Is it time to start an Irish Atheists Association?

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Is it time to start an Irish Atheists Association

Yes I'd join and pay €25 membership fee
You can't herd cats
I don't have €25 euro to spare
Total votes: 86
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Post by bipedalhumanoid » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:28 am

BillyH wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote: ...the organisation can issue press statements and write letters to the editors of newspapers... ...The HAI does this to a certain extent but nowhere near to the extent that they should.
:lol: There it is! The 'should' and 'HAI' in the one breath. Think the HAI haven't done this? Think they haven't tried to get members, sitting on their butts, to do the same?

I wil repeat this: expect only a handful to do the work. Please prove me wrong, I would honestly love that.
You've missed the point. Members writing letters are just individuals. What you need is A letter and or press release from the chairman of the organisation. Nobody else should be able to speak for the organisation anyway.
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Post by RogerMcMorrow » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:30 am

Hi new to this but enthused by the cause.

Id be willing to donate up to about €500 if others would match donations to fund a Dublin advertising campaign like the atheist bus supported by Dawkins see site below.

Much too busy to organise this my self but if theres serious interest let me know.

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Post by IrishKnight » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:39 am

CatHerder wrote:
DollarLama wrote:and most likely we'd need to be incorporated as some kind of association, with a committee and all the bullshit that goes with it.
Anyone know how those things work :?:
I have a lot of dealings with a number of college committees and one outside it.

To get things up an running we might want to start off as a Ltd. company. Just to get the ball rolling as it were. In the first year, if we get a constitution we can then apply for charity status
What are charitable purposes?
While there is no legislation defining what is legally charitable it is generally
determined by considering whether a particular purpose comes within one of the four
broad categories:
1 Trusts for the Relief of Poverty
2 Trusts for the Advancement of Education
3 Trusts for the Advancement of Religion
4 Trusts for other purposes beneficial to the community

It is not unusual for a charitable body to come within more then one of the headings. It should be noted that not all purposes of benefit to the community would be considered a charitable purpose. In examining an application for tax exemption the Charities Section will examine the case with regard to the objects, the actual activity of the applicant body and with regard to established charity case law
By coming a charity all donations will be tax deducatable and therefore a lot more attrative towards people and who knowns some business.

As for the committee we'd need a Secretary, Chairperson, Treasurer, PRO and maybe one or two others who are on the committee but don't have a protfilo per say.

I'd be more than happy to help set this up which who ever.

On a side note, guess who also voted for op. 1 :D
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on the edge of the known world

Post by lostspecs » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:45 am

I live on the edge of the known world and beyond the borders of the rational world. I would welcome some sort of organisation that would reflect atheism, ie, not too organised. :wink: Yes I would be willing to pay my dues and participate if there is a role and it would be great to meet in Belfast some time.

I would fully support an organisation that gives a voice to reason.

This is my first post so I've included three of my favourites.

Christopher :oops:

Seneca the Younger 4 b.c.- 65 a.d. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

Bertrand Russell: And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence

Epicurus: Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
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Post by Ygern » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:56 am

Ok! :shock: who knew we had so many members? :D Welcome all of you!

With regards to what an 'official' association could get up to, I suggest we start with realistic and achievable goals (ie ones that do not cost bags of money seeing as we don't have bags of money. Not yet anyway)

Might I suggest that we have a thread for people to post ideas/ goals so that they don't get lost in this one?

My ideas (for 2 cents):

* The bus advert is a good idea, we need to find out about the cost for adverts on either a bus / bus stops (shelters)

* I think its worth considering using some of the money on defraying the costs of maintaining this site, which is at the moment borne exclusively by Catherder. I mean, rather than waste money issuing things like newsletters, use this website as the means by which members are contacted and kept informed and updated. It is after all the site that got us all together.
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Post by Legion » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:20 pm

I think this is one of the most engaging threads here on since I joined. Many valid points have been raised, but the feeling definitely seems to be that an atheist organisation would be supported.

Many people have mentioned the HAI, and while they cater to their support base, I personally feel (as it seems many others here do) that they are not a strong enough voice and tend to take a middle road, careful not to offend anyone. IMO religion is offensive and they have no problems with offending those who do not believe their drivel and they certainly have no problem with indoctrination of children. Similarly we should not feel afraid of ruffling a few religious feathers. Although this is not to say we should be diametrically opposed to whatever they say or that we should use their means to our end.

I think the formal structure for the setting up of this organisation (committees, boards of directors, memorandum, etc... ) is all relatively simple and can be worked out once the larger issues have been thoroughly discussed. Headsup to IrishKnight for his hands on experience.

This forum is the ideal place to work out exactly what this organisations goals should be and how they should be achieved. I'm sure there will be no lack of opinions.

