atheist church service
British comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones, pictured above, helped launch the secular church movement. Image via AP

What, exactly, does an atheist church look like?

From the outside looking in, it's not so different from a traditional house of worship. Across the country, churches are sprouting up that – from the outside at least – appear similar to Christian churches.

There’s something like a sermon, there's singing, silent meditation, and even a donation plate from time to time. But these new "churches" aren’t religious in the slightest.

Welcome to (secular) church.

Church Without All The "Church"

Perhaps the most popular secular church is the network of churches created by Sunday Assembly, originally founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans.

They found initial success in their project by mimicking a typical church service. "We both wanted to do something like church but without God and we just nicked the order of service," explained Jones back in 2013, when they hosted the first service to an audience of hundreds. 

"People want to think about improving themselves and helping other people and doing all of that in a community where you forge strong relationships,” he stated. “I mean what a package. Why on earth wouldn't you nick it?"

Sunday Assembly has since expanded to a global network of nearly 50 churches, with regular Sunday service – all of them completely secular.

What Does Secular Church Look Like?

Within these congregations, you’ll find all the hallmarks of church, particularly the elements of brotherhood and community – just without the faith. A main sermon (often focused on science or humanism), singing, a sense of community. If you weren’t paying attention, you could mistake it for a Christian service.

Other unaffiliated secular churches are now popping up across the country, a phenomenon that some experts have attributed to the growing number of "nones."

Church undoubtedly plays a major role in building community for the faithful.

But what if scripture doesn't appeal to you? Or the teachings aren't as inclusive as you'd hope? Secular churches see a niche begging to be filled among the many nonreligious Millennials and Gen-Zers.

Are They Cheap Knockoffs?

However, not everyone is pleased that the nonreligious have borrowed the church blueprint. 

William Wolfe, a Southern Baptist who holds a Masters of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote in the Christian Post that secular churches are nothing more than “cheap knockoffs.”

They’re “a hollow humanistic ritual that manages to replicate the form of church with none of the spiritual substance and transcendent meaning,” he says.

In short, Wolfe views these secular churches as if they were a church ordered off of Wish.com… a cheap substitute for the original.

But many of those who have attended secular services disagree, arguing that they’re a great place to find one’s community. Furthermore, they say a common scripture isn't necessary to create community and build a successful congregation. 

And considering America’s demographic shift towards secularism, their popularity could conceivably continue to grow. 

What do you make of these atheist churches? Would you attend one?

Do you think they’re a good place for nonreligious Americans to find their home, or are they "cheap knockoffs" – as some critics suggest?

128 comments

  1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

    First, there have always been atheists in the pews... and the pulpits... of churches. I personally know two atheists who are currently serving as Roman Catholic priests, and have counseled numerous ministers who had realized they no longer believed, and were planning their departures from their ministries (meaning that they, too, were standing at the front of a congregation on Sundays, going through the motions).

    The article gets several things wrong. First, it is ridiculous to claim that these new "churches" aren’t religious in the slightest. The arbiter of what constitutes a "church," at least here in the US, is the Internal Revenue Service, which has recognized at least two non-theistic churches: Buddhism and The Satanic Temple. The latter was further recognized as a church by the US Supreme Court. Worship of a deity is not a necessary part of the definition of "church" or "religion." There is actually no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a "religion."

    I find Southern Baptist minister, William Wolfe, M.Div.'s claim that secular churches are nothing more than “cheap knockoffs” absurd, though I am not surprised to hear something that silly from the Christian Post. I defy him to prove that his own practices contain "spiritual substance and transcendent meaning.

    Representatives of mainstream Catholic and protestant churches are frightened. They know they are losing influence... meaning members and money... with the growth of the "nones," who are increasingly identifying with either non-mainstream evangelical churches, or with atheism.

    People tend to lash out when they get scared. That is all that is happening here.

    1. Cynthia Szymanski's Avatar Cynthia Szymanski

      Who are you? I want to know you.

      1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        Who cares? The guy is right. However all our new immigrants are bringing their Church beliefs with them so as the mainstream churches lose (such as United Methodist), mostly the Catholics are increasing. That's in the US anyway.

  1. K Neill's Avatar K Neill

    I would say it’s a good place for like minded individuals who want to belong together.

    1. Alexander Clarke's Avatar Alexander Clarke

      So are bars.

      1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        Or a football stadium where Taylor Swift is performing, or even just showing up.

  1. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

    That sounds an awful lot like an "unprogrammed" Quaker meeting. Except that (most) liberal Quakers do acknowledge a higher power, usually referred to as the Light, the Spirit, the Oneness, Nature, or some such name.

    Besides, Protestants nicked the order of service from the Catholics, who nicked it from the Jews, who nicked it from the Zoroastrians. It's the kind of basic human activity that builds strong, resilient communities.

    Evangelical Christianity, like Wahabi Islam, does not address the needs of 21st century societies. Of course church membership is dwindling. The modern American pantheon of gods and saints now consists of comic book super-heroes. Each one has their special powers, just like Christian saints. Plus, their movies are much more entertaining.

