Fueled by tax-exempt status due to flexible definitions of religion by the IRS, "Atheist Churches" are spreading throughout the U.S. Another factor in their success is the ability to recruit members and donations from social media. What starts as "affinity groups" in cyberspace translates into the physical world were church grounds are purchased and buildings erected.
Said Anti-Pastor Frank Sold, standing in front of the new Friedrich Nietzsche Assembly Hall at his church in Westwood, CA, "Some criticize the IRS for giving us tax breaks but our non-religious beliefs are just as strong as those of the religious. I just don't see the difference."
When asked what goes on in church services the Non-Reverend Sold said that they were mostly there to have fun. "There's a lot of gloom and doom among the religious praying that their God save them original sin, the evil that inhabits their bodies at birth. We're the opposite we just want to have a blast."
"We do things like make little dolls of Tomas de Torquemada, who tortured thousands during the Spanish Inquisition. The Torquemada dolls are put on the alter to join other dolls, like those of the Inquisitors who put the French Templers to the rack and screw," said the Anti-Pastor.
He went on to say that, "Then there is feverish dancing around the alter, people with pins in hand, sticking them into the eyes and genitals of the famous Christian torturers. Of course, there are several people behind an alter curtain that make hideous screams of anguish that seem to be coming from the dolls."
The Non-Reverend continued that "we do that sort of thing, and we desecrate idols on the alter."
I interrupted him as suggested that many world religions emphasize the danger of idol worship and wasn't his non-church somehow involved in a religious practice.
"Oh, you know an idol is something that replaces the worship of God but nobody today bows down to images and idols. Instead Christians, for example, worship at the alter of the god of self."
"Christians don't get that idols aren't just made of gold and wood. Their preachers lie about God wanting you to have material riches, that salvation is a selfish, personal matter just for you, that sort of thing. Again, that's just worship at the alter of the god of self, oneself becomes an idol," explained Mr. Sold.
The Non-Reverend said that non-congregants came up to the alter with pictures of themselves and put them in a flaming bowl. Then we all dance around the alter, holding hands and chant "Peace And Love, Peace And Love." He said that if people came into the non-church when that ceremony was going on "they'd think we were nuts!" They need a context to understand he said.
"I guess you'd say we're kind of retro 70's with this peace and love stuff. Too, we sing a lot of classic rock songs together in a very spirited way. We're very much into the ecology of the 70's, saving mother earth. I suppose it all boils down to love of life and your fellow humans."
This reporter went away shaking his head, completely confused, thinking that maybe the IRS had done something right for once.