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Your in-person community?

A friend of mine made the argument yesterday that although religion has its flaws, no other social structure can provide the same opportunity for consistent, long-term, face-to-face social interaction as religious communities can.

I did not have an immediate response, and I'd like to hear your experience. What communities have you found or built that provide ongoing meaning for you?

dayII 6 Dec 23

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My group of strong, female hiking partners are fun. We hike on Tuesdays.

If I lived close to you, I come hiking with you too, however probably would only do 1/2 hour of it to start of because all that hiking you girls do would kill me. But I would have a go.


I would love to have you join us.

@LiterateHiker you would need to bring some kind of contraption so as soon as I no longer could walk and was under the impression that death was imminent you have to carry me to safety or somewhere where a nice fire was and someone giving me a toddy to get over my ordeal. Probably 15 minutes into the hike I think.


I get it from my music groups, work friends, dance friends, and a local atheist group. We have more things in common than religion.


People can have that experience by communicating with their neighbors. They don't have to separate into, say, butterfly collectors or a fraternity of used car salesmen or left-handed armenians to have meaningful social interaction. Giving churches credit for that is like giving the same credit to a chain gang.



Poltical Action Organizations,Bridge Clubs,Master Gardeners,local music events,poetry clubs.........


Since 2006, I have volunteered a college mentor at Wenatchee High School. I help low income, first generation students apply for college and scholarships.

One of my best success stories is Brenda, who won $269,544 in scholarships in 2016. A junior at Wesleyan University, Brenda plans to become a medical doctor and pathologist. She wants to cure diseases.

These kids have big dreams. The first girl I mentored, a Russian immigrant, is a civil engineer at Puget Sound Shipyards.

In June 2018, I took three young women I previously mentored on a hike in Icicle Gorge.

From left: Tammy, a Vietnamese immigrant, is studying to become a neurosurgeon at University of Washington, me, Elisabet is studying to be a medical doctor/pediatrician; and Teresa is an accountant and community leader.

Volunteering for North Central Washington Democrats is fun and rewarding. I'm standing on the right in a black shirt and blue skirt I made. A broiling summer day.


I don't have a strong personal community. If I belonged to a church, I still wouldn't have a strong personal community.

I am thinking of joining the Democratic Party but not interested in campaigning or running for office.


I've always found a lot of support in neighborhood bars. Plus wine. 😊


I have a very large social network... It's called friends and family....


Don't have any, don't want any.
I do not like most people.
I have no interest in hanging out with them.



People I either work with, drink wine with, cook with, hike with or travel with!


I live in a gated community with a club house. There is a full calendar of community events...Bridge, Ceramics, Dances, Performing Arts...etc...


There are tons of secular organizations, the claim is bs.

Elks, Lions, etc......not to mention working at shelters, soup kitchens, not to mention playing Bridge, Canasta, etc etc your eyes!


After leaving religion behind, I built up my confidence and self esteem up to where I don't feel a need to belong.

This goes against our evolutionary instincts. We evolved as animals which for survival purposes gathered in groups for safety, and many people still feel unsettled if they do not belong to a group or community. A sense of belonging and community is the ONE positive thing religion provides for its members, as it does fulfill an instinctual need.

However, I'd rather be alone than a part of any religion.

When you left the religion you acquired self confidence and of course there is and was the worship of cats for you too, he, he.

@Jolanta Yes, I can understand why the Egyptians worshipped them. I don't really worship them, but they do control my life and have me well trained.


actually being in the lifestyle (swinging) for decades , we have found that was the best long term community to belong to and the sex was amazing


Workplace, school, neighborhood, clubs, volunteer organizations, family structures — all provide long-term, real-world social interaction. I guess I don't quite understand your friend's meaning.

The religious seem to think that them getting together is "special" and nobody else can attain that without religion. Dumbasses the lot of them.


Have you heard of social media? Social media is the new community, it is replacing religions community.

It is, and it isn't.

I made many friends through social media shenanigans in the last 5 years or so, and they were indeed friends. But the fact remained that they were all hundreds of kilometres from me.

Social media is good, and particularly tempting when people around you start moving away or otherwise leaving for some reason. But it only goes so far before.

social media can be useful, but it definitely isn’t a replacement for in-person socialization.

Social media does have video calls.

@xenoview you have to be very young or very naive to think that replaces real human contact. i’m not being a grumpy old man about it; i do think social media is really useful and awesome. but it is not all we could ever need.


One of organized religions' strong points is the social interaction that favors groups....

With us agnostics just still a minority, there's little fundraising, hardly any (that i know of) "church-building" or "assembly-hall-building" of any the #religulous have an advantage there.

But that shouldn't stop you from "socializing" - even with the religious.

I don't attend church (haven't in close to 50 years) but I stay in touch with and was even a guest of honor at a religious group luncheon. My opinions and style of debate are respected there; so I do enjoy an occasional visit with my friends....I even contribute to their cause as part of the "" experience.

Don't let the "religious" stop you from being sociable. They look at you as a chance to "proselytize" and I look at them as a chance to "enlighten" - so we often have lively debates.


Me n da boys hang at intersections asking for money. Give what you want.


No community for me thanks, I'm driving. Seriously though, I do not have any desire to be part of a face to face community. I was an only child and do quite well on my own without being part of a group. I do go out here and there, am friendly and chat with strangers, but feel no need to be part of a group face to face. If I am part of any groups it is on line here or on line gaming.


Social nudism. Nothing brings respect and enjoyment of life than having no way to judge another by the clothes they wear. Look up AANR for more information.

@maturin1919 I don't think you know nudism or nudist lifestyle to say something like that.

@Ellen-SoCal I wouldn't because I have an ugly penis. Don't tell anyone!


I don't have an in-person community. It's all virtual.

@bitflipper that's not so good....

I resemble that remark, LOL!

You and birdingnut ought to get together... Just sayin'...


So someone from the social circle you built is claiming that only churches provide, quite literally, what they're claiming only a church can?


1of5 Level 8 Dec 23, 2019

The pub


Theater, movies, politics, classic literature....basically EVERY social structure with a common interest can have the same effect as religion if the participants have enough love and respect for each other.


there isn’t one community that can provide the same thing because there are so many. the difference is that with most things, the way to do it is to actually build lasting relationships. you can join a book club, and that probably won’t last forever, but if you make good friends in the club, you can keep seeing them after it’s over. churches don’t necessarily foster long-term relationships. the same people just go there every week, so you’re going to see each other even if you’d never spend time together outside of church.

personally, i don’t have a community, but that didn’t change. i had my brothers and sister before i became an atheist, and i have them now. one online friend, a few cousins i talk to sometimes, and that’s it. i think this is less a problem with community not being available and more the result of not being socialized properly as i was homeschooled growing up. though my parents did that for religious reasons and used church as a stand-in for a social life, so maybe related issues.

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