About

We are a community of atheists, theists, agnostics who recognize the merits of living like Jesus. We are defined by our actions, not by our beliefs.

Company Overview

We are a non-profit organization committed to developing a network of charities for the purpose of serving one another in any capacity possible. Charities can join our network and push their needs out to us, and we’ll do what we can to fill the need.Our secondary purpose is seeking willing philanthropists for donations to WOJ to be disseminated to several charities we select based on the merits and needs of those groups. Our vision is to create a community of tolerance and love, and to expunge all attitudes of hate, bigotry, and intolerance the world over. We only have one stipulation to support a charity; that they support the WOJ movement to unite people of all faiths and beliefs for the common goal of uniting humanity to better the world.

 

Executive Director/Chairman: Brett Gallaher
Director of Operations/President: Britt Brown
Director of Finance: Lisa Darlene
Director of Promotions: Paul Loebe

What is “We Occupy Jesus”?

A movement for all individuals, regardless of their own personal beliefs or disbeliefs in any god, who identify with the positive message of the Jesus narrative, who can unite under common principles and practical goals to make the world a better place through tolerance, activism, non-violence, and love for all humanity. This organization serves as a meeting place between those from both sides of the God debate. ‘We Occupy Jesus’ is for anyone who is compelled by the life, message, metaphor, or model of Jesus.

What are the main relational objectives of the movement?

1. Reconciliation between theists and skeptics is the primary goal. We wish to put differences aside and enter into genuine dialogue and/or unity (i.e. friendship).
2. To create an environment of mutual cooperation to create positive and tangible change in our societies.

What does “Occupy Jesus” mean?

We occupy an idea. Just as the Occupy Wall Street movement seeks to expose the greed and corruption of the financial institutions of the United States, while also serving as a new platform for creative solutions to change the status quo, “We Occupy Jesus” seeks to take back the narrative of Jesus which has been hijacked by special interests, political parties, religious extremism, and all forces of corruption, bigotry, and false piety. To occupy Jesus means to stand in the middle of the conversation and say you are done being demonized because of the bigotry of the past and the social apathy of the present. The message of Jesus is one of love, service, and self-sacrifice and now is the time to take it back from circles who would pervert that message. Our hope is that one day, the name of Jesus will only be synonymous with love.

Why was this movement started?

Those of us who began this movement felt that the rift between theism and atheism was growing unnecessarily vast. This rift has also been perpetuated by ignorance, apathy, and special interests. There have been countless movements to reform the Church and organized religion in general, including the intellectual, theological, doctrinal, scholastic, ecclesial, and missional aspects. It is the opinion of “We Occupy Jesus” that such endeavors are noble and those who wish to fight for these goals should feel free to do so. However, the world cannot sit around and wait for such reforms to take place. To be frank, the Church is beyond “fixing” at this point, nor should anyone feel obligated to change the minds of all Christians who disagree with them. Those who identify with the teachings and/or example of Jesus should waste no more time debating metaphysics.

Is “We Occupy Jesus” a Christian organization?

No. ‘We Occupy Jesus’ is not a Christian group, or a religious group in any respect. We are composed of atheists, agnostics, and theists who have chosen to focus on unity, cooperation, and mutual respect instead of dogmas, doctrines, or metaphysics. While many of our members are spiritual, our beliefs are quite diverse and often transcend the traditional and sometimes narrow classifications and labels. Our movement is a joint-effort by all who think the world would be a far better place if we all embodied the spirit of Jesus’ message to love our enemies, feed the hungry, comfort the dying, mend the broken hearted, defend the weak, care for those who suffer, and stand up against hatred, discrimination, and bigoty in all its forms. Christians are welcome as members, but the group is not defined by Christian beliefs.

How is this different from Christianity?

Christianity is a religion, filled with diversity of belief, dogma, and tradition. However, ‘We Occupy Jesus’ is not a religion. We have no set system of metaphysical beliefs. We are politically neutral. We are theologically neutral. We have no statement of faith. Our members are allowed to believe or not believe in God, gods, the divinity of Jesus, or the historical Jesus. Christianity has no such luxury, at least not in the orthodox sense. Even our emphasis on the narrative of Jesus is a point of reflection, meaning we do not dictate any rigid guidelines as to how one should be inspired by that message. We are all thinkers, but our thoughts are our own. We have our own beliefs, but they are our own. We simply choose to be defined by our actions instead of our ideologies.

Why the Jesus narrative?

We often are asked the questions, ‘Why Jesus? Why not Buddha? Why not Martin Luther King? Why not Gandhi? Why not another narrative? Why not simply be a good person?’
We do not mean to imply the narrative of Jesus is decidedly ‘better’ or that his narrative is ‘the perfect story’ or ‘the only narrative’ worth living for (although some of members may personally hold those opinions). Our answer is simply this. No other narrative has impacted Western civilization more significantly than the Jesus narrative. This is not a statement of favoritism, only one of observable truth. While The Enlightenment, for example, has been very significant, it has not prevailed over the still very religious world we live in. The narrative is at the core of our very society. We have the opportunity to let it fade into oblivion, or to let it be the new catalyst for change once again. Simply ‘being a good person’ lacks inspiration and a call to action. We live stories. We are inspired and united by stories.

