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Monday, 13 June 2011

Atheist Nexus

In case you haven’t heard of it, why not give Atheist Nexus a try? I joined it a year or so ago and find it full of interesting material. Rather than explain what it’s about (although the name is a clue), I’ll quote directly from the newsletter of its founder, Richard Haynes, which I received over the weekend.

It has been more than a year since I wrote to you about the organizational progress of Atheist Nexus. This was primarily due to my waiting for our previously discussed projects to be fulfilled. I am happy to report that many of our goals have been accomplished, but we have barely scratched the surface.

Where We Stand

As I write this, we have nearly 23,000 active members. On top of that, there are a few hundred thousand individuals who visit Atheist Nexus regularly who have not joined. We are also more diverse than ever before. We have hundreds of members in all 50 United States and member representation in every country of the world. Our subgroups now total 850+. These include numerous “official” groups for local and international organizations.

Most of this has been accomplished by you sharing Nexus with your friends. Other than that, we have a couple part-time volunteers and me as the sole staff member. Thanks to a handful of advertisers and a group of small donors, we have been able to keep afloat. I have paid most of the financial obligations myself, and I have no complaint in doing so. However, we have reached a plateau, and for us to go further, we must expand our horizons.

Our Mission

From the very beginning, our vision has been to be much more than simply a “Facebook” for nonbelievers. To be honest, social networking sites are a dime a dozen. They easily come and go. Some do things better, some worse. Our success in becoming the world’s largest community of nontheists has been our strict adherence to our mission.

The first part of our mission has been to make Atheist Nexus a resource to empower nonbelievers to “come out” of their nontheist closets. In my travels you have humbled me with your powerful stories. Many of you have found the courage and strength to be honest with your families through Atheist Nexus, and the new friends you have met have provided ongoing comfort and support.

None of this has happened in a vacuum either. Many media outlets have taken notice and featured Atheist Nexus and our members. Stories have been reported in: the New York Times, USA Today, NPR, CNN, Fox News Radio, Wired, and a handful of books. I am contacted almost daily by reporters asking to speak to members from a particular area.

The second part of our mission is the most crucial. My assertion has always been that Atheist Nexus would be useless if it did not provide a stepping stone for members to get involved in local communities and national organizations. In the beginning I was surprised that many of the “newer” atheists were not aware of the great groups that existed.

So far, we have had tremendous success. Many national leaders have told me their membership numbers, and attendance at their conventions, have increased because of Atheist Nexus. Also, many local groups (some quite large) have been formed by individuals who met on our site. I know of two weddings between members who met on Nexus, and I was told by one individual that they lost their virginity because of us. (I’m not sure, but that might make a great billboard)

I cannot give much detail, but during the recent uprisings in Africa and the Middle East, I was fortunate enough to assist our members in these countries to communicate and coordinate their activities with each other. If nothing else, this has made the whole Nexus experience worth it.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I have faith (pun intended) most of you are proud of what has been accomplished. And while not perfect, I think most of you would agree the usability of the Atheist Nexus website has improved greatly. We have planned many more improvements, but they cannot be accomplished without your help.

He then goes on to tell you how you can help the site improve and thrive, and you can go to its “Chip-in” account to donate.

Find Atheist Nexus here.


Micky said...

Yes - many voluntary organisations hit that 'glass ceiling' which Richard Haynes describes.

I can well remember a similar stage being reached with the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in its day.

Let's hope that Atheist Nexus can eventually achieve at least a modest success - as indeed CHE did.

Laura said...

That's a great site and resource. Thanks for pointing the way!