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Old 29 Apr 2012, 11:17 AM   #359786 / #1
kennyc
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Default Secularist Gatherings Matter

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Are secular alternatives to religious gatherings any good?

By Tomas Rees on Saturday, April 28, 2012
It's often suggested that religion benefits people by bringing them together and helping to create and bind communities. Since most humans are highly social, having a mechanism to strengthen social groups could be expected to have psychological and even health benefits.

Indeed, this have often been shown to be the case. People who go to church more often seem to be happier on average, and any health benefits of religion are related to church going, rather than religious beliefs.

Now, there are complex cause and effect problems here – perhaps it’s simply that people go to church are happier and healthier to start with. These issues are hard to untangle.

However, given the controversy over Alain de Botton’s proposals in his recent book (that atheists should form secular ‘Churches’, to provide that social service provided currently by religion), it’s worth taking a look at whether secular alternatives to religion actually have any measurable impact on happiness.
...
http://epiphenom.fieldofscience.com/...28Epiphenom%29
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Old 29 Apr 2012, 01:04 PM   #359816 / #2
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That's why we have Secular Café.
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Old 29 Apr 2012, 01:56 PM   #359835 / #3
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But it would be nice to have an actual place to go to, enjoy the occasional Potluck, arrange the occasional food drive for the local food-bank, etc.

It would probably end up feeling more like a "Secular Social Club" than an actual "Church", tho.... not that that would be a bad thing.....
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Old 29 Apr 2012, 02:12 PM   #359842 / #4
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I love my real life atheist groups especially the new one that was recently started in my small city.

For those that want their own group, I suggest you start a meet up. It's only 36 dollars for the first six months than 72 dollars after that. That's how a young man, who I didn't even know was my neighbor, formed our group. We had about 20 people at the first meeting and 13 at a recent lunch date. We are very excited about this and it's highly enjoyable to meet in person. If one little highly conservative town in the Bible Belt can do this, I'm pretty confident it can be done in your own neighborhood.

A neighboring town now has over 100 members in their group. Not only do they have many socials, some of them have done a few activist activities. There is something for everyone in these secular groups.

I've mentioned it before, an article in the current copy of Scientific American Mind suggests that atheists form social groups to increase their own level of happiness. The study discussed in the article revealed that it's not the beliefs that make Xians happier, but the gathering together to form communities for support and encouragement. Humans, at least most of us, need socialization with people that share elements of our values and worldview.
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Old 29 Apr 2012, 03:34 PM   #359851 / #5
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Dance groups are my church......
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Old 05 May 2012, 10:19 AM   #362063 / #6
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No one should feel that they have to join a secular community, but I think it is great when people who want one and would benefit from one manage to find or create one.


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Old 05 May 2012, 10:23 AM   #362066 / #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Woman in Purple View Post
But it would be nice to have an actual place to go to, enjoy the occasional Potluck, arrange the occasional food drive for the local food-bank, etc.

It would probably end up feeling more like a "Secular Social Club" than an actual "Church", tho.... not that that would be a bad thing.....
I have to agree with OWIP here, I think it'd a nice thing.
Me and the O/H are part of the local Humanist Society, so we get to meet a few like minded folk, but we don't have many social activities, although they are organising a 'walk' (I prefer a p**s up myself, lol).

I've been lucky enough to meet some of the folk from SC in real life, and had a good time doing so. I actually think it might be time for another SC UK meet up soon...
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Old 05 May 2012, 11:08 AM   #362074 / #8
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Secularist Gatherings matter in the same way that hairdressers are important for bald people.
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Old 05 May 2012, 01:29 PM   #362118 / #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
Secularist Gatherings matter in the same way that hairdressers are important for bald people.

Oh Ozy. Just because you don't have or seem to need much of a social life, doesn't mean the rest of us don't enjoy one. And, btw, just because we aren't meeting face to face doesn't mean that Secular Cafe isn't a secularist gathering too. So, you are a part of a secular gathering yourself. So there.
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