Atheism is the belief that there is no God. Many would give this definition the widest possible meaning, however, in order to fully understand the implications of atheistic belief, it needs to be contrasted with agnosticism, doubt and no belief.
Agnosticism holds to the supposition it is impossible to know if a god, gods or higher power really exists. People called doubters hold an unsure position on the existence of a god, gods or higher power.
Doubters could be differentiated from agnostics because while recognizing the potential existence of higher power these individuals have not spent enough time in theology to understand if we can or cannot definitively prove the existence of a higher power. People who are defined as “nones” tend to be occupied with other life studies, and have very little or absolutely no time contemplating the existence of a god.
Since the dawn of time humans have harbored a curiosity about how we came to be and if there is a higher power. Almost every tribe, people, language and nation has a creation story and a deity or pantheon of gods. Every collective community of people also contains personalities who enjoy objecting to popular opinion and scholars who need to prove an opinion before believing the cultural notion.
More than two thousand years ago Greek philosophers such as Protagoras, Pyrrho, Carneades, Sextus Empiricus, Socrates and Aristotle wrote of their skepticism and through their writings brought others to ponder the existence of divinity. In more recent times the writings of Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and the existential philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, Søren Kierkegaard, Thomas Henry Huxley, Robert G. Ingersoll, Jean-Paul Sartre and Richard Dawkins have caused people to ponder the existence of a god.
Atheists, as adherents to other faiths have organized assemblies to share ideas and find encouragement from others with the same beliefs. Sunday Assembly Charlotte, an organized meeting in Charlotte, NC. This group is part of a larger, worldwide movement also called the Sunday Assembly, which was started by Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones in London in 2013.
On their website the Sunday Assembly says they are a secular congregation that celebrates life. Their motto is live better, help often, wonder more. Their stated mission is to have a Sunday Assembly in every town, city and village that wants them. They desire to help everyone live life as fully as possible.
The Sunday Assembly claims to have no doctrine, but they negate this on their own website by stating, they have no deity. Many denominations, non-denominations and organizations would like to blend leading people to believe that they are no different than anyone else. But this is impossible for a faith community, which by definition has some type of belief which sets it apart and must be defined. The method for a faith group to define itself is through doctrine. Sunday Assembly states: “We don’t do supernatural but we also won’t tell you you’re wrong if you do,” which means they have a doctrine which they will openly share, but they will rarely ostracise people who hold a different doctrine.
The Sunday Assembly, built on the Judeo-Christian model of synagogue and church worship meetings assembles on a weekly bases to meet felt human needs. People feel a need to be together, they want to be cared for, many feel a need for an inspirational pick-up, and people find self-actualization through helping others beyond themselves.
During meetings this group sings, listens to readings, plays games, hears talks, and finds various other ways to gain inspiration, encouragement and connection between one another. Because they hold no one text as central their readings can come from anywhere, as long as they encourage the faith beliefs of the community.
By attending meetings the group says, “you should be energised, vitalised, restored, repaired, refreshed and recharged. No matter what the subject, it will solace worries, provoke kindness and inject a touch of transcendence into the everyday.”