It was just a couple of weeks ago that I was talking about former Pastor Mike Aus and his weekly “Church for atheists” in Houston, Texas.
Now, Rev. Marlin Lavanhar at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma is doing something very similar — and very successful:
“These are people who are not inspired to live their lives a certain way by ideas of God or by Scripture but who have the same human needs for community, compassion, meaning and marking the significant passages of birth, coming of age, marriage and death,” he said.
Lavanhar said the church started the humanist service in September, partly in response to the rapid growth of atheism in society.
“If I can’t make my case for loving your neighbor without reference to God and Scripture, then I am truly going to miss a huge segment of the population who may find themselves permanently outside the walls of organized religion,” he said.
Lavanhar said the new 8:30 a.m. non-theist service has drawn as many as 280 people and averages between 100 and 200.
280 people?! For an atheist service in Oklahoma?! That’s pretty goddamn impressive.
To be fair, Lavanhar is religious and saving souls is part of his game plan:
Many people who come to All Souls as atheists have not rejected God but their fourth-grade concept of God, he said.
“I say to them, ‘Tell me what God you don’t believe in, and I’ll probably tell you I don’t believe in that God either.’ ”
As they learn more, they sometimes come to a theistic position, he said.
Um… how about the God who answers prayers, plays a role in our lives, and loves us? How about the God who was born of a virgin and came back to life after dying? I reject that one.
And who are these atheists who begin to believe in God? Where are the interviews with them? We never hear from these mysterious former atheists…
Even though I’m pretty sure I would never attend a service like this, the fact that some atheists are attending it regularly is proof enough that some of us like that sort of community. It’s possible to have all the trappings of church without all the bullshit it normally comes wrapped in. Lavanhar is smart to offer the service. If other churches haven’t followed in his footsteps, they will be soon enough.
(via The Blaze)