    1. Dr Rohn's Avatar Dr Rohn

      David Once again, I find your analogy/opinion/view/scribe smile inducing.

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    Well ... this is preferable to Christianity. I disagree with atheism, but they're not out to control, manipulate or condemn me, like Christians do.

    1. Alexander Clarke's Avatar Alexander Clarke

      The Christian Taliban

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    I feel that sweet spirit calling me to attend an atheist church. I get an audible voice in my head telling me it’s the right thing to do. I know it’s a prompting to fulfill my calling on earth. Without it I am nothing and life wouldn’t be worth living. I need it to keep my morals intact and to stop me from being very wayward and falling into lawlessness.

    Okay…..don’t panic…...I’m just kidding. I just wanted to feel what it would be like to say those silly types of things. 🤭

    🦁❤️

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      You had me going until you mentioned needing it to have your morals intact...

    2. Brien's Avatar Brien

      Have another cup of coffee my friend, it will help to clear the cobwebs.☕🤣

    3. Keith Lawrence Dimond's Avatar Keith Lawrence Dimond

      I'm laughing heartily with you. Quite a commentary.

    4. Dr Rohn's Avatar Dr Rohn

      So? How did it feel?

  1. albertha-yvonne's Avatar albertha-yvonne

    Doesn’t matter to me. I, personally, think (in my infinite wisdom) that no one can rationally deny the intelligent all-pervading energy (frequency/waves/life) that activates them and all things in and around them. It is not necessary to call it God or Great Spirit, or Source. It is what it is and without it one does not exist. If it’s possible to not exist.

    1. Dr Rohn's Avatar Dr Rohn

      I smile

    2. James L. Giberson's Avatar James L. Giberson

      Well put.

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    I was once a member of a UU, Universalist Unitarian "church." But it became very clear very quickly that you were not allowed to say God, and that all Christians were not welcome and a lot of time was spent badmouthing Christians as a class but in always very personal, prejudiced terms with a great deal of emotion ranging from cynical, sarcastic terms all the way to emotionally charged spite and hate. Moreover, if you were the one making any comment or introduction about Christian or Christians, you would be tagged for quite some time with disrespect, dislike, and blame by association.

    It was clear the "church" was a church in name only, much more functioned as a social club, including the children's education operation, and mostly for the business advantage of tax status.

    1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

      Hmmm, sounds lije a regular church except different words for ‘saved’ and ‘sinner’.

      1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        I compared the terms "church" and "club" using a dictionary and this place fit the latter term much better.

        1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

          I wasn’t clear in my statement. Just saying that in a regular xtian church the ‘Saved’ crowd vilifies the ‘unsaved’ whereas in the church you describe the roles are reversed.

          I think the tax exemption should be revoked all around. But until they do groups of people together to discuss their “religious” views can be considered a church and get tax exemptions.

      2. Kevin O'Neill's Avatar Kevin O'Neill

        I have attended a UU church for nearly 30 years and I understand why you would say that. We preach inclusion but.... I think Christian is a big concept with many variations. Unfortunately, the evangelistic churches dominate the news and drive the understanding of it. Generalizing all UU churches as anti-Christian is equally misleading. Like with all things, our aspirations don't always live up to our actions. That’s why we keep on trying to get it right.

    2. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

      Ugh, definitely not what a UU church is supposed to be. I had the opposite experience, actually...I went to the local UU church a few times and it was so overwhelmingly Christian-themed that it may as well have been a Christian church instead. I think it's possible that individual UU churches are the product of whoever is running each particular one.

    3. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      "It was clear the "church" was a church in name only, much more functioned as a social club, including the children's education operation, and mostly for the business advantage of tax status."

      Yeah, let's get rid of tax exempt status for ALL churches. We could come close to wiping out the national debt with the Catholic church and most evangelical churches alone! Imagine having a national surplus!

    4. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      I suppose it is possible that you encountered a single UU church that was like that, Rev Mark D, but I have attended services at more than a dozen UU churches over the years and have never had a single experience like you described.

      On the other hand, I have encountered a good deal of the kind of intolerant and hateful behavior like you described FROM christians, directed at anyone they perceived as other -- including other brands of christian.

  1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

    It's sounds wonderful. In America we have a denomination called Unitarian Universalists that seems very similar. It would not only be nice to attend such a church, but how awesome to be one of its ministers.

    1. Mollie Henry Griffin's Avatar Mollie Henry Griffin

      I'm not one of UU's ministers, but I am a member of a UU congregation and also a Wiccan Priestess. As a Wiccan the UU's except me for what I am, even if they don't agree with my path. I can be myself and be in a community with good and caring people. Who an by the way were I live you can't let people know that you are Pagan, because they aren't friendly toward Pagans at all it's a good Christian area. But there are many nondenominational churches popping up all over the place.

