Get Those Atheists Into Church

This year, I found out about Interview an Atheist at Church Day the day before it happened. This year, the people who initiated the project are working a bit harder to get the word out. You can help.

Interview an Atheist at Church Day is a community project aimed at bettering the understanding between atheists and religious persons. We hope to connect atheists who are willing to be interviewed with congregations in their area that are interested in developing ties with atheists in their area. The “day” represents our desire to grow into something far-reaching and beneficial to atheists and churchgoers alike.

As unbelieving populations around the world [continue] to rise, dialogue and understanding between atheists and people of faith is more important than ever. We live and work in the same world: understanding better what both unites and divides religious and non-religious people can only help us make this world a better place.

We hope that these interviews will benefit both believers and non-believers.  Possible questions include:

  1.  How does your atheism influence your day-to-day actions?

  2.  Why don’t you believe in God?

  3. How do you find meaning in an atheistic universe?

  4. Where do you think morality comes from?

  5. How can we find a way to work together?

They’re looking both for atheists who are willing to be interviewed and churches that want to quiz an atheist. They’re also trying to raise a small budget to promote the idea more widely. Do what you can.

Get Those Atheists Into Church

18 thoughts on “Get Those Atheists Into Church

  1. 1

    As unbelieving populations around the world [continue] to rise, dialogue and understanding between atheists and people of faith is more important than ever.

    Translation: “Holy crap, there’s too many of them to isolate, ostracize and intimidate anymore, so now we have to try being nice to them instead!”

  2. 2

    Also, note the name: “Interview an Atheist at Church Day.” None of this will happen unless they can get the atheists to come to THEIR turf — the believers won’t venture outside their own safe zone for anything.

  3. 4

    I’d like to participate but IndieGogo won’t let me send Tia a message through the system or post a comment until I donate (and I’ve hit my donation budget for the week). Any idea how else I can get in touch?

  4. 5

    Good point, Raging Bee! An event like this should be staged at a mall or park. That way the general public can benefit from seeing that non-believers are not necessarily angry, dead-eyed extremists, but normal people.

    There’s too much opportunity for “damage control” in a church congregational setting.

    Of course, it really depends on how liberal are the churches that would conduct such “interviews.”

  5. 6

    Having answered and seen those questions answered many, many times before and having seen Christians’ responses to those answers, there is no way I’d answer them in a crowded church. I’ve noticed that local churches are addressing atheism lately. I know it is not to better understand our position.

  6. 7

    @2 Raging Bee – To be fair, that really would be the most convenient place for this to be. If you’re a church goer and you regularly meet at the same place and same time every week, why break that cycle? On the flip side, atheists don’t necessarily do the same (because we’re not a religion). So if you’re going to have such an event, where would you have it? The more common meeting place between the two groups makes the most practical sense IMHO. And that happens to be church.

  7. 8

    Actually what annoys me most about this is that it’s specifically Christians and Atheists. What, you don’t want to talk to Muslims, Jews, and Sikhs?

    But honestly I can’t see how this could possibly be a bad thing.

  8. 9

    badgersdaughter @4, as long as you have an Indiegogo login, you should be able to post a “private” comment without donating — it worked for me (although I decided to donate a small amount afterward anyway). Presumably Tia can see private comments. The way I did it was to click the “Comments” tab at the top of the page, and then enter my comment with the “Keep private” checkbox selected.

    The campaign also has a Facebook page that you could presumably use as an alternate means of contact.

    Personally, I think this sounds like a lot of fun, but then, I’m one of those weirdos who gets all excited when proselytizers come to my door and keeps them talking until *they* get bored. So, others’ mileage may vary. 😀

  9. 12

    My first thought on reading “developing ties with” was “Ew, I don’t want to let them target me for future proselytization”. I could see being interviewed once, but I have too much distrust to think that developing ties simply based on my not believing what they do could go well.*

    *disclaimer: I come from an evangelistic background, and i know this colors my response.

  10. 14

    I can’t remember the last time I was awake early enough on a Sunday to go to a church. That’s atheist sleep in day as far as I’m concerned.

  11. 15

    Thanks, I was able to get in touch with one of the organizers. If that didn’t work, and one of the organizers happens to be reading this, my username at gmail will get in touch with me. 🙂

  12. 16

    Incidentally I am not a “public face” or atheist activist; I’m just an atheist motormouth who happens to have been a Christian, doesn’t mind speaking in front of groups, doesn’t have anything against saying “I don’t know and neither do you”, and looks nice and normal and friendly to lots of different kinds of people. I’m not going to assume hostility from the start when a church is hospitable enough to let me in, but I’m not stupid enough to miss attempts to make a “bad example” of me. I’m game. If religious people want to talk about atheism with me, all I ask is that they try not to spout a pat answer they read in a book somewhere and grin as if they discovered the “universal gotcha”.

  13. 17

    if it is at all useful (and frankly, if the church is not really liberal, it’s gonna be outside my experience so I’m no help whatsoever!) the thrust at our church tends to be worry about what beliefs stand in place of belief of god. How people falling away from the church ‘cope’ with moral struggles. I can picture one pastor at our church trying to sneak in a teensy gotcha, but they’ve been doing a lot of education on how various religions are the same and are different (and of course in significant ways 🙂 than christianity. Therefore, a more liberal church would probably be on board with finding commonality before illustrating/defending differences.

    At least, that’s how I hope it would go….

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