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Opening Arguments

Let's meet and pray to nobody

Silly question of the day:  "Atheism starts its megachurch: Is it a religion now?"

Organized Atheism is now a franchise.

Yesterday, The Sunday Assembly—the London-based “Atheist Church” that has, since its January launch, been stealing headlines the world over—announced a new “global missionary tour.” In October and November, affiliated Sunday Assemblies will open in 22 cities: in England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, the United States and Australia. “I think this is the moment,” Assembly founder Sanderson Jones told me in an email last week, “when the Sunday Assembly goes from being an interesting phenomenon to becoming a truly global movement.” Structured godlessness is ready for export.

"Structured godlessness" is a stunner of a phrase. As someone who has struggled with faith for most of my life, I've always found the idea of a church imploring people to believe somewhat challenging. You either believe or you don't, and I don't think any amount of preaching can make a difference. I have to admit, though, that imploring people not to believe is even more of a stretch.

If atheists organize, is it a religion? You might as well ask if anarchists meet, is it a government? If procastinators meet . . . oh, wait, we postponed that meeting.