The Jesus narrative has always adapted to the political framework of its point in time. Christianity was once an option within the larger world of Paganism, then it adapted to both eastern and western forms of Christendom/Kingdoms, and eventually Capitalism. We fear that Capitalism is where the name of Jesus has gone to die.
We are not speaking out against Capitalism per say (at least, not today) but what Capitalism does is take, package, market, and sell Jesus (and everything else). The close relationship of Capitalism to Politics only makes matters worse. If you hear the words “Jesus” or “evangelical” or “religion” or “family values” and think “Republican Party” then you know you’ve been conditioned by the American corporate machine. If you hear “Jesus” and immediately think of a political party, a scientific stance, or a particular style of music, you know what we are talking about. We are done letting this status quo continue.

Why should an atheist care about the Jesus narrative?

1. Many atheists are former Christians and carry some of their unresolved feelings about their religious past with them. Our community affirms their frustrations with organized religion and seeks to bring closure, healing, and renewed community with those still in faith traditions or those of spiritual world views.

2. Atheists may not feel any connection to the Jesus narrative, but that narrative effects them nevertheless given the religious nature of many societies. We Occupy Jesus is a new conversation about how the humanistic commonalities shared by theists and atheists can be realized to curb religious extremists’ attempts to wield a harmless religious narrative as a tool for manipulation, bigotry, and obstruction for civil rights. Basically, while Atheists may not feel they need the narrative, partnering with logical theists will promote a more progressive understanding of the narrative that underscores their mutual concerns, will expose the motives of extremists for what they truly are, and will help create a more tolerant world for both believer and skeptic.

3. We do not expect all atheists to value the narrative in the same manner Christians do, but it is an observable fact that many atheists indeed do value it (i.e. we have several atheists in the movement already). Above all, we wish to create a place where atheists and theists (and of course everyone in-between) can share their convictions and passions for humanity without fear of isolation, ridicule, or judgment. While other social movements have included both atheists and theists, WOJ specifically exists to foster community between the two groups, that we might learn from each other.

Where does WOJ stand on “hot button issues” like LGBT, abortion, civil rights, etc?

WOJ is not affiliated with any political party, however we do support separation of church and state, civil rights, and individual freedom of expression. Many would call us “progressive.”

How do I join?

If you are interested in officially partnering with us, contact us at weoccupyjesus@gmail.com

With us in spirit? Join us on Facebook. We’d also love to converse by email. Of course, being a member of WOJ is more about living life than being in a social media group. Be creative. Find people of a different religious persuasion and learn more about them. Start a book club. Volunteer together. Start your own group based on similar principles. Get involved in local government. Protest something worth protesting.

Be your own Jesus, whatever you feel that means. But don’t let anyone tell you how to be Jesus. Jesus wouldn’t put up with that. Neither should you.

#weoccupyjesus

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15 responses to About

  1. 

    Love your premise here. Good luck to you.

  2. 

    Saw your blog on Freshly Pressed, and realized that I am so totally digging the concept of applying the “Occupy ___” archetype to Jesus. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how best to “take back” the true core of his teachings and messages from those who would, as you say, “wield a harmless religious narrative as a tool for manipulation, bigotry, and obstruction for civil rights.” Interested to see where your project goes.

  3. 

    Hello! I think that this is a great project. I am an agnostic who was raised Catholic. Though I appreciate a lot of atheist/agnostic thought and writing, I also find much of it to be cocky and aggressively defensive. Needless to say, the same goes for Christianity and insert-other-religion-here. You don’t need me to tell you that any belief system, from a major faith like Islam to an unofficial one like football, often inspires pretension, aggression, and mob mentality in its followers. OF COURSE it can also inspire beauty and cooperation, but all too often this is lost in the mire of everything else.

    Anyway, I love this Occupy paradigm that you’re getting into, and, of course, I especially love this effort to come together as atheists and theists alike. There are a lot of different ways to believe and an infinite amount of ways to live. It is essential, especially now, when evangelists of all types – believers and non-believers alike – are cropping up ubiquitously, to encourage understanding, symbiosis, and common ground.

    I’ve definitely found this to make my own life richer, even though people have literally gasped when I’ve told them (in what felt more like a confession, in perhaps what was a confession) that I have befriended people of Certain Religious Beliefs. That I have deeply loved these people, sometimes romantically. How can we be so close-minded? In this 21st century we are all too likely to be afraid of each other, not to mention the intangible and inexplicable.

    As I write this MLK Jr. day is coming up. The tributes to him that are coming from all corners, as well as the material I’ve been reading on this blog, make me feel hopeful for our world which separates from itself every bit as much as it comes together. So thank you. I didn’t think that I would get on such a big soapbox when I started writing this comment; guess you folks have struck a chord. So thanks, again. I look forward to keeping up with your work, and wish you the best in continuing it.

