There’s No Atheist Church ‘Schism’ No Matter What CNN Publishes

A report on CNN’s website by Katie Engelhart claims that there’s a schism in the “atheist church” (*cue dramatic music*) that could even lead to the collapse of the movement:

So popular was the premise, so bright the promise, that soon the Sunday Assembly was ready to franchise, branching out into cities such as New York, Dublin and Melbourne.

“It’s a way to scale goodness,” declared Sanderson Jones, a standup comic and co-founder of The Sunday Assembly, which calls itself a “godless congregation.”

But nearly as quickly as the Assembly spread, it split, with New York City emerging as organized atheism’s Avignon.

In October, three former members of Sunday Assembly NYC announced the formation of a breakaway group called Godless Revival.

The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC. Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.

Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”

This is a complete non-story, a media invention, just a personality conflict involving two conflicting views of what atheists may want out of a community.

Here’s the Venn diagram of people who may be interested in either one of these groups:

There aren’t a lot of people who would have to make a huge decision here.

Now, let’s take a broader view:

The number of atheists affected by this “schism” is roughly somewhere in the low double-digits.

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Creation Museum’s ‘Ark Park’ in Danger of Collapse After Risky Bonds Go Unsold

Ark Encounter, the Creationist theme park that was supposed to break ground in 2011, has hit yet another snafu:

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Pastafarian Wins Election to Town Board and Takes Oath with a Colander on His Head

Back in October, Christopher Schaeffer announced his candidacy for election to the Pomfret Town Board in New York. He was elected the following month and was sworn in Thursday.

Why is any of that relevant to the rest of you?

Because of how Schaeffer took his oath of office: With a strainer on his head as a representative of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

When the OBSERVER asked afterward why he wore a colander on his head, Schaeffer said he was a minister with an even more unique organization – the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

“It’s just a statement about religious freedom,” he said. “It’s a religion without any dogma.”

Fantastic :)

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Margaret Doughty, Who Was Almost Denied U.S. Citizenship Because of Her Atheism, Tells Her Story

You may recall the story of Margaret Doughty, the 64-year-old who was denied citizenship in America because she was an atheist.

When asked if she would “take up arms in defense of the United States,” she told them she would not because her moral convictions as an atheist prevented her from fighting in a war. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) initially told her that if she had a “conscientious objection,” it had to be on religious grounds and not moral ones. But they eventually caved in after an internet uproar and some help from a Republican representative from Tennessee.

The Humanists of Houston invited Doughty to speak about her life and the controversy at an event in November and her speech is now up online:

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Responding to the 50 Great Myths About Atheism

How many times have we heard people argue atheists don’t give to charity? Or that we fear death? Or that we’re just rebelling against God’s authority? Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk have heard those false claims many times before and they’ve responded to them (and several other nasty stereotypes) in their new book 50 Great Myths About Atheism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013):

In the excerpt below (which has been adapted for this site), the authors respond to the myth that “Atheists want to ban teaching religion to children”:

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