Atheist churches and mega-churches are gaining worldwide popularity. The Sunday services usually include everything you would expect to find in a traditional church, including music, an inspirational message, and time to reflect. However, unlike traditional churches, there is no mention of God.
The non-traditional churches started in Great Britain. They have now cropped up in Australia and throughout the United States. Thousands of atheists have assembled in Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, San Diego, and numerous other cities, seeking fellowship with like-minded individuals and families.
The Sunday Assembly is a strong supporter of atheist churches. The group's public charter explains that their vision is to create and promote "a godless congregation in every town, city, and village, that wants one." According to their motto, the organization exists to help other "live better, help often, and wonder more."
As discussed at SundayAssembly.com, the group promotes churches and mega-churches, which have specific guidelines that promote their vision. The churches must be run as not-for-profit or volunteer organizations. Community members must not be charged for participation.
The churches have no deity, no doctrine, and are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Attendees can expect an environment of kindness, love, and compassion, without the inclusion of anything "supernatural."
Founder Sanderson Jones said he developed the idea after attending a Christmas program at a traditional church:
"There was so much about it that I loved, but it's a shame because at the heart of it, it's something I don't believe in... If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships."Non-traditional churches have gained momentum, as more people have dismissed traditional religion. ABC News reports that recent studies concluded close to 20 percent of Americans have no religious affiliation. Those surveyed include individuals who said they are "spiritual" rather than "religious," and those who believe in God but do not belong to a religious organization.
Atheist churches and mega-churches provide a safe and non-judgemental congregation, where atheists can meet others with similar beliefs and interests.