      1. Russel A. Kester's Avatar Russel A. Kester

        Mollie, here is a book I found on Amazon published by Llewellyn press, I thought it was quite interesting:

        A Practical Guide to Pagan Priesthood: Community Leadership and Vocation © 2019 by Rev. Lora O’Brien Llewellyn Publications Woodbury, Minnesota

    2. Mollie Henry Griffin's Avatar Mollie Henry Griffin

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Melinda Fulk's Avatar Melinda Fulk

    I have, essentially, attended one. A secular church isn't at all new in the US - or anywhere you might find Unitarian Universalism. Our local Fellowship was founded by secular humanists back in the 1960s, although I'm sure the movement is older than that.

    So this isn't anything new, but rather just a new take on things. And I have to admit, the sense of community one can find in the right church is a wonderful thing.

  1. Merlin's Avatar Merlin

    Tax free profit center.

    1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

      Not necessarily. One doesn't have to believe in a god to want to gather and direct finances to those in need.

    2. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      "Tax free profit center."

      You have described every single religion in the USA.

    3. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      Isn't "Tax free profit center" a perfect description of almost every church, Merlin?

  1. Alun Lloyd Palmer's Avatar Alun Lloyd Palmer

    I don't think I need to attend a church (I am an atheist ULC minister), although I can see how the fellowship still makes sense without a religion. My wife (now pagan) used to be Anglican (known as Episcopal in the US and Scotland for similar reasons). I used to attend services with her, and we certainly made some good friends in the congregation

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Since Atheists dont believe in a Deity, why would they then even be in a church?

    1. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      The main thing that people who deconvert from their often oppressive religion miss is a lack of community. There's AA, NA and other groups for people trying to kick a bad habit. What's wrong with recovering believers seeking community? Personally, I do not believe a supernatural being exists, mainly because there has never been any good evidence to support it. However, I LOVE rituals. So I, along with other like minded people, get together 8 times a year, about every 6-7 weeks, to celebrate the earth - which absolutely exists - and the seasonal changes along with the agricultural celebrations of the ancestors. The earth is the giver of life. When the earth is depleted of all her resources, human life will cease to exist. If humans were to become extinct first, the earth would heal herself and start over without us. So much better. The Earth is my church and Nature is my religion. There's no need at all for an immoral, genocidal, misogynistic, infanticidal, racist monster - the perfect description of the character known as God in the collection of fables called the bible.

      1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

        Its impossible to absolutely LOVE these words you just said MORE than I already do!!! I have a question and hope you see this and are able to reply. I want to add this post to my Book of Shadows with credit to you may i have your permission to add it to my grimoire?

      2. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        No such thing as a recovering believer, either you are or you are not. And if you are not a believer, then what are you doing inside a building dedicated to the belief in a deity that you claim does not exist?

        1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

          Being a believer is a mental issue, a sickness of the mind. Having religious nonsense forced upon you and being around delusional individuals isn’t somethingbthatbyou can just turn off.

          In my case, it was much easier for me, because I simply never believed. The people that I met were, to an extent, my friends. Nice enough people, just delusional. I guess I let myself be drug in because I grew up in a family where my father never went to church, and my mother did. When my girlfriend got involved with this, I just went along with it. But this was a Jesus freak church. Dancing in the spirit, speaking in tongues, translating the speaking in tongues, etc., etc. Leaving the church meant nothing to me. Leaving my girlfriend wasn’t quite so easy. Same with a few of the people that I really considered to be my friends.

          Different people handles such situations in different ways. But you do have to ‘ recover’ from being around delusional, people for a long time. Whether or not you want to accept such, Greh, your religion is sickness.

          1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            No your reply shows how much of a sickness you really have.

    2. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

      Read the article… they gather for fellowship and comradery. The just don’t worship god.

      1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

        I did, and they could get the same effect by joining a golf course or a watering hole or a club of some sort. Shows how desperate they really are to force themselves to go to a house of worship when they dont believe in religion.

        1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

          Their rekigion is best described as a ‘worldview’ and lacks the delusional hokum of a religion.

          1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            and you are just upset as people dont listen to your constant religion bashing.

        2. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

          Golf courses and watering holes have other patrons that are not of the same mind. As for a joining a club… they created their own. Maybe they call it religion, so they don’t have to pay taxes, though, I don’t know how the IRS would feel about that. LOL!

          1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            You said they, and I quote "they gather for fellowship and comradery." And I stated they can get the same thing at a club or a golf course or at the local library or city hall planning meeting. They dont have to go to a church to get that.

            1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

              They want a space of their own. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people believe in different things than we Christians do and that's okay too. It's not my place to condem them.

              1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                Then they are more then free to make one of their own. Why do th4ey think they need to invade a building that is dedicated to the worship of a deity that they admit they dont believe in....or are they lying to themselves?

  1. Humanism Clergy Linda's Avatar Humanism Clergy Linda

    Sound's like the perfect place to attend. As it's more important to strive to be a better individual than worshipping a imagery friend. This country (USA) lacks humanity by the "holy roller" AKA "christian Taliban" .

