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Old 10-19-2013, 05:22 AM
 
2,826 posts, read 1,867,213 times
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Nah, I'm still a theist. But lately, I can't find a single reason to go to church.

Lemme tell you a story. About two weeks back I was in a weird "everyone is a spy" paranoia, and decided this guy I was doing garden work for, a retired minister was probably indoctrinating me. I also had found that churches in general were either too far left, or too extreme fundamentalist. It basically all amounted to the same thing. I'm politically neutral, and fed up with political posturing in the church. Btw, when I applied for food stamps (this craziness basically caused me to move out), they asked me if I wanted to be registered to vote, I told them repeatedly "no" because right now I'm tired of this crap.

Not that I'm buying atheism either. It doesn't make sense as a theory, first off, and second they also have a political alignment. But yea, my dad keeps saying, "churches can give you a free meal". Yea, I bet they can. But the Gospel is increasingly irrelevant when it gets used for socialist purposes, or to push some gay/black/woman hate. I just seem to find a church that just preaches religion without it being about something else, so I can't connect with it anymore.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:44 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,091,096 times
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Churches consist of people, who have opinions, including political ones. They may actually be more comfortable expressing themselves politically within the church. Whether or not they "should" is a separate question.

Atheism is totally personal. "They" don't have a political agenda as there is no "they", no church, no doctrine. There are libertarian atheists, and conservative atheists. There are atheists who believe in ghosts and an afterlife. You can hold all those positions and still not believe in any gods. Ghosts and afterlives can arise from naturalistic causes.

All that you have figured out is that your life and your opinions are entirely up to you. There's nothing wrong with being an areligious theist if that's what you want to be. I don't have to agree with your reasoning -- only you do.
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:56 AM
 
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I'll probably never be an atheist (any amount of hardship in life proves that god is a sadist, but the fact that we exist in the first place means something made us) but I'm okay worshiping at home.

I guess it's time to chalk myself up as "spiritual but not religious."
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:10 AM
 
3,404 posts, read 2,252,114 times
Reputation: 1315
Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144 View Post
Nah, I'm still a theist. But lately, I can't find a single reason to go to church.

Lemme tell you a story. About two weeks back I was in a weird "everyone is a spy" paranoia, and decided this guy I was doing garden work for, a retired minister was probably indoctrinating me. I also had found that churches in general were either too far left, or too extreme fundamentalist. It basically all amounted to the same thing. I'm politically neutral, and fed up with political posturing in the church. Btw, when I applied for food stamps (this craziness basically caused me to move out), they asked me if I wanted to be registered to vote, I told them repeatedly "no" because right now I'm tired of this crap.

Not that I'm buying atheism either. It doesn't make sense as a theory, first off, and second they also have a political alignment. But yea, my dad keeps saying, "churches can give you a free meal". Yea, I bet they can. But the Gospel is increasingly irrelevant when it gets used for socialist purposes, or to push some gay/black/woman hate. I just seem to find a church that just preaches religion without it being about something else, so I can't connect with it anymore.
What you are fed up with is not religion, it is people. Any group of people has a tendency to turn into an echo chamber that reflects and intensifies whatever commonalities they shared to begin with. This is what is responsible for both Mother Jones and Fox News.

You have basically 3 options.
You can be alone. If you stay away from meaningful, intimate interaction with people, you don't have to deal with their different opinions.
You can find a group just like you. It will be small, but you can make your own echo chamber where you only have to encounter people who approach the world like you. This is easier said than done, by the way .
Or you can try to find your own center, your own grounding in what you believe, and let the opinions of others roll off of you. It does mean that many churches or other groups will be too insular for you. It also means you may do better with individuals rather than social groups en masse.

I went through all three of these options or stages when I had a major life change (leaving my faith). For the first couple years, my wife and I basically were a world unto ourselves. We had only a few friends, and needed the space to get over a lot of the crap that religious belief has embedded in our lives.

At some point we tried to find groups, atheist groups, volunteer groups, political organizations that would provide us with the sense of likeminded community we had from a church. Unfortunately, what we found was if the group is free from the social pressure and coercive nature of religion, it is also often not very likeminded... For example, while I am unashamedly libertarian, and campaigned hard for Ron Paul in both elections, I will freely admit there are some crazy people under the libertarian umbrella! And to be honest, I don't have much in common with a lot of them. Ultimately, trying to find other people like me just didn't work.

