(ABC News) Sanderson Jones, who grew up in a religious British family, described the death of his mother when he was only 10 and his subsequent loss of faith as a “cataclysmic catastrophic event.”

He loved the rituals of the Christian church in which he was raised, but could not get his head around why God would allow cancer to take his mother — a Sunday school teacher with five children — at the age of 42.

“Losing faith meant that she had to die twice,” said Sanderson, now 32 and living in London. “Once when she went to heaven and then when I realized heaven didn’t exist. It meant I had to work out a way to understand life and for me, it was realizing that instead of being angry that she was taken away so soon, I became overjoyed that I had ever been loved by her at all.”

So today, Sanderson, an atheist and stand-up comedian known for selling his show tickets by hand, leads the Sunday Assembly, a community of godless congregants that began in London and is now being exported to the United States.

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