    Learning how be a better person is what Christ was about. As an individual we are not the center of the world.

    This would also bring back the sense of community.

    Where can I find this place?

    1. James L. Giberson's Avatar James L. Giberson

      You can't. It doesn't exist.

  1. Daphnie's Avatar Daphnie

    The Anti-Christ is not just one person… it is a possessive evil cunning spirit, that seeks to destroy All of God’s creation, and if you look, this is what is under attack in the world. Even the Jewish-Christianity religions are under attack by mockery religions that seek to lead all away from the one true God. If you have faith, you’re fine, but if you have lost your faith —you’re living in your coffin, you’re helping the wrong entity and your soul is in eminent danger. The normalization of violence against the Jewish people, who have been invaded attacked so violently—the anti-christ blames the victim, is proof positive that minds have been twisted into NOT being able to tell right from wrong, true “God” from false god, even when they are being asked to turn their backs on God, the fail to find something wrong with that. This is evidence of evil they follow blindly. The most evil spirit is once again making its attempt lead the people away from their one true salvation Christ…..the Jews are saved, people who have faith are saved. We are not perfect and Christ make that ok Christ offers us a way to live in peace, but don’t be fooled by the people who turn God and Christ into a boogie man to drive people away from God. God Loves you as you are period and Christ makes it so there is a clear road to salvation. I preach that God loves you, as you are, God made you human, being human has conditions, we make mistakes, we learn, we tend to the Earth and all live on Earth is our responsibility to care for it ourselves. Anything anti that is the anti-Christ and seeks to destroy God’s Earth and end all that is good. When did we lose the right to defend ourselves? Why are so many youth on the side of terrorists that have American 🇺🇸 Hostages. Why is it ok to burn the image of the President and why is it ok to be down right hateful and protest out side a place of worship. Why is it ok to be asked to follow your fellow American Jewish students home to stab them to death? Why is it ok to call for the normalization of massacres? Do see the anti-Christ? This is the world you are being asked to create rebuke the evil now, pray 🙏 reconnect with God and God will set you path straight.

    1. Joy's Avatar Joy

      Wow. Who are you trying to convince? Why are Christians so fearful of their own faith that they have to proselytize like this and demand others believe as they do?

    2. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

      What exactly does burning the image of a president imply? A president is not godly. A president shouldn’t be worshiped. Let’s not confuse religion with politics. It makes things even messier.

      1. James L. Giberson's Avatar James L. Giberson

        Are you suggesting that church and state are, or have ever been separate?

        1. James Riggle-Johnson's Avatar James Riggle-Johnson

          I'm saying they are two different things and we should stop lumping them together. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state.

          Jefferson's metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Reynolds v. United States (1879) the Court wrote that Jefferson's comments "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment." In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."

          1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

            Sorry but no there is not. You MUST have a constitutional amendment to make what you say placed in the Constitution, and a letter from him to his detractors does not cut it.

            1. Michael Hunt's Avatar Michael Hunt

              Not according to the Supreme Court. If you have a problem with it take it up with them.

              1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

                Do not care what the Supreme Court says in this matter, the Constitution is very clear. To change anything in the Constitution you MUST have a constitutional amendment. No ifs ans or buts about it. And you need to get rid of the notion that the SCOTUS can just decide what the constitution means all on their own as they have to go by what the constitution says. Educate yourself and read Article 3 Powers of the Judiciary and you will see in there that it does not and never has given them the right to interpret anything. And then go read the 10th Amendment which specifically states that unless the Constitution grants you an authority or power, then you dont have it and never have had it.

                Was just way too easy to shut down your argument.

    3. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

      @ Daphnie

      What you describe is living in fear, by fear, for fear. No, thank you.

    4. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

      @ Daphanie

      I truly appreciate your introductory sentence. The pause indicated by the ‘…’ as you gathered steam to write that harangue.

      It let me know I could just stop. ‘…’ meant ‘Warning! Strong Drivel next long paragraph!’

      I detoured to the comment section.

  1. Laura McAllister's Avatar Laura McAllister

    No I wouldn’t go into one. I don’t think we can tell people what religion to have or the right to say that’s not a real church, I would not tell anyone that they are wrong. I wouldn’t want anyone to think they have the right to tell me that my church and religion is not real.

    1. Dr Rohn's Avatar Dr Rohn

      Firstly, you have a choice to go in or not and I respect the one you’ve made. Next, you voice what is purposefully ignored, but obvious. Unfortunately, ignoring this obvious truth affords judgment from those who do not have the authority to do so. Finally, there is no right given anywhere to tell someone that their church or religion is not real. For whether something is real, or it is not still falls under the parameters of choice. You spoke well.

  1. Kevin Oconnell's Avatar Kevin Oconnell

    This topic is a little to heavy for me, I only concern myself with the word from the bible, all else has no place in my life.

