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Atheist congregation meets every Sunday morning to discuss how they've rejected organized religion

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posted on May, 22 2009 @ 12:23 AM
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/A lack of religion, is a lack of religion... not "doing the same thing as religion and calling it a different name so nobody will notice... I hope."

Parents gather to nurture nonbelief


By YONAT SHIMRON - McClatchy Newspapers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- On Sunday mornings, when many of their contemporaries are taking their seats in church pews, a group of young parents mingle in the living room of a suburban home while their children run around playing games.

This congregation of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., triangle residents has no creed or ceremony, just a desire to get together and offer each other support for rearing children without religion. Taking their cue from a primer of the same name, they call themselves Parenting Beyond Belief, and they meet nearly every Sunday, in a city park, an indoor playground or in people's homes.

Americans unaffiliated with any particular faith have grown faster than any religious group according to two recent surveys of the U.S. religious landscape. These "unaffiliated" have doubled in the past 20 years and now account for 16 percent of the population.

Increasingly, they are vocal about their nonbelief and eager to speak out about it.

"No one should be alone in their disbelief," said Keri Rush, 40, of Wake Forest, N.C.

Not everyone in the group is an atheist. Some prefer to call themselves "freethinkers" or "humanists," or "spiritual but not religious." Some are even believers. But they share a disdain for organized religion and a desire to rear their children with the tools to think for themselves.

Answering questions:

These parents know what it's like to fumble for the right answer to questions such as "Why don't we go to church?" and "Is God real?" and they want to share their responses with like-minded parents.

For example, when 6-year-old Evan Spiering announced one day that "God created the world," his father, Todd Spiering, answered, "Grandpa believes that. Some people believe other things."

Spiering, 31, a self-employed carpenter who hosted the gathering Sunday, said he wants his three children to question and probe.

"We don't have to act like we have it all figured out," Spiering said. "I'm more comfortable not knowing."

Only Minneapolis had a parenting group for nonbelievers when Dale McGowan, the Atlanta-based author of "Parenting Beyond Belief," set out to write his book three years ago. Today, there are at least 32 nationwide by his count - the Raleigh chapter being among the most active. A father of three children, McGowan said the idea for the book came to him when his son began asking questions. "I felt like I was shooting in the dark and needed guidance," he said.

Though only the Raleigh group takes its name from the book, the parenting groups consist of families wanting some kind of community to replace the religious one they left behind or grew up without. At last count, 71 people were on the e-mail list.

This group also wants to provide their children the opportunity to be with children from similar homes. On Sunday, parents ladled a cheesy chicken soup into bowls, while the children noshed on crackers, tortilla chips or sandwiches.

Atheism coming out:

It's not always easy being an atheist. A 2008 Gallup poll found that only Scientologists fared worse than atheists in the public's views. Both groups ranked at the bottom of the favorability list. Those attitudes are more hardened in the South, where polls show more people identify as religious than in any other part of the country.

"Where I work, I'm not really out as an atheist," Bruce Harris, 36, a graphic designer who lives in Cary, said during the gathering Sunday. "My boss assumes that everyone around him has some religion. It doesn't occur to him that there are atheists."

The group, Harris said, provides him an opportunity to be himself. "You don't have to walk on eggshells," he said.

A spate of books by atheists has helped ease some of the loneliness. Best-selling books such as Christopher Hitchens' "God is Not Great" and Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" have lent some respectability to nonbelievers, and at the least made their existence better known.

But members of the parenting group said they are not as strident as these writers. The Triangle is also home to several atheist groups, including one organized-like the parenting group - at www.meetup.com.

Several parents said they preferred the company of the nonreligious parent group. Whereas atheists are defined by what they don't believe, members of this group want to be known for their desire to raise caring, responsible, ethical children.

"People think if you don't believe in God you have no morals," said Niki Ashmont, a social worker from Zebulon who attended Sunday. "That's just not the case."

SOURCE:www.ledger-enquirer.com...




posted on May, 22 2009 @ 12:38 AM
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I think that is a good idea. It helps the kids to explore many possibilities. And to show them that the parents don't know everything.

This can give the kids more power and choices to think and believe on their own.

It will be interesting to see how it develop.



"People think if you don't believe in God you have no morals," said Niki Ashmont, a social worker from Zebulon who attended Sunday. "That's just not the case."


This is just too funny.
I won't comment.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 12:48 AM
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I would imagine the situation is simular to how the early Christian churches had their start. History does repeat it's self doesn't it?



