One of the things that I sometimes wonder is how or if humanists should congregate in weekly ritual meetings akin to church meetings. The social bonding that churches create is one of religion's great attractors. I've met lots of people who go to church just to meet people and forge ties. Do any of you have thoughts on this matter or practice such a thing?

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I think that the social aspect of religion is what keeps it going. If Humanists could meet weekly, like religions, it might help us to spread the real good word. Also, religious people who are taught that we are evil could maybe see that we're normal people, we don't sacrifice children or animals. It would also help people who feel like they are the only secular person they know. I've been fortunate to find a circle of close secular friends, but most people don't have that, and I can tell you that it does help. I think social networking sites like this could be a good start though.
I've only heard of the UU the past few weeks, but when I first started going to the atheist meetups they told me about the ethical society, have you ever went there? I think as atheists one of the things we miss out on would be the social function of church, and I would really like it. but the idea that the UU and the ethical society are like church really kind of turns me off to it... a catch 22 I guess...
If someone held a gun to my head and told me I had to pick a religion I would probably pick UU. I've never attended services at a unitarian church, but in the little bit of research I've done on them, it seems that they have taken out a majority of the supernatural crap, and the mythology of religion. They seem to just want to provide a good moral compass for people, which I like, although I don't feel I need that. The social aspect of it is appealing though.
In a way it reminds me of the thoughtless anarchist who said "we should get organized." Most of us who have cut through the nonsense of groupthink don't want an imitation of an institution that we have been happy enough to escape, assuming that we have. Bob
I thought anarchists were people who were against organization, or laws, rules etc. if I am wrong could you please correct me?
Around the time I hit puberty my father suggested that I go to church to meet girls. Ya, no dad, the god shit bugs me as much as it always bugged you. There were girls in the Sea Cadets though, and guns! The ritualistic gathering of people has been a great builder of bridges between peoples throughout our short history on our little blue ball. One can find traces of such gathering places on all continents (except Antarctica, of course), as very obvious evidence that we are social animals.
So, I think that this is probably a good idea.
I think meeting is a good thing. I've been to a UU church a couple of times years ago, and it wasn't my cup of tea. There was a lot of ritualistic stuff that I felt completely silly participating in like singing, lighting candles, sharing my thanks and grievances, etc. If I found the right group, I would go.

It would have to go something like this -

Welcome - introduce new members
Notes of the Day - meetings, volunteer opportunities, cancellations, etc.
Member News - such and such had a baby, so and so died, member opened a new business, house burned down, etc.
Message (like a sermon, without the religious stuff)
Open Forum - Responses to the message of the day
Coffee & Tea - social hour
I really like the idea of an open forum, it would really set it apart from religion because at church you're told what to do and you don't get a chance to question it or offer your thoughts.
Yeah. An open discussion prevents the "clergy" from having too much power which is another thing that I find objectionable about religion. The leader shouldn't be someone who has authority over others. He or she should be more like a facilitator.
I like the outline! Sounds perfect. (add in the pot lucks and stuff too... but that is great for the weekly - maybe bi-weekly? - meeting).
I have gone to Quaker meetings and enjoyed its openness...sitting quietly until feeling moved to speak. I went to several following the World Trade Center bombings because of the Quaker emphasis on peace and personal ethics in the here and now. Though I certainly don't believe in the "inner light" as a gift from God or an aspect of the deity, I find that a community that invites its members to voice their ethical, moral, and emotional concerns to be validating and (at least on the face of it) good. In fact, my wife and I included a section in our wedding where anyone was invited to speak to the moment and it was very moving. It's also so democratic as to invite more thought and discussion later.
It's nice too to not have clergy, but an organizing group. I might check out the local UUs too.
Yes, definitely, we need to stake out our place in society and form supportive communities. It's always bugged me how there are thousands of religious organizations, many of them small but nevertheless are able to assemble and fund an institution, yet we humanists hardly have anything.

Terminology: I think we should call them "Humanist community centers" rather than churches or congregations. Also, humanists call it a "Life Stance" rather than religion.

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