General chatter - Do You Attend Church? Why ~ Why Not?




EZMONEY
09-12-2007, 09:56 PM
I have always been curious as to how many of our 3FC members attend church or worship in their religion.. I am on the Christian Encouragers thread, but really there are only about 8 of us that are "frequent flyers." We do have a lot of visitors from time to time.

I am a christian and have been for as long as I can remember. I have been a member of my Lutheran Church Missouri Synod for about 25 years now. I don't go every Sunday, but Angie and I do go most Sundays (or Saturday nights) during the year. I would say we attend close to 45 services a year, either at our church or at another when we travel.

My kids were both baptised as infants in our church, they are now 26 and 23. They both went from pre-school through 8th grade at our church school. My step-daughter went from second through 8th there and my nephew did 2 years there after I became his guardian. All of them received their confirmation there.

I have been a member of many boards over the years, done countless hours of volunteer work around the site, contributed many hard earned dollars (it was God's $$ anyway) to the church...and have loved every minute of it.

Some of my best memories are from fellowship during bible studies.

My children do not live "that" close to our church now, they do attend although not as much as I would like, but they never fail to be in my pew on Christmas, Easter, 9/11 service, Father's or Mother's Day...plus more...just not as much as I wish as I mentioned. It is the highlight of my day! When they are there. Angie and I sit through many-many services with my ex-wife. My brother and his family, nieces and my nephew are members.

My church is very important to me. I just was curious about your church participation or ideas on the subject. If organized religion is for you or not.

Not really looking to debate "RELIGION" at all here ~ Just looking at what "YOU" do on Sunday mornings or on "YOUR" sabbath/day of rest!


royalsfan1
09-12-2007, 10:08 PM
I do go to church and I'm getting ready to attend Seminary. I'm a Christian and a member of a Presbyterian Church. My father was a minister so I was raised in the church.

Interesting question!

GatorgalstuckinGA
09-12-2007, 10:10 PM
with the new job gary...lately i'm working on the sabbath. However since you asked about do i go to church. No...i was raised catholic and abandoned the religion shortly after college...for a multitude or reasons. I don't attend church for many various reasons, one being i haven't found one that i feel isn't at times a double standard (easiest way to put it). I do feel i live up to high morals and live my life very spiritally...but just haven't found that "church/religion" that seems to make me not question everything. There are times i think about it alot...esp when kids come into the pic (not anytime soon)..i wonder if it would be better to go to church..by my jury is still out for now. I do believe i'm a practicing christian and hold ppl in high moral standards.


kaplods
09-12-2007, 10:15 PM
I definitely have a love hate relationship with Sunday morning service. I pretty much had to be dragged to church during most of my childhood (raised roman catholic). I've had periods of religiousity throughout my life. I remember when I was about 11 I made this big poster of Christ in crayon or marker. I thought it looked horrible, but I hung it on my window anyway, pulled the shade down and went to sleep. In the morning, the sun shown through the posterboard and shade and it just seemed to be the most beautiful thing in the world to me (then as a teen I removed it because Christ staring at me every morning gave me the creeps).

I converted to Missouri Synod Lutheran, when I married my husband because we felt important that we be of the same faith and he was more committed to his faith than I was to mine. In going through the classes, I found that all of the important (to me) doctrine was the same so I didn't have any conflicts of conscience. When explaining it to my mother, we jokingly referred to Lutheran as "Catholic Lite," which I've come to regret because my mother tells people that we're "almost" Catholic. Still, it gives her peace to know that I am going to church regularly as it bothered her alot that I was not going to church.

I am lazy by nature, and now that I have pain issues, dragging myself out of bed on Sunday morning is not my favorite thing to do. Luckily my husband is much more devout than I. For a few months I didn't make it to church very often, as much from laziness as pain, but after a few weeks of my husband going without me, and everyone calling and emailing to see how I was doing, I knew I had to get to church, or if I couldn't be sure that it wasn't for lack of trying. Hubby wakes me up two hours early to take my medications, and I go back to sleep. By the time I have to get up for church, I'm in a better frame of mind.

We've committed to bible study twice a week (well hubby has committed to twice a week, I've only committed to one, with an "I'll give it a try" for the second), and we are part of our churches jail and prison ministry (hubby was a bit of a hellraiser when he was younger though never went to jail, and I was a probation officer and juvenile detention center youth worker, so we thought we could bring something to the team).

I'm less of a traditionalist than my husband, and I'm very conflicted about some church doctrine (and the biblical basis for the doctrine). I don't know if I'm wrong, the church is wrong, or if the bible is being interpreted correctly on some of these "issues" I have, so as my husband says I'll have to add it to the list to ask the Big Guy when I get my chance.




I am lazy by nature, and now that I have pain issues, dragging myself out of bed on Sunday morning is not my favorite thing to do. Luckily my husband is much more devout than I.

shelby897
09-12-2007, 10:16 PM
I used to go every week (Catholic guilt!!! :D) but since I had my second son, not so much -- he's not particularly "church material" -- yells "I'm never coming here again, it's it done yet, why did you get a potato chip and not me, etc.".

However, I signed my oldest up to be an alter server since he is eligible now, in the hopes we can return to regular Sunday service. My husband is a "holiday worshiper" -- just the big ones and I'm not sure if that works for me -- not looking to be catholic when "it's convenient".

But, I agree that just because I dont' go every Sunday, doesn't mean I'm not following the principals of being a good catholic, as well as just because someone goes every day doesn't necessarily make them better than anyone else. I am teaching my kids to be thoughtful/considerate and respectful of others, we do community volunteering constantly and I don't believe you have to be in a house of worship to pay respect to god.

kaplods
09-12-2007, 10:16 PM
oops didn't edit properly and ended up repeating myself. Did I mention that I'm lazy. I guess that was a bit of a reminder for me that it really is an area I have to work on.

CountingDown
09-12-2007, 10:17 PM
I attend church almost every Sunday with my DH. Our kids are grown (25 & 22) and the oldest is in Seminary. I am the lay leader of our congregation as well as the media ministry director. DH is the financial secretary. I was baptized as a Methodist,DH was raised Baptist. We were married in a UCC church, and have been back in a Methodist church for 27 years.
Like Gary, I delight in the times when my children are home and we attend church again as a family! I wish it was more often.
Blessings to all :)

mandalinn82
09-12-2007, 10:17 PM
Not right now. But there are a few churches in the area I am investigating. My partner is a little scared off from the whole church idea (she was raised Catholic - went to Catholic school, was an altar girl, worked in the church rectory, sang in the church choir - and had some bad experiences that worry her about approaching organized religion again). I am working on getting her to at least try with me for a couple Sundays.

If she won't, I will probably start looking for a church I am comfortable going to on my own. It is something I feel is missing in my life currently.

lois lane
09-12-2007, 10:18 PM
Funny you ask this question, I think of it quite a bit. I do not attend church. Probably because I was never taken when I was growing up. Grew up with my grandparents who had at one time been active in their church. Well I shouldn't say active, but they did go and my mother and aunts were baptized. I remember wanting to go with friends to church activies and my grandma would say "no it might be a cult" So I couldn't imagine myself going to something that was never part of my life. I have gone as an adult and feel out of place and so strange. Also, the few times I've went the "message" turned me off. I always managed to go on days when they talked about how much we should contribute. Now being your first time in a church I don't like starting off with how much of my pacycheck I need to contribute. If I become a member I have no problem with this, but must we discuss it all the time?

almostheaven
09-12-2007, 10:22 PM
I attend once in a blue moon. I have my own religious beliefs that do not coincide with any church beliefs that I know of. And I don't put a lot of stock in organized religion because of whom it is organized by. Human beings. Sinning, hypocritical, make mistakes human beings, many of which would like to hit you over the head with the Bible to get you into the pew.

And I developed my disdain for "organized" religions based on my upbringing. My parents were two of the MOST hypocritical, cry-me-a-river Christians that ever set foot on the face of this planet. My pastor murdered his wife and is serving life in prison. And much more. So in the end, I prefer to hold my own beliefs and worship in my own ways without being brow-beat, lied to, looked down at, or treated as if I were inferior and definately going to burn in ****. And that's just my mom. Nice, ain't it? ;)

settie
09-12-2007, 10:32 PM
I was also raised Roman Catholic and went to Catholic Schools but I stopped going in my late teens - early 20's. There were just too many things that I did not agree with and didn't feel I should attend when I didn't accept the teachings in totality.