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 12:57 AM
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I think it's hilarious how people criticise "organised" religion. Any religion becomes somewhat "organised" when two or more people get together to discuss their commonalities or try to apply any structure around it whatsoever. Even if one person writes down their beliefs in a categorical manner and starts to examine causation or ethics, it becomes somewhat "organised".

So "unorganised" religion or spirituality is really just a vague collection of ideas that haven't been analysed or examined or discussed in any meaningful way. Sounds pretty nebulous and useless in my mind.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 01:05 AM
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reply to post by Roark
 


I think a Nietzche quote is appropriate here:

Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Which bespeaks to me of the human tendency to become simular to what he hates if he doesn't watch it.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 01:15 AM
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reply to post by Roark
 


I do understand you point.

However, when people hear the term "organized religion", they think about Catholic Church or fundamental Christian Church.

It denotes a hierarchical organization where there is a leader and all others controlling others. It influences politics and social.

This is a group of people who discusses experiences and throw around different ideas and allow ideas to grow or change. Much like scientists would do.

Go to any organized religion and you will not see ideas grow or change.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 01:28 AM
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reply to post by Deaf Alien
 


How do you think such organizations as what you are talking in the first part of your post begin?

[edit on 22-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 01:38 AM
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It does make me laugh when atheists claim they aren't an organized religion, but this sounds pretty organized to me. I respect their beliefs, but I meet to many of them that are obviously "atheists" to make their parents mad. I'm not part of any organized religion that is out there, whether it is a a god religion one or non god religion. I got my own beliefs that I keep to myself, but it is still amusing watching both sides argue. I do kind of favor the atheist side of the arguements most of the time because they are typically more open to rational discussion than lets say most christians, muslims, etc. without getting upset.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 01:43 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


Bravo to OP!! This made me laugh!!


How can it be so many of them, and not one of them noticed!!?? Nice of some who replied here and noticed



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 01:47 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 




How do you think such organizations as what you are talking in the first part of your post begin?


I anticipate that question. That's a good question.

But like I said, it's like a group of scientists discussing ideas and theories together. Sure you'll see religions and cults forming, but the ideas and theories always grow. This computer and internet are proofs of that.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 01:59 AM
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Originally posted by Darth Lumina
It does make me laugh when atheists claim they aren't an organized religion, but this sounds pretty organized to me.


In case you didnt know:

ATHEISM is not a religion. This may be organized atheism, but it aint organized RELIGON.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:09 AM
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reply to post by Daniem
 


Yes, I agree.

If a kid asked his parents why the sky was blue. Christian parents would say it's because God created it that way.

A scientist (not necessarily an atheist) would say its because of Rayleigh scattering. Which kid learn faster? Which has more imagination? Which has more possibilities?

I understand the aversion to the word atheism, but which allow more truth in? Truth organize itself. Religious people organize their own beliefs and religions.

Maybe we should call it "organized truth"?



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:36 AM
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reply to post by Daniem
 


Sorry to rain on your parade but, anything can be a religion.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:38 AM
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A church of Atheism? Now THAT'S something I'd gladly tithe 10% of my wages to.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:38 AM
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Unless an aetheist has pursued the scriptures, history, and science exhaustively and has finally come to a conclusion that there's no God then that aetheist is simply a sheeple of aetheism.

One cannot be an advocate of one side by basic surface comparison. You have to study them exhaustively side by side before making any conclusions.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:40 AM
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reply to post by Deaf Alien
 


Organized truth you say?
I could see a Christian trying to assert the same thing about his or her belief system. But my point is, if it is a truth then how come you cannot prove that it is?



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:42 AM
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reply to post by ahnggk
 


I love contradiction. Especially in those militant in their opposition to others that act exactly like those they hate.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:54 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
Sorry to rain on your parade but, anything can be a religion.


No.

Anything can be ADDICTION.

Religion is a one fine example of addiction



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 02:58 AM
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reply to post by 5thElement
 


No. Anything can be a religion if a person attaches enough importance to it to make it such. Just because religion is a taboo word to more than a few these days doesn't change anything.



posted on May, 22 2009 @ 03:04 AM
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It amuses and at times annoys me how little we have stepped beyond our pack animal/tribal hunter gatherer natures. How often and easily we break up into opposing camps at even an hint of disagreement which leads to conflict between these two camps, then of course the conflict takes on a life of it's own with both camps being severly atagonistic towards each other just because "It's the other camp." and will base our identity off those group association. All the while claiming we are individuals.

An individual wouldn't need churches, study groups or what-the-frick-ever-label for "support".

[edit on 22-5-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]






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