A while back I was on a train and listening to my music at a low volume so I could pay
attention to my stop. On the commute, I overheard a couple of people mentioning the musical
Something Rotten. I got a smile on my face. This is one of my favorite musicals of all time and
it did is not one that is particularly well known. My impulse was to go over to them and say
“bros, I love that show!” But the portion of my brain that has a somewhat detailed understanding
of social norms took over and I decided against it. Nevertheless, I had felt a vague sense of
community with these people in spite of this being what I knew we had in common.
Feeling solidarity with people is such an important part of being in a community.
Finding that solidarity is not always easy for secular people. Particularly if the community they
live in is especially religious. Not too long ago, I was at a convention full of secular people. It
was wonderful feeling that sense of belonging. Attending a gathering with a secular community
on a near-weekly basis gives me a sense of belonging. During the weekend of the convention, I
went with a group of people to go get some lunch. Our waiter saw our badges and told us that he
was one of us. Him feeling comfortable sharing that with us was wonderful. Sending the signal
out there that this community does exist is enormously beneficial.
One thing I strongly believe is that meaning comes from making a difference. Creating
and strengthening a sense of community is something that I believe can quantify as making a
difference. A secular community means nothing if it doesn’t have a coalition of people willing
to be the best version of themselves that they possibly can. Outreach from these groups can
manifest in different ways but one thing that is important for the community to do is to make
people feel welcome. When people feel welcomed on a secular island in a sea of religion, they
feel seen and know that they are not alone. – J.A.