The Only Point to the ‘Atheist Temple’…

(In response to these posts)

About M J Shepherd

Matthew graduated Louisiana State University in 2009 with a BA in studio art and a minor in art history. He has been drawing cartoons and comics online for several years.

  • Nerd Monkey

    Agreed.  There is absolutely no point to the “atheist temple” except to reinforce the growing belief within the religious community that atheism is another religion.

    • Shelley11

      simply and to the point – a temple, thats all we need (not)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cburschka Christoph Burschka

    I like the idea of a place for quiet secular contemplation in principle, but the term “temple to atheism” (particularly “temple”) miss the point. Also, a place for only that seems wasteful.
    If it is a place to enshrine the *idea* of free thought, rather than an actual place for free thinking, then it is an atheist analog of a false idol. Why not just build a library or a school?

    • Annie

      … or a museum?  Or nature park?  This is the first I’ve heard of the temple, but the name alone totally turns me off of the idea.  Yes, I should be more open-minded, I guess one could argue, but why does it have to be called a temple?

    • Annie

      … or a museum?  Or nature park?  This is the first I’ve heard of the temple, but the name alone totally turns me off of the idea.  Yes, I should be more open-minded, I guess one could argue, but why does it have to be called a temple?

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      Because the people who want a temple don’t want it for freethought purposes. They want a place where they can passively slip into a delusional sense of unity and domination.

      It is not the worship of atheism or free thought. It is the worship of organized religion.

      • Christoph Burschka

        Exactly; though I’d consider the “worship” of atheism or free thought equally flawed. Worshipping free thought is not the same thing as thinking freely, and to worship atheism would (to borrow a metaphor) be celebrating non-stamp-collecting.

  • http://twitter.com/cog_dissident cognitive dissident

    It’s a point, and it’s 150 feet off the ground? That sounds like something to which all of us can a spire…

    (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist!)

  • http://twitter.com/Skeptical_Lady Question Everything

    The atheist community works so hard to fight the myth’s people have about us & to have this guy burn us with this “temple” talk is very frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    It’s tiresome how even within the atheist community the idea of the so-called “atheist temple” is misrepresented and straw-manned.

    The idea is that places for contemplation and community do not have to have supernatural underpinnings, and that they are useful to society. Just as we can have visual art, and music, and summer camps that are explicitly rejecting supernatural beliefs or celebrating the natural world, we can have architechture that does the same.

    I understand that this sort of thing is not for everyone. Not everyone likes the idea of going to places to celebrate common values with like-minded people. Not everyone feels a need for community under a common cause, or feels any need to give their children a place where they are not surrounded by a hostile majority. Some people, as it happens, do.

    If you don’t like it, you don’t have to support it. If you are concerned about “atheism becoming a religion” that’s great, but I’d love to hear why buildings, camps and get-togethers make atheism a religion but not, say, football. As for the idea that “it plays into the theist argument that atheism is a religion”, it is something that theists use just to irritate us. Ironically, they use the “atheism is a religion” as a pejorative, despite the fact that they are proudly religious themselves. If the notion that atheism was a religion was actually taken at all seriously, we would get a whole lot more respect than we do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brandie.winchester Brandie Lynn Winchester

      I agree, I have found myself comforted at times with a community of people, I volunteer my summers at various non-profits and have worked with church groups, the community feel was wonderful and something I greatly miss from my days in church, a place for thiest to go and discuss and possibly plan volunteering options would be great for me!

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      Not everyone feels a need for community under a common cause, or feels any need to give their children a place where they are not surrounded by a hostile majority. Some people, as it happens, do.

      I generally agree with you, Claudia, but this part sounds like a dig at people who don’t want to see organized atheism adopt the trappings of religion, such as weekly services, chaplains, and temples. 

      Of course I don’t want my children surrounded by a “hostile majority,” but your comment makes it sound like unless we want organized atheism to mimic religious culture, our children are disadvantaged and/or missing out on something. I don’t agree with that. This proposed temple is in the UK, a very secular place where atheists are not part of a despised minority. I don’t see that there’s a need for a temple to offer British children refuge from hostile believers.

      My main problem with this sort of thing is the adoption of religious language and customs. I would rather see the United States move away from a “church culture” mentality, rather than see atheists flocking towards one.

      • Anonymous

        I can see where my comment could be seen as portraying any opposition to this sort of thing as opposition to any community at all. That’s not my intention, since that would be unfair, but I apologize for being perhaps too hyperbolic.