FitinTime
09-12-2007, 10:46 PM
Good Thread!
I was brought up Catholic but I didn't like the ritualistic traditions and doctrines it had. I always remember my mom pinching my arm in church, when the Priest would ring his bell, my brothers and I would laugh and say, "dinner time". Then I would feel the dreaded "pinch".

I actually received Christ as my Lord and Saviour when I was in HS. Back then it was easy for other Christians to talk about God without anybody getting offended!
I eventually rededicated my life to the Lord again in my late 20's and then went to church. It was a non-denominational church, I really liked it but my flesh got in the way and I left it and started partying. Being a hairdresser at that time, it was all about partying, I was out of control!
When I finally got married, my husband received the Lord, we went to church then left it.
Now I'm ready to commit myself to a church, I'm 46 and I want to go. And funny you should bring this thread up because after doing some searching online I found a church close by me that I want to go to.
I had a real peace about this church, so I hope it works out.
I love participating and the love that is shown. I used to do the little children's ministry and those little ones were so cute!

It's never too late to go to church, it's just finding the right one, where there is a spirit of unity, love and a good praise and worship team!!! They must also teach straight from the Word of God!

drake3272004
09-12-2007, 11:35 PM
I was raised Catholic, refused to go after I turned 14. Back then I questioned everything and drove everyone nuts! I pretty much gave up on organized religion. For a long time I wasn't sure what I believed in and I didn't seem to fit anywhere. After searching, reading and studying I finally found my place as a Pagan. I teach my kids what I learn and know, but I don't mash it down their throats. I teach them what others believe and give them the choice to follow their hearts. I've been looking into going to UU churches for awhile now, I think the kids would really enjoy going. Unfortunetly there are only a couple in the area, the one closest to us seems to be losing numbers instead of getting stronger (doesn't say much for organization) and the other is too far of a drive in the winter.

lizziness
09-12-2007, 11:44 PM
My path has been a strange one. I do not attend church, however I did as a teenager and I had a very bad experience. Now I know that doesn't mean that all churches will be like the one I went to - but I guess it really did open my eyes to a lot of things and it did guide me to forming my beliefs and values... however mostly in the opposite direction.

I was raised in a house that rejected religion, my mother was smothered with it as a child & my father came from a household too lazy and indifferent to think about it. When I started going to church as a teen my dad was quite shocked and can be quoted as saying "I thought we raised you better than that." While that seemed pretty outrageous to me then... given the people I was keeping company with I can see his point of view in hindsight and I don't think it had anything to do with the religion.

In the end I took a path that led me away from organized religion and Christianity all together. I don't regret the time I spent going to church and learning about Christianity...I explored other organized religions but in the end I just found that my spiritual life was meant to be private and and shared with others.

jtammy
09-13-2007, 12:01 AM
I was raised going to church everytime the doors were opened. My parents attended a small, mostly family members, Church of God church. I started going to a Baptist church in college. After graduation, I moved out west and went to a non-denominational church for a while, although not regularly. I met my husband while living there. He had also been raised in the church - Lutheran (ELCA). We tried a few of the churches in the town where we lived at the time, but never really found one where we felt comfortable. When we moved back down south, we tried again occasionally. It was a bit difficult finding something we were both happy with. Church of God and ELCA are on quite opposite ends of the spectrum and for a few years there we didn't attend anywhere regularly. After we had kids, it became more important to us to find a church home. We attended a lutheran church for a few years, but it was rather far to drive, so we then found a methodist church right down the road from us, and have been there for about 10 years.

It is important for me to be at church regularly. I have found that it grounds me, gives me peace, and spiritual nourishment. I would like to be more active in Bible studies that are held on either Sunday or Wednesday night, but I let other activities keep me from doing so. My children are both active in the youth program at our church and they visit friends' churches on occasion and participate in activities with them. They have both gone through confirmation and my son has talked about going into music ministry as a career. Of course, he's 15 and has talked about many, many possible careers.;)

brandnewme
09-13-2007, 12:28 AM
I was raised a Lutheran. My dad's family all went to a Covenant Lutheran church, while my mom's family was primarily Southern Baptist. My mom and I were both baptized at the Covenant Lutheran Church at the same time. I went to church every Sunday, attended communion classes, and then quit around the time I would have finished confirmation classes (so around 8th grade). My sister had a very bad experience with the pastor and so most of our family left the church. After that we were all a bit jaded about religion in general so we didn't go to church.

Fast forward to about 2 years after I graduated, and my parents began going to church again. My brother had found religion about 4 years prior and had been going to the First Christian Church. He invited my parents, and my parents periodically went. They finally started going every Sunday again about a year later. They really enjoyed it, and still go though not very frequently due to my dad's health. I, however, have not gone to church since I stopped going in my teens.

Long story aside, I am very much a Christian. I am spiritual if not religious - I've read the Bible, but have also studied many other religions because I find them interesting. I still try to live my life the way I was brought up. DH is another story. His family is Episcopal, and his dad is a "retired" priest. DH is not very religious but I think would like to be more involved and start going to church again. I don't intend to have children, but would definitely start going to church again should that ever happen.

nicolen
09-13-2007, 02:49 AM
Catholic born and raised here as well. I attend Mass semi-regularly - about twice a month in addition to Christmas and Easter services. I've tried other (Protestant) churches, but they don't feel as right as the Church - even though I have a few issues with certain things they've said...

K8-EEE
09-13-2007, 03:07 AM
No, no and a thousand times no!! I went to church for 44 years just out of habit and the fact it was banged into my skull since the day I was born that I should go....one day I said to myself....I'VE NEVER BELIEVED ANY OF THIS STUFF, WHY DO I COME HERE?

I can't tell you how nice it is to be free of religion! I'm truly a born-again agnostic and I love having my Sundays back.

I really wish that it was more accepted to talk about the joys of Deism/Agnosticism etc. without people getting all cheezed off. But for me it's like breaking free from chains, guilt, mind control, all of it. Highly recommended!

Casandra
09-13-2007, 03:08 AM
I was raised Roman Catholic and hated every minute of it. I'm afraid I was just too smart to ever accept there being some form or higher power, especially when all of these religions revolve around books written by "prophets" and actual human beings...with flaws. (as all humans contain). I just couldnt ever grasp the fact that I was meant to spend my life as a follower. I often get told that "its better to have lived as though its true and to die and find out it was false, than to live as though it was false and find out it was true".

I really cant blame people for trying to make me religious again, but it just wont happen for me.

I'm one of those, if you cant see it, feel it, eat it, smell it, or hear it, its not there people.

My mom made me go to church until I got my confirmation, then she said I could do whatever I liked. So I havent been since, and that's going on 5 or 6 years now. All my confirmation was to me was free gifts and a family gathering full of "the food that got me fat". Which I adore.

I do however enjoy attending youth groups, participating in Catholic Heart WorkCamp for 5 years (even after I was confirmed and left the church) because I liked the people who were in my youth group.

witchyonadiet
09-13-2007, 05:06 AM
I was raised by a Protestant Dad who didn't go to church and a Wiccan mother. I am Wiccan, and although it is a religion, I consider myself a spiritual person rather than a religious. I do like to go to gatherings with other with Wiccans or Pagans on occasion just to feel the power that a group has - otherwise I practice alone.
This is an interesting thread. A good many of my sons friends attend Sunday School and CCD (I think thats what it is called) - but their parents NEVER step foot into a church - I think that is so hypocritical. From what his friends have said to him - most hate going and can't wait until they are done - forcing religion on someone pushes them away from it - IMO.

techwife
09-13-2007, 06:15 AM
I was raised in an Evangelical Lutheran Church...baptised, was Mary in the 6th grade nativity play, confirmed and then taught sunday school for 10 years from 1990 - 2000 all at the same church and LOVED it. It was a large church with lots of people. One could come and go and not be noticed or be part of large groups and make it part of your social life. I was on the church bowling league (love the pastor's team name, the Holy Rollers!) and the pastor was the coolest (although he had creepy little tiny hands...never gotover that).

