The idea of an atheist church has left some faithful scratching their heads, but the phenomenon of non-believers coalescing in “worship” environments is on the rise. And if you’re doubting this factoid, consider that The Sunday Assembly, a godless church in London, England, just announced big plans for a “40 Dates and 40 Nights” roadshow — an effort that will likely lead to a monumental expansion of its congregations.
Comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones, founders of the church, will head to 22 locations around the globe for a “missionary” tour, attempting to launch new atheist houses of worship in each city they visit. Their efforts will extend from October through November of this year.
And this is only the first leg of their globe-trotting initiative. Already, Evans and Jones are planning a follow-up tour in December. In the first wave they will be setting up atheist congregations in the United Kingdom in Bristol, Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds and Manchester. And U.S. locations will include, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley and Vancouver, among others. The duo is also heading to a few cities in Australia.
In a press release, The Sunday Assembly praised its massive growth over the past few months.
“Going from one congregation in London in January 2013, to 30 or so in December, the 3000% growth rate might make this non-religious Assembly the fastest growing church in the world, catering to the fastest growing belief / non-belief group,” reads the statement.
To facilitate this growth, Evans and Jones plan to create a digital platform that will invite congregations to have an online community in which they can discuss activities and advance the themes espoused by the church.
According to Jones, “it will be a Wikipedia for good deeds and open sourced community action.” They plan to launch an Indigogo campaign to raise the massive funds needed for the undertaking.
This so-called godless church is apparently looking to fill these voids for non-believers by providing them with a place to come together and engage in community. Rather than limiting these activities to the U.K., Evans and Jones will now be taking their message to a broader, international audience.
“The Sunday Assembly is a godless congregation that celebrate life. Our motto: live better, help often, wonder more,” explains the group’s website. “Our mission: to help everyone find and fulfill their full potential. Our vision: a godless congregation in every town, city and village that wants one.”
For those who assume that the comedians are simply looking to lambaste or diminish religious perspective, consider Jones’ own stated views on religion.
“We’re big fans of religion. We think churches do great things,” Jones told the New York Daily News earlier this year.
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