Intellectual Masturbation April 3, 2008

Intellectual Masturbation

Ken Bronstein said it. Not me.

Bronstein and the New York City Atheists were featured in Gillian Reagan‘s article on the “new breed of book clubs” in The New York Observer.

The New York City Atheists book club can take six months to get through an assigned reading.

“There is an intellectual masturbation going on here,” said Ken Bronstein, the garrulous leader of the NYC Atheists, who hosts the group’s book club at his Upper East Side home at 79th Street. On the second Sunday of every month, after the regular brunch meeting of 50 or 60 atheists (mostly retirees and a few politically minded young ’uns), about a dozen or so break off and take the M31 bus to Mr. Bronstein’s home and dissect a chosen book, chapter by chapter. Recent pick: Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which has a pretty self-explanatory title. So far, the group has held passionate discussions about evolution, creationism and four-eyed fish. “Now, maybe that doesn’t turn you on,” Mr. Bronstein said. “But, to me, I love this stuff, okay? Forget about being an atheist or something, it’s just so interesting I don’t want to sleep.”

Members of the New York City Atheists’ Book Club often stay at Mr. Bronstein’s home until the dinner hours discussing ideas brought forth by their books. They’ll cross the street for some Chinese food to continue their conversations. “It’s more than a book club thing, it’s a social thing,” Mr. Bronstein said. “It’s very special, getting to know these people with these books.”

I would think they’d get more of a discussion going if they read C. S. Lewis or the Left Behind books or the Koran

Very cool that they have that community, though.

I’ve heard of a few atheist blogosphere books clubs… but is anyone else part of an actual one? An atheist one? What are you reading?

[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Aj

    Perhaps, mental masturbation, but it was nice to know that I’m not crazy, everything they’re saying isn’t absolutely obvious? It’s obvious to me, this god doesn’t make sense, being hamstrung by these silly beliefs does not make sense. It hurts people, it hurts people around me.

  • sabrina

    I’m actually hosting my first one on Tuesday. We’ll be discussing Sam Harris’ Letters to a Christian Nation. I know its an old one, but its short, and I was a little late announcing the meeting. I do like how the New York group is doing it chapter by chapter, though. I’m hoping to go from purely atheist books to maybe some on science and evolution. Sorry, no C.S. Lewis allowed. And especially no Left Behind , I insist on at least half way decent literature and character development:)

    Although, maybe we should start reviewing a certain book about an atheist who sold his soul….

  • I’m part of an atheist book group that has been going strong since last August. Everyone is invited to participate. You even get a link just for “signing up.” You can read about it here:

    Nonbelieving Literati

  • Karen

    What a cool idea – I love the fact that they enjoy each others’ company so much that they hang out all day together. 🙂

  • P-Momma just started an online group. We’ve started with The God Delusion.

  • Would love to do something like this in San Diego

  • Freethinker, an Independent Study Group in SD would be GREAT!

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