Thursday, February 11, 2010

Send an Atheist to Church

Next week the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University will be having a fun charity event: Send an Atheist to Church. People will have the opportunities to raise money for charity and save our souls at the same time! How neat is that? Here's all the relevant information, which can also be found on the Facebook event page (please spread the word!):
Thursday 2/18 & Friday 2/19
9:00 am to 4:30 pm
UNION ground floor tables (by Zia Juice & Starbucks)

The main goal of this event is to come up with a creative idea to raise money for a charity that everyone can agree is very important in our community. We also want to show that non-theists are open minded about religious ideas, and that we're willing to learn more about other people's faith. The way it works is as follows:

1. Make a cash donation - ALL proceeds go to Food Finders Food Bank of Tippecanoe County.
2. Choose what denomination of religious services you want us atheists to attend.
3. The more money donated in a denomination's name, the more visits it receives.

Currently participating denominations include:
Baptist (Faith Baptist Church)
Episcopalian (Chapel of the Good Shepard)
Orthodox (Saint Alexis Orthodox Church)
United Methodist (Wesley Foundation)
Judaism (Purdue Hillel)
Buddhists (Purdue Buddhist Society)

If you see certain religions missing from our list and you know a place of worship (in the Lafayette area) that would like to participate, please let us know before Thursday and we will ad them to the list! The more, the merrier! It doesn't have to be a Christian denomination - "Church" is used just for a catchy title.

Inspired by Hemant Mehta's book, I Sold My Soul on eBay
Anyone can donate, regardless if they're a Purdue student, a member of a participating church, etc. If you can't physically come to make a donation during the listed times, you can also make a check out to Food Finders Food Bank (be sure to note what denomination it's going toward!) and mail it to:
The Society of Non-Theists
Stewart Center, Box #566
128 Memorial Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2034
So if you really want me to go visit the Baptist church or something, send a check! Not only will it tickle me pink because it's going to a good cause, but you'll get a blog post out of every church service I have to attend.

This is our first year trying out this event, so I hope it goes well. We've had a little trouble getting churches to participate - a couple outright said no, but most are unresponsive. Hopefully if this is successful this year and we prove this isn't some nefarious plan to interrupt their services, more places will trust us next year. I have to say, I'm really excited. I've never really been to church, and I'm curious to see what it's like.

So, go spread the word! Donate! Wish us luck!


  1. I've never really been to church.

    What?!?!??! Seriously? That just boggles my mind. How is it possible to grow up in the Midwest and never get dragged to church at least once? At any rate, this charity will definitely be an eye-opener for you. I hope you can get a Pentecostal church to get involved. They put the "fun" in "fundamentalism".

  2. Oh sweet! Buddhist services! Send me to a Buddhist service, Jen! I've always wanted to go to one, but I didn't think they were participating in this event. Pleeeaase?

  3. This sounds like a very nice idea.

    I tried attending my family's Lutheran church when I was 20. I had been confirmed a few years earlier, but it still felt just plain weird. A great confirmation for my non-religiosity :)

  4. Sponsored feats of endurance, eh? I used to do 20-mile charity walks in my teens; once I did 17 of those miles with a blister. Does the charity only get the money if you stay awake, though? :-)

    As a former fundi, I can assure you that they really DO imagine that merely putting atheist bums on pews will have a fighting chance of assimilXXXX converting at least some of them. With random strangers, moreover, they are quite correct in this, since some of these will be people who are lonely and susceptible to love-bombing, others will be censorious types longing for official permission to be mean, and so forth. I guarantee that they'll interpret your approach as signs of the Holy Spirit moving in you and so forth.

    I can't see any reason why they wouldn't go for this, unless they fear that you're going to pull nasty stunts on them. The holdputs probably feared that, or else have zero imagination.

  5. If you wish to add the LDS Church to your list I can give you all the information you will need, and I will also donate. There is a ward (meeting house) on campus so getting there will be no problem for anyone.

  6. Good luck staying awake. I usually doodle on the handout given at the doors, when I have to go, which has been a long time now.

  7. "I've never really been to church"

    FYI, that made me uber jealous. With as many of the friends I've made over the past year who either had really liberal religious upbringings or not much of one at all it makes me feel almost like one of the handful on the outside. You've never been to church, I was a young earth creationist for the majority of my 27 years on this planet. Looking back it sure was a long road to reason for me.

  8. It's an interesting concept. Good luck with that...But realize that should you return spouting the glories of jesus and the horrors of a science based world we will have to assume that, like a vampire, you are already dead and do what must be done.

    What's the opposite of holy water?

  9. Tried this for a girlfriend a ways back. Got people concerned that I new too much about tanks (and I'm a geek who went to school with a kid who's dad designed them) and then got into an argument with one of the sunday school staff about what constitutes a miracle. And that was about 15 years ago. Now churches are just there for the interesting architecture.

    @JT - we'd just need Sam Singleton called in to perform an exbaptism.

  10. What about a Satanist church? I'd be interested in that. I was wondering what you think about Satanism?