I enjoy reading David Hayward‘s blog because he’s constantly critical of the church and Christian faith he loves.
He explains the 10 challenges of religious communities — problems that drive people away from the faith, problems which he is trying to fix in his own church community.
I wonder how many of them you’ve experienced and if any one or two of them specifically made you walk away from your faith.
Here are just a couple items from David’s list:
3. Questions, unless they complement the accepted tradition and dogma, are not welcomed.
8. Exclusion trumps inclusion. Gays, for example. Diversity is scary and deemed impossible.
I went through the whole list to see if any of them could be applied to atheist groups. I’d like to say we don’t have those particular problems as a whole (though specific groups may have their own issues).
It might be tough to make a case for being pro-life or Republican among a group of atheists, but I don’t think people are shunned for holding those minority beliefs as they would be if they were pro-choice or Democrat in a Christian church.
A lot of atheist groups are overwhelmingly male, but I don’t think anyone is opposed to women holding positions of power. Indeed, several national organizations have been (and are currently) led by women. We just need to work on making women feel more welcome in the organizations.
What challenges should atheist groups be addressing in the new year?