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  1. On some days, I feel that Dewitt is a Trojan sent by the opposition to destroy atheism from the inside. On other days, I think: what the heck, some atheists probably still need to be weaned off religion and if Dewitt can help them with that, good luck to him/them. On yet other days, I think: screw it; it takes all kinds to be an atheist and, in any case, atheism simply means a lack of a belief in a deity and, beyond that, anything is yet possible – including “pseudo-churches” such as Dewitt’s. On other says still, I think: Dewitt spent most of his life learning the art of Barking Up the Wrong Tree; having discovered his error and lost his job, he still needs to pay his bills; so why not let him bark up the (Correct) Tree for barking is what he does best! Which is all to say: I’m not yet sure what to make of this guy; or, I’m thinking wayyy too much about Dewitt.

  2. Is it me, or is this the dumbest shit you’ve ever heard? Seriously, do people really need to mimic these christian sheep and their dogma? Is it the un-fellowship that they miss? Sunday mornings just not the same since you gave up god? Sleep in, try the cartoon channel, anything. Quit being dumb-asses.You probably should have just stayed being christians or whatever. Un-F’in-believable. Actually, this is living proof that you can be a moron AND an atheist. You little black sheep have fun with all that.

    • In reply to #2 by fishhead:

      Is it me, or is this the dumbest shit you’ve ever heard? Seriously, do people really need to mimic these christian sheep and their dogma? Is it the un-fellowship that they miss? Sunday mornings just not the same since you gave up god? Sleep in, try the cartoon channel, anything. Quit being dumb-asse…

      Atheists will be getting a bad name :-)

  3. What’s this? Is Jerry being charged with apostasy by commenters here? What irony.

    In my opinion, we’ll see the real fruit after a few years. I think Jerry would end up providing more people with the support & network to leave religion than most of the armchair commenters here.

    • In reply to #3 by adiroth:

      What’s this? Is Jerry being charged with apostasy by commenters here? What irony.

      In my opinion, we’ll see the real fruit after a few years. I think Jerry would end up providing more people with the support & network to leave religion than most of the armchair commenters here.

      What we’ll see is how big his bank account gets. And it won’t be from us “armchair commentators”. Support, really? You be sure to enjoy yourself, ’cause it sounds like you’ll fit in perfectly.

  4. I don’t need it a “church” but sometimes I miss meetings and talks with people – who think the same way. So it’s probably a good Idea. I’m living in a pretty catholic area – and I know some people who are “cultural catholic”, but if you ask them: “Do you belive in god” – they say “no”. Maybe such churches are a nice alternative for them…

  5. Didn’t someone once say that getting atheists together would be like herding cats?! I guess this might suit some folk.Going to church,I mean,not herding cats.Wouldn’t suit me.Id much rather sleep in.Hope Jerry doesn’t fall into the old routine and preach a real sermon!

  6. And this is how it starts, within a few generation this will be a fully fledged religion, dogma and all.

    I think all this need for an atheist church will come back and bite us on the backside.

    • In reply to #11 by veggiemanuk:

      And this is how it starts, within a few generation this will be a fully fledged religion, dogma and all.

      I think all this need for an atheist church will come back and bite us on the backside.

      Well, it didn’t happen with the unitarians, or the quakers. They have remained dogma-free since their inception.

  7. I suspect churchlike services or gatherings appeal to some personality types more than to others, and atheists are of all possible personality types. Even among Christians there are those who go regularly to church and are involved in the parish and there are those who go to church only for weddings and funerals. It will be interesting to see what these new godless assemblies develop into, if they become established as long-term communities. Human values and concerns will have to be at the heart of what such assemblies promote, so it may make more sense to think of them as emerging humanistic, rather than atheistic, communities (though of course they comprise atheistic humanists), because atheism is no reason for people to gather and celebrate or discuss anything. They come together, those who are so inclined, for reasons of their common humanity.

  8. I might use an analogy. What Jerry is doing is akin to methadone to help people off heroin. He offers them something not so addictive but at least a little like the addictive experience, or at least familiar. I would expect over time people would pull away and meet over a full spectrum of interests.

