Last October, Simon Clare decided to try his hand at street-preaching. A pretty interesting idea considering he was preaching atheism:
“Often you hear atheists complain about what churches do,” says Simon, “but then they don’t do anything about it!
“What I have learned over the past couple years is that you can make these things happen if you just do it, rather than moaning about it.”
“I want to provide an alternative, set these things up, and show people there is a way of doing it without the involvement of God,” continues Simon.“Atheists are very good at telling people how naturally good and naturally happy they are, but they don’t demonstrate it or display it much.
“We are terribly miserable — that grumpy lot!
“And I think it is time to show people that our view of the world can provide consolation and be a source of joy.”
However, a caveat follows: “Not that kind of ecstatic joy that is based upon false promises,” he says.
This is the point that gets lost in all the frustration with the “atheist church” language — one of the benefits of the assembly is to show others that you can be godless and happy, and we rarely have an opportunity to show that side of us to the world.
Clare’s first service will be held on September 22 in East Sussex, England.