Monday, January 06, 2014

Skeptic/Atheist Community

As some of you know, I'm a strong atheist and science-minded skeptic, meaning I don't believe in gods, magic, or homeopathy, but I do believe in global warming and dinosaurs.

One persistent problem with skeptic and atheist community is that it basically doesn't exist as a community. It's a problem we've had for a long time, and one that comes up a lot: a church provides a strong community base. Attending a weekly service isn't simply a way to show faith, it's also a way to be part of a community. We generally play down the importance of community these days, but it is important, especially to people who have complex schedules or difficulty making friends. Social interactions and safety nets are part of being a happy human, so let's not underplay their value.

There's been some attempt to address this - there are skeptical and/or atheist meet-ups in most major cities, usually monthly.

The problem is that they happen in bars.

I don't drink, and I can't take the volume of noise in a bar. It's actually unhealthy for me to join the skeptical or atheist communities in Boston.

I was thinking: this is a chance to create a useful community. Maybe we should try to make it useful. Literally good for us.

So, um... why not gym?

Nearly every skeptic and atheist doesn't get enough exercise. In the same way that the religious go to church every Sunday morning for their spiritual health and to solidify their community, why not have atheist groups that go to the gym every Sunday afternoon? An hour of exercise at whatever level you feel comfortable with. You could go to the bar before and after if you like.

I know there are gym groups, and many are very social and fun. But the point isn't simply to go to the gym. It's to create a community for skeptics or atheists. The gym wouldn't be the only thing the community would do, but it could be a cornerstone or foundation in the same way that sitting in pews is a foundation for most religions. In the same way that a religion would accept the existence of god, we could accept that our bodies need some attention or we'll all die rather young.

There doesn't even need to be a proper gym. We could just go to the park, or a big open warehouse space with some mats. We can unworship our crappy bodies basically anywhere.

Hey, it's backed up by science.

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