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Old 02-26-2012, 11:42 PM
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I grew up in a religiously indifferent household, but attended a nondenominational christian summer camp from 6-18, by my choice of course. I came to atheism at 12 so half my years there I was irreligious and knew enough to hide my views.

I walk away mostly with pretty songs and the feeling that mainstream religion is far more cultish than people wish to admit. It was a camp, so the sermons and lessons were always about light topics like friendship and love and helping one another, but while the people around me seemed moved I always felt awkward. I usually kept my eyes open and head raised during prayer, not that anyone would notice.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:33 AM
Location: New York City
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Living in New York City, I ONLY enter churches to take pictures with other exceptions being funerals and an occasional wedding. Being black, funerals turn into church services with hooping and hollering (UGH!!!) so I try to avoid those too.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:21 PM
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Speaking as a Christian I feel it is important for Christians to go to Church, more for the social aspect than anything. That being said the front of the Church seldom holds my undivided attention. I currently do various things on a Kindle during that time.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:41 PM
Location: SW Missouri
15,849 posts, read 30,414,282 times
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Funny you should mention this.

In the past few years I have ventured forth in to an ecumenical setting. Strangely enough, I found it a very positive and uplifting experience. Mentally, when I am listening to the sermon, I simply edit out all references to Jesus or God and pay attention to the "gist" of it. Religions all over the world really preach one thing..."Love your brother as yourself", "be good", "help others", etc. It isn't until you start getting into the whole "bible - word of God" crap that this all becomes self-serving.

In fact, one of the *best* sermons I have ever experienced was given by Jim Bakker (yes, him) just a couple of years ago. It was all about how we are "pruned" so that we can bring forth better and stronger fruit - just like a tree. Of course, Jim said that it was God that was doing the pruning, but I instead, interjected "the universe" every time he made reference to God, and it was all very meaningful to me.

If you look beyond the dogma, and the hyperbole, and the BS and really listen to what is being said, you will find that the lessons are ageless and very secular. There is nothing wrong with church as long as you are smart enough not to buy into the whole "died for your sins" thing. LOL

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Old 03-05-2012, 09:16 AM
Location: The land where cats rule
10,946 posts, read 8,271,196 times
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Just an additional bit of info.

A woman that I have been seeing recently has been insisting that I go to church with her. I have steadfastly refused.

She gave me an ultimatum, either accompany her or that was it.

It was nice to know her, in spite of her religious tendencies.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:53 PM
Location: Guangzhou, China
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Originally Posted by pamelaBeurman View Post
When I go to a church, it's for either a baptism, wedding or a funeral.

My religious belief are very different from most of my friends or family but I still show them the due respect of attending.
Same here.

I went to my friends' son's baptism on Christmas, and it was basically the first time I'd gone to church since I was about 13 and we had that big fight where I told my parents I didn't believe in god and thus, going to church was totally pointless and a waste of my precious teenaged time, a sentiment I stand by to this day. I think back at how awesome it was to sleep in on a Sunday and then wake up and hang out with friends... zero regrets, man.

This said, as many others here have stated, I've always been open in that I'll attend a wedding, funeral, or baptism at church, and I'll do so respectfully and without drama. I was baptised Protestant, and later was made to convert to Catholicism, and so I'm intimately familiar even still with the service. I showed up a bit late and thankfully, the church was packed to the brim since it was Christmas, so I just hung towards the back with my sister.

I was actually curious as to what I'd feel when I walked in. The 15 years between that cataclysmic fight that marked my exit from the world of faith and that sunny Christmas day have been filled with a lot of ups and downs, but the further and further I've gotten from Jesus, the better it's all been. I have no reason to feel ashamed about my decision to be honest about my lack of belief and its motivations, but then, I was raised in a Christian household and so it's been an uphill battle to shake off the default "guilt" in any situation I'm in.

The service was as boring as I'd remembered it had been. Most people either looked frazzled and unhappy to be there, as though they wanted to get on with their day or maybe have slept in a bit late; or, they were gazing lovingly and in a trance-like state up towards the altar as an Irish priest spoke in a cadence and tone that wallowed forbodingly in sharp contrast to the bright interior of the church and everyone's cheery clothing.

