What is the atheist church?
By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries
Atheist comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, founders of the atheist "church" known as "Sunday Assembly," following their success in England, have begun an attempt to start additional atheist churches in the United States and Australia. Dozens of congregations have popped up. While some in the media are referring to them as "atheist mega churches," for the most part, there is nothing "mega" about them. But, whatever the case, this is a very interesting trend.
The official website of Sunday Assembly - www.sundayassembly.com - states the following:
"The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrates 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."
Whether the comedian founders of this movement are at all serious remains to be seen. But, the fact that some people are attending these meetings, and apparently enjoying them, does demonstrate that there is at least somewhat of a need for atheist "churches." After all, Jones himself has said, "If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people..."
Interestingly, there does not appear to be much opposition to this idea from Christians. Rather, atheists are by far the more vocal dissenters. Many atheists seem to hate the concept of an atheist church because: (1) atheists do not need the psychological crutch that church provides, and (2) the idea of an atheist church gives ammunition to those who declare atheism as much of a religion as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc.
What do I think of the Sunday Assembly "atheist church" movement? I do not expect that it will endure. I anticipate that it will eventually die out once people get tired of mocking church-goers. It is not the first attempt to create an atheist "church" (see The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster), and it won't be the last.
An atheist church is ultimately meaningless because that is what atheism produces is meaninglessness. Let's break down the purpose statement of the Sunday Assembly movement.
"The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrates life." Life? What is life? We are nothing but somewhat evolved blobs of biological goop. Life is an illusion of random processes firing in such a way that they appear to produce a sentient creature.
"Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more." Live better? Better than what? Who gets to define what is better? "Better" is a relative and meaningless concept without an objective standard. Help? Why? Help another purposeless biological blob do what? Extend a meaningless life? Make an empty, vain, and pointless life slightly more enjoyable? Wonder? About what? Why? Wondering, i.e. thinking, is nothing but random and pointless electrical pulses traveling through a biological computer.
"Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential." Potential? For what? To die and return to the dust from which we purposelessly evolved over the course of the past 14 billion years?
If there is any sincerity to this atheist church movement, it is terribly misguided. For the Christian, it is not "singing awesome songs" or "hearing interesting talks" or "thinking about improving yourself" or "helping other people" that gives life meaning and purpose. An atheist can replicate the trappings of the church easily enough, but doing so will never solve the true problem. It will never fill the spiritual hole at the core of our being.
An atheist attending "church" and using its activities to fix the aching emptiness he/she feels is like a patient with terminal sickness thinking walking through the doors of a hospital will somehow cure the disease. And, to make matters worse, it is not even a real hospital. It is a cruel joke.
Truly, "The fool says in his heart, There is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1)
Tags: Church-Issues | Current-Issues | False-Teaching
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