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What do you guys think about atheist societies and the like?


When I was a Christian, I became really good friends with members of the atheist society at my university, although my initial reason for going to their events was to witness to them. Since my deconversion, we've inevitably become even closer, and I've been spending a lot of time with them.


I love the people in the society, they run some great events, and we have a lot of fun, but at the same time, I'm not sure to what extent I want my social life to be based around what I'm not.


Basically, we have events every couple of weeks, like film screenings, debates or talks, which usually draw in a mixture of atheists and Christians. We've not had much luck at bringing in people from other faith groups, which is a shame. Then we also have socials nearly every week, ranging from a casual drink together, to meals out, fancy dress nights, and pub crawls.


Are any of you part of anything like this?


Do you think it's a waste of time?

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Not sure exactly what advice to give, but here's my experiences.


There was one at my university. I had a few friends who went, so I heard a lot about the events. It was a weekly meeting, often with a speaker, and the occasional social or larger event. Sometimes they speakers weren't about god(s) or lack thereof at all; the first time I went was to hear one of my professors talk about quantum mechanics. I went a few more times out of curiosity. With that particular group, it seemed all of them were angry/bitter atheist who'd been hurt pretty badly by Christians that they knew. I felt sorry for them and started wondering how I should act to be a better example of what Christianity is supposed to be. Luckily I did not make an idiot of myself trying to witness to them; their objections seemed more emotional than logical and I did not know any of them well enough to think that my actions and attitudes played a large enough part in their life to even begin to help them heal. I also ended up rather angry with my coreligionist for being such jerks because I was pretty sure that's not what we were supposed to be doing.


I have been a member of another social group that I spent much more time with (renaissance guild). The sense of acceptance and community was great, and I still do the occasional social event with them. A few years ago (I was only around for the tail end of this) the group had gotten pretty unhealthy and memebers treated it almost like a religion; the little univeristy club contained their only friends, and they went to every social activity, and despite is always going poorly they only dated within the group. Later leadership made a point that one club should not be your entire life, and things got much more sane and much less drama, but still managed to provide a great social outlet for kids who might otherwise have had trouble fitting in.


So... I guess it's great as long as you have other social activities as well. Don't feel obligated to go to every single event they have unless your a coordinator who's supposed to be there. And don't surround yourself with people who agree with you to the exclusion of those who don't.

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