Frequently Asked Questions
Are You a Church or A Religions Group?
No, we are not. We are a not-for-profit organization that invites all kinds of people from all political and religious backgrounds to come together and hold meaningful discussions. We have a blog post and podcast episode about not-being a church if you are interested.
What is the Cost to Attend?
It is FREE to attend, and participate in, our weekly meetings! Guests are always welcome and the fundamental programs and services of your local Free Thought Forum will always be free to the public. Since the entire Free Thought Initiative runs on donations, you are encouraged to become a member through monthly donations, but that is never required.
Who Is Invited?
Literally every kind of person is invited to participate in our Free Thought Forum, given that they are both capable and willing to agree to follow our Rules for Civil Discourse. You, your family, and your friends are all welcome to attend as guests or as members. If you plan on bringing a large group to your next meeting, it would be polite to contact your group leader to let them know ahead of time.
Is childcare provided for young children?
Some local groups may have members who volunteer to watch the children of adults who wish to participate in the forum. However, others may not. Please contact your local group leader to find out about possible childcare options in your group.
What is required of a Member?
An official member of a local Free Thought Forum is simply a person in the community who donates regularly to the group. Members have the opportunities to vote on their local membership councils on the future expenditures, schedules, programs, and activities of their group, but they are not at all required to do so. Members are asked to attend all meetings, activities, and volunteer projects, but these are also always optional. In short, membership entails minimal commitment.
When, Where, and how often do you meet?
Each Local Group has its own meeting schedule and designated meeting locations. To find out when and where your local group meets, you must first find the group nearest you on our Groups and Events page, and then proceed to look over your group’s listed events. Each event contains details on meeting locations and times.
What kind of programs, services, and activities do you provide?
Your Local Group offers a number of different programs and services, depending on its Group Level. These may include open public discussions, volunteer projects, support groups, and so on. The recreational activities planned in each group may include hiking, game nights, casual sports events, and hobby-based activities. To find what your local group has planned, please visit the groups and events page, then find your group’s page among the others listed.
What kind of Volunteer Projects do you sponsor?
Our Local Group Leaders work closely with their Membership Councils to determine where the greatest needs are in their community, and how their group’s volunteers can best meet those needs. These may include clean-up projects, care-package assembly, general volunteer representation at community events, classroom support, hospital visits, and more!
How large is your average group?
Roughly, a local group has between 10 and 100 members. Groups with less than 10 members are merged into larger ones (if possible), and groups with more than 100 members are split into two. Members donate monthly to support their group, and are joined by any number of guests who participate without monetary contribution.
Are you Anti-Religion?
No, we are neither pro-organized-religion, nor anti-organized-religion. However, we do promote values such as reason, logic, and scientific literacy, which runs contrary to certain religious teachings. In addition, one of the programs we provide is a Cult-Recovery service, yet this is not an anti-religious program. Rather, it is designed to promote healthy integration back into general society.
Are you Political Activists?
Generally, we are not a group that promotes any kind of political activism. However, if a public debate arises that challenges first amendment rights such as the freedom of religious choice, freedom of speech, or freedom of assembly, then we are prepared to mobilize in defense of those freedoms.
Who can be a Local Group Leader?
There is no general list of requirements or qualifications that must be met before one may be considered eligible for the position of group leader. That position is filled according to a case per case basis through an established interview, training, and hiring process.