We are told that many people in Britain think church is irrelevant. They might be interested in spiritual things but have no time for ‘organised religion.’ Why is it, then, that some atheists have started an ‘atheist church’ in London which meets on a Sunday morning (in a deconsecrated church) and they have songs (for which they stand), readings, a ‘sermon’, ‘reflective silence’ and even a collection? Is this deep down a yearning for ‘organised religion’?
However they say they are a ‘godless congregation’ which doesn’t have the ‘terrible dogma’ of Christianity. What is terrible about a God who is so loving he islove? What is terrible about a God who loves us enough to become human in the person of Jesus so that he could die to show us how much he loves us, as well as how much it costs him to forgive human bad behaviour? What is terrible about the prospect of a life of eternal bliss and fulfilment beyond this one? Clearly, our friends in the atheist church don’t really understand what they are rejecting, and what they are missing.
Their ‘church’ is an inferior replica of the real thing. It is a vehicle without an engine – it has no power to keep it moving forwards. Even the British Humanist Association is sceptical and says there were a number of atheist churches a hundred years ago, but they all petered out. The real church has lasted 2000 years and in many places is alive, well and growing.
How sad that people think they can have the benefits of religion without having the heart of religion: Jesus himself.
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction