the first Sunday Assembly in North London in January 2013 as they "both wanted to do something like church but without God"

Weird, I could never abide the experience of church myself. Never understood the attraction of being servile at all, and trapping yourself with strangers in a building is not a good way to meet like minded people in my experience. The threads on this site show that some of us have little in common beyond our lack of theistic belief. Of course I can see the rational and moral benefits of humanism, and secularism, as I can see the need for secularist governments, as that is the best way to protect the rights of the individual. I personally have no interest in replicating the experience of church, but It's hard to say from this what precisely they hope to achieve.

"Satellite assemblies must adhere to the central charter; a document outlining the principles of The Sunday Assembly and some rules which have to be followed for at least some time."

Can't find anything detailing this charter, that might be edifying, but I'll keep looking.
"some Christians objected: William McCrea, the DUP Member of Parliament for South Antrim (Northern Ireland), called the assembly "highly inappropriate", "

Well that's definitely a good thing, as the DUP are religious bigots of the worst order.

Cognostic's picture
I don't think so. Say

I don't think so. Say something stupid and see what happens. People are not mindlessly sitting about hanging on someone's every word.

Sheldon's picture
OK found their charter:

OK found their charter:

We’re not here to tell you how to live your life—we’re here to help you be the best version of you you can be.

The Sunday Assembly:

Is 100% celebration of life. We are born from nothing and go to nothing. Let’s enjoy it together.
Has no doctrine. We have no set texts so we can make use of wisdom from all sources.
Has no deity. We don’t do supernatural but we also won’t tell you you’re wrong if you do.
Is radically inclusive. Everyone is welcome, regardless of their beliefs—this is a place of love that is open and accepting.
Is free to attend, not-for-profit and volunteer run. We ask for donations to cover our costs and support our community work.
Has a community mission. Through our Action Heroes (you!), we will be a force for good.
Is independent. We do not accept sponsorship or promote outside businesses, organisations, or services.
Is here to stay. With your involvement, The Sunday Assembly will make the world a better place.
We won’t tell you how to live, but will try to help you do it as well as you can.
And remember point 1… The Sunday Assembly is a celebration of the one life we know we have.


Sounds ok to me from what I've read, a secular organisation looking to help build a feeling of community and help others where it's needed. I think the fact it used desanctified church for its' first meeting is not really relevant to what they're about.

More here...


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