A Church For Atheists?

Jan 24, 2015 1958

A meeting of the Sunday Assembly in Melbourne, Australia

A meeting of the Sunday Assembly in Melbourne, Australia

Have you heard of the “Sunday Assembly?”

This movement, a church for atheists, was begun by two comedians in London in 2012, and it has gone viral around the world.

Perhaps the fact that it was started by comedians gives us a clue, although of course, to give them due credit, they would said that by the nature of their craft, they have deep insights into human nature, and that through comedy they tap into deep human needs.

But this so-called “Church for Atheists” is no “laughing matter.”

One of its founders said that it’s “[t]he best bits of church but with no religion and with awesome songs.” I guess that should appeal to people who go to church for the “best bits,” including the “awesome songs,” but who don’t think they need religion. Or to people who know they are missing something in their life but don’t need God.

The purpose of this church for atheists is to celebrate life, enjoy community, help others, and have a good time.

I would ask a simple question: Why can’t you do that in a restaurant? Or a sporting fixture? Or a comedy show, for that matter?

But here’s a more important question that should be asked:

Can you even have a church with no God?

I believe you can’t, and here’s why. Because an atheistic gathering by definition, can have no purpose bigger than itself. Atheists by definition must believe that our brains are just a random jumble of atoms, that there is great purpose for existence other than to pass on our DNA. Of course if you can have a good time doing it, all the better, which is where community comes into it.

The church of God is a completely different thing. It is a group of people who are willing to sacrifice everything, and even to die, so that others may know Jesus and his good news. We need more than just community and fun in this life – we need a Saviour and higher purpose that comes from having a reason to live that is grounded in knowing that we have been loved from eternity.

I’m all for atheists having social gatherings to try to have some fun and commiserate together as they go through life – we all need some comfort – but let’s not call it a church!

– Eliezer Gonzalez

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