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02 February, 2013


Many atheists don't feel the need to organize. Some of them join local groups but don't do much more than just meeting and making like-minded friends. One thing that came up in my local group, however, was the idea of community building to match the kind of networking structure that churches provide.

When someone moves to a new town, they will find new friends and helpful people at a church of their denomination. Because there are so many religious people who already meet in the same place once a week, church is an incredible resource for quickly learning about that community, what jobs are available, what are the best schools, childcare, etc. There are also food banks and shelters to assist the indigent.

Should atheist groups try and mimic such a network providing resources for people in need? I don't think it could hurt to try. As a liberal communitarian type of person, I already try to uphold the ideals of community building and it has nothing to do with my atheism, but if I did start tying it in with atheism, perhaps it would give people on the fence an alternative to relying on spiritual groups. Not every atheist, secularist or skeptic will agree or want to focus their activism this way, but that is also fine with me. The thing I love about freethinkers is the diversity of goals, ideas and values that we hold. No one should feel pressured at all to adopt actions or values that any one group holds, but anyone interested is invited to organize. Those are my thoughts on the subject, bug I want to know what the wider world thinks. Are there any downsides to atheist groups wanting to create a support network?


  1. Interesting thoughts and questions Katie. I do participate in my local group and sometimes online but I don't feel the particular need to duplicate efforts. Also, I spent 30 years without knowing another atheist in person so my needs to commune in person are very minimal. I prefer to support the wide variety of secular nonprofits doing great work that already exist. What I like to see is freethought groups supporting those organizations through volunteer days, etc. That's my 2 cents!

    1. That is a good point. atheist organizations might do better to support help organizations that are already in place instead of creating their own. An already established org is going to have the experience, resources and infrastructure that start-up groups won't have.