  1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

    Maybe if there were something similar to a Quaker Friends Meeting. As a kid my mom took us to church…for a while. Guess she thought that was important, at least up until about junior high school. And it was a Quaker Friends Meeting. And at least now I can’t remember a single difference between it and any other ‘church’. Some were just a bit more delusional than others. I did, many years later, try a different Quaker Meeting. It was slightly different. Kinda’ like an AA meeting. Still involved ol’ God. But if there had been an Atheist Friends Meeting? Might have stuck around.

    Myself, my philosophy is that people only have to like me enough to pay me, have sex with me or play golf with me. Never had trouble populating those lists. However there weren’t a plethora of individuals that had a similar worldview as myself. Or at least made such views known. But in the South those sort of views are strongly frowned upon so such things are kept to oneself. Having a place where such people can get together is a step in the right direction. And in the beginning there will be some degree of cathartic bashing of xtians.

    1. Brien's Avatar Brien

      I would attend your service.

      1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

        @ Brien

        Why not hold your own service to worship the higher power within you? :.)

        1. Brien's Avatar Brien

          Good question Catherine, one deserving a response. I simply don't play well with others. I don't bend knee to anyone. I don't believe in mythical higher powers that magically make everything better. You make things better for yourself by battling the wrong that tries to tear you down. You, not some deity, made life good. Your presence makes life good for those around you. Another byproduct of the human condition. 😃😃✌️

  1. Robert Rohr's Avatar Robert Rohr

    Sounds like the apostate church in the first part of the tribulation. Maybe that is a glimpse of what it will be like. Have to bear in mind what came next.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    How can you be an ordained minister if your Atheists and look how the so called church was set up by 2 British comedians both I have never heard of.I will stick to what I was brought up with Christianity And why set up a so called church if you don't believe in GOD AND JESUS Etc

    1. Alun Lloyd Palmer's Avatar Alun Lloyd Palmer

      I am an ordained minister of the ULC and also an atheist, so what's the problem?

      1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        Yeah me too.

      2. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

        And me.

        1. James L. Giberson's Avatar James L. Giberson

          Me too, except I'm not an atheist.

      3. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

        There are quite a few such ‘ministers’ on this group.

    2. Martin L Stigleman's Avatar Martin L Stigleman

      Have you ever heard of a group called The ULC? You can be an ordained minister, regardless of your faith. I'm not sure why WHO set up the Church would be so relevant, but apparently you feel you should be able to decide who is allowed. Would it be more valid if started by a couple homeless guys who spent a few years following around a guy who talked to himself a lot and told everyone else how they were living wrong? Kinda crazy way to base a church on, isn't it? Stories say these guys took everything on faith and that they preached love and forgiveness for everyone, regardless of their beliefs...or at least the guy they followed did. After they killed the guy, his followers kinda left that part behind. Don't try to force the World to YOUR expectations.

    3. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      So, Nicholas J Page, are you saying that you would have more respect for a church if you were a fan of the comedian who founded it? That seems like a strange criterion.

    4. Cynthia Szymanski's Avatar Cynthia Szymanski

      Me, too. I have a seminary Masters degree, too.

      1. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

        Ahhh, a Masters in semenary. A master debater, huh?

    5. Kael Starr's Avatar Kael Starr

      You're* I am also atheist ordained. The Earth is a temple for many, not Mythology.

    6. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

      I would be. Except being atheist first requires acknowledging organized religion has sufficient validity to be recognized at all. No can do. I skip all that to side with nature.

      That said, I applaud atheist churches and and look forward to the evolution of a variety of non-christian churches. Go non-christians!

    7. Dr. Zerpersande, NSC's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande, NSC

      @N Page Start your own church. Call it The Immaculate Heart of Run-on Sentences and Lack of Punctuation.

      1. James L. Giberson's Avatar James L. Giberson

        Now, now.

  1. Keith Lawrence Dimond's Avatar Keith Lawrence Dimond

    LOL... 'ecstatic atheists' just popped to mind! Aiyiyi. Me, I feel much more in church when in an empty chapel or quiet forest than with all the hoohaw that many churches bring. There's a time for hoohaw, but to gather for it on a weekly or more frequent basis seems to be attempting to compensate for a lack of real unity consciousness.

    This could end up being a step in the right direction, or it could be yet another 'trap' to step right into and snap it. Depends on the individual and the information to which s/he chooses to expose self.

  1. Christie Lynne Poci's Avatar Christie Lynne Poci

    Why do they need a physical church? Who do they go to church to worship? This makes no sense to me unless they need a place to worship people who do not believe in God.

    1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

      Why do christians need a physical church, Christie Lynne Poci?

      Jesus is reported to have taught, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20). Jesus himself didn't need a physical church. The early christians met in one another's homes.

      Also, these atheist churches generally do not have physical buildings of their own. They meet in rented halls if they have sufficient numbers, but it is christians who are famous for building "megachurches."

    2. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      Why go to church at all? What are you worshiping when you're in church?

  1. Tareq Asfour's Avatar Tareq Asfour

    Leave it up to G’D The Almighty. Great Awakening is coming for these fake ungrateful ungodly people worldwide who will taste punishment for their transgressions against G’D Commandments…

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      Did you mean GOD by any chance? I think you left a letter out of the word.

