After finding huge successes in Great Britain earlier this year, fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians, “atheist megachurches” are popping up all over the U.S. Nearly three dozen gathering places have been generated by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia.
On Sunday, the Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles had more than 400 attendees in attendance, all bound by non-belief in God. Similar gatherings in San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the camaraderie of a congregation without any formal religion or ritual.
British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, who founded the Sunday Assembly to gather like-minded nonbelievers in a congregation-like setting, say their movement is not intended to be a joke but a new way to meet likeminded people, engage in the community and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.
Evans and Jones are hoping the tour, which also includes meetings in Australia, will raise $800,000 to help launch more atheist congregations around the world, and so far, they have raised $50,000.