WRIGHT WAY: Are atheists going to 'church?'
Dec 04, 2013 | 2045 views | 0 0 comments | 169 169 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Associated Press recently reported that “Nearly three dozen gatherings dubbed ‘atheist mega-churches’ by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia — with more to come — after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year.”

The AP article added that “Similar gatherings in San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the camaraderie of a congregation without religion or ritual.”

The movement is said to tap into that “universe of people who left their faith but now miss the community church provided,” according to Phil Zuckerman, a professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. The article referred to a recent meeting where “Hundreds of atheists and atheist-curious packed into a Hollywood auditorium for a boisterous service filled with live music, moments of reflection, an ‘inspirational talk’ about forgotten — but important — inventors and scientists and some stand-up comedy.”

During the service, attendees were said to stomp their feet, clap their hands and cheer as they were led through “rousing renditions of ‘Lean on Me,’ ‘Here Comes the Sun’ and other hits that took the place of gospel songs.” It added, “At the end, volunteers passed cardboard boxes for donations as attendees mingled over coffee and pastries and children played on the floor.”

The introduction of “Atheist mega-churches” is not without its detractors, even within the atheist community, according to the AP article.

“The idea that you’re building an entire organization based on what you don’t believe, to me, sounds like an offense against sensibility,” said Michael Luciano, a self-described atheist who was raised Roman Catholic but left when he became disillusioned.

“There’s something not OK with appropriating all of this religious language, imagery and ritual for atheism,” said Luciano, who blogged about the movement at the site policymic.com.”

Whether you condone this new movement or not, it should be obvious that most people find strength in numbers. In fact, the desire to assemble seems inherent in most living things — animals, birds, fish, insets — they all congregate. Even “misery loves company,” according to some. Why is that? Is it a coincidence or is it by design? American inventor Thomas Edison once said, “After years of watching the process of nature, I cannot doubt the existence of a Supreme Intelligence. The existence of such a God can, to my mind, almost be proved from chemistry.”

In his book, “The Case for Christianity,” C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are all sorts of different reasons for believing in God and here I’ll mention only one. It is this. Supposing there were no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen for physical or chemical reasons to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought.

“But if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way the splash arranges itself will give you a map to London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

It makes sense to me that if humans arose without intelligent guidance, how could they have intelligence? To say there is no Supreme Intelligence is to say the universe has evolved something higher than itself, it has actually created intelligence. But to think that anything can create something it does not itself possess sounds absurd.

We know humans cannot create life from the elements. And yet we are expected to believe that the elements created humans. To be an atheist one must believe that intelligent humans, who are unable to create life, were created by a force without intelligence. Does that sound logical to you?

My greatest reason for believing in a Supreme Being, however, is not based on simple logic. It is based on my relationship with Him. There are not enough coincidences in the world to make so many answers to my prayers come true. When I read God’s Word, pour out my heart to Him, lean upon Him — I feel His unmistakable presence. I feel the difference inside my heart when He lifts the weight of my sins into the nothingness of forgiveness. This is a truth I cannot deny.

Each person must find their own way in life. Each person deserves to be respected for whatever decision they make. Besides, people do change. The one thing we should all be able to agree on is that we are in no position to judge.

But when I assemble, I truly believe I stand before the Most High God alongside His children in heaven and on earth who fully endorse His inspired Words at Romans 1:20: “From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what he made. As a result, people have no excuse.” — GOD’S WORD Translation.

*For a copy of The Little White Book of Light featuring more than 100 Wright Way columns, visit barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and amazon.com.