Secular Thought Group
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24-06-2012, 02:05 PM
Secular Thought Group
Hello. I have browsed the forum for quite some time before, and have been an Atheist for some years now. I attend a local college, and find myself the leader a group of people dedicated to secular thought. I did not found the group, but I see real promise with these people and this idea. I am curious, toward those who are also in such groups, especially those who lead them. What are some suggestions that you might have for increasing attendance, positive advertisement, and local community service [in line with the theme of such groups.] Currently, the group would meet every so often and talk over some philosophical point or discuss current events. I would like to maintain this, talking over religious views and evaluating the workings of church and state, but what else have you found that works for such groups?

Much appreciated.
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24-06-2012, 05:23 PM (This post was last modified: 24-06-2012 05:26 PM by Thomas.)
RE: Secular Thought Group
(24-06-2012 02:05 PM)Leaf.on.the.Wind Wrote:  Hello. I have browsed the forum for quite some time before, and have been an Atheist for some years now. I attend a local college, and find myself the leader a group of people dedicated to secular thought. I did not found the group, but I see real promise with these people and this idea. I am curious, toward those who are also in such groups, especially those who lead them. What are some suggestions that you might have for increasing attendance, positive advertisement, and local community service [in line with the theme of such groups.] Currently, the group would meet every so often and talk over some philosophical point or discuss current events. I would like to maintain this, talking over religious views and evaluating the workings of church and state, but what else have you found that works for such groups?

Much appreciated.

Good stuff. Thumbsup I'm doing this as well, as a prof. Our groups are very small unfortunately last semester. We first called it a philosophy club. Next semester (this Fall) changing it to "Free Thinkers" club. Everyone is still reluctant to call it an "Atheist Club" outright. I'm really pushing for it, but the others may be correct.
We do the videos using a classroom; assign chapters to read of atheist books then discuss. "Philosophers without Gods" is a good one. Chapters are short so everyone can get it read.
You need to get some profs onboard with the leadership. We have two philosophers and I'm economics. Ask the philosophy chair if any profs would be interested in sponsoring you.
Register as an official club in the school. You may even get funding.
Make the discussions fun and informative. Don't just christian bash all the time Tongue
The reason being is you may have some "tweeners" in the group checking you out. Don't turn them off.
My whole thing is like an AA meeting. "Hi. My name is Bob. I'm a recovering Catholic".
One thing we may do this fall is sponsor a road side clean up. You get a sign with your club name on it.
What a hoot: "This highway cleaned up by the Atheists club". Find a stretch of highway full of churches. Take some photos of the sign with the church in the background...as if the church members need atheist to clean up the road in front of their buildings. Tongue
Once you get traction watch for the christian showing up to cause trouble. Don't be too fast to send them packing. Ask them if they would like to arrange for a formal debate with the atheists where they would have amply opportunity to present their side. If they refuse, then send them packing. Ask them, "Do you want me showing up at your church Sunday morning putting atheist literature on windshields?". That's always fun regardless. Just after a dose of god they get a flyer, "Your god is imaginary". Fun stuff.
Good luck and thanks for standing up for the most hated minority on campus.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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24-06-2012, 05:50 PM
RE: Secular Thought Group
Well this group has been around for a few years, I am just now in charge and want to take it out of the shadows. We have all decided and are blunt about it not being an Atheist club. We openly invite Christians and Muslims [and anyone else we can find] to come and offer their viewpoints to the discussion. Our mission is more to promote the separation of church and state, than to fight religion itself. Yes, of course we call religion out on its lies where we can, and I am more than happy to try to push a deconversion. But our feelings, and my own, currently, are that even the faith based population should be able to see that religion has no place in the role of government. Since we are on a college campus, I feel that we would be more useful sending out slightly more responsible and honest voters, than to try to deconvert everyone.

That said, the road idea sounds hilariously fun. We have hosted a few panel discussions the past year, as well as a class on Atheism that was quite fun.
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25-06-2012, 06:08 AM
RE: Secular Thought Group
Hey, Leaf.

Well I think you should get some sort of meeting hall. You could fill it with all the really good books like the God Delusion and God is Not Great. You could meet once a week, every week and pick one member to lead the discussion. Get something with a basement, or extra room, so people can bring their kids. You could even run a special class for them. The hall will be expensive, so have a donation box. Maybe you could pass it around during the meeting. You could use some of the extra money from donations to fund some community initiatives so people develop a positive view of your organisation. It might draw people in. You could even set up science and reason booths on a street corner to help spread the word to people walking by. You could even hand out copies of the good books. Or perhaps you could organise a door to door campaign. Most importantly, you should raise funds to pay for a lobby group to make sure legislation is drafted in your favour; particularly to ensure that there is a separation of church and state.

Anyhoo, I hope these suggestions are helpful.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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25-06-2012, 06:11 AM
RE: Secular Thought Group
Free Pizza always increases attendance.

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25-06-2012, 09:31 AM
RE: Secular Thought Group
(25-06-2012 06:08 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Leaf.

Well I think you should get some sort of meeting hall. You could fill it with all the really good books like the God Delusion and God is Not Great. You could meet once a week, every week and pick one member to lead the discussion. Get something with a basement, or extra room, so people can bring their kids. You could even run a special class for them. The hall will be expensive, so have a donation box. Maybe you could pass it around during the meeting. You could use some of the extra money from donations to fund some community initiatives so people develop a positive view of your organisation. It might draw people in. You could even set up science and reason booths on a street corner to help spread the word to people walking by. You could even hand out copies of the good books. Or perhaps you could organise a door to door campaign. Most importantly, you should raise funds to pay for a lobby group to make sure legislation is drafted in your favour; particularly to ensure that there is a separation of church and state.

Anyhoo, I hope these suggestions are helpful.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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