      Are you referring to that genocidal, infanticidal, pestilential GOD that’s mentioned in what people like to call “scriptures”?

      I’m just asking, to get some clarity on what monster of a deity you were referring to that you might be thinking is an all loving type of thing to worship.

      🦁❤️

    2. Rev_Shaun's Avatar Rev_Shaun

      I am assuming you are 'having a giraffe' as we say here in London?

      1. Brien's Avatar Brien

        roflmao🤣🤣

    3. Brien's Avatar Brien

      Wow, you need to cut back on the coffee. You can chose to believe in fairy tales all you like. Likewise everyone else has a right to believe as they see fit. It is NOT your call, nor mine, to tell someone they must believe. Since you have taken it upon yourself to lay judgement on people you don't even know, allow me to follow your lead. Your g'd thing is evil. An abomination against mankind. Fearful, murderous, and genocidal. Worshiped as such by your very own literature. Your belief is directly responsible for the largest amounts of death worldwide. The universe will punish you. There now, all is even again. Did you like being referred to that way? Do you think others outside of your "belief" like the way you refer to them? Food for thought. Peace✌

    4. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      Please provide some good evidence that this G'D god exists, since he/she/it refuses to provide the evidence him/her/itself.

  1. Rev_Shaun's Avatar Rev_Shaun

    Hmmm, nothing new here. Newington Green Unitarian Chapel in North London - one of the most famous chapels of its kind was run very successfully by an atheist minister for over ten years. In fact, he got banned from public broadcasting on the BBC here, because there are some programmes atheists are not allowed on. He's retired now, but I believe the current minister is also an atheist too.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    Each to his own. There are many groups that meet yet don't do any type of worship. I do have curiosity as to the music the use. "What Kind of Fool am I?" Perhaps?

    1. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      "What Kind of Fool am I?" The believers marching song!

      1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

        Performed by 'Army of Lovers'.

      2. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

        'Crucified' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptfZ3IPkAOY

        1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

          Within 3 seconds the song gave me the heebie-jeebies. Couldn't watch it too much longer

  1. Steven Ferrell's Avatar Steven Ferrell

    To bad there is not a different name that could be used other then ‘church’.

    1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

      I prefer Grotto myself it makes more logical sense.

  1. Amber Fry's Avatar Amber Fry

    I like it. I have always thought people could learn to get along for the sake of getting along, for the good of the people rather than fear of crossing some God. It sure eliminates the whole "my god is bigger/badder/better than your god" attitude that starts wars. I don't mind them using the word church either as its a building used to gather. If in the early days of the US they could use a church as a school house and even today smaller towns sometimes still use it for other community gatherings then why not for humanistic or non religious spiritual gatherings?

  1. Anthony Jones Boyette's Avatar Anthony Jones Boyette

    "But these new "churches" aren’t religious in the slightest."

    Well, to be fair, nether are most old "churches". 94% of "churches" today are simply corporations that launder money for their stakeholders, tax free.

    "Pay to Caesar what is Caesars", he didn't say, "Except for the churches, ...."

    "Churches" are the little welfare kid at school that no one wants to eat lunch with or hang out with. When you guys start building GODS HOUSE instead of "the building where we pass the plate and make money" you;ll have more credibility.

    If you're preaching that homosexuality, abortion, illegal immigration is OK or actually pleasing to the Lord, then you're a money launderer, not a church ~ your company mission is producing income, not spreading/doing the Lords work.

    1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

      It seems to me that any Christian 501c3 is putting dollars before God. 501c3 comes with strings attached, strings that could easily limit important messages. That's why a flat sales tax would be the best in my opinion. Nobody gets out of it and the more you make is the more you spend.

  1. Michael Hall's Avatar Michael Hall

    I might visit one, but I don't think I would make a habit of it. Wolfe's objection rings true, even for a strong atheist like myself. I think a group devoted to a particular philosophy might be a better fit, rather than people sharing a lack of faith.

  1. David George Promis's Avatar David George Promis

    If one can read then one can interpret a religious text for his/her self…it’s been long past due that we should rely on another person to be a so called vessel for a higher being. If one wishes fine, but it is not a necessity like the World has been lead to believe for centuries. Personally I go by the idea of “Cause no intentional harm to yourself or anyone else, and assist those in need” nothing else is required per religious indoctrination.

  1. Catherine Christina Deslippe's Avatar Catherine Christina Deslippe

    The church I was raised in since the day I was born. Not even the pugh we sat in is there anymore. Either is the choir, which I sang in, The outside of the church is one of the most beautiful churches you have ever seen, The bell rings every Sunday, and the stained glass windows and ceiling are the most beautiful you have seen, As in life, as in our faith there will always be change, We are the ones that can be anywhere, anytime and still have our faith, As the church has a band that plays loud music, as the crowd (use to be called congregation) gets up and claps their hands and sings, As once was called a minister is now called by their first name. Does this look like my church, no. yet on a good, it is filled with people of all ages, For years there have been several who came to church to please their family, Did they believe? Well, we have always wondered if an atheist will be what they please, the opportunity to learn, within any place they may go whether it be a church or not, They may see the works of the Lord And Saviour, or they may blame for all that is not. We as Christians can only do our best to be kind, loving and pray for them.

