Interview with Coreen Plawa of the Santa Fe Atheist Community

by | June 13, 2019

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Coreen Plawa is part of the Santa Fe Atheist Community. Here we discuss her background and some of the community.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How did you become intrigued and involved in secular issues?

Coreen Plewa: I read Bertrand Russell as an adolescent and subsequently read a lot of theology, philosophy, anthropology and mythology to try to understand why religion had played such as major part in history but I never found a reason to believe in the sky-god myth.

Jacobsen: How did the Santa Fe Atheist Community start?

Plewa: I was not part of its origination. My husband and I joined after it had existed for a year or more.

Jacobsen: What are the demographics of the community now? 

Plewa: We have 260 listed members on the meetup website but there are no more than 50 who regularly attend one or more of our activities in a given year. We have never queried the membership on their demographics. From my observation, I can say that we are mostly over 60, many retired, straight and gay, mostly white, economically comfortable and very politically liberal.

Jacobsen: What are your tasks and responsibilities in Santa Fe Atheist Community?

Plewa:  My main assigned task is to insure that our every other Sunday brunch has a location in a home or at a restaurant. I and several other members also post activities to invite others to participate in such as:  restocking food pantries, cooking and serving meals to the homeless, attending a protest march, concert, play, movies, book discussion, art exhibits, road trip, camping and hike. Anyone can ask me to post an activity.

Jacobsen: What have been important social and political activities of the Santa Fe Atheist Community?

Plewa:  Many of our members are very politically active and we are all very politically aware. We live in the State Capital so we join in lobbying efforts when the legislature is in session. We have marched in the Pride Parade. As for social activities, all of our activities are very social with food and drink usually involved.

Jacobsen: What are some new projects for the Santa Fe Atheist Community?

Plewa: We don’t do anything that we label a project.

Jacobsen: Who is an important person for secular work in your locale?

Plewa: Not sure I understand the question. None of us do sacred work so it is all secular.

Jacobsen: What are other important organizations in the area?

Plewa: There is Humanist organization that is more discussion topic oriented.

Jacobsen: How can people become involved with the Santa Fe Atheist Community?

Plewa: People just sign up on the meetup site and then show up at one of our activities.

Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts in conclusion?

Plewa: We attempt to fill the social and community needs that churches often provide. We are making friendships.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Coreen.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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Other Resources: Recovering From Religion.

Photo by Eric Murray on Unsplash

One thought on “Interview with Coreen Plawa of the Santa Fe Atheist Community

  1. Tim Underwood

    “to try to understand why religion had played such as major part in history…”

    According to D.M. Murdock all prehistoric agricultural societies, worldwide, were politically influenced by Priesthoods who told stories explaining the Earth’s weather and its seasons. These stories attributed weather phenomena to imaginary powerful anthropomorphized entities.

    Modern historical religions, created as early as the bronze age, reused the same stories and rituals that preceded historical times to develop politically useful stories for the newer agricultural societies. See books like ‘Christ in Egypt’ for example.

    These stories about weather and climate are similar in both the old and the new worlds. All these seers were all looking to the stars and the seasons for answers. They provided answers where there were none.

    Today we have scientific probabilities to help us plan agriculture projects. Then again, we have “conservative” minded people who prefer the old stories where human invocation and perhaps even human sacrifice can intercede for a much desired control over the environment.


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