Rachel Johnson

Atheist Blogger- the godlessvagina / Podcaster the pink atheist

Cnn Calls The Internet “Church For Atheists.”



By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The Internet has become the de facto global church for atheists, agnostics and other doubters of God, who of course don’t have bricks-and-mortar churches in which to congregate.

We see this phenomenon in motion every day on the CNN Belief Blog, where atheists/agnostics/humanists are among the most zealous commenters.

So here we go again.

Back to church everyone. We may have given up god, but not congregating and behaving like a church. My firewall is my alter, I pray to megabytes that I don’t get a devil virus who makes me sin with porn pop-ups. I am here religiously, waiting on messages from the almighty church of atheism. Meanwhile we get together and talk about how we don’t believe, and the only thing lacking is a perv minister to molest us. Because obviously we are removed from churches and belief, but not from behaving religiously, right?

He did get one thing right, we have found a place to connect. To discuss our disbelief, and learn that we are not alone. It is important that people know it is okay to question god. After all they have probably spent their life choked with dogmatic ideas. So a bit of breathing free makes sense. What does not make sense is calling us a church.  After all we don’t get together at a specified time, and all bash gods in unison. We are a crowd of people as diverse as the colors of nature. Some of us are adamant anti-religious, while others are light hearted atheists unwilling to go against the established religions. So how could we be a church. There is nothing to define a unity in thought or doctrine among us.

The influence of religion on the mind of this writer shows. He automatically equates everything back to his views. Not to ours. It is like we have become more mainstream and they are looking for a way to define us, and their only option is what they know. What they fail to understand is how we could never assimilate into a dogmatic state. But we moved away from dogmas to for a reason. One that religious people seem to fail in understanding. We don’t want to be told just what to think, or how to behave. We want to ask questions and look for answers. None of those properties belong to religion. More than that is religion goes to church to share the same ideas. They live and breathe by conformity, and atheists are far from conformists.

The article goes on to show comments, including ones where atheists write like god, talk about their abuse by religious leaders, and show support. That is par for the course among our sessions of discourse. We often converse about the realities of our lives. We discuss current events, we gossip, and behave like normal humans in average lives. Which once again does not make us a church. It is this type of mentality which is destructive to atheists. It positions us to be the new dogma in town without the dogmatic stance. It makes us sound like the competing religion, just waiting for an opportunity to debase the current established religion.

It is sickening to know that we have used the better parts of our brains to struggle against our own biological nature, and the oppression of dogmatic thinking in society only to be thrown back into the same dogmatic arena. We are not a church, the internet is not a church. We are non conformists, and we enjoy it. So no we are not a church, the internet is not a church. We don’t have a silly dress code with long robes, and funky hats, though if someone is wearing them right now it would be hilarious. We don’t use the internet as a pulpit from which to preach how to not believe. We don’t direct people how to behave, or suggest methods for conforming their lives to atheism.

What we are is a bunch of people sharing on the internet. Just like everyone, but then they are not calling it the church of gaming. Why is it religious people have to try so hard to label us under their umbrella. If we wanted to be under it we would. There are churches that are nondenominational which allow for may beliefs, and teach only community and morality. We don’t come under that either. Most atheists I know stay away from group think, and mindless conformity. They question everything. I even know nihilists who understand that morality is just a social construct and in the animal kingdom it does not exist.

If only the media, and the religious could refrain from aligning us with dogma. Would it be so hard to understand how we don’t care to be equals with the dogmatic. We are separate for a reason. We don’t need churches and are fine without a guide to determine what we should be doing. All we want is our freedom. Yes the internet has afforded us that opportunity. We can now connect with people we enjoy, and appreciate. We have the ability to seek those who express the same skeptical thinking, and analytical minds. We employ our skills to elaborate on the reasons for skepticism. We can stand together against toxic religions and oppressive doctrines. We are a community, but we are not a church.



Author: Rachel Johnson

I am a writer about atheist issues. Separation of the church and state. Women and their right to choose, and sex. I talk about all of the "taboos" of modern life as well as evolution and science.

7 thoughts on “Cnn Calls The Internet “Church For Atheists.”