  1. Tecla Caryl Loup's Avatar Tecla Caryl Loup

    I wouldn't bother to attend, as one of the major sacrifices I made when I retired was to not lock myself into any routine/schedule if I could help it. The only regular thing I do is check out my chiropractor once a week.

  1. ServantOfJudgement's Avatar ServantOfJudgement

    The level of faith required for a self spawning cosmos and the physics required for energy interaction that didn't exist yet is beyond anything the bible requires in the belief department. When we add self spawning life from trippy mud with better than flawless reproduction we can safely say atheists most definitely need a church.

    Such faith demands positive reinforcement. Good for them!

    Praise the Funky Nothing and it's Trippy Carbon Clones! ......or whatever....

  1. Morgan Lewis Williams's Avatar Morgan Lewis Williams

    An atheist "church" is not a church. I believe in the traditional church but with lgbt friendliness. As the hymn says "On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

  1. Dr. Darryl G Dykes's Avatar Dr. Darryl G Dykes

    The term Church does not have to be religious. Iwas.shocked the.first time when the newspaper union called the first union meeting I was in was called Church. I had only been on the job a couple weeks when during shift the Union called a meeting to address a grievance with company the announcement was we are having a meeting of.the Church. I was what! Then one if the guys said that is what we call a meeting.of.the Union members. I was uncomfortable with the term Church bit that was their tradition.

    1. Anthony Jones Boyette's Avatar Anthony Jones Boyette

      I suspect that was a slang, or self-taken "street" name for the group, Dr. I really doubt that was intended to be taken literally as a church.

      For example, I call the guys I hang out with my "posse". That's not meant to be a formal description. We're not law officers and we're not authorized by and agency to do activities that a sheriffs posse would do. Ya know, like the football team here in Greenville that call themselves the Pirates. None of them own ships or sabers or have a parrot or a wooden leg.

      Often times when we separate out into out cliques, such as employees VS management, we like to have a name that's unique to our group.

  1. Jude Terence McGloin's Avatar Jude Terence McGloin

    Well it's ok with me. This is a free country. I have always considered any belief a religion. So these are indeed churches. If they threatened you as a member of another belief I ask you how is your belief?

  1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

    To borrow from Anton LaVey I'd call this more of a "grotto" than a church.

  1. Rev. BH's Avatar Rev. BH

    Any social group is better than none. Church, bingo, yoga, book group, garden club. Belonging is necessary,.

  1. Ari Joseph Bertine's Avatar Ari Joseph Bertine

    I think it's a good community idea. A lot of people who may be estranged from their childhood religion were still imprinted on the community model that a structured church provides, and miss that social connection. I know more than one ex-Christian that still occasionally attends church just to be with familiar people. There is more regularity and predictability, and therefore more stability, to that structure than there is in something like a new social club or a neighborhood community center without regular, repetitively similar meetings. So it's perfectly natural that people who miss the social side but don't want the religious side would come up with the idea to create a community-based meeting in that format.

    That said, I am a bit surprised that this would be popular with atheists. I can see agnostics having no problem with it, but the majority of the atheists I have seen discussing religion sound like they would rather eat worms than even appear to be having anything to do with religion. They have also been extremely emphatic that atheism is not and cannot be considered a religion, and don't care what the dictionary has to say about the word. So I would have expected this to be popular with agnostics and people who are content with private beliefs, but I find it very interesting that atheists have any interest in it. Perhaps my experience with atheists is tainted by having mainly encountered them on the internet, I don't know.

  1. Anne Damrosch's Avatar Anne Damrosch

    Sounds like a number of Buddhist sanghas in the US (mostly in New England) which I've been loosely connected with over the years. There is no mention or worship of deities, just people supporting each other in meditation practices, ethical behavior and life style choices.

  1. Gureg Amun Ankh's Avatar Gureg Amun Ankh

    I have a lot to say about this subject and it’s not about pushing a faith and belief system on someone one, a church is a place for connecting to the spiritual dimension, if it’s about divine love for all humanity and nature then who are we to judge because it doesn’t fit in you criteria of what spirituality is, a lot of different ideologies profess, judge not less you be judged, if it brings joy and agreeable guidance to one’s life, then let well enough alone, and learn to come together as one, learn to live for and by one another, if it is evil intent it will manifest, just as evil intent was and possibly still is in the archdiocese, Jews and Muslims killing one another over land, hatred for on one another,or is it holy wars because of miss interpretation, of your own religious holy books, today wither you realize it or not, people are looking for facts not faith, their fate in life not belief, the world is changing in this new millennium of spiritual connection with in themselves, don’t destroy their peace cause it’s not what we don’t agree with.