I listened to his gospel according to Luke or Matt or Bill or whomever, and it was so crushingly paranoid, depressive, self-loathing, and generally unpleasant that I found myself asking how it was that these otherwise generally sensible adults with mortgages and car payments and careers could possibly sit through it without groaning or chuckling to themselves.

I stayed till the end, didn't really shmooze with anyone because I don't know anyone there. A few older guys approached my sister to say "hello" to her, ask her if she'd just moved to the area, what congregation she came from, etc., and couple young Asian women looked at me and my foppish, dismissive stance with nervous bedroom eyes as they shuffled out with their families. Ah yes, the sexual repression... forgot about that one.

The baptism was short and nice. I took some great pictures. That was basically it...
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:23 PM
Location: M I N N E S O T A
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Sitting through the whole church service because you were invited to a baptism is the worst. i usually have to bring a Sudoku book or a crossword puzzle
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:39 PM
Location: A circle of Hell so insidious, infernal and odious, Dante dared not map it
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Unfortunately, I can explain in detail about the last two times I went to church, both of which were within the past five years:

In 2007, I was living in Korea and started getting stomach problems. I ended up going to the hospital and stayed for three days. A few co-workers came by to visit, one of which was very religious. He picked me up from the hospital and said in regards to the ride, "this isn't free." I thought he wanted gas money, but instead he wanted me to attend a Korean church service. I think I understood about 5% of the sermon... but in all fairness I was zoning out more than anything. At one point I was reading the hymn book just to practice Korean reading skills. After the service, I was ready to leave so I could go rest... but then they had the after-church lunch. All these people wanted to talk about God in Korean or broken English, and I just wanted to go home, and the guy who brought me wanted me to meet everyone. I was seriously cursing the missionaries who brought Christianity to Korea the whole time.

About a year and a half later I had been back in America for over a year, when my friend was decapitated in a horrific car accident. She insisted on not having a funeral, but some of the survivors wanted closure and thus decided to hold a memorial service. Of course, this had to be at a church (though my friend was an atheist.) The pastor allotted some of the regular service to be her memorial, which meant having to sit through an entire service. The first hour was all singing and music. There were some pretty odd things in this sermon, but the oddest was the guy coming out in a full-body leotard and swinging around a flag. They finally stopped, and the pastor came out and got to the memorial part... then proceeded to talk for an hour. Aside from the actual memorial part, I was just texting my friend who was sitting next to me and gossiping. What I remember most is how uncomfortable I felt.

Aside from a wedding, I haven't been in a church since that memorial service. I really do dread any potential circumstances or invitations that would land me in a religious event. I will say that going to those is a comforting reminder that I don't have to wake up early on Sundays regularly to do something as loathsome and dull as church.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:16 PM
Location: Right were I should be!
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I was raised as a holiday Catholic with the whole Sunday school thing but as none of the values were actually used in the house I grew up in, I took it all to mean this is how we 'should' be. I have a problem with any religion that says you have to go to this place and listen/talk to this person to get a message to 'god', then charge (tithe) you for doing so. Always seemed just another way to control the masses.

My personal belief is that if you open yourself to whatever 'god' or being, universe, whatever you want to call it/him/her, you can be folding laundry, in the middle of labor, driving your car whatever. Live and let live; do unto others and be awesome to each other but please, don't letcture me that I am going to hell. Getting through this life is hard enough.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:57 PM
278 posts, read 255,939 times
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I attended a church on New Year's Eve in 2005 to appease a woman I was dating at the time. I was shocked that the preacher spent 75% of the time talking about tything. It wasn't just that he was preaching about it, he was damn near trying to lay a guilt trip on the congregation in a very condescending way. I remember, he wanted to raise $8 million dollars to build a new church. I'm thinking.... what's wrong with this building?
So, I decided to look up the reverend on-line this year. Sure enough, he got his church; paid for it in cash. His whole biography was used to talk about, not how many souls he has saved, but about how much money he raised.
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