Do Atheists have Community?


A little more than one-month ago, I posted a YouTube video in response to what I thought was a legitimate attack on atheists by a conservative-Christian damning all atheists to hell – twice! I was almost immediately informed that the informed by more than a few that the videos posted by Edward Current are satires. 

By the way, you can find him on YouTube and Facebook.

Usually, I expect about 30 to 40 comments in the threaded discussions in the LinkedIn groups where I regularly post my blogs. However, “Atheists are going to Hell! Really?” had garnered over 140 in the Freethinkers group. I am impressed with the quality of the conversation as well as the quantity.

There are always a few who get angry and leave and the reasons very as the people. There are also who take a point to nausea and are angered that others still disagree.

As I mentioned below, I usually allow these thread to continue without interference, each having a life of its own. However a comment that was repeated numerous times needed to be corrected.

Dr. Stephen Wade • There is no such thing as an atheist ‘community’ because atheism is not a belief system, it refers to the absence of a belief. Atheists might more positively be described as ‘skeptic’ meaning ‘one who makes choices’ as opposed to blind faith. 

This was not Dr. Wade’s first commentary that atheism has no “community” and in this case, he continued in an attempt to support his position. Though there is always a lag time, I was hoping to catch him before he voluntarily left the conversation.  He wrote:

It is not “semantics” to know what I am talking about rather than just waffling & writing for the sake of saying something without anything worthwhile to say – as you & all too many people on “Freethinkers” seem to do. 
I don’t think this is the group for me – Goodbye.

It is sad to see Dr. Wade go, but the conversation still is quite worthwhile and has brought up numerous areas of the philosophy of myths, religions, the attempt at a definition of “truth,” and quite a bit more.

Here is my response to Dr. Wade with a bit of editing.

I have been following your conversation closely, not wanting to interfere with the conversation at hand. I am finding it fascinating to follow the ebbs and tide of the conversation and still no one has drowned, though a few have needed rescuing and some have just left the water. 

As to Dr. Wade’s argument that there is no atheist community, I respectfully disagree and I am sorry that he has decided to leave the conversation. 

There are many organizations representing the common interests of atheists. I go to a weekly meeting of the Columbia Atheist Association to socialize, much as my friends go to their church or temple to do the same. 
The government of the United States, nor the government of the UK, Germany or France (the only ones I could get information from) do NOT recognize atheism as a religion. It has no dogma, no credo, and no mythology, not to mention no gods, fairies, magic monkeys and alike. 

What atheism does have is community. People of like mind who will gather in a specific place to socialize, plan and care for each other as secular humanists, freethinkers, agnostics, atheists or any of the other names given to or by the atheists to identify themselves. The annual meeting of skeptics in Springfield MO is organized by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but that does nothing more than great a community of atheists to gather and enjoy. 

There is a division of non-belief within this community. From heretic to atheist, we do define ourselves within a continuum. I cannot say we have “orthodox” and “reformed” atheists, however, we do have atheists who are more “radical” than others, as recognized religions have a radical element. Atheists, however, do not resort to violence to achieve their ends. Where I support the local churches when appropriate and have supported Evangelicals in controversies concerning their beliefs versus the ability to perform their jobs.

You may believe that this is a breach of the idea of atheism – or maybe not. 

From a humanistic position, atheists are really no different from the religious communities in that we prefer to be around people of like mind. We belong to organizations and groups that support the Separation of Church and State and usually do not subscribe to religious publications (which I believe is a mistake, but that is another column). We have our leaders, though not formally designated, and we tend to follow their lead. The key word there is “tend,” for we do pride ourselves for allowing differing opinions. 

And, yes, we tend to discriminate against those who do not accept our argument that modern religion is only another mythology with no basis other than a means of controlling the masses through treat of damnation. 
So to say that atheists have no community appears to be wrong and not based on fact. To say that we have no dogma or credo is absolutely correct. 

To close a discussion because people simply do not agree with you is unfair to others involved. As is name calling, threats, or other devices used to avoid speaking to the subject of religion in America. 

My original video was a response to a video that I later found to be a satire, however the subject matter seems to have struck a fire hear. So write on my friends, I am enjoying the view.

As always, I welcome your comments.

And Dr. Wade, if you happen to catch this, please come back. we do miss you.

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About David Rosman

David Rosman is an award winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in Communications, Ethics, Business and Politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com, InkandVoice.com and NYJournalofBooks.com.
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One Response to Do Atheists have Community?

  1. All peoples on earth have community. Does having a “Christian” community make a person any different than others?

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