My local atheist organization

Furion

Well-known member
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
social events
guest speakers
book & video discussions
community service
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.
So how did you decide skepticism was not going to be a part?

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.
 

Gus Bovona

Well-known member
It sounds like church. And why not.
It's not a church. It sounds like any other affinity group or non-profit. Churches, typically, have supernatural beliefs, which atheists typically don't, and my organization definitely does not.
All the following are supernatural events [miracles] that Atheist takes by faith.
The universe popping into existence from nothing by nothing,
You have a distorted view of what atheists think. It's not part of atheism to think that the universe came from nothing. Where are you getting that?

Atheism only entails one thing: not believing in any god. For everything that you attribute to your god - creating the universe, morality, etc. - atheism doesn't say anything about necessarily.

complex and specified information arising from non-intelligence,
Science says it has evidence for how intelligence arises in organisms. Maybe that evidence is bad, or wrong, but it's definitely not a position held on faith, which is what you do when you think you don't have evidence but still want to believe in something.
species A evolving into species B,
Science says it has evidence for that.
a non-entity that is identified as natural, [is not natural] and somehow always makes the right selection but lacks the ability to select.
You misunderstand what evolution claims.
The Atheist deity is “the multi verse” which possesses the attributes of omnipotent, eternal, and omniscient.
Atheism only entails one thing: not believing in any god. For everything that you attribute to your god - creating the universe, morality, etc. - atheism doesn't say anything about necessarily.
 

Gus Bovona

Well-known member
So how did you decide skepticism was not going to be a part?
I didn't say that skepticism was not going to be a part.

Do you generate literature explaining what your religion entails? Like a statement of beliefs?
It's not a religion, as I've mentioned about.
Do you have drag queen storytime for the children? You're really missing out if you don't, from what I hear.
nwrt
 

Electric Skeptic

Well-known member
I've been a part of organisations/groups/clubs in three different categories in my life. One cricket club (for about ten-fifteen years). One baseball club (which I co-founded and stayed with for about ten years). A variety of amateur theatre groups (both non-musical and musical). I guess that shows how unimportant atheism is to me in my daily life.
 

Furion

Well-known member
I've been a part of organisations/groups/clubs in three different categories in my life. One cricket club (for about ten-fifteen years). One baseball club (which I co-founded and stayed with for about ten years). A variety of amateur theatre groups (both non-musical and musical). I guess that shows how unimportant atheism is to me in my daily life.
Atheism is unimportant to everyone else as well
 

Algor

Well-known member
We know from experience that everything that begins to exist has a cause. According to science and you, the universe and time had a beginning. Both came into existence at the same moment. Explain the cause.
Without time, there can be no cause. Cause and effect is a temporal relationship. That's a precondition for calling anything a cause: it at least partially precedes the effect. In the absence of time one thing cannot precede another.
 

Towerwatchman

Active member
In my experience, in every instance of causation the cause temporally precedes the effect.

Do you have any experience of this not being the case?
I agree, and that's the problem with atheism. Every thing that comes into existence owes it existence to something else. If time and space have a beginning, what or who is the cause. And that cause could not be physical or temporal because it would owe its existence to something prior.
 

Towerwatchman

Active member
Without time, there can be no cause. Cause and effect is a temporal relationship. That's a precondition for calling anything a cause: it at least partially precedes the effect. In the absence of time one thing cannot precede another.
We know that time and space had a beginning. What was the first cause that brought both into existence.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
I agree, and that's the problem with atheism.
What are you agreeing with? You haven't answered what I asked.

Every thing that comes into existence owes it existence to something else.
But you haven't established any 'coming into existence' yet. All I granted you was a beginning. Have you forgotten the difference already?

If time and space have a beginning, what or who is the cause. And that cause could not be physical or temporal because it would owe its existence to something prior.
Again, there cannot be any such cause, as for a beginning to time there would be no prior moment from which any cause could act.
 
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Towerwatchman

Active member
It's not a church. It sounds like any other affinity group or non-profit. Churches, typically, have supernatural beliefs, which atheists typically don't, and my organization definitely does not.
It definitely is. But that is for another day.
You have a distorted view of what atheists think. It's not part of atheism to think that the universe came from nothing. Where are you getting that? Atheism only entails one thing: not believing in any god. For everything that you attribute to your god - creating the universe, morality, etc. - atheism doesn't say anything about necessarily.
You are entitled to your opinion. I see differently, and by the other posters here so do they.
Science says it has evidence for how intelligence arises in organisms. Maybe that evidence is bad, or wrong, but it's definitely not a position held on faith, which is what you do when you think you don't have evidence but still want to believe in something.
Cause and effect. The cause cannot give what it does not have. Intelligence does not rise from non intelligence.
Science says it has evidence for that.