    Jerry is in essence a preachifier. He is looking for some way to continue to exercise those skills. He is trying to create something for ex-Christians, not something for dyed-in-the-wool atheists.

    • In reply to #14 by Roedy:

      I might use an analogy. What Jerry is doing is akin to methadone to help people off heroin. He offers them something not so addictive but at least a little like the addictive experience, or at least familiar. I would expect over time people would pull away and meet over a full spectrum of interests…

      I think a person can be both a died-in-the-wool atheist and an ex-Christian.

      • In reply to #35 by Sara:

        In reply to #14 by Roedy:

        I might use an analogy. What Jerry is doing is akin to methadone to help people off heroin. He offers them something not so addictive but at least a little like the addictive experience, or at least familiar. I would expect over time people would pull away and meet over a…

        I like the methadone analogy. But from what I know, and I’ve known a couple of people hooked on the methadone clinics routine, All that business is nothing more than making money. The last thing they actually want is for you to be cured. It’s all in the money. So yeah, that sounds like a perfect analogy.

  9. Don’t get it,maybe because I was never religious in the first place so I didn’t have to go through loosing my belief,or maybe because I’m not really into joining clubs.And can someone tell me why half my text is in red I can’t seem to get rid of it no matter what i try.

    • In reply to #15 by joby44:

      Dont get it,maybe because I was never religious in the first place so I didnt have to go through loosing my belief,or maybe because Im not really into joining clubs.And can someone tell me why half my text is in red I cant seem to get rid of it.

      I assume you’ve tried this but if not try emptying the cache in your browser and then restarting the browser and if that doesn’t work try restarting the router and the computer. This is a weird problem.

    • Mods’ message

      We have been able to remove the strange formatting from two comments on the site today by editing them to remove particular characters that had been used in them. In the first instance, the problem was solved when we removed the leading spaces which the user had inserted in order to indent their comment. In your case, we removed the non-standard character you were using instead of regular apostrophes, and replaced it with the normal ‘.

      The mods

      In reply to #15 by joby44:

      Don’t get it,maybe because I was never religious in the first place so I didn’t have to go through loosing my belief,or maybe because I’m not really into joining clubs.And can someone tell me why half my text is in red I can’t seem to get rid of it no matter what i try.

      • Thank you for pointing out my mistake.It only happens on this site,so I couldn’t figure out the problem.

        Mods’ message

        We have been able to remove the strange formatting from two comments on the site today by editing them to remove particular characters that had been used in them. In the first instance, the problem was solved when we removed the leading spaces which the user had inserted in order to i…

  10. In reply to #9 by aroundtown:

    Ah, now I see the connection. A true believer in “the gathering” it seems. It’s fine that you seem to care very much for this type of gathering but leave the rest of us that could careless out of it please.

    To be fair, nobody invited you. Do you think you’re so precious?

    • In reply to #19 by adiroth:

      In reply to #9 by aroundtown:

      Ah, now I see the connection. A true believer in “the gathering” it seems. It’s fine that you seem to care very much for this type of gathering but leave the rest of us that could careless out of it please.

      To be fair, nobody invited you. Do you think you’re so precio…

      To be fair. #9′s opinion is as relevant as yours. My earlier opinion, which got ‘moderated’ into oblivion, I wasn’t charging Dwitt with anything but being a hack. Apostasy ‘a defection or revolt’. I still don’t understand your reference.

      • In reply to #38 by fishhead:

        To be fair. #9′s opinion is as relevant as yours. My earlier opinion, which got ‘moderated’ into oblivion, I wasn’t charging Dwitt with anything but being a hack. Apostasy ‘a defection or revolt’. I still don’t understand your reference.

        I apologize for being too cryptic, but I was satirizing the idea of an atheist orthodoxy, you know, since religious people often accuse atheism of being a religion. Anyway, I assume a lot of people would agree that there is no prescribed way how an atheist should behave. In my opinion, the atheist label is just a convenient device used to describe anyone who does not believe in God & gods despite whatever creed, philosophy, ideology, culture, skill and passion they possess. So, atheists are really a varied bunch, and to reiterate, no one, not even self-proclaimed atheists should be able to say what is the right behaviour for atheists.