Then I moved away from Rochester and up here where the only ELC church is a good 45 mins away...in good weather...and has about 50 people total attending. Including my parents. Who have become ANNOYINGLY nosey about who was there this week and who has been missing for a couple weeks and must certainly be being sinful or whatever. So, I skipped the ELC to go to the Methodist church in town here. Another tiny, annoyingly nosey congregation and PUSHY to volunteer for everything. And the pastor is majorly creepy. If I don't go to church for a couple weeks, he sees me in the post office and acts like an old boyfriend that I just dumped. I was teaching an after school religion class on MOndays and he was supposed to be helping, but he'd just sit in the corner, slowly strumming his guitar watching the kids run laps around the craft table and not helping at all. And, I don't know, I just hate when I don't go for a week or two and people stop me in the store or post office or whereever and go, "Gee...we didn't see you in church this week..." Some people find this to be concern that they are wondering if you're okay, but I just find it being nosey and it drives me NUTS!

Then there was Vacation Bible School. They said there was going to be a meeting to get things set up for VBS and if you're interested in helping out...HELPING OUT...then come to the meeting. Well, I got to the meeting and it had been decided that, since I"m a stay-at-home mom, that I have plenty of time on my hands to be 'in charge' of the whole thing! Really, I just wanted to sign up to bring snacks and do a craft or to. I am a totally disorganized fool when it comes to things like this and I'm a much better helper than boss. Besides, as my husband puts it, we don't sacrifice an entire paycheck (mine) so that I can volunteer out my time...it's so I can take care of our kids! I gave them back their curriculum and never went back. And I do miss church very much. there is talk of the pastor leaving and if he does, I may go back to the Methodist church, but for more reasons than I've listed, I'm just too creeped out there to go there when he's there.

I do miss it being a part of my kids' life,though. I loved Sunday School when I was a kid.

My parents are a real pain, too, in my daughter's being the age of being confirmed and tell me, "We really want her to be confirmed and to go to confirmation classes! It's important to us!" Well, mom and dad, I appreciate your concern, but she's MY daughter and it's MY decision and your persistantness is making me NOT want to go to church at all anymore. If you know what I"m saying.

JayEll
09-13-2007, 07:29 AM
I grew up in a Christian sect, but left it long ago and have since resigned. I am a Buddhist, and by that I mean that I'm a practicing member of Buddhism in the Nyingma school of Vajrayana Buddhism (Tibetan). Many people are interested in Buddhist thought without doing the practices or "belonging" to a sect, and that's fine!

Buddhism doesn't have set days of "worship," since we do not worship a creator god. Many local groups do have regular meetings, though, during which we practice together (meditate, recite scriptures, etc.).

One's teacher and the teacher's spiritual lineage are important in Buddhism, and so a practitioner will try to attend teachings that the teacher presents during the year. In the U.S. one often has to travel for this purpose.

One of the most uplifting spiritual experiences I have had was seeing the Dalai Lama in person when he came to the Ft. Lauderdale area in 2004. He is such a gentle and peaceful person. One famous quotation of his is, "My religion is kindness." He embodies that principle.

Jay

jaxjob
09-13-2007, 08:18 AM
I was one of those kids whose parents ship them off to Sunday School but don't attend church themselves. I think that turned me off the church from an early age! My father was totally indifferent towards religion - I have no idea what his personal beliefs were. My mother's opinion was "I believe in God but I don't believe in the church" and that stuck with me for a long time.

I'm a very spiritual person, so although I never felt comfortable in church, I have spent a lot of my life looking for a spiritual home. At one point this home was a pagan group of friends, where I was very happy and spiritually fulfilled. Unfortunately, such groups have a tendency to disperse, due to non-spiritual issues (like work) and I have yet to find a similar group anywhere. In my previous town I did start attending church again, more for a place to be spiritual with my family (now I have children) and did find great companionship and fellowship. As someone who looks to the commonalities within religion, I am not fond of any "one-true-way" viewpoints, but can agree to disagree on certain points. I enjoyed my time in that spiritual family.

Unfortunately my experience with churches recently is that they are desperate to survive, and in that context, there is far too much emphasis on getting people to volunteer, stewardship etc. Even in the church I enjoyed, there were WAY too many sermons centred around how much one should be giving etc. I haven't found a church I am comfortable with here, so I don't go. Part of that is being rural - DH drives into the city to work every day, I don't want to always be doing that on Sunday also.

So we don't go to church. I'm not unhappy about it - to me church has always been more about fellowship than spirituality anyhow.
Jax

NightengaleShane
09-13-2007, 08:54 AM
Wow - lots of people who were raised Catholic here... including me! I went to Catholic elementary school until 5th grade and did communion, confession, confirmation (the whole Catholic shabang).

I don't currently attend church and haven't for around a year, though I do feel like perhaps I should. I'm not sure if I want to attend Catholic church or somewhere else, as Catholic church services, to me, are not the most entertaining things. They're solemn and all the stand-sit-stand-sit-kneel-stand-sit stuff drives me crazy! ;)

I have a very strong relationship with God (I think...) - I pray all the time, whether it's to request something, thank Him, or just say hi. I do consider myself to be a spiritual person and am even thinking of getting a tattoo of a scripture verse: Matthew 7:12 (It's the passage that says, "Do unto others as you would wish to have done unto you." - of course, I'll just make everyone look that up! :)) I got my girlfriend into praying, too, and before me, she was an agnostic who thought "something was out there" but that was as far as it went.

I do miss church in my life though, and have been thinking about going again. Just... as I mentioned before... I want to find a church first. I want to find a church where I can feel welcome and where I won't have to dress like a frumpy church lady to don acceptable attire. (That seems rare down here! )

Kim_Star060404
09-13-2007, 09:55 AM
I was raised Southern Baptist and usually spent more time at church than any place other than school. I loved it. The youth activities, the choir - I always had the most fun and my best friends were all friends from church. DH was raised Catholic and hated it. He always felt forced to go. When we got married, we avoided the issue by just not discussing it and just not going. We were living a life of sin for sure.

After graduating with his master's, DH got a job in our new town and we both sat down to talk about attending church. We settled on a Baptist church that we both feel comfortable with. We tried several in town before finding one who's doctrine and mission we agreed with. We're both starting to get used to being in church every Sunday and I just joined a women's bible study. It will take a while, but I'm sure the church will eventually be the social center of our lives.

We both take our spiritual walk seriously and pray about everything all the time. We know God's guided us to the best place for us, and we trust Him completely. I think this is the first time in my life that I've trusted God to make the best decisions for me. It feels good to have 100% faith in Him and I hope that my spiritual self continues to grow.

GirlyGirlSebas
09-13-2007, 10:00 AM
I was raised as a Southern Baptist since the age of 10...Dad was a deacon and brother is pastor. I have a very strong faith in God, but I confess that I'm lazy. Sunday morning sleep-ins are hard to give up, but I believe that I need to get back into church as I feel that the spiritual part of my life is becoming a desert. Also, I would for my girls to learn about living a life with God in the center.

leah_0600
09-13-2007, 10:18 AM
I attended a catholic church until the age of 14... i was forced to move from my catholic high school to an agnostic one due to bullying, and the church going ultimately stopped. I DO believe in God, certain little things in my life that happen help me know that he's there. Like my sister becoming pregnant... after all the deaths in my family i knew this was a gift!
I feel bad for not going to church anymore, but i guess i'm just afraid... i don't really know what of. There aren't many people my age that go (i'm 19) and i guess i'd just feel a bit out of place. But i know i'm just making excuses for myself here. I have been going that last few weeks though.

lots2go
09-13-2007, 11:15 AM
Every single Sunday...I rec'd Christ just almost 4 yrs ago, It'll be 4 yrs in November. When my dd1 was only 6 months old. I was 24. My parents took me occasionally and i do mean VERY rarely on Easter and that stopped when my Great Grandmother passed away, I went off and on thru school only b/c sometimes my friends went and i wanted to be where they were. Now, there's no option, in our house God is first all the time, and that means that we go to corporate worship every week. I believe that it's important to worship weekly with other believers, plus, thats our "family" we're much closer to our church family than our earthly family. My kids LOVE to go, and so do we :)

Mummy_Tummy
09-13-2007, 11:37 AM
I was forced to go to Sunday School as a child and hated it. As a teen and then at the beginning of my first marriage, I was seeking God in a big way and tried to fit into my parents' Baptist church (with the Preacher's crazy wife stalking my father and his son torturing small animals in the woods behind the church). When I finally found Her, it was a day of rejoicing.:D I'm Pagan through and through, as is my new husband. We celebrate our 8 Sabbats as well as the cycle of the Moon with either family Circle or a group ritual with other Pagans. My sons aren't particularly religious either way but my daughters (15 and 3) are little Witches at heart. So I suppose, if you consider attending or celebrating your Sabbats with some sort of commemoration to be the definition of religious, then we are a religious family. I prefer to call it spirtuality, myself. We are moral, stable, happy, law-abiding, ethical and kind people.

