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Introduction, Workshop 20: Atheism and Agnosticism—Not in Temples Made with Hands

In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program

I am neither Jew nor Gentile, Mahomedan nor Theist; I am but a member of the human family, and would accept of truth by whomsoever offered -- that truth which we can all find, if we will but seek—in things, not in words; in nature, not in human imagination; in our own hearts, not in temples made with hands. — Frances Wright, freethinker and social reformer

This workshop introduces atheism and agnosticism. The combined category of "nonbelievers" is the third largest religious group on earth, comprising 1.1 billion, or one in every six, people. Mostly, though, it is a silent crowd. The exception is the tiny but expressive subset of vocal atheist political activists. This group campaigns tirelessly for separation of church and state—work that benefits everyone—and for freedom from religion, that is, for freedom from governments or other organizations forcing religious views or practices on religious minorities or non religious people. This workshop explores the religious philosophies of atheism and agnosticism, the impact of atheism on Western society, and some important issues associated with atheism. It raises awareness among participants of the high percentage of atheists in Unitarian Universalism and the resultant importance of related issues to our denomination.

Expect youth who identify as atheists or agnostics to be in the group. They will therefore be quite engaged in this workshop. Make sure that youth who not identify in this way are heard and respected, too.



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Last updated on Wednesday, December 14, 2011.

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