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Nontheistic Religion

This is a group those interested in fomenting nontheistic religion. If we want a world without supernaturalism, we're going to have to meet the basic human need for religion by creating and maintaining religion without the supernatural.

Members: 14
Latest Activity: Oct 13, 2013

Discussion Forum

Nontheistic Religions that are already out there.

Started by BilLee Miller. Last reply by Brian Bors Aug 16, 2011. 23 Replies

This is a place to list nontheistic religions that are already out there.  We can discuss their relative strengths and weaknesses and how they may be improved.

Tags: culture, freethinking, society, nontheistic, philosophy

Quotes from famous nontheists calling for a nontheistic religion.

Started by BilLee Miller. Last reply by Brian Bors Apr 20, 2011. 3 Replies

I decided to start a discussion tracking quotes from famous nontheists calling for a nontheistic religion. I'll add one to get started and feel free to add others.

Tags: philosophy, religion, Nontheist, Famous, Quotes

The Varieties of Religious Experience

Started by Mister Harvey. Last reply by Mister Harvey Jun 10, 2010. 11 Replies

I am about to begin reading William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience. I borrowed the book from the library but it is available online here:…Continue

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Comment by Annie Neri on November 12, 2012 at 3:28pm

Hi all.  New to AN, but not to the topic as described by your board.  There is such a need for an outlet for people to gather together for fellowship that is not defined by supernatural entitites.  I find myself yearning for a group of people to gather together with to share a casserole and an evening of chatter but the only options available are typically the local church.  I've been tempted many a time to put on my sheep's clothing and join a congregation that I could hide my identity from just so that I could participate in that basic social need to be accepted by a group of one's peers.  But it always comes down to the example that I'd be setting for my daughter who should know my firm beliefs in the lack of a God UP THERE.  Why should I have to pretend to be something I'm not to have fellowship?

Comment by Blue Stocking on September 22, 2011 at 5:42am
It is possible to get together and celebrate the good things that churches do while steering clear of hierarchy, money and power issues. This is not new - many groups survive without that, including some religious groups that I actually admire from the point of view of their genuineness. Atheists who want to be too individualistic miss the point that we are a tribal and highly social species. Not all atheists want to express themselves by negativity and swearing at religious people, and getting together also focusses people for atheist activism. Not every group of people coming together will end up a cult. But angry young atheists often don't think about others - like the next generation needing inspiration to things, and lonely older people. They are selfish in nature. If the very  essence and nature of the group is encouraging skepticism and rationalism, there is not much chance of anyone being exploited, it's where vulnerable and easily influenced people get together with demented faith in cult leaders that problems arise. And if there are no Thou shalt/shalt not's, where is the problem? And if people have fun and do good community deeds together instead of having to do them through religious organisations who then get all the kudos and further power???? I believe the NTCoF is doing a great job very successfully. Good on them. Ivy - I wish you were here, you sound like just the family for us!
Comment by Blue Stocking on September 22, 2011 at 5:26am
Non-theistic religion seems to be on the rise - from the Texas Church of Freethought has come other freethought churches, 2 so far in Australia, and much discussion and interest being manifested. People do like to have a supportive community and be encouraged to be positive and engaged, no use throwing the baby out with the bathwater! Please see my Canberra Church of Freethought group - new to Nexus, we have around 30 members here in Canberra.
Comment by Ivy Bickl on April 28, 2011 at 10:43pm

Hi there! I, myself do feel the need for fellowship or organization for me and my family. A place for like minded people to do group activites, so they aren't socially cut-off. Polls consistently show that some 10% of Americans don't feel an affinity for any of the traditional faith-based religious denominations. Yet these people have the same social, emotional, and other "spiritual" needs as everyone else. They are also concerned with such important principles as justice, honesty, right living, and the promotion of these values in the larger society. But the great majority of the unchurched have found it difficult to reconcile their views on these important subjects and their knowledge of the natural world with what nearly all religious organizations expect their members to believe on faith.

Whether they think of themselves as atheists, agnostics, humanists, doubters, skeptics, freethinkers, or something else, these individuals have found themselves excluded from traditional church life in America. As a result, many have felt isolated and unsupported in their conscientiously declining to accept belief in the supernatural. Meanwhile, the faith-based churches have enjoyed a near-monopoly in providing their members with a sense of community and a ready source of personal, emotional, and social enrichment and support.

