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Thread: Non-religious social institutions

  1. #1
    Blind Guardian Array Haven's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Non-religious social institutions

    As an atheist, the only value I can see in religious institutions is the social aspect.

    Having a place to go with other like minded people on a regular basis is an amazing thing. The social aspect of religion is invaluable for people and communities, and I don't think atheism has a good alternative that I'm aware of. Myself and other atheists might tell you to find your own like minded people, and the internet is great for that, but I would question the viability of this alternative. The internet makes it easy to find like minded people, but there's just no substitute for face to face interaction.

    Anyway, my question is ultimately how do you find a sufficient replacement for the social and community benefits that religious institutions give us?
    {The Diplomat}

  2. #2
    Alchemist of life Array Coriolis's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
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    I am not an atheist, but follow a non-mainstream spiritual path, and thus do not receive the social benefits of church participation, either. Some Unitarian churches welcome atheists and have thought-provoking programs that do not require a belief in God. There are also community and charitable groups with the same social and service components others find in churches. Usually these center on some common interest, like a community choir, environmental group, homeless or youth outreach program, or political activism like League of Women Voters (takes men, too).
    Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it. We should remove the carrot and walk forward with our eyes open. -- Raistlin Majere

  3. #3
    No Array Thalassa's Avatar
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    May 2009
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    I agree with the things about political activism, community outreach, and maybe even something you're very interested in like a book club, knitting circle, or maybe coaching sports for children?

    You could get involved with meditation or yoga groups that have no particular theistic affiliation, or get involved with volunteering for an art museum, local historic preservation, or some other kind of community cause.

    It depends on what you're looking for: shared interests? Social outings? Support? Social work in your community? Devoting yourself to something meaningful?

    All of those thngs can be done without religion but it's better to clarify what it is exactly that you want.
    "Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." - Edward Abbey

    SEE-Fi /Gamma

  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    I dont think that I derive much social or community benefits from my Church per se, it is much more straight forward spiritual satisfaction I get from attending masses and other celebrations. There arent Church study groups, meetings, parties or gatherings that I take part in, not sure if there are any at all, I know that there are some protestant churches which are very social orientated and I've known protestant friends to shop around searching for that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array Shimmy's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    If you're an agnostic or at least not a militant atheist you could join the Freemasons.

    You can also join a political party regardless of religion, though I imagine in some countries this may be more effective than in others.

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