Are there Atheists and Agnostics “Communities”?

Dec 26, 2012

Discussion by: truthreality
Many of the discussions here have highlighted a shared sense of being isolated, ostracized or feeling uncomfortable living in communities among the highly religious. Which leads to a question that I have often pondered: Where would I (or any free thinking individual) relocate to be among more like-minded people?. I realize that Atheism is a non-belief and people don’t generally define themselves by non-ideas, so my query is similar to asking “Where do non-occultists” live? and the answer is typically…everywhere. That said, I for one often feel isolated, so I wonder, are there areas (especially in the US) where one is more likely to find Atheist and Agnostic communities?

22 comments on “Are there Atheists and Agnostics “Communities”?

  • 1
    QuestioningKat says:

    …In large cities usually not located in the south, but you can also find them in large cities everywhere. Places like Austin, Atlanta, etc. will surely have a group. The least likely place is in small towns and communities especially conservative communities. The more rural the location – less people – less organizations. Mid-sized cities will also have groups even if they are small. If you are college aged, most campuses have a secular student alliance. I recall speaking to one highly intelligent elderly woman who lived in a smaller community that had no group she could associate with nor did she have enough energy to start one being house bound. Rarely, a friend would drive her two hours to get to a larger city to go to a special event, but it was rare. She felt completely stuck and isolated. She would use the internet, but tired of all the atheist/theist fights and looked for intelligent conversation. I often wonder how she is doing because the site I met her on closed. She seemed very alone.

    I was wondering if you are young and just starting out – looking for a job, wanting to relocate, etc.

    Here are a few organizations:
    Secular student alliance
    coalition of reason COR
    some Unitarian churches have atheist groups
    some cities have “atheists in the pub”
    Center for Inquiry
    Anyone – Feel free to add on.

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  • 2
    Alan4discussion says:

    @OP –   so I wonder, are there areas (especially in the US) where one is more likely to find Atheist and Agnostic communities?

    I think that depends on if you want to be part of a campaigning atheist/Humanist group, (as QK has listed) or not.

    If you simply want a community with a high proportion of secular rational thinkers, try science based organisations or academic science departments.

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  • 3
    Clappers says:

    Here in London we have the Central London Humanist group

    They are my community, and we can get together about 4 times per month, with social meetings, walks, book groups, film clubs and lectures or debates. After the official event there is usually a chat where non supernatural views can be exchanged. Look forward to seeing you there.

    If you are in the UK but outside London, the BHA has links to many local groups

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  • 7
    This Is Not A Meme says:

    Having lived all over the US, I would distinguish atheist-friendly cities. For instance, SF Bay Area has a proud expression of every -ism, and unkind misconceptions are absent. My Christian friends think I’m going to Hell, but they know I’m not immoral. They also know I think they’re silly for believing in flying Jews. That’s cosmopolitanism, and I’ve only seen this on the coasts. I’ve not found it in the midwest and south, where people openly deride atheists in public, cursing them as if they were creatures that surely could not be present as we would know them by their sulfurous stench.

    I’ve gotten a sense of atheist dominated cities in areas with a lot of labs and jobs for engineers (Menlo Park, San Jose, various college towns). I dare say these places exhibit atheist culture, but we don’t have parades or temples. I say we need a holiday, February 15th (John Frum Day) sound good to everybody?

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  • Parts of Europe are secular and will see you in good company, like the Netherlands where I live. Most of it (except our own little bible-belt, but that’s more a joke than a thing) is pretty secular, especially in the cities. Scandinavia is also supposedly highly secular.

    As can be expected from non-believers in large groups, we don’t have atheist clubs or secular clubs. Because that makes no sense for us.

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  • 9
    TerryKloth says:

    I would be a little cautious about basing where you move to on what the community is like there.  Communities are constantly changing.  Ten years from now, you could find yourself in a very different atmosphere than you would today (hopefully for the better, but possibly not).  That said, I wish you well in your search for a new home.

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  • 10
    flyingfsck says:

    Western Canada. According to the census a good 60 to 70 percent of west Canadians are atheist. The Canadian bible belt is really just Quebec and further east to the retirement states. It seems to be only old people of 60 plus that are religeous.

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  • 12
    flyingfsck says:

    You can also try Russia – another 300 million or so atheists.  I dont know why the USA is so stuck in the dark ages, but the rest of the european world is rather more enlightened.

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  • 14
    Pauly01 says:

    Why would you want to move to an Atheist community. To me it sounds insular. I could understand it if you wanted to move away from religious communities and I could understand it if you wanted to move to a more secular minded place. But to search for atheist communities seems cult-ish to me. Variety is the spice of life.

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  • 15
    Pauly01 says:

    Most of the people I know are not avowed atheists. They are however free thinkers and extremely independent. Religion never comes up because none of us live our lives with that kind of zeal. As well as that none of them are motivated by Religion , it’s just a non issue. I myself express myself through the Dawkins website but I never broach the subject with my friends because I feel it would be uncomfortable for them as well as me. Religion for all purposes is irrelevant in my circles.

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  • Try Havana, Pyongyang, or Seattle. Havana and Pyongyang trump Seattle as far as atheists, but Seattle is in the US. Or, find a college town and the liberal arts faculty living area(s). Locate there.

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  • Sorry, sounds like you have never been to Russia. Many of the people there are orthodox Christians. In addition there are a number of Churches in the Kremlin area just off Red Square in Moscow. While touring the Kremlin I went into a church and a wedding was taking place. When the Soviet Union collapsed religion started to become public again.

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  • I like your recommendation about Unitarian churches. They are open to all. I have been to lectures and discussions in Unitarian churches on reincarnation, evolution, GLBT rights, Christianity and atheism. Two problems, however: integrating all of the viewpoints and having to respect other people’s viewpoints. For instance is homosexuality the height of evolution? Or, do beliefs require evidence to be valid?

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  • Yes, ironically so, atheists, who pride themselves for being free-minded and socially exclusive attract to each other like flies to manure (sorry for the graphic image). Why do you think this site and forum exist because like and like attract.

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  • In Spain, despite the fact that we have a terrible setback because of a government of neo-fascist Catholic, most people do not pay much attention to religion, except for weddings, funerals, etc … not something to be taken into consideration in daily life. Anyway is a great luck to have forums like this where we can share ideas with people who do not believe is bullshit.

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  • 21
    Alan4discussion says:


    Yes, ironically so, atheists, who pride themselves for being free-minded
    and socially exclusive attract to each other .

    It must be the rationality, the science, the standards of education, and tone set by the moderators!

    I can’ say I had noticed “social exclusivity” – international cultural diversity looks more like the form!

    Why do you think this site and forum
    exist because like and like attract.

    Have you looked at some of the utter drivel on some other sites, where a rational discussion with educated people would simply be impossible!

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  •  Social exclusivity, in the sense that most atheists, prefer to isolate themselves from other communities, Christian or other religious forums. Instead of having subforums on religious forums where atheism is discussed, we have these sites, huge gatherings of atheists. So yes, it is a community. As I said, that is ironic.

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