I think this thread is great an I am so impressed with the way eveyone is listening to each other and not arguing! Well done!

Goodbye Chubby
09-13-2007, 12:12 PM
Extremely brief background: I was raised Pentecostal (the people who speak in tongues and fall down under the power, etc.). Long story short: I don’t attend church; I’ll spare my personal reasons. I'd like to add that I'm also very impressed with everyone's contribution in keeping this a discussion and not an argument. :)

Basically, I agree with the statement: “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”

I can respect those who go because they know and understand what benefit they’re getting out of it, but I have difficulty with people who consider it a means to an end, in and of itself (I’ve met many of the latter, very few of the former).

K8-EEE
09-13-2007, 12:29 PM
I'm totally OK with Jesus for the most part, but as a human being/humanist rather than the magic/miraculous parts of the stories.

What I don't like about the Judeo/Christian version of God is the patriarchal aspect of it, ie, he's "our father," and he really loves us but if we aren't obedient and don't follow certain rituals to "worship" him etc., he will have to see to it we are tortured in some kind of lake of fire til the end of time.

Kind of like the ultimate mean alcoholic dad, "why did you make me hit you?" The way it's presented is you have "free will" - believe all these stories and do certain things, or face this eternal damnation. What kind of freedom is that, really?

I just don't believe it - never did, even as a kid although I sure learned to keep my mouth shut about not believing it!

QUOTE=lizziness;1852099]My path has been a strange one. I do not attend church, however I did as a teenager and I had a very bad experience. Now I know that doesn't mean that all churches will be like the one I went to - but I guess it really did open my eyes to a lot of things and it did guide me to forming my beliefs and values... however mostly in the opposite direction.

I was raised in a house that rejected religion, my mother was smothered with it as a child & my father came from a household too lazy and indifferent to think about it. When I started going to church as a teen my dad was quite shocked and can be quoted as saying "I thought we raised you better than that." While that seemed pretty outrageous to me then... given the people I was keeping company with I can see his point of view in hindsight and I don't think it had anything to do with the religion.

In the end I took a path that led me away from organized religion and Christianity all together. I don't regret the time I spent going to church and learning about Christianity...I explored other organized religions but in the end I just found that my spiritual life was meant to be private and and shared with others.[/QUOTE]

K8-EEE
09-13-2007, 12:38 PM
I have relatives who were convinced both my kids would be damned if I didn't baptize them into the Church, especially my MIL! So I did it to placate them more than anything else....my oldest one was kind of into it for awhile and was even an altar server in Jr. Hi, but the priest/pedophile scandals here in L.A. disillusioned her and now she is more or less like me. She attends a Catholic high school but because it's a great school academically - I would say the majority of the girls there are not religious, or are some other religion (it's by the big Scientology Center so honestly I think there are more practicing Scientologists than Catholics there!)

with the new job gary...lately i'm working on the sabbath. However since you asked about do i go to church. No...i was raised catholic and abandoned the religion shortly after college...for a multitude or reasons. I don't attend church for many various reasons, one being i haven't found one that i feel isn't at times a double standard (easiest way to put it). I do feel i live up to high morals and live my life very spiritally...but just haven't found that "church/religion" that seems to make me not question everything. There are times i think about it alot...esp when kids come into the pic (not anytime soon)..i wonder if it would be better to go to church..by my jury is still out for now. I do believe i'm a practicing christian and hold ppl in high moral standards.

losinitin07
09-13-2007, 01:26 PM
I attend a baptist church here in northern Maine and I love it they are very loving and giving . I grew up attending Catholic and Methodist went with my two grandmas I actually went because I was there and kinda had to.I stopped going when I got older .Then 7 years ago my father in law was diagnosed with lung cancer and in the process he accepted Jesus as his Lord ans Savior ,he died a very peaceful death. At the time I was working at a nursing home and I noticed that those who believed and had attended church and had accepted Jesus had very peaceful deaths those who did not were very disturbed,screaming some times they did not want to go because they saw fire .Shortly there after I started going to church and was saved, Go every Sunday unless too sick or on holiday. I can really relate to bad expierences in church I had one.Thanks for the forum it is interesting.:flow1:

:angel:

Pita09
09-13-2007, 01:38 PM
I was raised Pentecostal. I am a Bible believing Born Again Christian. I have a very strong faith in my Lord and Savior. I do not attend church at this time for very personal issues, which are not an excuse, but are valid reasons to me. :)

StillTryin
09-13-2007, 01:46 PM
Church is a strange issue in my house....here is why:
Hubby is catholic
kids all were baptized catholic
my immediate family is catholic (although none of us kids were baptized)
and myself, well i had a strange time in my life about 10 years ago and I was baptized baptist just well, because I could...(DUMB I KNOW)
So we do go to the catholic church and practice the catholic faith, but we probably only go every other week (ish)

Amy8888
09-13-2007, 01:49 PM
After being born and raised Catholic, attending a Lutheran college, and living in the Bible Belt for 10 years, it turns out I've discovered I'm actually an atheist! I really tried to give religion a try, over and over again, but nothing fit. My experiences with certain types of Christians, especially over the past 10 years caused me to question my entire belief system. I care very deeply for humanity and this earth, but I do not attend church.

shananigans
09-13-2007, 01:55 PM
I too would like to commend everyone for sharing without getting argumentative, religion can be a tricky topic to talk about in a civilized manner.

I was raised Catholic, 9 years of Catholic school. I remember I started asking questions in early grade school, and learned quickly that asking questions was generally discouraged, that satisfactory answers were never given, and that blind acceptance was the expectation. I always had a problem with this. The older I got, the more I learned, the more that was pushed on me, the more I pushed back. I used to run away on Sunday mornings to avoid going to church, I remember it as a torturous thing that was forced upon me, and never saw the point in it.

Needless to say the second I went to college I stopped going to church, and have since come to the conclusion that I’m an agnostic and quite happy with that. I’ve never really felt I was missing anything. I believe I have high ethical and moral standards without believing in a supernatural being or fearing punishment for my deeds in an afterlife. I believe there are plenty of things that humans do not understand and can’t explain, but assigning these things to the human construct of “god” and explaining them with the human construct of “god’s word” makes no sense to me. In short, it all seems like it could have been made up by humans. The only thing I know is that I don’t know much. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Amy8888
09-13-2007, 01:59 PM
I believe I have high ethical and moral standards without believing in a supernatural being or fearing punishment for my deeds in an afterlife.

Me too! I think that's the thing I have the hardest time explaining to people who equate atheism with evil. I do follow an ethical code, the golden rule, "do unto others as you would have done to you." It applies in every situation and has never once failed me.

modkittn
09-13-2007, 02:07 PM
I wasn't raised with a religion, and have only been inside a church for funerals or weddings. My mom offered when I was younger to take me if I wanted to go (Mom was raised Catholic and Dad Protestant) but I never did. I wouldn't say I'm atheist, but I think agnostic is the right word. I do consider myself somewhat spiritual (only in the past couple of years have I felt this way) and was raised with good morals (thanks mom and dad!).