You misunderstand what evolution claims.
Why would you post the above when it does interest you?
Atheism only entails one thing: not believing in any god. For everything that you attribute to your god - creating the universe, morality, etc. - atheism doesn't say anything about necessarily.
You just did.
 

Towerwatchman

Active member
What are you agreeing with? You haven't answered what I asked.
Your post. In my experience, in every instance of causation the cause temporally precedes the effect.
But you haven't established any 'coming into existence' yet. All I granted you was a beginning. Have you forgotten the difference already?
What are you attributing beginning to? Existence, function, position. what? We are discussing the beginning of the existence of the universe and time.
Again, there cannot be any such cause, as for a beginning to time there would be no prior moment from which any cause could act.
There is, the cause would have to be nonmaterial and non temporal. Possessing free will, and tremendous power. You worldview is stuck at this junction, there is a beginning of time and space, where is the cause?
 

Algor

Well-known member
We know that time and space had a beginning. What was the first cause that brought both into existence.
Cause-effect is a temporal relationship. You can't "cause" time to exist, because you can't precede time. You just keep demanding that everything must have a cause, but this implies that there is nothing without time.

If everything has a cause, then time always exists. If not everything has a cause, then at some point time is not. Pick one: you can't have half of each and still be coherent.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Your post. In my experience, in every instance of causation the cause temporally precedes the effect.
Right, so this requirement of causes preceding their effects is at least as well-supported as your claim that all beginnings must be caused. So on what basis are you arguing that the former can be violated (by an atemporal cause for the universe and time) while insisting that the latter cannot be violated? Why aren't I equally entitled to say that the requirement for all beginnings to be caused might not be violated instead?

What are you attributing beginning to? Existence, function, position. what? We are discussing the beginning of the existence of the universe and time.
Exactly that. I am allowing you a beginning to the universe and time. But I am not granting you any 'coming into existence'.

There is, the cause would have to be nonmaterial and non temporal. Possessing free will, and tremendous power. You worldview is stuck at this junction, there is a beginning of time and space, where is the cause?
You've not established that there must be (or even could be) a cause. Your only basis for this is our experience of beginnings being caused, but you've already flouted experience as a reliable guide by rejecting it when it comes to causes always preceding their effects.

Our experience equally supports two claims - that beginnings are always caused, and that causes always precede their effects. But if the universe and time itself had a beginning, then at least one of those two claims must be false. So there's no better reason to claim that this beginning could be atemporally caused than to say it might not be caused at all.
 

Towerwatchman

Active member
Cause-effect is a temporal relationship. You can't "cause" time to exist, because you can't precede time. You just keep demanding that everything must have a cause, but this implies that there is nothing without time. If everything has a cause, then time always exists. If not everything has a cause, then at some point time is not. Pick one: you can't have half of each and still be coherent.
Within the boundaries of this plane of existence, 'time and space' the cause of time cannot precede time. And demanding that every physical effect has to have a physical cause, will cause an infinite series or regresses. If we had an infinite series of regresses we would not be here. But we are here.

Time does not need to exist for it to be created. What needs to exist is another plane from which the uncaused cause creates the temporal plane.
 

Towerwatchman

Active member
Right, so this requirement of causes preceding their effects is at least as well-supported as your claim that all beginnings must be caused. So on what basis are you arguing that the former can be violated (by an atemporal cause for the universe and time) while insisting that the latter cannot be violated? Why aren't I equally entitled to say that the requirement for all beginnings to be caused might not be violated instead?
Nothing is violated. A non temporal no physical cause is still a cause. We still have cause and effect.
Exactly that. I am allowing you a beginning to the universe and time. But I am not granting you any 'coming into existence'.
Then you have a series of regresses. If the universe had a beginning but did not come into existence, then what caused the universe to begin? And what caused that cause to begin. We cannot have a endless series of regresses.
Our experience equally supports two claims - that beginnings are always caused, and that causes always precede their effects. But if the universe and time itself had a beginning, then at least one of those two claims must be false.
That is the dilemma the secular worldview has. Non secular do not.
 
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