Atheist Group Meets Needs
Of General Community
Bret Blakeslee

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Bret Blakeslee"
Subject: Re: Atheist Groups
Date: January 30, 2002 6:56 AM

This is excellent!

This is the first I've ever heard of an atheist group which (if I hear you correctly) does not have a religious test! Or is it simply your functions that do not have a test? Either way, we've tried to suggest that people experiment along these lines since last summer. I have advocated integration (of sorts) since my first year of putting together a magazine (see "Getting Along Outside the Oasis," July, 1996).

In any event, we think we should be able to get quite a bit of mileage out of your letter. Be that as it may, we would appreciate any further details describing your experience: any successes and, most importantly, any failures, including your suspicions as to what caused those elements or aspects or incidents to go awry.

We would be interested in hearing from the others as to how your "outreach" (for lack of a term) to those who are not atheists is working. What is your approach to "the God question: do you agree not to discuss it while together? Also, do you feel the need to protect yourselves from being "taken over" by an organized group of theists who would see your group or functions as a "mission field ripe for harvest" (as they say)?

We'd also be interested in hearing from those who are not atheists but who would support an atheist group's function or mission! That would be right up our alley, considering our desire to mingle and communicate with the general population, as humans who happen to be atheists. We've heard from a few such people ourselves, and we even, at one time, had an "official pastor"! (Roger! Are you still out there?) We have another pastor friend who has expressed interest in playing that role for us (examining our statements and giving feedback from a theist's perspective), who may, albeit reluctantly, be getting a lesson in dignifying atheism in spite of his beliefs. We are a "friend" of the Center for Progressive Christianity, though we cannot be a member organization without being theistic. We are members of the Universal Life Church, I being an ordained minister of that denomination, because you don't have to believe in God to be a member there (you don't even have to be human to be an ordained minister at ULC!).

But we want to hear more: if you could ask one or two of those theists who are outspoken in their support of your cause to contact us and describe what this is about and how it feels and why they do it, we would be able to get a lot of mileage from insight such as this.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Added: February 5, 2002

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