  4. 

    I grew up as Christian. Now, an agnostic.

    There are these people telling you cannot love Jesus without being Christian. My experience told me how wrong they are. I’ve never been more passionate about Jesus until I turned agnostic.

    By saying this, they only drove non-believer away from Jesus. Which is a shame really… They deny people like me from experiencing Jesus’ love. They steal Jesus from humanity.

  5. 

    I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. I enjoy following your blog, thus the nomination. I hope you take this award in the spirit it was given, though please don’t feel obligated to accept. More details are here: http://solving4x.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/366/

  6. 

    Thanks Brett for finding me on FB. While I can say that there are those dedicated to organized religion who positively impact everyone around them, I myself am done with what I believe and am desperately trying live by what I do. Christ in me, as me, and through me is essentially what your movement is about without having to be a Christian. Good on you man. I am gonna hang around to see what I can offer and learn.

  7. 

    I would like to donate a lil amount. Where?

  8. 

    What do you think about this?
    ask.fm/lamarstudents

  9. 

    Oh boy. “Our hope is that one day, the name of Jesus will only be synonymous with love.” How about having the name of Jesus being synonymous with the way to salvation, or the Truth, or Life (as opposed to death)? That doesn’t work for you, because those terms are intentionally exclusive in nature, and are not purposely amorphous or open to interpretation like “love.” You can stuff all manner and type of things into “love” – the word is an equal opportunity nothing that doesn’t require anyone to make a decision. Truth, in contrast, is by its very nature exclusive. You can have competing loves, not competing truths. I would even settle for “grace”, because grace means “unmerited favor”, and that would require an implicit acknowledgment of the relationship between a holy God and sinful man. I enjoy your humor, but do you realize you’re committing theological defamation? You can’t in good conscience turn Jesus into something that contradicts who he said he was. Jesus did not come as a blank slate for all of us to project our own ideas of who God should be onto him. Rather, Jesus came as the physical manifestation of God (John 14:9, John 5:19) with a clear message: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13). And yes, God is love (1 John 4:8), but that “love” is not defined by our whims – its a “love” that was so concerned for our salvation that it caused Jesus to go to the cross for us. May your humor be used as an instrument to convince others of his well-defined, unfailing love. Peace.

  10. 

    Alfred, here’s the problem I sense in your words: The assumption that “Truth” with a capital “T” is small enough to fit in it’s entirety into a limited human mind – yours or mine. I understand the psychological yearning for clarity, definiteness, a system of thought that is total and complete and comprehensible. But – the human mind is and always will be limited, and total knowledge and clarity of MIND is not an option for mere mortals. That is why I like LOVE as a guide. Heck, even the Bible says love is higher and greater than faith. And the capacity to love, and know if what is being said or done to us “feels” loving to us, is in all of us. We can and always will vary as to our thoughts about the “truth” of various doctrines. ANd having our minds continually growing and expanding with new ideas, or new and better version of old idea, is awesome. But Love! It is like a station on a radio dial that we can all pick up, however dimly. ANd deep inside we all know it when we “see” it! You can tell me you are preaching in the name of Love, but only I can say whether or not I’m “feeling it” as I listen to your words. I believe real love carries inside it unmistakeable caring about and listening to and for whether the recipient of our “love” feels loved. If that is not happening, then there is more work for the “lover” to do. May we all keep working to be better and better love-ers.

    • 

      Lysle, like Pilate, you ask: “what is truth?” Then you answer by positing that it is either unattainable or subjective, but in either case it is trumped by “love.” None of this is Biblical. First, the Truth is knowable – as Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And the Bible gives us a definite, firm understanding of who Jesus is and who he is not. So we know the Truth, as the Bible is infallible (“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6). “The law of the Lord is perfect” (Psalm 19:7). “Every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5 KJV)). Now, you may disagree that the Bible is inerrant, but you cannot disagree that it claims to be inerrant. So you either accept it as wholly true or wholly false – the rules of logic dictate that there is no other choice. And if you start picking and choosing what to believe from the Bible and what not to, then you’re simply writing your own bible through the power of selective editing. Second, the “love” you cite as a guide remains undefined and useless. You would be better asking, “what is love?” To which I would respond, love is a defined act. Such as, “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whosoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” “Love” is not what someone feels, but what someone does or gives. Just think about your statement for a moment, that the existence of “love” is validated by the object of the love. How silly! So if a one month old doesn’t “feel” the love of his parents because he’s too young to understand, then that love doesn’t exist? Love is in the eye of the beholder? May I suggest that this is precisely what you are missing about the Grace of God and the message of Christ: that the love that God has for you means that he died for you while you were still dead in your sins, before you ever believed in him (Ephesians 2:5).

  11. 

    I like the concept behind your title. I think a sister website would be appropriate: We Occupy Truth.

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