Spinymouse
09-13-2007, 02:31 PM
I do not attend church. I was raised very strict Catholic, and later attended some mainstream protestant variety churches, and then some more New Thought churches. Right now I feel like I have evolved away from it all. I am very interested in Spirituality and now it has become an interpersonal thing. I don't feel the need for "fellowship" as I am basically an introvert, and I don't feel the need for periodic indoctrination to keep a belief system going, and I don't think that God would have a need to be worshipped. I will say however ironically that I tend to REALLY LIKE people who go to church. I like people who are seeking, in whatever way, something right, something good, something holy.

K8-EEE
09-13-2007, 02:35 PM
I'm sure there are things out there that we don't understand in our current life...but when I see people praying, for instance, about a football game I'm like....how is it with the pain and suffering in this world that somebody up there would intercede in a football game? And even if it was true -- it would be cheating!

Me too! I think that's the thing I have the hardest time explaining to people who equate atheism with evil. I do follow an ethical code, the golden rule, "do unto others as you would have done to you." It applies in every situation and has never once failed me.

Kim_Star060404
09-13-2007, 03:00 PM
I'm sure there are things out there that we don't understand in our current life...but when I see people praying, for instance, about a football game I'm like....how is it with the pain and suffering in this world that somebody up there would intercede in a football game? And even if it was true -- it would be cheating!

I think I would have to agree with you if one of the teams was praying for a win. However, I've never attended any sporting event like that. At all the games I ever attended, they prayed for the safety of the players and the safety of all as they traveled back to their homes after the game. But, if I did attended an event where the team "prayer" always said, "please help us to win," I'd definitely have something to say to the coach/administration that let it happen. :)

My alma mater stopped doing a prayer at the beginning and now a member of the booster squad makes a statement such as, "Our hopes for the team and the spectators are for their continued safety throughout the night." I think that was a nice way for them to keep the sentiments of a prayer without risking offending anyone that doesn't share that belief. And you know what, everyone was fine with it! :D (I love it when communities stand together in spite of their differences!)

Jen415
09-13-2007, 03:57 PM
I'm a spiritual mutt. Take some Catholicism, add some strict independant Baptist, some other mainstream Christian denominations, some non-denominationals,add a touch of New Thought, and you've got--me.

Lately I have been reading some metaphysical spirituality books. I have enjoyed learning some new schools of thought, but I still get that longing to go to church again. Not sure why--maybe for the fellowship and the community.

My partner is an atheist, and he would DEFINITELY not go. But I don't think he would stop me if I wanted to....

alinnell
09-13-2007, 08:08 PM
I was born and raised Lutheran (ELCA) in the land of Mormons (Utah). I was chastised at a young age for not being Mormon and often was not allowed to play with my friends because I was not Mormon (or sometimes they said it was because I had a friend who's father was an alcoholic--like that was HER fault). Anyway, early on I equated church with bad memories. I had a few friends who were Presbyterian or Methodist, but very few. Imagine my surprise when I started college and found out that there was a Catholic Cathedral downtown! Who knew! Utah of all places!

I remember throwing tantrums because I didn't want to go to church. Actually it wasn't the church so much that I disliked, it was Sunday School. I couldn't grasp why I had to go to school on Sundays.

I was married in the same Lutheran church that I grew up in. Both my kids, although being born in California, were baptized in that same church. I have good memories of that church (just not Sunday school!).

We don't attend church here, although when my parents visit, they go to the Lutheran church down the street because they have friends from Utah that moved here and go there. If I had to choose a church to attend, it would be that one. I just don't seem to find the time to attend.

Justwant2Bhealthy
09-13-2007, 08:34 PM
DH and I go to church whenever we can; the only exception is if one or both of us are sick. DH is Catholic and I am Protestant; he had stopped going to his church for quite a while, but returned about 7 years ago; we had been going to various Protestant churches together up til then. Now, we go to his church most of the time becuz we both like the priest, the service, and the people there.

I may never be able to fully grasp every single doctrine, but more than enuff to be happy there; I kinda look at the Catholic church as the Mother Church and all the rest are her children who grew up and moved away from home (this is my own view only).

On occasion, we will also go to a Protestant service just for something different (ie Christmas or Easter). Mostly, my faith is more important to me than the denomination. Thru our lives, we both have had good and not-so-good experiences; but, I never held that against GOD and JESUS; becuz humans are flawed and make mistakes.

I may not understand everything either, but I just put my TRUST in GOD that He knows best (like I did my parents when I was a child); and when we take that walk into the next life, I intend on asking him some questions about the things that I didn't understand while I was here.

My faith is also very important to my life; I read the bible every day, and do daily bible study devotionals, becuz I learn so much from them and they help me in my life. My faith is MY SECRET ROCK; it gives me strength to face the day ...

carolr3639
09-14-2007, 09:55 AM
Someone said that going to church doesn't make you a Christian and that is right. Trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior is what makes a person a Christian. I was raised in a protestant denomination and learned all about Jesus and the cross. When I was 22 I met people who were sure they would be in heaven. Now that would be a proud thing to say if it depended on our works but it depends only on what Jesus did at Calvary. One July day in 1971 I saw for the first time why Christ died.......it was for me! We go to remember the Lord on Sun. morning, tell others about Christ and his sacrifice on Sun. night in the gospel meeting and for prayer and Bible study on Wed. Life is short......etetnity is forever.

almostheaven
09-15-2007, 11:22 PM
forcing religion on someone pushes them away from it - IMO.
There's a lesson, that in my mother's nearly 30 years of Christianity, she's failed over and over to learn. :?: What I never understood is that the same Bible she believes in even talks about not turning people from God. So WHY would a true Christian do that? That's why I can't fathom organized religions. I don't think half the people congregating truly understand their own beliefs enough to teach them to others. It's what makes so many of them look so hypocritical to me at least. My mom would say she just doesn't want me to go to ****. Well ok, but mom, who are YOU to decide that's what will happen to me? Just because I don't share YOUR exact beliefs. But to her, if I don't attend church, I can't POSSIBLY believe. So she continues to try and force, and her own Bible is telling her not to do that. It's like spinning in circles going nowhere.

Spinymouse
09-15-2007, 11:40 PM
Wow.
I think the concept of **** is so horrifying. It is one thing that has caused so much pain and terror and anguish. Here. Now. On earth, in real time. It has caused itself.
*Big Sigh.*
I remember one time as a child my dad told me what he believed that scared me, but now I just think of it as sad. He said that God would not "punish" anyone for following what they were taught to believe, whatever that teaching may be. So, if you were, like me, taught to be Catholic, the safest course would be to continue to practice Catholicism. But, if you were to veer and pick something else, you had better darn be "right." Because if you veered and chose incorrectly you could be, well, you know, sent down the **** chute. So, you had two choices: Stick with what you were taught (the safest), or choose differently and choose RIGHT. Can you believe THAT????

luja
09-15-2007, 11:52 PM
Interesting thread. My Dad's family were Laestadian Lutherans (super conservative Finnish sect) and My Mom's family was also some conservative denomination I don't remember (I just remember dancing and cards weren't allowed). I was raised Mo. Synod Lutheran, although I went to a Baptist church for a time as a kid. I think it was because they had a bus and picked us up Sunday AM and then my Mom didn't have to take us. My parents sent us to church and weren't really big on attending themselves. I went with the neighbors frequently. I married a Lutheran of a more liberal denomination and gladly left the Mo. Synod. My kids were all baptized and have been or will be (the last one this year) in the Lutheran Church. I am now a Convinced Quaker and have found my religious home. I have had more "God" experiences sitting in a silent meeting for worship than ever in my life as a Lutheran. It's definitely my path to God.

Spinymouse
09-15-2007, 11:58 PM
Luja - the silent meeting concept interests me. I have not attended anything like this. But I took a beliefnet quiz and it labeled me as being most like a Quaker.
jo

lizziness
09-16-2007, 12:18 AM
Quaker was high on my list on that quiz too.

I think it's really great how we've been able to have this conversation on here without anyone getting upset or offended. We are awesome! :)

lola06
09-16-2007, 07:01 AM
This is such an interesting thread, thanks for getting it started. I was raised Baptist and I absolutely loved going to church. I sang in the choir, we went on trips, and most of my close friends were there. The church was the center of my life, and as I got older I played the piano for the youth choir.