Similar to the bus idea, once these ideas are brought into the public
eye people will realise there is a choice other than belief in a god ( and as many people on this site have mentioned "I though I was the only atheist in Ireland")

Organised meetings will also be needed to
- show our real faces and make some new friends
- debate the issues in person and in real time
- Have a drink or 6

As for the vote, I'm a bit of all 3 : yes I'd support an atheist Ireland organisation, but I'm broke, and has been seen already in this thread atheists can be a diverse bunch of people each with their own views on how things should work.
I guess I could rattle up 25euro so long as I get me a T-shirt n keyring oh n a nice email address...OK I'll settle for a badge

One other issue about these meetings is that they should be held throughout Ireland ( I'm from Belfast and don't mind a bit of travelling so long as there are some meetings in the north, assuming the DUP allow you in lol)
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Is it time to start an Irish Atheists Association?

Post by Michaelmc » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:51 pm

Well, I won't be voting on the above;

the questions only provide the three options of 'Yes', 'It can't be done' or 'I'm too broke'. Included should also be the option of something like 'No, it's (probably) a bad idea' which I would have ticked.

My chief concern is the creation of an organisation that is based around the mere absence of a belief in something. This is expressed very well by atheist Austin Cline as part of his criticism of a 2006 'Godless American' march on Washington:

"...atheism, as merely an absence of belief in gods, cannot serve as a basis for a person's identity or concept of self. There just isn't enough there and if anyone tries, they'll end up very disappointed. If a person is looking to create an identity for themselves, they need to look to more positive things. You can't build an identity on what you are not (not a theist, not a liberal, not an American) but, rather, on what you are - what you stand for.

Good candidates would be things like liberty, religious freedom, rationality, and so forth - none of which, it should be noted, are exclusively or even especially atheistic. These are attributes which theists can share in as well." ... -twist.htm

(If you haven't come across this guy his pages on are well worth a look)

I'm with Cline on this and so reckon that it's a better use of time to organise around an identity with a bit more content than just atheism. That is why I define myself as a (philosophical) Naturalist first and foremost with atheism as just a side effect of that. And that is why I'm a member of the The Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI).

As Dick Spicer indicates, The HAI is already trying to "advance the rights and interests in society at large of the non-religious community" (and with very scant resources I might add) and I can't really see what an Irish Atheists Association would add to their efforts.

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Post by Ygern » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:03 pm

Michaelmc, you might be interested to know that Dick Spicer was here earlier in the week to say that we ought to be an active group in the 'real' world, and as a more radicalised association than HAI.

While I understand your point of view, and even agree on a philosophical level; I think that in Ireland of all places a dissenting atheist voice is needed to combat all the faux religious (especially pro-Pope, pro-Catholic) loyalty that is displayed by politicians, schools and the media.

Its not about promoting atheism as a world view (silly and pointless) but about raising consciousness about issues. People may start to realise that they don't have to pay lip-service or 'respect' to something just because its a long-ingrained tradition.

I've noticed myself (to get anecdotal) that since I have found the guts to speak out about these sort of issues a surprising number of friends and aquaintances are not only in agreement, but grateful that someone had the guts to stand up and say it publically first. It has a knock-on effect of them having the guts to be honest and open the next time the subject occurs in conversation.
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Post by Yazar » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:08 pm

I'm outside the bounds of the organisation but I would consider supporting (when I'm not so broke :) ) an organisation that promotes knowledge of atheism and provides a meeting point for similarly minded people.

I'm not into evangelizing anyone about atheism and don't agree with the idea that atheists have to answer every daft move religious organisations make. All the time in the world isn't enough for that :roll:

So depending on the aims of the organisation I may or may not consider joining.

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Post by IrishKnight » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:12 pm

Michaelmc, you bring up an intresting point. I'm sure people have a differnt idea to what the "IAA" would do if it were to come about. Personally, I think it would be a meeting place for like minded people but that we would also hold events and rebutt the idea of a catholic nation. We could issue press release when something of important comes up, we could become proactive in removing God from out law and Dáil chamber, the list is end less.

Ygern had a good idea of starting a seprate topic just for ideas on what the "IAA" could do, that way by brainstroming we will end up with ideas being repeated and as such a possible aim of the asso.

EDIT: Came across this an age ago when thinking of setting up a collge atheist soc. It comes from a sample constitution from
The purposes of the organization shall be to 1) promote and practice the open, rational, and scientific examination of the universe and our place in it, 2) and that ethics and morality can be meaningfully based on rational and humanistic ideals and values, 3) promote skeptical inquiry, 4) provide community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics, naturalists and other freethinkers, 5) organize activities, such as forums for discussion, guest speakers, and debates that educate the [SCHOOL NAME] and surrounding community, 6) foster acceptance of freethinkers, and 7) advocate for the separation between church and state.
While there is some things in that which won't apply to the "IAA" and other that do, we can fine tune it to our liking. There is a lot of idea out there so it might be an idea to start a core committee/group of people who will investigate what the aims of the "IAA" would be etc and in time set it up if there is enough support.
Last edited by IrishKnight on Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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