Being faithless opens us up to a whole range of human experiences free of theistic baggage. But once you’ve shrugged off religion and any semblance of a belief in the supernatural, what comes next? For many, it’s not enough to just not believe in any gods; many want something more.
And now, for some atheists, many of the biggest pieces missing from their lives (and from the larger atheist movement) are being filled by the Sunday Assembly, the godless gathering out of London nicknamed “the Atheist Church.”
The whole idea is centered around the desire to celebrate life, enjoy the a rich community, and make the world a better place bit by bit. Created by Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, the Sunday Assembly quickly exploded in popularity and its creators were flooded with requests from people around the world asking for help to create similar events in their area, leading them to do just that.
Their success is due to their dynamic format. Assemblies involve live music, group singing, inspirational talks about the awesomeness of the universe and life, interactive discussions, and a strong investment in community, followed by tea and cake. They’ve managed to tap into people’s hunger for inspiration, connection, and a sense of purpose by celebrating the positive things atheism brings to our lives: an exuberant delight with this life, the freedom to pursue our own meaning & purpose, and the joy of helping others as its own reward.
Right this instant, Jones is here in the US to help local groups start their own Sunday Assemblies. He just visited San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle and will be in Chicago today (to plan Assemblies) and New York later this weekend (to conduct one).
Their motto is simple and beautiful:
Now that’s a motto I can get behind.