Seattle’s Sundays are for Atheists too with Sunday Assembly
As atheism gains popularity, Seattle celebrates the non-religion with its own branch of the Sunday Assembly, one of atheism’s fastest growing organizations.
Sunday is no longer reserved for stained glass and crosses, it now has a new type of church. The popularity of atheism has surged over the past decade, and now the Pacific Northwest has established Seattle’s own branch of the international atheist church Sunday Assembly.
“It’s the thing I’d been looking for — which is a church without religion,” commented Amy Lang, a member of the Sunday Assembly in Seattle. “It really is all the good parts of church.”
“I think it’s because we’re tired of getting told what to believe,” said Andy Coleman, organizer of the Seattle chapter of the international Sunday Assembly movement.
The original Sunday Assembly was founded in London nearly two years ago. The atheists of Sunday Assembly hold fast to the motto “Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More.” In celebration of wondering more, they discuss a wide array of topics during their meetings. “We can have one month a yoga instruction talking about healthy living, and the next month a brain surgeon talking about brain facts,” Coleman said.
Atheist churches have become so popular that Sunday Assembly is just one of two that share the same facilities. The Seattle Atheist Church, which was founded less than two months ago, is focused on promoting reason and a rejection of the supernatural. Conversations range from the concept of morality in atheism to how atheism can be good for one’s health.
The Seattle Atheist Church shares many similarities with the Sunday Assembly. Both hold sermons and discussion groups and engage their youth. But one major difference is that, unlike Sunday Assembly, the Seattle Atheist Church does not sing. The two organizations exemplify that even atheists have denominational differences.
Sunday Assembly faces its fair share of criticism. According to Coleman, one of the most commonly asked questions is “Why does it have to be Sunday?” Perhaps surprisingly, this is a criticism levied not from Christians, but from atheists. Some think that the Sunday Assembly is too open-minded and should not let Christians or other religiously affiliated people attend their services. When faced with such questions Coleman replies, “We don’t care what you believe.” Simply put, the Sunday Assembly of Seattle welcomes all.