There have been numerous, mostly failed attempts, at creating atheist/secular/freethought churches both online and off. I can't speak to why most of these attempts have failed but have noticed a few big issues: 1) lack of true direction: you can't build an organization simply around lack of belief in something; it needs community building activities 2) Dictator-like leadership: you can't make freethinkers do anything they don't want to do 5) Preaching: skeptics don't want to be told what to believe at all. Share ideas, don't present them as fact.4)Uncreative: why is it necessary to have the word 'church' in the name?
As a step away from failed 'church' models I am pleased to introduce to you a new community model for freethinkers, the Fellowship of Freethought (aka FoFDallas). It is a young organization but is built by those who have learned from past experience with other models like those listed above. FoFDallas is member-owned, member-run, and open source and boasts a mission statement that most freethinkers would be proud to stand behind:
To create a positive impact on our shared world, our mission is to provide a community that values and promotes a freethinking life unencumbered by the biases of tradition, dogma, and authority and that encourages people to live a reason and evidence-based life characterized by close fellowship, ethical contemplation, critical thinking, community service, and the appreciation of scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe and our place in it.
I am very happy to say that I am one of the founding members of FoFDallas and look forward to our future as a community in Dallas and as an expanded community when others choose to start groups in their own areas. Freethinkers need fellowship; we just don't need the bs that typically comes with it!
You can learn more about Fellowship of Freethought by visiting http://fellowshipoffreethought.org I'll be posting further updates later as I expect you'll find this as interesting of a concept as many others in the Dallas area have already.
(Names of failed freethought church models have been left out so their feelings won't get hurt.)