As as an adult I realized most of what I was taught I never really believed. I never accepted what the Bible had to say or didn't say about women among other things. It was also hard to accept God as a father when I didn't have a good relationship with my own. God became this parent who dotes on you when you do right but harshly punishes you when you do the wrong thing. I still haven't been able to shake that concept of God.

I now consider myself to be culturally Christian and I always will be. I still love gospel music, it warms my heart and spirit in a very real way. I also realize that a lot of what I still do is so wrote from my Christian upbringing, like praying before the plane takes off "in Jesus name, amen". I say it not because I truly believe it, but because of the fear factor with which I was raised.

I've been exploring other faiths and belief systems, because I terribly miss the community of a church, but my beliefs are completely different now and I don't forsee going back to the church. I do believe in God/Goddess as mother and father, I believe there is a divine holy spirit in all of us that connects us to the Devine, others, and ourselves. When I felt comfortable enough being honest with myself about what I truly believed it was so incredibly freeing, but I went through a long mourning period because I lost the very foundation on which my life was based. In the meantime, I'm still figuring it all out.

If there are others who've had similar experiences, I would love to talk more in depth about this topic.

Slashnl
09-16-2007, 10:34 AM
You know, I hesitated even reading this thread because I was afraid of what would be here. I didn't want to read arguments or condemnations of anyone based on their beliefs. So, like others have said, how nice it is to read everyone's opinions and not have any criticisms! Awesome people here!!!!

I had to laugh (and agree with) those who said that they have left church because of the rigidity and structure that they were faced with as kids. I felt the same way for a very long time. I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran and then went ELCA Lutheran when the church converted to that. I went very much away from going to church when I went to college and on into married life. I always felt the tug to go back and tried a variety of churches. When my kids were born, I knew that I wanted to give them the knowledge and experience of being in church. I started attending another Lutheran church here in town. I honestly found myself sitting there listening to the sermon, but I was planning what I was going to do with the rest of the day. When I went to get my daughter from Sunday school, I realized that she was being taught in the same way I had been when I was in Sunday school. You know, the felt boards?! I really did some soul searching because I didn't want the same boring, blah Sunday school that I had when I was growing up.

So, while watching TV, I saw an ad for a local church that is a Christian non-denominational church. I decided to give it a try. Honestly, I have never been so uncomfortable in a church in my life as I was that first time. Where are the bulletins, where are the hymnals, why aren't we following some kind of order of service???? The good thing is that I was not on the end of the row, so I couldn't just leave. I made it through the worship/music time and settled in for the message. It was life-changing. I still remember much of what the pastor said that day, 10 years ago. I've attended ever since. My kids, middle school age, love to go to their class. It's high tech, has a rock band, video games, sometimes they play mud volleyball... you never know. And, the best part is that they are getting it. They tell me what they learned, I've heard them use the info in their everyday lives, and they ASK to go back every week. How cool! (I wish we could have had that when I was growing up!)

I just think it takes each individual to find what works for them. I have relatives that don't understand why I'm at this church. That's ok, they don't have to understand. As long as it makes sense for me, and is uplifting to my family, that's where we need to be!!

jillybean720
09-16-2007, 11:10 AM
You know, I hesitated even reading this thread because I was afraid of what would be here. I didn't want to read arguments or condemnations of anyone based on their beliefs. So, like others have said, how nice it is to read everyone's opinions and not have any criticisms! Awesome people here!!!!
I completely agree--when I clicked on the thread, I expected to find all kinds of bickering and arguing and defending...I'm glad that's not the case :)

When I was little, we went to church every Sunday, and I went to Catechism every week as well. We did that until I had completed my first confession and my first communion (I was the youngest, so my older sister went longer), at which time we stopped going to church because my parents felt my sister and I had both had enough education in the area to be able to decide what we wanted to do ourselves religion-wise in the future.

Today, anything religious makes me VERY uncomfortable. I have relatives who are avid church-goers and are very active in their religious communities, so I've attended many religious services (baptisms/christenings, religious wedding services, etc.). I remember what a big deal it was in high school when most of my friends were being confirmed. But none of that is for me. I just can't do it.

I can't force myself to believe that anyone has control over my life but ME. Like others here have mentioned, though, just because I don't believe in a higher power doesn't mean I don't have good morals. I think a lot canbe learned from the stories in the Bible, but in my opinion, they are just that--guiding stories based not on actual events, but rather handed down from generation to generation to teach lessons on life. And not GOD's lessons on life, but simply those that are socially acceptable.

I'm not sure if I'm an atheist or agnostic, as I sometimes have a feeling of believing that "things happen for a reason." But I can't say that "reason" is any higher being's grand design.

I have my own theories on the true reasons behind many organized religions, but I will keep them as being my own since I don't want to be the first to offend or start any heated debate in this thread :^:

Suffice it to say, I believe human beings are animals. No other species feels the need to rely on any intangible spiritual force, so why do we feel the need to do so? I can't accept the belief that humans have souls and other animals do not--but I CAN accept that humans have such an underlying need to "belong" and to be "righteous" that they would create a system by which they can do both.

charolastra00
09-16-2007, 04:58 PM
My mom was raised Jewish (of the conservative persuasion) and my dad was raised Methodist. My dad was always atheist and never went to church as a child unless his grandparents brought him. However, he was very well versed in all world religions. My mom was more religious and went to Hebrew school, Sunday school, High Holiday services, and Shabbat services throughout her life until she went to a Catholic college where that wasn't available. So when my brother and I came along, it was planned that we'd be raised Jewish. However, we moved to a very conservative Southern Baptist dominated area of North Georgia where the closest synagogue was "Jews for Jesus" (which is the biggest insult ever) and we'd have had to go into practically downtown Atlanta to get to the nearest Conservative congregation.

My mom taught me the best she could but in addition, my parents either took me or had friends take me to every church or temple in the vicinity. It always shocks me when I meet people who have never experimented in their religion- by the time I was 10, I had been to 8 different denominations of Christian churches (Southern Baptist, Southern Methodist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, LDS, and Russian Orthodox) as well as a mosque, Unitarian Universalist church, and Buddhist temple.

All and all I'd say now that I identify as an agnostic Jew. I go to a Jewish founded secular college so cultural Judaism is all around me. I go to High Holy day services because it's relaxing (none of that offputting religious rock music *shudder*.. just good old fashioned Hebrew cantors). However, I probably feel most comfortable at Unitarian Universalist services and will pick that up once out of school because it has all the benefits of organized religion without being the organized religion that I so despise.

It has taken me a lot of years in therapy to get over my complete hatred of Christianity. Being a Jewish, liberal, sensitive child growing up in the buckle of the Bible Belt was not good for the psyche :P I still have issues with any person who can believe in ****. Growing up with everyone telling me that I was going to go to **** for being Jewish, I feel strongly that in order to have a concept of **** and feel that it's OK that your diety would banish others to it, it's just the embodiment of pure evil. I'm much more comfortable with the idea that everything ends when I die than that I will go to Heaven but much more worthy people will go to **** or limbo.

valpal23
09-16-2007, 07:00 PM
I'm in the middle of this question right now myself. I grew up in a weird overprotective charismatic christian home. My parents think nothing bad happens in the world... and are superstitious about saying bad things out loud because it might 'give the devil something'. They still wont research anything about MS or my drugs because they think that might just give the devil ground

Anyways.... I went to a United Church this morning... I left my 'home church' last month which is a missionary run pentecostal type place. I went to a christian university... I've noticed the 'christian encouragers' thread on 3fc but I'm at the point where I'm overly negative about the whole christian subculture and I dont know what to do because I want to be able to just walk away. I think I've got a lot of journalling to do about this.

murphmitch
09-16-2007, 07:47 PM
I think it's fascinating reading through all these posts. I am surprised at the number of people who were raised in the Roman Catholic faith. I am a cradle Catholic. I was raised by a Catholic mother and my father converted to Catholicism when I was born. I have seven brothers and sisters. We all attended Catholic grade school and the local Catholic high school until it was closed after my 8th grade year. We were taught by nuns and priests. I always thought many of them were hypocrites.