        Skepticism, for example, is a quality a lot of atheists have, but do all atheists have to be a skeptic? Even if so, then to what degree and who’s setting the rules? (this is a rhetorical question by the way)

        • In reply to #40 by adiroth:

          In reply to #38 by fishhead:

          To be fair. #9′s opinion is as relevant as yours. My earlier opinion, which got ‘moderated’ into oblivion, I wasn’t charging Dwitt with anything but being a hack. Apostasy ‘a defection or revolt’. I still don’t understand your reference.

          I apologize for being too crypt…

          Thanks Man! Appreciate your feedback. If atheist do try and organize into a religion. I’ll bail out like a rat off a sinking ship. As far as the behavior thing, I always thought the ‘golden rule’ was all the rules anybody needed. Simple and to the point. “Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    • In reply to #24 by Moderator:

      Mods’ message

      This site is for the rational, thoughtful discussion of different points of view. Please don’t snarl at users who take a different stance from you.
      Thank you.

      The mods

      Well said the Mods. Rock on!

  11. Very interesting, this thing called human nature. I read the mod’s post about snarling at other users, and when I realized it wasn’t ME doing the snarling, I wanted to read the thread. Damn, this is pretty tame, I was hoping to eavesdrop on some real dogfighting.

    I will add my two cents (not my snarl)… I think that there are at least two issues here.
    One is the dislike that some of us have for religious ritual and the time drain it seems to be.
    The other is the fact that an atheist does not see and compelling evidence for the existence of god.

    Two separate things that are twisted together by this post. It ends up being polarizing, but with effective communication and (as always) effective definition of terms, I think snarling should be avoidable.

  12. I have never been religious, I have been to two church services in my entire life, but I have come to appreciate the social atmosphere of a church. None of the atheist meetup groups have been able to create that feeling, I’m hoping these Sunday Meetings can. I will agree they are not for everybody, and I don’t blame them. Some atheists had such a bad experience with organized religion that anything close to it triggers an intense dislike. I will be the first to admit that if these meetings don’t pass my make sense test I will leave.

  13. From what I can see, Jerry is providing a detoxifying experience. The BBC’s Thought for the Day, on Radio 4, has been doing it for years. Supposedly a religious 5 minutes just before 8 in the morning, “God” hardly ever gets a mention. Even in the 60s the presenters were a bit shame faced about their beliefs, always tied in with “good works”, “caring” and other human attributes, dealing with picking up the debris left by their “all loving” Creator of the universe.

    If Jerry’s “congregation” feel it’s worthwhile shelling out a few bucks to hire the hall, then good luck to them. Surely better than being preached to, in tongues, by a snake handler ?

  14. After the Lutheran/Calvinist reformation, certain sects, Presbyterians, Quakers, Congregationalists, Baptists, abolished the concept of church, to free the individual to worship and serve God directly, at least in theory. They took the church out of God. Now atheists are taking God out of the church. Heaven help us!

  15. I might go hear him talk. I think it would be enjoyable. He seems like a really nice man. Now, joining something…not my thing. I’m one of those unherdable cats, I guess.

    I think he has something to offer a particular type of person. To each their own and I think that’s wonderful.

  16. An ‘atheist church’ isn’t something I would be interested in.
    But unless someone can provide a convincing argument to the contrary, I don’t think that it’s doing any harm to anyone.
    If people are enjoying it, why should it be opposed? There seemed to be a huge crowd at Dewitt’s event.
    Can anyone suggest a good argument against it?

  17. In reply to #31 by aroundtown:

    Your response to my post is telling but I will not lower myself to name calling. I pointed out quite clearly what I think about these gatherings and this is not the first time that you have been offended by my position. You are more than welcome to participate in these meetings but please do not expect or demand that others should care. This does give me an opportunity to fix my earlier post though, it should have been (care less) and not (careless).

    As to my being able to post here, I do not need your permission and I have been here for awhile. I am just another complicated monkey from the troop with an opinion and I will be keeping it.

    Never in a millions years would I ever tell anyone how to think and what to care about. However, I have to set the records straight whenever I see it necessary. Actually, what I replied to was the assumption that Jerry’s group (which I am not affiliated with in any way) or I, have any interest in “converting” you when there is no evidence of it whatsoever.

