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Nik Xues

The role of Church in an atheist Society

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So the premise is this;

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

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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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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?

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

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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
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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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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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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.

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So the premise is this;

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

uh what?

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

And then.....

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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
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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.

Doug

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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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1. There would be no need for church. Asking what it's role would be if everyone stopped believing is redundant to me.

2. Since there would be no need for churches anymore, there would be no role for them to fill, other than a historic one (as has been previously mentioned).

I would love to see them all converted to homeless shelters. That would be a good role.

;)

Edited by Awake2Chaos
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I'd say that the major benefit of churches - giving a sense of belonging - would still be necessary. It is merely a matter of transitioning from a sense of belonging to a single group or sect to belonging to the human race. We certainly don't need an atheist society to do that.

Cities in Ancient Greece often had a wide range of temples and philosophical schools where someone could find a sense of belonging. Nowadays it's difficult to find that if you don't belong to a major religion. Atheist associations fill that gap somewhat, but personally I'd rather be part of something I loved, a historical society, a war-gaming club or a political organisation than a group unified only by Atheism.

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Instead of Church it would be called "Community Building."

People would gather for events from talking about public concerns, to people acting out their favorite Movie, or Book scenes.

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Cities in Ancient Greece often had a wide range of temples and philosophical schools where someone could find a sense of belonging. Nowadays it's difficult to find that if you don't belong to a major religion.

Not if you have interests. I belong to a hiking group, a photography club, a pub trivia league, and a running group.

Atheist associations fill that gap somewhat, but personally I'd rather be part of something I loved, a historical society, a war-gaming club or a political organisation than a group unified only by Atheism.

Atheist associations? You mean there are people who gather to not worship God?

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Just Google "Imagine No Religion Kamloops", "Skepticon", and "Reason Rally", or "Atheist Convention."

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Just Google "Imagine No Religion Kamloops", "Skepticon", and "Reason Rally", or "Atheist Convention."

I found no weekly local events for these organizations. Their gatherings very different from church events.

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I found no weekly local events for these organizations. Their gatherings very different from church events.

Then check the Atheist Community of Tulsa. They're a rather large group and have a lot of subgroups, like Atheists with Dogs and Bible Babble and Drinking with Atheists, and so on.

Doug

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Atheist associations? You mean there are people who gather to not worship God?

The Atheist Foundation of Australia used to meet up once a fortnight. One fortnight would just be dinner and drinks at the pub, the second fortnight they gathered at a community centre (just like church), where a prominent scientist or atheist (pastor?) gave a lecture (sermon?) on whatever topic that glorified atheism, after which a donation box (collection plate?) was passed around to help fund the event.

I'd always wanted to go, just to check it out, but I live in New South Wales and they were based in Melbourne. I think they may have stopped this particular practice, however, since I can't see the details advertised on their website anymore. Their website does contain many helpful articles about common questions atheists get, especially centred around how to answer and counter Christians - in other words, atheist apologetics. And they've got a merchandise section with pro-atheist propaganda to help fund their organisation. Just like many church websites actually, just with atheist material rather than religious ;)

Edited by Paranoid Android

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The role of Slaughter Houses in a Vegan society.

The thought crossed my mind, so I figured I would post it. Tee-Hee....

Edited by davros of skaro

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The Atheist Foundation of Australia used to meet up once a fortnight.

It appears they don't any more.

Then check the Atheist Community of Tulsa. They're a rather large group and have a lot of subgroups, like Atheists with Dogs and Bible Babble and Drinking with Atheists, and so on.

This looks more like a social group. They claim to have a strong atheist agenda but their events are bowling and dinners, not proselytizing their beliefs to the masses as churches do. One of their members did have a weekly "Church Service" but it looks like he's a Unitarian who isn't quite an atheist.

But that's interesting stuff!

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