Many of the priests drank too much and some of the nuns were very mean. Catholic schools are known for their strong discipline and curriculum. I remember after about 4th grade the nuns were allowed to wear normal attire instead of habits. We always noticed that the cute nuns wore short skirts and we were quite annoyed at them. At one junior high party at a student's house, they got into the parents' liquor cabinet and flirted with the deacon that was there. We were horrified!

One of our priest got up on the pulpit one day and told us he was leaving the priesthood to marry and ex-nun he had fallen in love with. My husband had a classmate who became a priest. About 15 years ago, he left the priesthood because he had gotten a woman in the parish pregnant.
I think many people can't take all the rules and regulations in the Catholic church. I guess I'm a cafeteria Catholic as my mother calls me. I pick and choose from the rules which one I will abide by. My kids attended Catholic school through 8th grade and two of my three kids still attend weekly Mass with us. My middle child still lives at home but chooses not to go with us. I know it bothers my husband but she is an adult and we can't force her to go.
I do believe in the power of prayer. I have read many studies that reinforce this and show that people who are prayed for have survived health problems better than people who are not.

I work in a Catholic hospital where there is a daily prayer overhead on the PA and in our e-mails. I am comforted by working in a place where gospel values are part of our mission and I feel I am helping my fellow man. I miss the nuns that used to make rounds in the old days and visit with patients. There just aren't enough of them any more to do this. It was a great comfort to our patients.
I think that my famiy is very comforted by the rites and rituals in the Catholic faith. The Easter holiday, Midnight Mass at Christmas time, Lenten sevices, Palm Sunday, May crowning, the Rosary. I married a Catholic man who attended Catholic schools through 12th grade. I always tell him he is an old altar boy. He would never miss Mass.
I really have enjoyed reading all these posts. I hope I haven't rambled on too much. :tape:

srmb60
09-16-2007, 08:21 PM
Like many of you, I was afraid to click this thread too. I did because our pastor is doing a series on the beginnings of the church right now (Acts).

It is a nice calm thread on, what can be, a prickly subject.

It makes me sad that so much of what we find offensive/wrong/off-putting about church is the human stuff. Stuff that, unfortunately, stands between us and our Lord and Saviour.

oh yes, Christian, the born again kind and yes I go to church when I don't work day shift on Sunday. I go to worship, fellowship and learn.

Stepping Out
09-16-2007, 11:22 PM
Someone said that going to church doesn't make you a Christian and that is right. Trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior is what makes a person a Christian. I was raised in a protestant denomination and learned all about Jesus and the cross. When I was 22 I met people who were sure they would be in heaven. Now that would be a proud thing to say if it depended on our works but it depends only on what Jesus did at Calvary. One July day in 1971 I saw for the first time why Christ died.......it was for me! We go to remember the Lord on Sun. morning, tell others about Christ and his sacrifice on Sun. night in the gospel meeting and for prayer and Bible study on Wed. Life is short......etetnity is forever.

Well said Carol! :hug: That's my story too. I was in my 20's when I started really questioning what I had learned as a child. Then I discovered the magnitude of what Jesus did for me on the cross..and it changed my life! I grew up in a dysfunctional family; so my church family is very precious to me.

Originally posted by Susan B
It makes me sad that so much of what we find offensive/wrong/off-putting about church is the human stuff. Stuff that, unfortunately, stands between us and our Lord and Saviour.

Amen! :grouphug:

BlueToBlue
09-17-2007, 03:36 AM
I went to church every Sunday as a kid and even taught Sunday School. It was an important part of our weekly routine and something special that my sister and I shared with our mom (my Dad rarely went to church). I continued to go on my own after my mom died when I was in college and even for a while after I graduated, but eventually I gave it up.

I took a course on western religion in college and the more I learned about it, the more I felt like God was a construct of man. I just don't have much faith, I guess, because I really can't believe in God anymore. I wouldn't say I'm an atheist, but I'm an agnostic at best. Then I also had issues with the sexism inherent the religion I was brought up with (Episcopalian) and that was the straw the broke the camel's back in terms of me going to church regularly.

I used to go occasionally when I wanted to feel close to my mom. Because it was such an important part of her life (she went every Sunday, our priest was one of her best friends and her closest friends were from our church, she organized all sorts of fundraisers for the church, taught Sunday school, etc. etc.), it is a way that I can feel close to her. But that also makes it painful for me, especially now that I hardly ever go. When I do go, it brings back all these feelings about my mom and I almost invariably end up crying, which I hate to do in public.

The fact that my SO is completely non-religious (oddly enough, he's also Episcopalian--I've always thought that ironic since it's so unimportant to both of us) and NEVER goes to church is also a factor in my decision not to go. Weekend breakfasts are a special time for the two us and church would get in the way of that.

djs06
09-17-2007, 11:08 AM
Interesting thread!

I did not grow up going to church, but I do attend a Unitarian church every now and then... as I've gotten older, it's become more important to me. :)

jillybean720
09-17-2007, 11:24 AM
I took a course on western religion in college and the more I learned about it, the more I felt like God was a construct of man. I just don't have much faith, I guess, because I really can't believe in God anymore. I wouldn't say I'm an atheist, but I'm an agnostic at best.
I think this is about where I am, too. The more I think about most religions, the LESS sense they make to me. And the more I think about all the different religions in existence, the more I'm certain that none of them are right (at least, not for me).

Someone very close to me started going to church again because she felt it was good for her daughter. However, she has openly admitted that she doesn't really believe in God--she just goes to church because it's the "right" thing to do. It's like she's been brainwashed by not only the church, but society as a whole into believeing that going to church somehow makes you better than those who don't.

mariposita
09-17-2007, 12:05 PM
Non-churchgoer here. I'm an atheist raised by an atheist dad and a non-churchgoing Baptist mom. I'm a Catholic school survivor too, as my father's family is RC and we kids had to go for the "academics." The school we went to was definitely far better than the public schools in our community. My parents taught us that a thing wasn't necessarily true because a priest/nun said so, and that we had to make up our own minds about the religious teachings. They told us just to ask lots of questions. Oh, I was so popular with the nuns! I can still see them cringing when I'd raise my hand.

Luckily my parents moved and I attended public school after my elementary years.

anajjana
09-17-2007, 12:21 PM
I was raised 'Texas Southern Baptist'. That means my mom took the kids to church every Sunday, while my dad stayed home. Mom made the kids be in every play and say every speech possible, depending on the holiday. I was a youth usher for 7 years. Just recently in the last 2 years my mom has converted to 'non-denomitional' I don't really agree with their beliefs, so I only go to church with her on holidays. I don't even understand the point of saying 'non' when it is a religon. Just give it a name and be done with it.

I am still a 'Texas Southern Baptist.' I do not attend church no where as much as I should, but my mind has a lot of questions about a lot of things. Whenever I ask these questions it makes most people uncomfortable so they usually go unanswered.

I do believe in GOD and I do love the LORD. But that does not mean I don't have questions and if going to church does not answer them then why am I going? I can pray at home. Many, many things have happened that have showed me that someone or something is out there helping us all. I choose to believe that.

In this thing called life we can all use as much help as we can get. If all of our beliefs are true and there really is a GOD, I thank him for all the help he gives us, wish he would help a little more but none-the-less I'm still thankful.

FitinTime
09-17-2007, 12:24 PM
I think it's strange when people say they don't believe in God, they say things that say otherwise. For instance, when something bad happens in their lives, who do they blame. . God! Or they use His name as an exclamation, "Oh God!".
So what is it, do they believe or not?

And how do people make a judgement call about God anyway, about who He is? Has anyone bothered to know Him and His ways?
How do you get to know a potential husband, you have to talk to him and spend time with him in order to know if he's the one, right!
Same thing with God, He's a person too, although you can't see Him, He does exist. Look all around you, and you will see everything that He created.
Examine the breaths that you take, who gives that to you.
He's made a way for us to know Him.

God and religion are not the same, God didn't bring His Son here to create religions. Christ came to restore our relationship with the Father. He is all about restoration, healing, and caring about our everyday lives and needs.
If that isn't a good God who loves us then I don't know what.

Not all churches are bad, and not all are good. They should teach directly from the bible. Some put there man-made doctrines, traditions and rituals. If the church you go to doesn't glorify God, then I'd stay away from it.

