Jan 25, 2010

Freethought and Fellowship

While a few freethinkers have the benefit of being raised in a secular home, that is not the case for many of us. We grow up in a church, get use to the fellowship of our church community, then realize the folly of it all and venture out into the world with increased knowledge yet less social support.

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.)