While I admit to not having been before I’m openly curious about the Sunday Assembly. It’s new take on organised services that are open to people of any religion or none (including spiritualists and agnostics) and focusses on celebration of life and positive feelings over preaching about organised religion.
From what I have gathered I support the concept and welcome the fact that its gaining momentum and here is why.
I have seen critiques of atheism by atheists that say that organised religion gives people community and actually strives to help people and listen to their concerns and that in many cases atheism of the past rarely did anything like this (at least not en masse). This sort of idea and concept could bridge this gap that many atheists are rightly concerned about.
Celebration of happiness Most people whether religious or not would prefer to be happy and embrace positive feelings both with friends and wider community and sometimes on their own. This concept makes a lovely excuse (not that one’s needed) to partake in happier feelings in a communal sense. It’s not about non-belief but what can be achieved together as why should organised religion hold the monopoly on gatherings to share in happiness and good feelings.
Would like to see a community support function if it doe’s not already exist.* Projects like helping the homeless and aiming to better the lives of impoverished children as examples. Such projects could take place after the Assembly services for those who bear a keen interest in service to others.
*may exist already in some locations.
More calm and collected the Skeptics Society I have never attended a Skeptic’s Society meeting but have seen their forums. There is a lot of debating about belief/or lack of but very little else from what I’ve seen. This provides atheists and others who have either grown tired of Skeptic’s Societies or were never interested at all a viable alternative with a whole lot less need for debates.
Great for those seeking community If you are seeking new circles and new friends this might be a relatively quick way to find a new sense of community and even some new friends. It’s not entirely uncommon for people to move cities or countries and it’s likely to be something that many can get involved with quickly. The necessity to not be religious in order to share in church/congregation related community is a bonus either. I’ve known people who are not religious but have pretended to be in order to feel a belonging with somewhere, this requirement isn’t truly necessary anymore.
Due to its generic nature it’s fantastic for those who struggle socially There are a fair number of reasons why some of us struggle socially. Because this is fairly generic while also being an organised activity it provides an easy backdrop for these people to find community easier.
Multi-generational I am told that many generations attend the Sunday Assemblies and this is fantastic as young and old can learn from each other and share with each other i a gentle environment. There is also an increased likelihood of other diversity.
I admit that the Assembly is in its relative infancy and is building an entire culture from scratch because of this. I would also like to see it expand further into the non english speaking world within time.
La Reina Razonable