  1. The CNN article is typical of the way the “godly” see the rational and the clear of thinking. Atheist have not “lost” god. Some of us have never had, found or needed and sort of deity. I would put myself in this category. The use of the word “church” is often used by the lazy, the illiterate and the narrow minded. The use of the word “church” takes both a religious view point, but, moreover, a /christian/ view. By definition, atheists and anti-theists, are not religious and do not associate with such linguistic blandness. Atheists who were former “believers” may themselves have come from other religions, so the nomenclature “church” may also be religiously inaccurate for those.

    You are correct when you assert the writer “automatically equates everything back to his views ” However, it shows that the author in particular is lacking the ability to think outside their own particular box, that they can only think in terms of indoctrination, centuries old dogma and, as some may have it, tradition.

    Atheists do not need to be bound by the shackles of centuries old language, we do not need our own “church”, we do not need the guiding voice of some all seeing, omnipotent being, we do not need to be guided by the celestial hand and we certainly do not need to be told by second rate part time hacks how to think and why and why we are deficient for thinking something different.

    The internet, and all it’s constituent parts, the web, email, ftp, gopher, news groups and the like, is a secular place. It is such because it is electronic, it has no heart, no soul, no being. It is a conduit that can be used for good and for bad, for the enlightened and the bland, for the erotic and for the banal. It can be used for teaching and learning, it can be used to spread new ideas or videos of the ever popular “cat falling off a piano” You Tube videos. It can be used for all manner of things and more.

    It is therefore interesting to note that it is the religious states and government the world over who are scared of the internet, who are trying to restrict the internet, who are trying to use the internet to oppress and subjugate and to restrict the thoughts of people. Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia to name a very small few. This is fitting with the concept of the church.

    It is not the mantra of the atheist.

  2. Rachel is irked to see any communal activity labeled a “de facto church,” I’m irked along with her.

    It’s not surprising to see though. Many faiths, including many Christianities are “colonizing” faiths. They have a strong need to commandeer every space and sphere they can. That’s why it’s important for them to have mentions of god on money, 10 commandment monuments on courthouse grounds, prayer in public meetings and schools. They figure if they can smear enough of their religion around the place they’ll stink it up enough to call it their own (“Christian nation anyone?).

    There is a long history of this type of missionary activity, where missionaries assimilate customs, spaces, and people into the fold by just “adding them on” maybe changing them up a little bit if they care to, and claiming them as their own. After the customs and people have been part of the foreign tradition long enough the foreign tradition just looks richer and its salesmen claim that it was always so.

    By calling the internet a church and atheists churchgoers the author is colonizing the space and the people meeting there for religion. It’s a form of theft, The missionary figures he needn’t win hearts or minds, just claim them as your own, hold on to them for long enough, and they are yours.

  3. Another reason we end up zealously commenting on news stories is that other people’s religious beliefs are constantly being thrust upon us BY LAW. This could be anything from trans-vaginal ultrasounds in an attempt to shame women out of exercising control over their bodies, to stopping us marrying the person we love because the bible/koran says we can’t. Even the currency has “In god we trust” on it. Then they whine about their religious freedom being “taken away” whenever we push back. Finding an atheist community, NOT a church, in just the same way the LGBT community is a community and not a church, helps us find the strength and mental energy to continue to strive for real freedom and equality, and know that their are others out there striving for rational thinking too.

  4. If it’s a “church” then we ought to get the benefits of being a church, then! Our internet expenses should be tax deductible and we should be able to give tax-free housing allowances to our “clergy”. If it’s our church, then can we excommunicate from the internet anyone who disagrees with us? (I have a few suggestions about who to start with.)

    It seems that the deeply religious are incapable of seeing things in any other terms but their own. They insist that atheism is a “religion” and now they are saying we have a “church”. Sigh. To steal a very good quote “We don’t see things the way they are. We see them the way we are.”

  5. Pingback: Dangerous Talk » One Dogma For Another

  6. Pingback: Raising My Son In A Household Without Religion | A Mom Who Just So Happens to Be a Gamer

  7. Pingback: Review Chris Stedman - Faitheist : How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s