Are Your Atheist Group Meetings Exciting? August 12, 2009

Are Your Atheist Group Meetings Exciting?

Because when they’re not, even atheists don’t want to show up.

Chris explains what would have to happen before he attended one:

… I think perhaps if my wife was out of town, my friends all died, my cat had really bad diarrhea while all the electricity went out leaving my tv and computer useless… and if all my musical instruments were broken along with the disappearance of every writing instrument and paper product and the closing of all music clubs, comedy clubs, cafes and if my telescope was useless due to all the stars in the sky suddenly going black I may be bored enough to go to an atheist meeting…

I don’t attend any regular atheist gatherings in Chicago. The only thing that sometimes tempts me to go is a good guest speaker. And possibly knowing that females close to my age will be there.

(via Cynical-C Blog)

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  • Wow.

    I recently went to my very first atheist meeting, and I had a blast.

    Granted, it was a social meeting; a happy hour at a little bar in town, so it’s not like it was a big formal thing or anything. But the conversation was awesome, and I plan to keep going regularly.

  • Brian A

    As someone who never misses the local atheist meetup, I can say that I find each one very stimulating and exciting. There are always new things to discus. Generally new people who have never been to an atheist group find the conversations engaging and the people friendly.

    For anyone who has never been to an atheist / freethinker meeting I highly recommend going. It’s great being around others who are willing to look at a the world in a rational way.

  • To be honest, if I weren’t running the club, I wouldn’t be as interested in the regular discussion meetings we have – but other people really enjoy them, so we keep having them. I love all of the events and speakers though. To each their own, I guess.

    Oh, and I’m never short for cute atheist guys my age at meetings, so that helps.

  • Well, I’ve only been to one so far, but I had a blast. Got another one on Monday. Looking forward to it, to be honest.

  • We seem to have little trouble getting people interested to come to services and social outings with the North Texas Church of Freethought… we’ve just recently launched a women’s group, are sponsoring Camp Quest Texas, and are soon going to launch a singles group to promote inter-freethinker dating!

  • I feel too conspicuously young and female to attend any of the atheist events around here (also Chicago area, actually).

  • Wow. I think we must have it pretty good in Tacoma. More women, more fun, more beer. How can this be?

  • Ron in Houston


    Somehow I suspect Hemant’s next trip will be to Tacoma.

  • Nick Wallin

    I go every week, and find it incredibly enjoyable. I definitely look forward to it every week.

    I have a nice circle of friends who go, and when I didn’t (aka when I was new) it was still fun to just be around like-minded people. Making friends with everbody was on my shoulders, IMO.

    Also, we go to the bar after every meeting. We go to places that serve dinner so people under 21 can come too. (Actually, lots of people over 21 don’t drink anyway.)

    Basically, I have no idea what that guy is talking about. He either had a horrible experience at his first meeting (which I’ve heard happens quite often, since there are lots of introverts who are members and probably don’t reach out enough to new members) or is in an area with a group that isn’t doing a good job.

  • I feel too conspicuously young and female to attend any of the atheist events around here (also Chicago area, actually).

    Candice — I’ll be announcing a party for atheists in Chicago shortly that will be perfect for a younger crowd! Hope you can join us.

  • Joseph

    There are two reasons that I have attended atheist meetings in the past: good guest speakers and a healthful diversity of people, opinions and interests. There is only so much constructive religion bashing that one can endure before it becomes repetitive.

    While I am an atheist, the term only describes me but does not define me. Fortunately, most atheist groups have taken care to cater to different interests.

  • Richard P

    hey zach,
    just as a thought…

    We seem to have little trouble getting people interested to come to services and social outings with the North Texas Church of Freethought…

    Having had some religion in my past I know a pack of wild dogs could not get me to attend your meetings, even if Dawkins was speaking, simply because of the name of your building.
    I would think most ex-church goers would carry a lot of baggage with the word church.
    No offense meant, like I said just a thought.

  • For those of you who are too sexy for atheist meetings, well, congratulations. Please give us philistines some pointers on how to be fabulous like you.

    All the atheist/freethought groups in my area have at least been interesting enough for me to come back. Yes, if all we did was sit around a table and bash religion, that would be incredibly boring. We do talk about things other than atheism. Honest!

    Oh, and Richard P, it’s a shame you’d let your prejudices about one word get in the way of a good time. Hell, I’d walk into a Christian church to hear Richard Dawkins speak. But that’s me.

