This post is part 2 of 4 regarding the so called atheist church movement. Part 1 which deals with authority can be found here.
I think Atheist Churches will be harmful for the atheist movement as they will surely cause segregation among members on issues that have absolutely nothing to do with atheism. This I want to repeat "they will surely cause segregation among members on issues that have absolutely nothing to do with atheism." You may wonder how I can be so certain about this, one word "elevatorgate". Its three years later and people are still just not letting it go and it has caused a split in the atheist community (link).
Atheism is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. I had fun writing that as for the first time I am explaining this to atheists and not theists :). Atheism should only focus on that and not other issues. An analogy to segregation and factions in the so called atheist churches would be the splitting of the Christian Church from the Roman Catholic Church into the Church of England so Henry could get a divorce. I understand that when you look at it like this it seems absurd and like something that would never happen. But it will and it already has on a smaller scale (elevatorgate). But lets take a more classic example and consider the Brights who are humanists and atheists.
Its not that I oppose the Brights, but they are naturalists and not atheists. A Bright is also an atheist, but this is not what the movement is about, otherwise they would be called atheists. From their website we can see the movement's three major aims are:
1) Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the
naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical
2) Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can
bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.
3)Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such individuals.
In these three aims we see their worldview is free of deities which is atheistic. However, they want people to understand that they are naturalists first.
To be an atheist you do not need a Church. What you do need is for atheists to stand together and have rational discussion relating to the deity question. Segregation will not lead to this when one section of the atheist community starts putting forward ideas that are not rational or have nothing to do with the deity question.