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.