Well as well--for families with children--if your child likes the free pizza and soda and playing billards on Sunday night with other kids--they don't particularly care about the philosophy being pushed, they just want the pizza.
Atheist communities have to take into account that it's not just the philosophy that Christians are pushing--it's the whole package. I have horrible memories from every church I've ever visited--even when I was trying very hard to be a good christian, I was treated like crap, so if my memories were rosy I may not have realized what bunk it was so early.
and you're right, if you want everyone to be an atheist you have to make atheism available for the common man via educational means and group gatherings--currently it's a lot to ask someone, especially women, to give up their entire social circle for a group of people who may not meet as much or provide as much social support.
My problem is that I don’t have any mothers groups that will include children for atheists.
Is this perhaps because atheists are thin on the group and tend to be produced by Universities – more specifically philosophy departments?
If all these groups were more inclusive and met the needs of mothers with children, then they could expand their numbers – and create a supportive and way more diverse community.
The way it’s currently set up is limiting.
The humanist group I attended didn’t want any children present, as they had a speaker – and it again was held late on a week day.
Anyway – this conversation so far has given me some confidence to confront my local group with more than just nice requests – I’m now going in for the kill with some critical thinking moral and ethical pertinent questions about the viability of their group.
You bring up many issues that our community fails to support – but church communities do – such as helping homelessness, counselling hotlines, supporting poor people, mental health problems and providing community space for sport or other communal sharing – such as fares or fun days or markets or family picnics.
A church historically did bring the community together – as did other more ancient religious practices.
I like the idea of Wiki – as it’s editable by anyone as far as I can work out… although it is also subject to religious suspension I would imagine – in that they might dispute our posts and put the site on hold?
I don’t know enough about it.
Would you be willing to find out about it and see if it’s appropriate for us to use it to post a ‘hand book’ of atheists?
I think I’m going to be lobbying my local group to broaden it’s horizons in terms of being inclusive – I think (inspired by Harris) that we have a moral obligation to ensure that atheism is available to all – not just the single white middle class male intellectual.
Thanks for your post. I think your notion of celebratory days is fabulous. I think what’s important is that the culture of the new atheists is broadened to include more basic needs – such as the need for celebration – and more diversity – such as women, non-intellectuals, ethnic minorities and so on.
It’s just a question of how to promote such a culture so that it has weight and it is universally adopted – creating meaning for us as a ‘people’?
The idea of story telling is fabulous and links in wonderfully with our human brains that are built to hear and remember stories.
We need an evolution day – the day that we celebrate our evolution into humans – the day we learn more about the nature of evolution.
We need a big bang day – when we learn about the origins of our universe. They can evolve as we learn more – unanswered questions can be included in the story – potential new findings can be included in the story regarding quantum mechanics and so on – but the overall effect will be that children learn these stories and start a tradition of telling their children.
I would especially like to have a day about critical thinking – as this is indeed a very useful skill – and weapon against supernatural indoctrination.
I really want us to develop these ideas further and come up with something. I do have 3 children and so don’t have all the; time in the world – but little by little we may be able to build something that’s worth while and even publishable in the future – if we can all add something it will build over time into a really good start.
Any ideas about how we might go about this process?
It might be like a company or foundation – where we have a vision and an aim and objectives to work from – and then evolve our mission.
For me it would be some sort of hand book that covers many aspects of our lives and looks to create a culture that is inclusive and based on scientific values.
LOL re wanting to be included – I think that single, white, middle class male intellectuals are very valuable assets to our ranks : )
But if we let the culture go its own course based on the needs of white middle class male intellectuals, other groups won’t flock to atheism because it lacks the form that can meet their needs.
Really interesting debate that takes me to the point that I use with theists: god (or paradise, or nirvana, or any trascendant religious concept) is an human need. Some people covers it with the big beard man, some we do... living!
I mean, I have hobbies, interests, valors, etc, and I don´t think that is because my lack of any god. Maybe here at Europe, or at my community, when we meet, hang out or party, god is not a subject of our conversations, usually.
Anyhow, a good atheist community would not hurt anybody, sure.
PS: I am single, white, middle class male intellectual :-)))