Just yesterday I started going back after about 8 years of not going. That didn't mean that I didn't read the bible or pray during that time. I still had a relationship with the God, but it wasn't as strong as it is today. I can learn about God being at home and that's what I did. As soon as my dh and I were ready, then we were led back to church, and we love it. It's what we've been praying for!

So don't lose heart, eventually you'll find what your looking for, and I hope it will bless you!!

phantastica
09-17-2007, 12:45 PM
I think it's strange when people say they don't believe in God, they say things that say otherwise. For instance, when something bad happens in their lives, who do they blame. . God! Or they use His name as an exclamation, "Oh God!".
So what is it, do they believe or not?

I think it is possible to use the phrase "Oh God" as an exclamation, even if you believe or don't believe in God. If you believe in God, it's considered a blasphemous statement. If you don't believe in God, but say "Oh God", then it's just a neutral exclamation like "sufferin' succotash" or something.

None of the non-believers I know suddenly start "believing in God" when something goes wrong and they want someone to blame. In fact, I'd say that's a ridiculous and very short-sighted assumption.

K8-EEE
09-17-2007, 01:21 PM
I just went to the coolest church ever, unfortunately on the sad occasion of my friend's memorial service. She was always trying to get me in there and I was always like church, UGH! Forget it, I've done enough church thank you very much!

But it's NOTHING like church as I think of it -- it's meditation, yoga, and actually looking for truths (rather than being preached AT and being threatened by damnation if you don't believe any of it - my experience with Christianity.)

http://www.yogananda-srf.org/temples/hollywood/index.html

Anyhow I loved the brother's talk about the founding of this church, which follows the humanist teachings of Jesus Christ and the Indian Krishna Christ as well....and focuses on the universal truths that are the basis of many world religions. The monastics here were so great with my pal when she was going through the cancer.

Definitely will be going back!

FitinTime
09-17-2007, 01:36 PM
None of the non-believers I know suddenly start "believing in God" when something goes wrong and they want someone to blame. In fact, I'd say that's a ridiculous and very short-sighted assumption.


Well that's just a small majority that you know, I hear it from a lot of people, otherwise I wouldn't have said it.

Skinny4baby
09-17-2007, 01:59 PM
I am a firm believer in teaching God's word verse by verse. I believe that one does NOT have to attend a church to do this. You can easily "have church" in your own home every single day. Staying in God's word daily is what builds a solid foundation and makes life bearable. It is wonderful if you can find a church where TRUTH is taught and you can form healthy relationships with other christians...but it is not necessary to receive eternal life.

nelie
09-17-2007, 02:01 PM
I was raised quasi Catholic. When I was young (pre-teen/teen), I had an interest in all sorts of religions and I still do to some extent. I went to all sorts of churches, talked to various people about their religions, watched movies and shows on tv about religions and religious history. I took a history class in college that included religion. I still read books about religions and history of religions.

I formed my own beliefs though based on my interest, my exposure and my own spirtual seeking. When I was in college, I realized I had a desperate need to fit my beliefs to a religion. I realized though that my beliefs don't follow a firm structure that will fit any molded religion. I love religious ceremonies though. I think Catholic mass is a beautiful thing but my beliefs weren't there for it. So at that time, I gave up trying to belong to a religion and trying to go to church. Although I did try a few churches after college, including one in LA that was a little out there.

So I'm not agnostic, I'm not atheistic, I'm not part of any religion but I do have various spiritual beliefs. My beliefs are more theories though that I have formed through study in various religions as well as my own introspection. I don't think I can truly know what waits for me (or anyone else) beyond this life but I have theories. I don't know the true extent of a higher power which you can call God or whatever else but I do have theories. I pray, I think, I study and try to take care of my spiritual self. I also try to be a good person, not because of fear of what would happen to me otherwise but because it is the right thing to do.

If I had kids though, I'm not sure what I would do. I think a religious background should be given to children, just because it helps them start their own spiritual undertaking. I don't think religion should be forced upon them though. It is a sticky situation to me because if I had kids, would I share my own theories with them? Would I try to teach them what I think? Would I try to show them a bit about religions and religious ceremonies and let them form their own opinions? I think I would rather them develop their own opinions and beliefs rather than trying to teach them what I believe.

anajjana
09-17-2007, 02:13 PM
okay, people let's try to keep it at 'discussion' level.

we all have our seperate opinions, but let's RESPECT that.

come on we've made it to 5 pages with on 'discussion' level so far, don't blow it now!

JayEll
09-17-2007, 02:33 PM
FrouFrou, although everyone is entitled to their opinion, this is not a thread for arguing religion. :no: The original poster's question was "Do you attend church? Why or why not?" So stay on the topic. If this thread starts to become a "religious war" it will be closed.

Jay

anajjana
09-17-2007, 02:37 PM
thank you jay!

of course it always sounds better coming from a 'mod.'

Amy0505
09-17-2007, 02:47 PM
I was brought up in church. I went to a Church of Christ church. I loved going to church, and I went regularly until I married my husband and moved away. I know this isn't a good reason not to go, but I can't find one that is as good as my home church back in Kentucky. I started going to church down here in florida starting around Easter. I really love it, but I haven't been going regularly because I have been lazy. Services start at 9, I am use to services starting at 11. So I am hoping I can get into the routine again!!

junebug41
09-17-2007, 02:58 PM
If I had kids though, I'm not sure what I would do. I think a religious background should be given to children, just because it helps them start their own spiritual undertaking. I don't think religion should be forced upon them though. It is a sticky situation to me because if I had kids, would I share my own theories with them? Would I try to teach them what I think? Would I try to show them a bit about religions and religious ceremonies and let them form their own opinions? I think I would rather them develop their own opinions and beliefs rather than trying to teach them what I believe.

I agree. It's one thing to let go of religion when you've been raised with it and it was a part of your upbringing, but what if you weren't raised with any at all? My mother could not care less about church and has always done her own thing, but I think it contributed to a gross lack of structure in my childhood. My father's family is Episcopalian (converted from Judaism post WWII, oddly enough) and that's the church I belong to now, but I will always feel like a bit of an outsider. DF was raised Lutheran and went to church every Sunday until he left for college and he is very ambiguous about it. My children will have a foundation to grown from where religion is concerned, but my household will be a liberal one and they are free to come to their own conclusions on the matter when they become curious.

phantastica
09-17-2007, 03:02 PM
I was baptized and raised Roman Catholic. My mom is a spiritual Catholic, who has studied many other religions but maintains Catholicism is the way to go.

In high school, I went to a few different churches - Baptist, Non-denominational, etc. In college, I learned about all the OTHER religions of the world. After all that studying, my summary is found on two bumper stickers: God is too big to fit into one religion. God bless the whole world, no exceptions.

I don't attend church regularly, though it pleases my mother to no end to have us kids show up for Easter and Christmas mass, so I do that. The closest thing I have to a static "place of worship" is nature, I guess.

mariposita
09-17-2007, 03:10 PM
I think it's strange when people say they don't believe in God, they say things that say otherwise. For instance, when something bad happens in their lives, who do they blame. . God! Or they use His name as an exclamation, "Oh God!".
So what is it, do they believe or not?
_____________
Well that's just a small majority that you know, I hear it from a lot of people, otherwise I wouldn't have said it.

It sounds like you hang out with a lot of nonbelievers who blame god. Why not ask them yourself?

FitinTime
09-17-2007, 03:28 PM
It sounds like you hang out with a lot of nonbelievers who blame god. Why not ask them yourself?

I guess you didn't get Jays' post.

Let's try to respect that, if anything.

FitinTime
09-17-2007, 03:31 PM
It sounds like you hang out with a lot of nonbelievers who blame god. Why not ask them yourself?

Feel free to PM!

modkittn
09-17-2007, 03:34 PM
I say "Oh God!" and do not believe in God. I do not say it to blame anyone for anything, but more as an expression of exasperation, like "Holy smokes!". My mom used to say it a lot. To me it is just a saying and since I grew up with it and was used to it, I tend to say it a lot.

Oh the other side, I also say "G-d damnit" when really it is just an expression of frustration and has nothing to do with God.

Suzanne 3FC
09-17-2007, 03:39 PM
I smell Twinkies.


Thread closed :)