Monday, October 20, 2014

A church for the rest of us

Yesterday after months of false starts I finally got around to attending that "atheist church" I first heard about last spring. To be fair, it's not a church - they don't call it a church, it's not in a church, has no one "preaching", etc. It was just a gathering of about 150 people in a meeting space to sing pop songs (Rocket Man and Rollin' on the River), listen to a lecture on Big Bang theory by a physicist, and hear about volunteering opportunities in the community which was a big part of my going. A couple of guys led the "service" and very little was said about atheism or escape from religion until the end when they told their stories about leaving Mormonism. One anecdote was so eerily familiar to me it stopped me in my tracks. I thought for sure only my former religion made people go through thought processes like this; apparently it's more common than I thought:

He told a story about having recently left the LDS church and one morning couldn't start his truck. Immediately his well-trained brain starts its usual convoluted path - "why is this happening? What did I do to make this happen? What is God trying to show me with this? What lesson am I meant to learn from this?" etc etc etc. And then he realized all he really had to do was call a mechanic. I had many, many experiences like this after leaving my religion. I find being able to inhabit just this world we can see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and not worry about anything else, incredibly freeing. 

I wish I had been able to stay for coffee afterwards - I was dying to tell my story and hear others' - but I had a movie date with a friend. Next time - and there will be a next time - I will make sure to reserve time for this. The crowd was very diverse, interesting, and normal. No weird cult-y feeling, no feeling of wide-eyed desperation like you would get walking into the dying churches of my former religion. This new "church" has been expanding and opening all over the world. After a childhood spent in the tail end of a fad religion of the 1880s that is now uttering its last gasps of life, it's refreshing to be at the forefront of something new and exciting. Who knew the most galvanizing new religion would be no religion?

I'm excited to get involved in the volunteer opportunities with the kids someday. This is really important to me since despite my current poverty we still have so much more than so many, even myself at their age - we own our house, they have a room, we have a car, our bills are paid, there is food in the fridge and clothes on our backs. I don't want them ever taking this all for granted. I know I don't!


  1. Sounds like an interesting group. I agree with you about not taking what we have for granted.

  2. I was hoping we'd get a branch of that "church" here, but no luck yet. I would definitely go!