Do you struggle within the bounds of your secular community to maintain enthusiasm for the community itself? Do you feel alone even when surrounded by groups of people you know well? Do you find yourself saying 'I would rather being doing X' when the idea of socializing within the bounds of your community comes up? These are all questions I have been pondering of late.
I've recently withdrawn my participation in the local Humanists group over lack of confidence in the leadership, in particular over the emergence of a volatile personality within the leadership. That said, though, I would have bailed on that group a lot sooner had I not been charged with certain responsibilities. There didn't seem to be any serious cohesion within the ranks and the group didn't seem to really have a purpose beyond sitting and talking.
In addition to that, I've started to feel less than blissful about being in my local atheist community as well. This could all be a symptom of untreated depression/anxiety but there's plenty to indicate that it's not just me. It seems to me that what I've been hearing about the cohesiveness of secular communities may just be on the money insofar as secular communities are not as capable of fostering long-term social bonds.
What I've observed in my three years as an active secularist is that only a small core group of people shows any interest in maintaining semi-regular attendance at community events. Beyond that, there are another small group of outliers who come once in a great while but only when it isn't an inconvenience. Then there are those who only care about association through social media, never really getting to know anyone in the community proper.
Now, volatile personalities aside, I can understand why some may not want to openly associate with a secular group for fear of social reprisal from their other related peer groups but what of those who comprise the 'core' of these communities? What keeps them from creating a community of lasting bonds? What does the secular community actually lack that religious communities seem to enjoy...?
Furthermore, is it actually a failing of secular communities that they don't actually create stronger groups like those of the religious community? Or is it that the individualism of secular communities allows for more...let's call it 'unpleasantness'...to come to the fore whereas religious communities are better at keeping their less-desirable elements (the loners, the mentally ill, the social misfits if you will) hidden in the back room while the 'safe' people maintain the allure that all is well...?
It is actually a failing of mankind as a whole that the individualism of the secular world is allowed to breathe and potentially turn people off whereas it's stifled within religious circles to maintain the integrity of the whole?