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The role of Church in an atheist Society


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#1    Nik Xues

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 01:53 AM

So the premise is this;

How much would the concept of church change if we all became atheists?

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the others are idiots simply waiting for proof of existence.

#2    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:00 AM

I'm reminded of the fact that Roman Emperor's employed a slave to say the things they didn't want to hear (and thus none of their advisers would tell them), the origin of the phrase memento mori "remember, you are mortal" comes from this concept.
In any unified society you still need someone to say the thing no one else is willing to and/or to think differently to the consensus. In such a society as you suggest, that could be the church's role,

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#3    Likely Guy

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:08 AM

View PostNik Xues, on 02 February 2014 - 01:53 AM, said:

So the premise is this;

How much would the concept of church change if we all became atheists?

Or, what would optometrists do if we all went blind?

You should flesh the premise out a little more than that.

What do you think would happen?


#4    Stubbly_Dooright

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 02:41 AM

View PostNik Xues, on 02 February 2014 - 01:53 AM, said:

So the premise is this;

How much would the concept of church change if we all became atheists?
I think it would change a lot. If that is, if we all do become atheists. If we do, I think certain traditional aspects would be around for some groups. The gathering of groups for unity and togetherness, for one. Seeing churches around and being built later, maybe not. The thing is, I really don't think there would be a true atheist society. There was the USSR and state Atheism, if I remember correctly, but you still had your groups of hidden religions. Right. I think the concept of Church would change, but not disappear.

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#5    davros of skaro

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 03:23 AM

I imagine historic old Churches would be preserved, and visitors would see them like one does when visiting the Pyramids for an example.

There will always be places of meeting for social groups, just minus the dogma.

For instance people willingly give their time to Animal Shelters, and that fills the gap otherwise spent at a Church.

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#6    Sean93

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 03:53 AM

History. Same reason we keep places like Alcatraz and Auschwitz standing.

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#7    Leonardo

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 01:54 PM

I cannot envisage any society being truly atheist.

So I cannot envisage the question asked about the role of the Church in such a society, as ever needing to be answered.

Edited by Leonardo, 04 February 2014 - 01:54 PM.

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#8    davros of skaro

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 02:29 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 04 February 2014 - 01:54 PM, said:

I cannot envisage any society being truly atheist.

So I cannot envisage the question asked about the role of the Church in such a society, as ever needing to be answered.

Do you picture Man made Space craft with "Jesus Fish" magnets on them in the future?

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#9    Almagest

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 03:15 PM

View Postdavros of skaro, on 04 February 2014 - 02:29 PM, said:

Do you picture Man made Space craft with "Jesus Fish" magnets on them in the future?

I do. Sadly I think there are people whose first thought after discovering alien intelligence would be "have they heard the Gospel?"

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#10    scowl

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 05:59 PM

Atheists would still go to church for the social events and business connections. They would be like clubs.

The sermons would be more like Amway pitches. They would emphasize the good things the church is doing and would drop the supernatural stuff.

Some liberal churches are well on their way to this. They reject the ugly stuff in the Bible and have selected to believe only the stuff in it that fits in secular society.


#11    JGirl

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 06:00 PM

View PostNik Xues, on 02 February 2014 - 01:53 AM, said:

So the premise is this;

How much would the concept of church change if we all became atheists?
uh what?


#12    J. K.

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 06:07 PM

View PostAlmagest, on 04 February 2014 - 03:15 PM, said:



I do. Sadly I think there are people whose first thought after discovering alien intelligence would be "have they heard the Gospel?"

Actually, the discovery of aliens would pose some questions for theologians concerning sin and the need for sacrifice.

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#13    rodentraiser

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 07:19 PM

View PostAlmagest, on 04 February 2014 - 03:15 PM, said:

I do. Sadly I think there are people whose first thought after discovering alien intelligence would be "have they heard the Gospel?"

And then.....
Posted Image


Seriously, people keep the rituals they have because it gives them comfort. Some of those rituals also take out the stress of dealing with life. If you are told something is bad, then you don't have to worry about deciding for yourself that it is. In any society, not only does this save a lot of energy but it also ensures that the people in the group think the same, feel the same, and act the same. This is a necessity for being able to meet and conquer any new challenges as a group. Our modern military works the same way.

Make no doubt about it, any atheistic society is going to be the same. People will form into groups and make up their own rules.  If it isn't God they believe in, it will be the spirits that inhabit the trees and water, or something else. Whatever belief people will have, it will fit the times and conditions they live in. Christianity would never have started if the first people to believe it had not been oppressed. Communism wouldn't be with us today if the peasants had been well fed. If water is the next thing to divide the haves and the have nots, then we wil make our worship about the water god who wants us all to share equally.

And it's only a short step from there to making it mandatory for the rest of the world to believe the same.

Just a thought.

Edited by rodentraiser, 04 February 2014 - 07:20 PM.

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#14    Doug1o29

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 02:55 AM

View PostLeonardo, on 04 February 2014 - 01:54 PM, said:

I cannot envisage any society being truly atheist.

So I cannot envisage the question asked about the role of the Church in such a society, as ever needing to be answered.
I agree.

But the question was hypothetical, so perhaps a hypothetical answer:  most churches offer meeting rooms for community events, especially for small, nonprofit groups.  A few, for-profit churches charge for that.  Some churches also offer soup kitchens and shelter for the homeless and perform other acts of charity.  Those functions would need to be taken over by atheist clubs, granges (formerly), community and similar organizations that do not now have the tax and other advantages accorded churches.  Society could be reorganized to get along without churches and could do it more cost-effectively than churches do.  But I'd still miss the bells on Sunday morning.
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#15    Doug1o29

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 03:02 AM

View Postscowl, on 04 February 2014 - 05:59 PM, said:

Atheists would still go to church for the social events and business connections. They would be like clubs.
Atheist clubs already exist.  And like churches, they're into the social life, but occasionally they also do some good work in their communities.  Churches are just clubs anyway, so there wouldn't be much difference.

I think the big difference is that separation of church and state would be real instead of pretend.
Doug

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