I am the founder of the Chicago Atheists & Agnostics Facebook fan page.

When we started the Chicago Atheists & Agnostics fan page earlier this year, we knew this was only going to be the first of many stepping stones. Our eventual goal was to build a brick-and-mortar foundation in Chicago for the thousands of freethinking individuals in the greater Chicagoland area.  We're now ready to take that next step.  Among the things we'd like to offer:

~ a place to meet, engage, socialize, and debate,
~ a support network for out-of-the-closet atheists and those who are still struggling to find their way through the mire of religion
~ a resource for all the small local atheist and agnostic groups out there to reach out and promote their activities
~ youth groups free of dogma
~ weekly seminars and discussions
~ a hub of secular education and information (books, DVDs, magazines, podcasts, websites, etc.)
~ localized, organized charitable giving without the backdrop of religious proselytizing

Blair Scott, of the American Atheists, spoke to us recently about the desperate need for organization within the freethinking community: to take the fellowship of the churches, synagogues, temples and mosques and translate it to a secular setting. If freethinkers are to have any voice in America, in politics, in the media, in our own communities, we need to stand together. It does not mean that we need to agree on everything; certainly the spectrum of ideas and opinions in the atheist community are wide. But we can all agree on one thing: there are no gods or, at the very most, the evidence for said gods is sorely lacking. This should not be what we focus on but it should be what allows us to come together.

A freethought center in Chicago would pave the way for other centers in other cities. It would also pave the way towards a larger acceptance of secular citizens. We have no delusions that the Windy City or the world at large will ever shed religion all together, but we can certainly make it known that, to other freethinkers, they're not alone and, to the rest of the world, that we're not the evil, shadowy hell-bound creatures that some make us out to believe.

So what can you do? What would we like you to do? We simply would like to hear from you and if you can offer your support (morally and/or financially), that's icing on the cake. If you have an opinion (and we know you do), we want to know it.

We're considering holding an informal meeting sometime early in the New Year and we would love for you all to come. Where and when is right now up for debate, what we're really interested in is how much interest we can muster. We can't do this alone nor would we want to do it alone. We need all the able-minded freethinkers we can find.

So, we're reaching out to you. If you're interested, please email us at chicago@atheist.com. Tell us about yourself, what skills you might bring to the table and when you'd be available to join us.

Happy Holidays,
Christian J Brooks
Chicago Atheists & Agnostics
chicago@atheist.com

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Replies to This Discussion

We just wanted to let everyone know that we'll be holding our first informal meeting regarding the Chicago Freethought Center Project next Saturday, February 19th at 10am on the top floor of the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago.  We welcome anyone who can make it; please let us know if you're interested in joining us!

Christian J Brooks
Chicago Atheists & Agnostics
chicago@atheist.com

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