They’re Losing Faith in Kitsap and Local Atheists Are There to Help

One of the many reasons to start a local atheist group? When surveys say your city is one of the least religious in the country, reporters know exactly where to go for insight.

A Gallup poll recently declared Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington one of the least religious areas in the country. (They were ranked 7th in terms of highest non-religious population, getting just above 50%.)

So the Kitsap Sun, covering that exact region, wanted to know what’s going on:

Four members of the Kitsap Atheists and Agnostics group cited a number of factors that could be skewing the nonreligious numbers Kitsap’s way. Wesley Bonetti, one of the group’s four members that gathered at a Bremerton coffee shop this week, said people born here are generally raised to “Do your own thing.”

Cristyn Kelly said the highly transient nature of military life could be a factor. “It’s hard for people to establish themselves in a community if they are only here for a while,” she said.

There are other reasons, too, of course: The way the Gallup questions were worded, the inability to stay inside of a Christian bubble when you’re surrounded by different kinds of people, etc. But that hasn’t stopped the atheists in the area from forming their own social network for anyone who wants to join:

On Sunday a group of them plan to work to spruce up the Clear Creek Trail in Silverdale. And they meet every other Wednesday, seeking a community of their own.

“It’s a community for people without church,” Kost said.

As I’ve said before, if atheists can offer people the benefits of church without the mythological nonsense, they would bring in a lot more people who are content to call themselves non-religious but don’t want to go a step further.

(image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Not to knock my Atheist brothers and sisters on the Peninsula but it’s very possible had the poll been conducted with-in the Navy Community the result would have been different. Many in the military still identify with some religion due to internal pressures of their peers, command and navy tradition.

    • SeekerLancer

      I was thinking in regards to the transient military life statement that it’s likely the “nones” here are believers, just not attached to a particular church.

    • meekinheritance

      Because there are no atheists in foxholes? ;-)
      Are foxholes an issue for the navy? (rhetorical)

      • ORAXX

        Foxholes turned me into an atheist.

  • Karen

    Upon leaving the church, the thing I longed for the most was “community”. Atheist groups are one way of filling that void, but other social groups can also fill the bill.
    Kudos to those atheists with the skills to get a group going.

    Homeschool Atheist Momma
    http://taytayhser.blogspot.com.au/

  • http://twitter.com/WilliamRDickson William R. Dickson

    Yet another reason for me to regret moving away from Kingston.

  • Pattrsn

    One of the least religious areas in the country? The rates of murder, suicide, environmental disaster must be horrendous.

    • Mackinz

      incredibly low*

    • http://twitter.com/theFandS KC

      chances are that people there are more intelligent. Get a copy of Intelligence Paradox and see all the research data.

  • snoozn

    My city, Boulder, tied for least religious city in the country. We have also ranked in other polls as the happiest city, most well educated city, and fittest city. On the downside we are the worst-dressed. I’m sure I personally helped to achieve that last one!

  • James Robbins

    The more religious a geographical region is the more murder, crime, teen pregnancy etc.

  • ORAXX

    Free thinkers do not tend, by their natures, to be ‘herd animals’. I seriously doubt that anything resembling a true, institutionalized, “atheist church” will arise but, the internet has made it much easier for like minded people to meet and share ideas. Communities are bound to grow out of this.

    • Cristyn

      I’m Cristyn from the article and from Kitsap Atheists and Agnostics. We definitely don’t call ourselves a church. I’m pretty sure that most of our members (and probably atheists in general) would feel uncomfortable with the idea of an atheist church. We really just meet at a bar (or a restaurant or wherever) and hang out. There’s nothing resembling a church, just a group of like-minded people to talk to. When my husband and I moved to Kitsap from Seattle, I quit my job, and we both became full-time students (both at online schools). We were fairly fresh out of church life, and I honestly had no idea how to make friends outside of church or work or school. I happened to be looking online for book clubs or something like that to join to meet people (which I also found, and a wonderful group of friends there, too), when I came across KAA and Kitsap County Skeptics. They have really become a community to us, something that we (me and my husband specifically, I can’t speak for the rest of the group) really miss after leaving Christianity. However, there are several people in the group who only come once in a while, because like you said, atheists don’t tend to be joiners. We’re happy to have people drop in from time to time, too. We’re just here for people when they need like minded people to spend time with, whether once in a while, or if they are looking for community. It’s really a no pressure environment. I feel like our group is really important in our area, because it’s a military town, and a lot of members work at the shipyard or with other military type people who tend to be more religious. We were all really surprised actually, to find out that our area is the least religious in the state. Anyway, I would love to see more atheist communities around the state and the country, because I do think it’s important for people to have that support when they need it.

  • Becky at AskAnAtheist.tv

    Happy to see our friends on the peninsula getting some local attention. :) Washington State has a vibrant freethought community indeed!

  • Sonya

    Jesus Christ was either A) a sad failure of a man who loved to stir drama in the temple and pull the rug out from under religious authority with his delusions of being the Messiah, or B) He really was the Son of God. Either way church and secular history show His name caused massive amounts of people to die rather than reject Him. I used to hate Christians til I read the Gospels for myself. I know you guys have every right to not believe, but I just want you to know that not every person that claims to be Christ like really is. Please just entertain me and read the Gospel of John. Thanks!


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