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Zachary D. Schmoll

Abstract

The Sunday Assembly, a non-religious group co-founded in 2013 by Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, appears to be attempting to create a church without God. However, it is not clear whether simply embracing the external trappings of religious experience qualifies this specific manifestation of atheism as a religion itself. This article explores the core doctrines of the Assembly through the lenses of three prominent sociologists, Christian Smith, Christopher Dawson, and Peter Berger, to explore to what extent it is possible for a group that does not affirm the supernatural to be defined as a religion. Each sociologist presents a definition of religion that is then compared to the Charter of the Assembly to find areas of convergence and divergence. The Assembly fails to meet the religious criteria laid out by Smith and Dawson because of the lack of belief in the supernatural, while it could possibly, with some nuances considered, be considered a religion by Berger's definition.

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Keywords

Sunday assembly, atheism, religion, Peter Berger, Christian Smith, Christopher Dawkins

Section
Articles