Up until now, unbelievers have had little choice but to remain alone. A few have chosen to compromise their principles, convincing themselves that their honest doubts just aren't that important. Sadly, many of these people are individuals and couples with children who have been made to feel that religious indoctrination is somehow necessary to the moral development of their offspring.

  I truly feel a huge need for local groups or fellowships to be formed for us. Especially those of us with families. Good works can also be done by these groups. I have seen many on Meetup.com but locally for me the group is so huge, that I choose not to join because for one it isn't for my town but a neighboring big city. And 2, that I feel it would be hard to forming meaningful bonds in a group that is so large we might be lost amongst them. We really do need to take it more locally, and meet up in smaller fellowships, off the internet in person.

Comment by Vangelis Stamatopoulos on October 24, 2010 at 1:40am
Interesting group. I'm not sure if you're looking at discussing current non-theistic religions that already exist. I have a blog post that examines the way Buddhists are excluded from atheism in Australia so thought it might be relevant to this group. You can read more here.
Comment by Rudy Ruddell on June 21, 2010 at 11:30pm
Regarding the need for religion, I think someone may be confusing the human need for religion with the human proclivity for anthropomorphizing everything. Evolution favored humans who interpreting everything as a threat from which to be defended so that we would be prepared for attacks from predators. Because of this human tendency, we see faces in the stars and our environment is interpreted to be from a being. Here is a good video explaining the phenomenon:
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_sh...

I think that any other need for religion is just the need for fellowship with like minded people like can be found on-line with other atheists and in person through "Meet-up."
Comment by BilLee Miller on June 21, 2010 at 9:42pm
I'm not trying to convert atheists that disagree with me. I'm trying to find the range of nontheists (including atheists) that agree on this subject. Most of my converts were previously heading in a new age direction before I reached them. They were attached to religion and they thought that meant they had to accept supernaturalism to have religion too. I gave them interpretation of their mental phenomena rooted usually in neuropsychology and over time they were happy to part with the supernaturalism.
Comment by BilLee Miller on June 21, 2010 at 9:00pm
Okay. Allow me to go ahead and make the firm statement. "Dogma is bad."
Comment by BilLee Miller on May 20, 2010 at 3:05pm
The Supreme Court that overruled was the Supreme Court of Texas in case that wasn't clear.
Comment by BilLee Miller on May 20, 2010 at 3:04pm
Nontheistic religions such as pantheism would not have the same difficulty getting tax-exempt status as non-profit educational atheist organizations. The First Pantheist Church would be considered a religion with all the incumbent benefits.

This is what the North Texas Church of Freethought has to say about it's tax-exempt status:

"According to the IRS’s Form 1023, Application for Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, churches "may be considered tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) even if they do not file Form 1023. Accordingly, we, like many other churches, have not sought – and under the law do not need to seek – formal IRS approval of our status as a tax-exempt organization.
Moreover, the NTCOF meets, without question, the IRS criteria of a church as outlined in their Form 1023. On page 23 of Form 1023, it is stated that: "The IRS maintains two basic guidelines in determining that an organization meets the religious purposes test: 1) That the particular religious beliefs of the organization are truly and sincerely held, and 2) That the practices and rituals associated with the organization's religious beliefs or creed are not illegal or contrary to clearly defined public policy." In addition, "1) The organization's activities in furtherance of its beliefs must be exclusively religious, and 2) An organization will not qualify for exemption if it has a substantial nonexempt purpose of serving the private interests of its founder or the founder's family." The NTCOF easily meets all of these criteria.
Our status with the State of Texas, however, has been an interesting story. The Texas State Comptroller denied an application from the Ethical Society of Austin (ESA) for tax-exempt church status in 1997 because the group did not "worship a Supreme Being." We were also denied tax-exempt status by the state of Texas a few months later with it being asserted by the Comptroller’s office that the NTCOF "appears to be a discussion or social group rather than a religious organization." An appeal made on our behalf by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State was also rejected. However, the Texas Supreme court ruled that the Comptroller cannot dictate what churches must believe or disbelieve, and in May 2006, the Texas State Comptroller granted our application for tax exemption as a religious organization."


It is worth noting that the Texas Comptroller had already tried the same thing on Unitarian Universalist Churches in Texas being overruled by the Supreme Court.

I think the word atheist is problematic because it is a negative. It doesn't define so much what is being stood for as what is being stood against. Thus defining things positively helps such as freethought, pantheism, free will, individualism, discord, etc.
 

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