So now, I feel like we are in the third place. We have been non-theists for 7 or 8 years now, I am comfortable in my own non-belief and in my own skin. We now live in a place with low social pressure to be religious. And now we find ourselves with a growing circle of wonderful friends, none of whom are like us in many ways. At this point some of our best friends are nominally Catholic and Lutheran Germans, a Korean couple who is Evangelical Protestant, and a couple of nominal Hindus. Our friends range from Republican to far Left, while we tend left-leaning libertarian. We don't have kids, many of our friends do. We all are comfortable in who we are and don't need an echo chamber confirming our beliefs to share food, wine, conversation, and a little manual labor. I am absolutely thrilled to find so much close meaningful interactions with so many people who are different from me.

So I can't tell you what to feel, or what the "right answer" is, but this has been my experience. When I interacted with people as individuals and not as a group, suddenly the need to conform to be accepted and loved goes away.

Sorry for the rambling post, but I understand where you are coming from. Your feelings are not that uncommon, and I thought maybe my own experiences would be useful to youin some way.

-NoCapo
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:07 AM
 
2,826 posts, read 1,867,213 times
Reputation: 991
In blue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCapo View Post
What you are fed up with is not religion, it is people. Any group of people has a tendency to turn into an echo chamber that reflects and intensifies whatever commonalities they shared to begin with. This is what is responsible for both Mother Jones and Fox News.

I hate Fox News too. But yea, I'd say that's a fair analysis. I'm tired at what a race of busybodies were are. I have a girl I like, but even she probably wants some stuff from me (not so much physical as just to know more about me). I live at an apartment where the landlord has decided to hang some "Don't vote for X candidate (I really don't care)" which sure, fine, I'm not voting anymore in the first place, but the place to stick such nonsense is on the wall backing, not directly on the door. You have the right to free speech, yes. But that doesn't give you the right to make coercive statements with it. Placing political messages directly on a tenant's dwelling is telling people how to vote, as surely as inciting people to violence or yelling fire is a coercive statement. Btw, I'm not gonna vote for the guy. I'm not gonna vote against the guy. Take down the goddamn sign.

You have basically 3 options.
You can be alone. If you stay away from meaningful, intimate interaction with people, you don't have to deal with their different opinions.

I'd also end up pushing away my family and friends in the process. I hate this option. But as family and friends continually crowd my space with opinions, this is becoming more and more a likely option, despite my hatred of it.

You can find a group just like you. It will be small, but you can make your own echo chamber where you only have to encounter people who approach the world like you. This is easier said than done, by the way .

It's also ummm exactly what TEA Party types, Occupy types, and Fox News... well you get the idea. They're nutters.

Or you can try to find your own center, your own grounding in what you believe, and let the opinions of others roll off of you. It does mean that many churches or other groups will be too insular for you. It also means you may do better with individuals rather than social groups en masse.

This is basically what I'm trying to do. Settle in an area, find out who I am, and find people who may not share the same belief sets, but aren't so obnoxious that they make me angry at them. Instead I'm being harassed by text message by friends and family.

I went through all three of these options or stages when I had a major life change (leaving my faith). For the first couple years, my wife and I basically were a world unto ourselves. We had only a few friends, and needed the space to get over a lot of the crap that religious belief has embedded in our lives.

At some point we tried to find groups, atheist groups, volunteer groups, political organizations that would provide us with the sense of likeminded community we had from a church. Unfortunately, what we found was if the group is free from the social pressure and coercive nature of religion, it is also often not very likeminded... For example, while I am unashamedly libertarian, and campaigned hard for Ron Paul in both elections, I will freely admit there are some crazy people under the libertarian umbrella! And to be honest, I don't have much in common with a lot of them. Ultimately, trying to find other people like me just didn't work.

