Sunday, October 28, 2012

Houston launches a Freethinking Community

By Gary Berg-Cross

Earlier, in the days of the Reason Rally (March 2012), MSNBC’s Up w/Chris Hayes aired an episode on non-believers/Atheism. The guests included Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins and local favorite Jamila Bey, but also Pastor Mike Aus who publicly came out of the atheist closet on Chris Hayes’ show.
Aus said that he'd long had doubts about his faith and beliefs, but never abandoned the idea that Christianity provided for basic human needs for support and community.
"Regardless of theological orientation, there is some kind of deeply ingrained basic human need for community. Homo sapiens are a tribal species that need support from others, that cannot be denied."

Well, Up with Chris Hayes had an update in October.  According to the Houston paper Aus, along with several other atheists, freethinkers and secular humanists in Houston, launched Houston Oasis - a community that offers sanctuary for freethinkers. Houston Oasis is a community grounded in reason rather than revelation, celebrating the human experience as opposed to any deity.  

The Houston Chronicle's profile on Houston Oasis called it a “church” which did prompt the Oasis folks to  clarify that they do NOT see themselves as an:

‘Atheist church" nor do we use the term "church" as a descriptor. We are simply a community of freethinkers--atheists, agnostics, deists--and even theists-- dedicated to understanding life through reason and promoting humanistic values. We attempt to avoid labels and accept people wherever they may be.’

The first Houston Oasis Sunday morning gatherings was held in early September and featured live music by local artists, personal testimonies, a message and time for fellowship and  for “those who do not want to be part of organized religion...but who do want to be part of organized-something.” 
More music was featured in later gatherings. Now it has a Facebook page.

It’s probably a good place for some of what has been called Nones and, of course, secular humanists. Perhaps a  good spot for WASH folks to stop by on there.

1 comment:

Roxie said...

There are several freethought groups in the Houston area, including Houston Oasis.

We have an existing group for Atheists, for Humanists, and for Skeptics, all with a slightly different focus. Houston Oasis is a welcome addition to our community.