    You posted:

    Ah, now I see the connection. A true believer in “the gathering” it seems. It’s fine that you seem to care very much for this type of gathering but leave the rest of us that could careless out of it please.

    Then I posted:

    To be fair, nobody invited you. Do you think you’re so precious?

    Perhaps it might be unclear to some, but what I was saying was that Jerry was not making any attempts to evangelize or preach in any way, so, you’re not even invited to his congregation, how could you then even assume that he’s out to change your mind or make you care about it?

    If you thought that I am telling you to stop posting, then you’re mistaken. I believe in freedom of speech and also fairness. So, if you can dish it, then you have to be able to take it.

  18. Yeah, I’m not too happy about this turn of events either. I’m afraid this really is turning Atheism into a religion and that cannot end well. My lizard brain squirms into conspiracy mode too sometimes when I think about this. I’d feel a lot better if Jerry just went and got a real job like everyone else and left the ministry behind. One thing I picked up from a past life in the church; the least trustworthy of the bunch was the preacher.

  19. Not too keen on this. When politicians change their convictions (and sometimes their parties) they should do the respectable thing and retire from politics. There is nothing wrong in asking for peoples votes, then later admitting that you were wrong. But it is unseemly and undignified to return to the hustings in a new guise. Likewise the ex-religious. Incidentally, we already have atheist churches. They are commonly known as pubs.

    • In reply to #42 by BroughtyBoy:

      Not too keen on this. When politicians change their convictions (and sometimes their parties) they should do the respectable thing and retire from politics. There is nothing wrong in asking for peoples votes, then later admitting that you were wrong. But it is unseemly and undignified to return to…

      Are pubs the only atheist churches, or can there be others?

  20. Yeah guys, this was quite a can of worms. I’m still of the opinion that religious dogma is the last thing I’m interested in as an atheist. Hell, I don’t really care if you’re the most religious person on the planet, as long as you don’t try to push that nonsense on me. I ain’t buyin’. I realize that I’m a bit fanatical about my views, but being born during the baptist inquisition (joke) has made me a bit sensitive about the freedom to think just whatever I want without oppression from without. Peace out!

  21. I can just see it now…..Atheist minister shows up on FFRF’s Black Collar Blotter.

    This topic reminds me of a parallel process that happens to a lot of alcoholics. Shortly after they get sober they become enamored with their vast experience with what it’s like to be an alcoholic and how exquisitely equipped they are to go out and save other alcoholics so a lot of them become therapists and counselors. Most return to the bottle.

    • In reply to #50 by ThruTraffic:

      I can just see it now…..Atheist minister shows up on FFRF’s Black Collar Blotter.

      This topic reminds me of a parallel process that happens to a lot of alcoholics. Shortly after they get sober they become enamored with their vast experience with what it’s like to be an alcoholic and how exquisitely equipped they are to go out and save other alcoholics so a lot of them become therapists and counselors. Most return to the bottle….

      And those who don’t become excellent therapists.

      by the way, where’s your evidence for saying “most return to the bottle”?

  22. In reply to #47 by aroundtown:

    In reply to #36 by Sara:

    In reply to #11 by veggiemanuk:

    And this is how it starts, within a few generation this will be a fully fledged religion, dogma and all.

    I think all this need for an atheist church will come back and bite us on the backside.

    Well, it didn’t happen with the unitarians, or…

    This is my 3rd attempt at responding to this. For some reason, it won’t post.

    The “atheist church” needn’t be a “gathering to disbelief” – just a gathering of people who have non-belief in common. Ever been to an atheist conference? There is a real a “gathering to disbelief” and I haven’t heard any fear of dogma coming from it.

    • In reply to #52 by Sara:

      Hi Sara

      Don’t know why your comment wouldn’t originally post, but the strange formatting when it did appear was due to the spaces you’d (presumably) inserted in order to indent your paragraphs. If you leave those out in future comments, at least the formatting should work properly. Hope that helps.

      The mods

  23. This seems like a recovery program and could be called Religious Anonymous.The dangerous part is that many people will begin to call this a religion instead of a support group. I guess that ex-preacher can’t get any other kind of job so if this experiment works maybe there’s hope afterall in the American bible belt.

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