Hi everyone! New member here. I’m married and have one 3yo and baby on-the-way.
I have two questions:
What do you all do to build a sense of community for your family?
What does that “community” look like?
One of the great things about being raised JW was I had this humongous built-in community of people that loved and supported me no matter what (assuming I followed all the rules and never questioned anything). Of course, I lost that when I left the religion.
I believe in the idiom “it takes a village” so I want that for my son. But I barely know what that looks like outside of a religion/cult. I acknowledge I’ll need to reframe what I think of as a healthy/realistic. Much of what I perceived as “good” from my upbringing were actually symptoms of something very very bad; for example, what felt like love and intense loyalty was actually love-bombing and in-group/out-group thinking. So, I’m trying to temper my expectations and to be satisfied with something less idyllic.
Has anyone else been through something similar? What does your current version of “community” look like? How did you build it? Did you just put yourself out there and make friends one-by-one? Was there some secular organization that helped you?
My community is composed of Meetup Groups like Freethinkers, Edutainment, Atheists & Agnostics, Humanist Society just to name the main ones. I've been a non-believer since I was a teenager. I once tried a Unitarian Universalist Church to please a significant other0-not for me.
Sounds like you have performed a rather impressive job of reaching an informed realization of the role religions play.
I have never been married and have no kids. However, I knew a few who resemble your current position.
Sense of community for your family?
That really depends where you are. About 15 years ago I, being the only atheist I knew in my state, burned some time and used Google with my city and all atheist like buzz words (free thinker, atheist, secular humanist). Took a while but I found contact info and joined (informal meeting Sunday at noon at local Star Bucks) a local atheist group. One of the original organizers had a few winter solstice gatherings but he left the country.
Two of the members were a married couple with kids. They seemed happy but never included their kids in any atheist activity. Over time this group evaporated as almost all members (most noted because this state (area) is not tolerant of non-theists, left the state. I think the remaining 5 who were once a part of the group occasionally go to the Unitarian church. I do not go to that organization. Been about 5 years sense that group has met so it is dead. The closest atheist group I can finds to my current location is a 382 mile round trip. Made that trip once for a convention as they featured Aron Ra, Mat Dillahunty and some other great presenters. Worth the trip for a convention but not for an informal meeting.
How to build? (during this pandemic I would not) but if I wanted to build such a group I would use online resources (meetup etc.) and post a reference to forming an atheist group meeting in a public area (Starbucks Sunday at 12:00). "You will be surprised how many will come." Quote from the convention by a presenter on the topic of building a community." Some stories include advertising and hosting a meeting in your home but I would not recommend that. Years ago I hosted a few secular-like movie nights just under 10 showed up each time at my place (my home theater seats 21) and it was a great time but most of those who attended have now left the city. My house with just under 3,300 square feet is good for meetings but I am now, less comfortable with the idea of hosting gatherings in my home.
What I have done/do. I used to (with the pandemic, I don't go there any more) use the YMCA (my gym) as a grounds for de-converting people. I had many encounters but was successful only 2 times at that location - (did manage to bring a few theists to tears but that's another story) I did ran into a few other atheists (all but one ( who I almost never run into) has left the state) from that location. I currently have only 1 friend in the state who became an atheist that I routinely talk to.
Yep, was a JW for + 30 years. The JW community "love" is truly conditional. When you walk away from it, you truly walk away from all your "friends" and family that remain in the cult. It was a slow process to build a community again, but well worth it to be my authentic self. I welcome you here and thanks for sharing your journey. It continually gets better the longer you are out and you make friends that can truly love you for what you are unconditionally.
It might be different in the US but having dabbled with the JWs I can sympathise. The thing is, without religion you're a bit like an orphan. As such, you have to make your own way in the world and that includes gathering friends. I also see that with children a support network is vital. So I would suggest other moms in the park where you take your 3-year old. Say hello and see what happens. If anyone pulls the God thing be honest and talk about your experiences. I'm sure they won't push it after that.
Welcome! I’m a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and encourage you to look into your local congregation. It’s a non-credal religious movement that welcomes atheists, agnostics, pagans, theists —- My girls had a strong community of friends and learned how to use their own judgment and ideas to build their own belief systems (all landed on atheism, while I’m a humanist). There is also an amazing, comprehensive, progressive lifespan sex ed curriculum (which I happen to manage for the national office). www.uua.org
I also missed the fellowship when I left religion. But I found new fellowships elsewhere. In my town we have an Arts Center. I enjoy acting in their plays, and fellowshipping with the cast and stage crew. I have also become active in the local Senior Center, taking exercise classes and a bridge class. I also enjoy exchanging messages here on Agnostic.com. We are social animals, and it is good to be with friends and groups. I can no longer stomach religion, so I find my groups elsewhere.
The l ok call Unitarian church near me has two services. One that is a Christian one, and one that makes no mention of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit/Ghost, the Bible, or any of that. It functions as community gatherings. Though they are no holding services right now for obvious reasons.
My political activism introduced me to a very varied group. Many of those people both the religious ones and the non religious ones became my very good friends. That happened basically because we believed in the same things.
I was a federal civil servant but lived quite a distance from work. I did develop some work friends but it seems like the ones I was closest to all live about 50 or 60 miles away now. In other words work and interests made the difference. As other posters have said Covid is going to make those connections harder to happen. I wish you a healthy delivery.
The 'Community' of this site, to my mind, is just like cooking a 3 Course meal, i.e. the more effort you put into it, the better it turns out.
Imo, 99.5% of the Members here ARE truly great and wonderful people, sadly though there are a few who are, at times, who can be both as erratic as a cut snake or just plain as grumpy and irascible as a Rattlesnake with a toothache or a Bear with a sore head,but they, thankfully are few and far between.
So, welcome to the Asylum, glad to have you here with us, best of everything with the new to arrive baby and your 3 year old.
My husband and I made friends in Lamaze classes. The couples expected a baby around the same time as us. Our children played together.
With the pandemic, it's spectacularly unsafe to be in an unmasked indoor crowd.
Bad time to have a baby. You have my sympathy.
Being an outcast in many of the social confinements, I've learned the art of isolation. Raising children is going to be like being an artist. You can create art for money or you can create life in truth ... somehow it's up to each parent. My grandkids have no clue who I am because I do not fit the mold of the lie.