The decline in religiosity and the tremendous growth in atheism have led to the rise of an alternative organized institution: the Atheistic Church.
Dan Silverman, president of American Atheist Incorporated, is not surprised by the new development. "First we must understand that there is not a church of atheism. Atheism is not a religion. However, there is an atheistic church that teaches on the principles of good, ethics and reality."
"They understand that they don't need God to be moral. We make our own decisions. We take our own responsibilities. We do good because we choose to be good."
The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism shows that 60 percent of Americans claim to be religious and 5 percent claim to be atheists, which shows an increase in atheism when compared to the same poll that was conducted in 2005, when only 1 percent claimed to be atheists and 73 percent claimed to be religious.
John Loftus, author of Skepticink.com, says he fully understands why there is a rise in atheistic churches. "That's because we're an oppressed and discriminated people who want to associate with others who are like-minded, and who fight for the same causes," says Loftus.
"It's to give atheists the chance to band together to fight the harms of religious faith. In previous centuries the path of the atheist was a lonely one. Most of them lived their whole lives without being able to tell anyone they did not believe. So you can imagine the joy and exuberance at being able to find like-minded people and even congregate together freely."
Besides lay people moving away from faith, some religious leaders are losing their faith, too. The Clergy Project is a confidential online community that helps Christian clergy who no longer hold super natural beliefs. The community currently holds 400 members.
Former Roman Catholic Chaplain Catherine Dunphy spoke to The Christian Post to explain why she transitioned to a free thinker. "In completing my graduate degree in theology, I had to learn the history of the Bible and church. I found that the ideas that were not reality."
"I decided that if I can make it work without God than great," Dunphy said.
In looking at the rise of atheism in America, the Rev. Charlotte Carlton of Bethany Baptist Church in Lindenwold, N.J., says, "The church has lost touch. We have been dealing with the politics of God in churches that we forget to really allow people to have an experience with God. Once you have a true experience with God, you do not want to leave his presence. We have done a poor job of welcoming his presence into church."
When asked if the term atheist church is an oxymoron, Carlton responded, "Of course it is."
"The church was established so that God could have a symbol of decency and order. Everything comes back to the church. The atheistic church would mimic the structure of the Christian church because it serves as the blueprint. You can only mimic something that is real. God is real."