In November, I wrote a post concerning the growing popularity of the Sunday Assembly events for atheists and complaints about the media labeling these events, that happen on Sundays, as a church. To go along with the church motif now a disagreement about the direction of the Assemblies have lead to the press labeling it a schism. It just goes back to my concern about Sunday Assemblies creating confusion and diluting our positive secular message by wrapping it up in warmed over religious packaging.
The Associated Press had a wire story on November 10th about the rising popularity of an atheist gathering called the Sunday Assembly. The AP report referred to it as a “mega-church”. A collective panic in the atheist movement screeched about how it wasn’t a church and how dare anyone call it that. However, If you look like a church, act like a church, and meet on a Sunday then don’t get upset when the religious majority think you are a church. This is a prime example of why using warmed over religious terms or activities and in the case of the Sunday Assembly, avoiding talking about atheism can cause confusion and hurt the atheist movement in the long term.
Last week, I complained about why I have issues when Humanists use religious words for non-religious activities – like forming ‘congregation’ or meeting in a ‘church’. I spent time ranting about it but I didn’t really expand on why ‘community’ is a better label and why using warmed over religious terms is not productive for Humanists. I wrote an essay over at my iHumanism blog where I talk about that aspect of the issue.
Once again my pet peeve scab has been plucked. A Humanist leader is profiled on the CNN website talking about forming warmed over religious services he calls ‘congregations’. This is my pet peeve because I don’t care for using religious terms with new definitions. It is being abstruse in the least and at most dishonest. A church or congregation without god is not something I need and I wish we would get media coverage that shows how Humanism is totally different than theism.
While out and about today I came across the following sign outside a local church:
In case you can’t read the text, it reads “Free Trips To Heaven Details Inside”
The words could be interpreted more than one way. The first way is you can get to Heaven by going to church (which is probably the intent), the other way is funny to me. You go inside the church and they will kill you for free.