  1. Alex Pineiro's Avatar Alex Pineiro

    I believe it is absolutely irrelevant to one's own Spiritual aspirations, beliefs, and practices...what someone else is doing, or the manner in which they worship. Life is a brevity, and if you spend it, expending your energies worrying about what your neighbor is doing, you will be doing so for lifetimes and remain stagnant in your own understanding and growth.

    The spectrum within which we would measure a given consciousness, no less all individual consciousnesses, is VERY broad indeed. I would not name call a Neanderthal because, ie; he decides he wishes to worship a large colorful stone. He is doing precisely the right thing..."for where he is" Life as we know it is a "process" of growth and expansion of consciousness. We are not all in the same place in space and time and this is true even if two people are standing next to one another in the same room. The illusion is of close proximity to one another, or of closeness, but the reality is not so. I would admonish the neanderthal to be the best rock worshipper he knows how to be. In his own time, he will change. It is not my place to judge him, but to Love him as myself to the degree possible. It is not my place, nor the Christian, nor the Catholic's nor anyones to claim that anyone is going to go to hell if they do not follow my way or any given way. ONLY God, knows. In all the great scriptures of the earth, I find the same universal message, only confused by the limited understanding of individual minds. The message is the same. 1. "The kingdom of God is WITHIN you." Judge not lest ye be judged", and "Worry about the plank in your own eye" These admonitions are not exclusive to Christians, Catholics, or Muslims, but for all humankind what wishes to attain to the Father and his kingdom. Therefore, spend more time within, practice understanding, empathy and kindness instead of self-righteous condemnation and judgement, and practice LOVING all as thyself, regardless of difference. ALL are God's and the final admonition to keep ever fixed in your consciousness is "As you do unto others, so you do unto me."

  1. Patti Anne Lisenbee's Avatar Patti Anne Lisenbee

    I first was alerted to the presence of athiest "churches" via another article. I posted it on a big FB athiest group and boy, did the angry comments roll in, mostly incensed that it was called a church. I too wish they would not call them "churches." They are social hubs, community gatherings, not a building meant for the worship of an invisible, unproven diety in the sky. The dictionary online says a church is "a building used for public Christian worship." Wikipedia says it is "A church, church building, or church house is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities." Thus, these places of Athiest gatherings are NOT churches, so quit calling them such! Please call them something else as no religion is in play there. Thank you.

  1. Tammy Lynn Breeden's Avatar Tammy Lynn Breeden

    Any one need a cup of coffee. Because there is to much winning in here.

    There is one GOD and a lot of Churches and GOD can be in each and one of those. It is not for us to judge. Only one can Judge and he died on the Cross. Jesus Christ

  1. Steven Allen Bell's Avatar Steven Allen Bell

    These churches have existed for a very long time. They call themselves Unitarian.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    As a Secular Humanist Pantheist (SHP) bishop in the ULC, I consider the entire Earth my church, and thereby every person alive, a potential member of my ULC congregation. Because, as a ULC’er, God and nature are synonymous, the SHP’ists, are the only identifiably group actually able to prove the existence of God — which means that those who reject, the SHP provable God, are atheists — unless they can prove the existence of their God; which they can’t— because otherwise I’d have already heard of them doing so. Want a provable God? Become a SHP’er.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    As a former atheist, now that I’m actually able to prove the existence, of the only known provable God, it’s safe for me to publicly declare, that anyone merely believing in an unprovable God, is, as a matter of logic, an atheist.

    An interesting metamorphosis; I, a former atheist, am now a God-knower; while those only capable of professing belief, in an ineffable God, are now all atheists.

    PS. As a Secular Humanist Pantheist, the totality of God, is precisely the same as the the entirety of nature; and nature (AKA, God) is easily proven to anybody— who’s not mentally challenged.

  1. Christopher M Lynch's Avatar Christopher M Lynch

    I mean I am being honest here. would i attend a church that doesn't worship God and Jesus. Probably not.. I do know heaven and hell do exist even though people don't belive it. Jesus in all the bibles said himself though the bible he does not want anyone to parish but, to have everlasting life with God our Father. to be saved and go to heaven is yet simple to do just repent that your a sinner and you agree that Jesus died for all our sins. Other "so called religons" you have to do so many things to be even saved. look at hindus, buda, etc. as a assembly of god church member, people have gifts of the sprit, talking in tounges, and God gave people who have given there life to God/Jesus can preach the word, do baptisims, heal the sick though prayer.

  1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

    “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” Carl Sagan

  1. Peter Senderowitz's Avatar Peter Senderowitz

    There is something to be said for the theistic argument that non- traditional spiritualities live off the moral crumbs of judeocristianity . By the way, I could argue that these new spiritualities are, indeed knockoffs, but of Unitarian Universalism, a " faith" that has existido since 1933. Rev. Butch S

  1. James Grainger's Avatar James Grainger

    Freedom to worship as you please, right Are you afraid they might be right???

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