A de-converted former Pentecostal preacher, Brother Jerry DeWitt, wants to gather a flock of atheists.
"Mr. DeWitt counts himself among the hard-line atheists, but he believes that something may be lost when someone leaves the church — not just the parts about God, but also a sense of community and a connection to emotion.
“There are many people that even though they come to this realization, they miss the way the church works in a way that very few other communities can duplicate,” he said in a phone interview. “The secular can learn that just because we value critical thinking and the scientific method, that doesn’t mean we suddenly become disembodied and we can no longer benefit from our emotional lives...”School of Life, Cajun-style. What would Alain ("Religion for Atheists") de Botton say?
Personally I do all kinds of embodied and emotional things on my secular Sundays. I don't feel a need to congregate piously in public anymore, not even with Unitarians. That impulse was sporadic and tepid even at its most fevered pitch, though it was still bad enough to unfit me for Belmont University in the '90s.
But maybe there are those among us who need something like this? Follow your bliss. Laissez les bons temps rouler.
In the Bible Belt, Offering Atheists a Spiritual Home - NYTimes.com