Every time someone starts talking about creating or attending an organized congregation for non-believers, like Sunday Assembly, I hear the objection “Atheists are non-joiners, so it won’t work.” When I attended Sunday Assembly in Chicago for the first time this past weekend I wondered if there would really be anyone there. Was it true that this feeling of wanting to belong to a community despite my Atheism is so unusual?
As it turns out, some of us ARE joiners. Being atheist, agnostic, doubting, or freethinking doesn’t actually mean you also must feel no need for community, no desire to join things, and no joy in spending time with others who share your non-beliefs. Sunday Assembly was much better attended than I expected, especially since this was the first full event for the Chicago group.
Sunday Assembly will not be the right place or event for everyone, but that isn’t really my point. I don’t like it when people generalize about non-believers. “Atheists aren’t joiners” is inaccurate and alienating to those of us who ARE interested in joining things. There are very few things anyone can say that really describe all or even most non-believers, and I think generalizing about us is really destructive. We’re diverse in so many ways and I think that’s a great thing.