        I guess I’m just venting a long held frustration about the instant opposition of many to anything that could vaguely, maybe, sorta be like a religion. You get opposition to Camp Quest (we shouldn’t segregate our children, like the religious), to Humanist chaplains (chaplains? that’s entirely a religious thing!) or basically any other manifestation of an organized community.  My personal feeling is that if atheists in the US are to expand as a community in such a religion rich environment, we need to realize that religion doesn’t just offer supernatural tales and comfort about death, but a host of other services that people really appreciate. Secular alternatives to those activities would make leaving religion an easier jump, and offering them does not render us a religion.

        I do totally get being uneasy by the adoption of the religious language (like chaplain etc.), but it’s something that happens because we often lack secular words that entirely cover the meaning of the activity we want to engage in. I’m actually leery myself of calling this proposed building a “temple”. However I feel we do ourselves a disservice by dismissing the idea itself based on a snap judgement from the name instead of actually discussing the merits of the project itself, and worrying about terminology afterwards.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      In a world of ideas, you are always surrounded by a hostile majority. Telling a child otherwise is to train a naive weakness into them.

  • Timothypate88

    It aggravates me to a great extent when you hear atheists like SE Cupp (though in all honesty I doubt she’s really an atheist) who insist they want to believe – they just don’t. I’ve met very few atheists who actually desire to be under the tyrannical rule of the god characters that are depicted in modern religions.

    • 59 Norris

      I don’t even think SE Cupp is Scottish.

      • A Portlander

        Heh. Cute, but this isn’t “no true Scotsman” so much as expression of a widespread suspicion in the atheist community (which I subscribe to) that Cupp is lying for Jesus.  We think she’s faking her stance in preparation for a career move in which she “sees the light”.

      • Anonymous

        She believes many of the same tropes that Christians do, so it is suspicious.  For example, she said that Obama not acknowledging the National Day of Prayer is an attack on religion. She felt the Golden Compass movie is an attack on Christianity.  I understand the book is, but I don’t see where the movie is.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    This is… not for me. If people want to have a building dedicated to atheism, I have no problem with it, but why adopt religious language and call it a temple?

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      I imagine the existing religious terms make it easier to recruit. Why do any other churches use the same terms? Unless they’re pioneering in another language entirely, there’s no need to create a new word. You call it a church to cash in on all those who already know what a church is. Just like a hypnotist takes advantage of people predisposed to giving up control.

  • Ulrike Dunlap

    “Not everyone likes the idea of going to places to celebrate common
    values with like-minded people. Not everyone feels a need for community
    under a common cause, or feels any need to give their children a place
    where they are not surrounded by a hostile majority. Some people, as it
    happens, do.”
    But what do atheists really have in common, other than a-theism? If we have to invent a vocabulary, strict customs, rules and maybe even an idol, then we would be nothing other than another cult: who decides on the rules? Who can belong? … and in the end, if I don’t agree with one of the customs, do I get shunned?

  • 59 Norris

    I missed the story about an atheist temple; all I see is the cartoon.  Is there someone out there promoting and atheist temple?

    Seems to me “atheist community center” would be the way to go.  It doesn’t have a great ring to it, but it makes the point I think.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rhoades/100000175617377 Scott Rhoades

    What about a Humanist Temple? (I prefer the word Center over temple) No rules, no telling you how to live, just a place for the community that many still crave. Talks on ethics, discussions of deep questions, some charity efforts, maybe a potluck or two. If you are one of the people that don’t feel the need for community then just don’t show up. Would there be any reason it would bother you if others did? It may be not be a temple in the traditional sense but the Humanist Community Project is looking to provide a sense of community to those that crave it.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    There are atheist temples already, they’re called UNIVERSITIES. 

    There is no need for an “atheist” temple, because a temple implies that it’s a place of worship. May as well call it an atheist church.

  • Alex

    I thought it was 46 feet (since the Earth is 4.6G years old)? And why not 13.7, like the age of the universe? Not tall enough for a temple? :)

  • A Portlander

    Does nobody see the real utility in this? Churches use architecture and acoustics to instill feelings of awe, which are then credited to the Holy Spirit or what have you. How powerful a lesson would it be if we could reproduce those psychological effects in a building dedicated to godless, humanist principles?

  • Anonymous

    Community Free Thought Center


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