Atheists Try to Plant Secular Church—Guess What Happens by JENNY ROSE SPAUDO for Charisma News
Justina Walford loved God and church, but her life changed when she began to question how one religion could hold the keys to truth. Her doubts drove her away from organized religion–until she came across an atheist church. Little did she know it wouldn’t turn out the way she hoped.
The Atlantic recently reported on Walford’s spiritual journey into Sunday Assembly, a secular community with meetings much like church services but devoid of God.
The church was comprised of members who didn’t believe in God but missed the communal elements religious churches provided. It was a perfect solution for people who were even uncomfortable with the spiritual aspects of Unitarian Universalism, which purports that all religions are valid and lead to God.
As time passed, Walford discovered that it was difficult to maintain a secular church. The few volunteers they had found it difficult to keep up with the weekly demands of putting on “a big show.” In addition, any members were skeptical of requests for donations, so funds were limited. And then leaders had to navigate the conflict of some members wanting to rail on religion.
With all these issues, the chapter shut down three years after it started.
Walford is certainly not alone in her journey of non-religious identity. Pew Research reported in 2012 that the percentage of “religious nones” in the U.S. is on the rise. And many of them say their beliefs started with what they saw as an important season of questioning their religious identity.
But many former atheists are now sharing their stories of how their spiritual dissatisfaction drove them to believe in Christ–even after years of denying His existence.
One such former atheist is apologist Ray Comfort. He’s best known for his interview-style street evangelism and projects like 180, Noah and the Last Days and Audacity. His latest project, 7 Reasons, explored the biggest barrier that prevents people from embracing God and the Bible.