So how did you decide skepticism was not going to be a part?Here’s a bit of an introduction to the local atheist organization to which I belong. I’m going to keep some details private in order to protect the guilty. If there is anything you’d like to know, ask away, but I may decline to answer for privacy.
My local atheist group formed in 2010 as a 501c3 non-profit. We officially have nearly 700 members (getting to 666 members was a bit of a celebration), but most of them don’t participate, and have merely clicked on a membership button as an expression of solidarity. At our biggest event we usually get 30 people. We have board of directors who do nearly all the work necessary to make the activities of the organization happen.
Our activities include
book & video discussions
action on local issues of church/state separation
I’ve mentioned our farmers’ market booth, which is our most regular and long-standing event.
At first, any interaction with the public in which we were identified as atheists was a little fraught, given public opinion about atheists. Since then, both the public and we have gotten a bit used to the idea of atheists being open about it. We had T-shirts made up pretty early on with the organization’s name on the front, and an inviting atheist slogan on the back, and I recall trepidation wearing it when, say, going to the grocery store. Not at all now, though.
One of the big philosophical issues we dealt with as an organization was how snarky we were going to present ourselves in public; for example, how snarky would the buttons be that we sell at farmers’ market (picture of church steeple with the text, “Warning, May Contain Nuts”). We also had to decide how much science and skepticism would be a part of the identity of the organization, as opposed to merely being atheist for any reason. I’m not going to state here how we decided those issues.
We do not have physical location, but are able to use the very nice space of another local, supportive non-profit. We stopped in-person events once the pandemic kicked in, and haven’t really started in-person events yet because the non-profit who lets us use their space has limitations on how many people can gather inside their building that don’t really work for us.
Do you generate literature explaining what your religion entails? Like a statement of beliefs?
Do you have drag queen storytime for the children? You're really missing out if you don't, from what I hear.