So now, I feel like we are in the third place. We have been non-theists for 7 or 8 years now, I am comfortable in my own non-belief and in my own skin. We now live in a place with low social pressure to be religious. And now we find ourselves with a growing circle of wonderful friends, none of whom are like us in many ways. At this point some of our best friends are nominally Catholic and Lutheran Germans, a Korean couple who is Evangelical Protestant, and a couple of nominal Hindus. Our friends range from Republican to far Left, while we tend left-leaning libertarian. We don't have kids, many of our friends do. We all are comfortable in who we are and don't need an echo chamber confirming our beliefs to share food, wine, conversation, and a little manual labor. I am absolutely thrilled to find so much close meaningful interactions with so many people who are different from me.

Let's see, I have a former boss (he eventually ticked me off) who is probably an old communist sympathizer, ditto for my new landlord (yay). A sister and mom that I don't really know how they vote, but they're left of center. A bro who's TEA Party, a dad who watches Fox News, an old friend who is avowedly anarchist (I cut ties with him too, because while I don't vote either, he was kinda pushy for an anarchist). I'm a dead-center (well maybe slightly right-leaning) anarchist "lemme alone" libertarian Episcopal (you can't really be ex-Episcopal regardless of what you believe) who feels disconnected with denominations, but has been to "non-denom" churches and found them extremely fundamentalist instead of as advertised. Oh yeah, and the girl I like, I initially suspected of being either CIA or FBI. Not that I don't find it sexy that someone is actually interested in me, rather than what I can do/be for them. So yea, my life that was basically the same routine has suddenly become interesting. But nah, not joining any churches any time soon.

So I can't tell you what to feel, or what the "right answer" is, but this has been my experience. When I interacted with people as individuals and not as a group, suddenly the need to conform to be accepted and loved goes away.

Sorry for the rambling post, but I understand where you are coming from. Your feelings are not that uncommon, and I thought maybe my own experiences would be useful to youin some way.

-NoCapo
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Old 10-21-2013, 02:52 AM
 
Location: Fort Collins
102 posts, read 133,940 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bulmabriefs144 View Post
Nah, I'm still a theist. But lately, I can't find a single reason to go to church.

Lemme tell you a story. About two weeks back I was in a weird "everyone is a spy" paranoia, and decided this guy I was doing garden work for, a retired minister was probably indoctrinating me. I also had found that churches in general were either too far left, or too extreme fundamentalist. It basically all amounted to the same thing. I'm politically neutral, and fed up with political posturing in the church. Btw, when I applied for food stamps (this craziness basically caused me to move out), they asked me if I wanted to be registered to vote, I told them repeatedly "no" because right now I'm tired of this crap.

Not that I'm buying atheism either. It doesn't make sense as a theory, first off, and second they also have a political alignment. But yea, my dad keeps saying, "churches can give you a free meal". Yea, I bet they can. But the Gospel is increasingly irrelevant when it gets used for socialist purposes, or to push some gay/black/woman hate. I just seem to find a church that just preaches religion without it being about something else, so I can't connect with it anymore.
What are you looking for in church?
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Canada
1,485 posts, read 1,223,623 times
Reputation: 632
join a Unitarian universalis group
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:54 PM
 
124 posts, read 98,580 times
Reputation: 68
Lots of churches do not show any hatred or bigotry... Seek out
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,496,721 times
Reputation: 4893
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meester-Chung View Post
join a Unitarian universalis group
They're pretty political though. And usually leftist which I don't think OP would enjoy.

Quote:
Oh yeah, and the girl I like, I initially suspected of being either CIA or FBI. Not that I don't find it sexy that someone is actually interested in me, rather than what I can do/be for them. So yea, my life that was basically the same routine has suddenly become interesting. But nah, not joining any churches any time soon.
I get that you don't like opening up and sharing your feelings with others or leaving yourself open to being hurt by them. You don't know if you should trust them. I'm not saying you can trust this girl, but I worry you're being too paranoid, be open to possibility of intimacy and trust with another, it may be rewarding. Only if you're ready for that emotionally though, if you're just not and couldn't make the relationship work in a healthy way, let her down easy and honestly. But be honest with yourself if that's really true, make sure you're not just letting yourself take the easy way out because you're not brave enough to take a chance if you really might be ready should she be worthy of your trust.
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