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Joe Provenzano

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Would atheists benefit from a community? Are they maximizing such benefits?

Yes!

But, I don't believe they would organize 'just one way' - (theists have not), they would still benefit from organization around core concepts. Every moment as unorganized individuals, extends a sub-optimized, limited approach to progress/evolution. Atheists need communities - maybe more than other groups since the current lack of community weakens both individual atheists and the communities in which they live.

Their bibles? The dictionaries of science, ethics and law.

Atheism 2.0 makes good points about what could be gained. I want the benefits communities bring but, there are only religious options within a 25-mile radius of me. I need a 50-mile radius, to encounter an open minded community (Unitarian Universalist) that I can participate in. This is not because I live in the woods... there are close to a million people in that circle. To the degree that I want to participate (engage with like-minded people, celebrate a wedding, funeral or special occasion, host a meaningful discussion, etc.) as a community member, having a single, distant, option is unacceptable.

Such lack of organization is a clear weakness and stunts potential. We can learn from ANY communities... our lack of organization is so apparent. (as Atheist 2.0 discusses)

We need to find our 'Martin Luther', our 'Gandhi", our spark. On one hand, I'm optimistic... but on the other, I fear that I was born to soon. We have not found such fighters because the injustice that occurs (to isolated atheists) is largely invisible and escapes notice relative to the other injustices forced upon groups by the very same powers (politicians, community leaders and church leaders of the status quo).

We did have our leaders (Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, etc...) but, the first priority was the political structures and establishments - we must continue the movement. They gifted us separation of church and state. They would debate and advance the good points of Atheist 2.0. Community 2.0? Atheists need to unite!

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    Jan 24 2012: This question would be better phrased as "Are atheists human?"

    To which the answer would be your same 'YES!'

    It seems self-evident that we humans all need and benefit from community. This is probably the reason we've come up with so many religions over the years.

    And we atheists, despite our flat non-belief in the supernatural, still need community. Which is why we find ourselves now contemplating forming a religion of our own.

    Chris Anderson asked a very good question in Atheism 2.0 about the need to be part of something greater than oneself. Alain De Botton, despite having just delivered an excellent sermon, gave what I consider to be the typical cop-out atheist answer. And I've given it more times than I can count, so there...

    Being part of the hugeness of the universe is inspiring and numinous to the right sort of person yes, but I think the real meat of the issue lies elsewhere. It is not enough to be a part of something greater than the individual, one must feel that he or she is a contributing part of such greatness, whatever it may be. And so the standard secular answer fails to fulfill this need, for it's hard to feel like we actually contribute anything substantial to the greatness of the Cosmos itself. By contrast, devotion to pleasing the creator(s) of everything feels both within our reach and important.

    So what can we become a part of, what can we devote ourselves to, that is real, improvable, and worthwhile? Ultimately we all must decide for ourselves (such is the problem with lacking an infallible deity), but I'm currently leaning towards "Each Other."
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      Jan 25 2012: Nice. Love that! (Are atheists human?)

      I do feel like that. It's like "duh" of course we need community! I just too often see the focus on God v Not... and that doesn't leave me feeling like I'm contributing. I also agree that we will find it in service (if I can correctly go there) and especially service towards 'each other'.

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