  • Richard P-

    Thanks for the thought. I certainly understand your hesitance and your baggage. In fact, there are enough people that have voiced your objection that it’s even made it into our FAQ.

    But I would echo Danielle’s comment, in that I find it unfortunate that something as small as a word would get such an extreme reaction from someone. After all, don’t most of us here think that Christians are unnecessarily afraid of the word “atheist?” Couldn’t we challenge ourselves to reassess whether there are words that we could reclaim from unnecessary superstitious baggage?

    Just another thought.



  • Citizen Z

    I’d like to hang around with a bunch of people and discuss how we don’t collect stamps.

  • ssns

    Ours are always at a bar, so we’ve got that going for us.

    Honestly, I’ve stopped going, though, even though I initially found them an enjoyable diversion (they’re only once a month, so it wasn’t a major commitment). There was some drama between the organizers, and I stay away from the crazy. Also, there was one member who was always starting anti-feminist men’s rights rants, and that really made me uncomfortable. Until those, things, though, I really enjoyed the good people, conversation, and beer.

  • Jodie

    You haven’t been to a lot of atheist meetings in Chicago because there aren’t many — but maybe I should broaden my scope beyond you and Elyse…..I had fun at the couple I’ve attended. It’s just nice knowing I can make the jokes I want to without having to explain myself.

  • Dan W

    Not sure how many atheist group meetings there are in the Cedar Rapids area, or even atheist groups in general, which is the main reason why I haven’t gone to any yet. I’d want to go if I knew of any such groups around. Too bad there are no atheist/freethinker groups at the college I go to, which is also in Cedar Rapids, and which I’ll return to for my fall semester in a couple weeks.

  • GG

    I attend a monthly meetup in the Chicago suburbs that I really enjoy. It’s just a dinner and socializing and discussion, but after being buried in Christians all month long, it’s nice to chill out with my heathens. Age and cool factor have nothing to do with it ? The other groups for the Chicago area might be interesting, but I haven’t tried them out.

  • Revyloution

    I finally went to one of the meetups here in Bend, Oregon. It was great! Wonderful conversations, great people, and delicious beer. It was not that surprising that most of the talk was not directly atheist related. Funny, atheists are just like normal people 🙂

    As an added bonus, the meeting is held at a local pub called McMinnemans. Its an old catholic school that they converted to a far better use.

  • Staceyjw

    Here in San Diego we have a great Atheist Meet up group- we even have “ladies nights”. It is a purely social group, no talk about atheism or religion, just a way to meet others that you have something in common with. Community building, with bars, trivia, kareoke, volleyball, gun range trips- anything someone wants to try. There are lots of women and people of all ages. I have met some if the nicest most interesting and intellegent people at these meet-ups.

    I also had a great time with D.A.F.T in Denver and Atheist Alliance in Austin, even though these were a little heavier on the philosphy side than the social one.

    The SD group did go to a Dawkins lecture, and PZ Meyers came to a bar to hang with the group in Denver. Good times!

    When you have a home office, travel and move as much as I do, this is the best way to find cool people with little effort.

    Don’t discount atheist groups- the best ones are just social events without having to hear about astrology 🙂

  • Santiago

    Boring? Really? Well, it might help that we hold ours at a pub, but still…

    But yeah, have had a blast every time, we’re actually talking about having more meetups with more diverse activities, like film nights or bowling or whatnot.

    To be honest though, it may be that I really enjoy talking about philosophy/morality/religion/legalizing drug use, etc. I often disagree with all the other members, but that’s all part of the fun, we all get to challenge our opinions and hopefully learn something in the process. However I do notice that sometimes some people don’t contribute as much to the conversation, so for them maybe the meetings are not that much fun.

  • Chris

    I went to one in my old town last year which was horrible. Some really old guy monopolized the entire conversation with really really long, boring stories that went nowhere. We continually got sidetracked and there wasn’t anyone there I felt I could learn anything from.

    But yeah, I could see how atheist meetings could get boring. I don’t know how many times i’ve heard the whole “Atheist vs. Agnostic vs. Humanist vs. Strong Agnostic” labels debate, it really annoys the hell out of me because it’s entirely fucking pointless.

    But I haven’t been to many atheist/secular meetings, so I guess I don’t have much of a sample size. Gonna try and hit up some soon in the new town.

  • Jim

    Our “meetings” are just social get-togethers where we drink/talk/have fun. This guy seems to think “atheist meetings” are like “board meetings.”

  • Jim

    I’d enjoy it if my meetup group met on the weekends instead of the weekday evenings which is when I’m working – always.

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