London Gets First Atheist Church

On Sunday, Britain’s first atheist church held its very first meeting at The Nave, a former church-turned-performance space, in Islington, North London.

Sanderson Jones
Sanderson Jones
Pippa Evans
Pippa Evans

Founded by comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, who are behind the ‘church’, say they like many aspects of religion but don’t believe in God. The notion of people who don’t believe in God having a church was too much for some people to wrap their heads around.

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins

Last year prominent atheist Richard Dawkins hit out at separate plans to build a £1 million “temple for atheists” in London, as a waste of money and a contradiction in terms.

Jones said, “We thought it would be a shame not to enjoy the good stuff about religion, like the sense of community, just because of a theological disagreement”.

“It’s part atheist church and part foot-stomping show,” he continued. “There will be a speaker on a theme each month but there will also be an awesome house band, which Pippa will lead. We’ll be helping people try and stick to their new year’s resolutions in the first service.”

“How can you be an atheist and worship in a church? Surely it’s a contradiction of terms. Who will they be singing to?” London Catholic parish priest Rev. Saviour Grech said. “It is important to debate and engage with atheists[,] but for them to establish a church like any other religious denomination is going too far. I’m cautious about it.”

Rev. Grech, like many people, misses the point. Atheism is and always has been a religion. Establishment of the London church is, if anything, a refreshing dose of honesty.

The modern atheist movement likes to call itself a “nonbelief,” a phrase that has been widely picked up by non-atheists. The implication is that atheism is somehow different from all religions, that it is unique and therefore requires special treatment.

FFRFThe Freedom From Religion Foundation and other atheist groups have gotten a lot of mileage out of that spin in courts.

But atheism isn’t a “nonbelief.” If it were, then other people’s religious expressions wouldn’t torment atheists the way they claim in their myriad lawsuits.

So it would seem that all those atheists that we’ve all with in the past have to sort out some of their “fellow travelers” and correct them that atheism is not a religion, when in fact it is. Atheism is a theology, whether they admit it or not. The god they worship is simply not the God of the Bible.

According to the Independent, about 200 worshippers showed up to the service, held on Jan. 6. The congregation focused on the theme of “Beginnings,” deliberating over ways that success can be achieved by letting go of past failures and avoiding “mental booby traps.” Instead of a sermon, the church invited Andy Stanton, a popular children’s book author, to talk about overcoming the odds and achieving success; and instead of praying together, those gathered were encouraged at one point to close their eyes and meditate on their fears of inadequacy and failure. With Jones taking the stage as MC, the congregation was also treated to some stand-up comedy. A rendition of Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger” was even sung during the gathering.

normal_e638291d61c292edafa82a352735f1d6Going forward, the “Sunday Assembly” is scheduled to meet on the first Sunday of every month.

The opening of such a “church” merely demonstrates the truth of what the apostle Paul wrote and that is man is religious by nature, because his Creator made him that way and if man will not worship the true and living God, he will find something else to worship, but he will worship.

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