Meetup is still useful if used with caution
Be aware that the Meetup site recently introduced a “great new feature” which leads to misleading description of groups and inclusion of many non-pantheist groups in the list of pantheist groups. These are mainly pagan, atheist and humanist groups created under the pagan, atheist and humanist topics, who have added themselves to pantheism.
Neither the pantheist groups at Meetup nor the World Pantheist Movement have any control over this process or any control over who can add themselves. It’s clear that groups with supernatural beliefs have added themselves in from outside topics. Because the pagan and atheist groups are better known and larger, they are elbowing out pantheist groups in the list of largest groups.
We have ZERO to do with these groups and they have ZERO to do with us.
But Meetup is still a good option for finding pantheists near you or getting a local group moving. You can still use Meetup to find a pantheist group near you, or to register your interest in learning when a group will form near you. You can still use it to create a local group – if you have a very strong interest in being a local organizer please write to email@example.com.
You just need to read the lists of groups with care. If they are pantheist they will be called pantheist or nature reverence. If they are called occult, goddess, pagan and so on, then that’s what they are. You may or may not find some pantheists of some type there, but you will almost certainly find a majority of people with supernatural beliefs. Similarly if they are called atheist humanist freethought or skeptic then that’s what they are. You won’t find people with supernatural beliefs there. You may or may not find some people who have profound feelings about nature and the universe and seek to express them in a lively interest in nature and science and life wisdom, but that will not be the focus of meetings.
In July the Meetup site decided to offer a new facility: it would allow groups from outside any particular topic to add themselves to up to three other topics which they thought their group might be of interest to.
Properly handled, this could be a worthwhile feature. However, it has not been properly handled.
1. The add-in groups are listed in the list of pantheist groups as if they are pantheist groups.
2. Local searches for pantheist groups in your town may throw up non-pantheist add-in groups as if they are pantheist groups. The programming even lists their members as pantheists. Eg if you search for Orlando FL pantheists you get the Orlando Atheists Freethinkers group described as containing “191 pantheists.”
3. The result of this policy has been the swamping of smaller groups by larger groups who are not connected to the primary topic. There is no quality or relevance control over who can add themselves, and in our case the add-ins have caused serious image problems not of our choosing.
We have proposed that add-in groups should be listed separately as “groups that may be of interest” or even more honestly “groups whose organizers believe may be of interest.” They should never be passed off as groups of the topic they have added-in to, and their members should never be described as fans of the topic they have added-in to.
We hope that this approach will commend itself to Meetup, and that we can then take this page down!
Pantheists near you
Using Meetup’s pantheism pages: Please read this firstMartin