Attending a church

I have been recently involved in an emailed conversation with the pastor at my church.  The whole thing started with his advocating California Proposition 8 in a sermon, my expressed disappointment via email, and his response that there is no such thing as the separation of church and state.  I responded politely despite the fact that he was lying to me (and claiming authority based on the fact that he used to teach history!)

This is the same guy who, when I asked him about the “problem of evil” (my husband made me do it), said that it’s because of free will and god doesn’t want us to be robots.  He supported this argument by saying he had two master’s degrees.  I refrained from responding with, “Well, I only have one Master’s degree, but…”

He also said, during the brief conversation, “You don’t think we came from monkeys, do you?”  And at the time, I had to respond, “Well, I don’t know much about evolution, but…” and tried to get him back to the point. 

I am so sad and disappointed that he would treat any of his congregants as if they are ignorant.  It is so frustrating and I’m not sure I can explain why it hurts me so deeply.  It’s probably because I can see now, as an outsider, how easy it is for Christian leaders to dumb down not only religious ideas, but history, biology, and everything, in order to keep people safely heaven-bound and not doubting.  I hate to see people missing out on real life for the hope of eternal reward. 


Because of my growing disgust for the pastor, I have decided that I’m not going to put up with it for much longer.  If my husband wants me to go to church so badly, we have to switch to a more liberal church, for one, and also a church that encourages learning and intellectualism, and does not lie in order to scare people away from doubting and questioning.

My first vote is a Unitarian Universalist church, though it might be a tough sell for my husband.   

Second choice is Episcopal.

They both have a choir and the Episcopal has an organ!  And the UU has a pagan group with a Samhain party this Friday!!  I would just love to be able to say at my current church that I went to a pagan holiday and see if, by the looks on anyone’s faces, they think that means “naked boozefest and chicken-sacrifice in a graveyard which ended in an orgy”.  Hot.

Anyone of the atheistic persuasion have experience with Episcopal or UU churches?


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10 Responses to “Attending a church”

  1. coogan607 Says:

    I’m sorry for your recent experiences, but similar experiences led me away from any form of organized religion years ago. I also understand you might feel a need to belong, somewhere, and that desire should be a legitimate reason for joining *some* church.

    I could probably exist in a UU “church” though I can’t subscribe to the invisible man in the sky thing. Rational thought, the same as what has led you away from your old church, has led me to seek my own path of spirituality. For me, organized religion is all about control, and not about belonging.

    I know this doesn’t help, but if you have to have a church, then the UU is probably your best bet. Shoot, I’ll bet they even take atheists. 🙂

  2. Russ Says:

    If you don’t believe in God, why go to church at all? If you do not believe in heaven or hell or sin or salvation or any of it, why go?

    However, if you are a sinner like the rest of us and you realize that God is holy and must judge sin, then you must realize that Jesus paid the price for your sin when He died on the cross. He did not go to the cross for His own sin – He had none. Instead, He willingly offered Himself in your place. He substituted Himself for you and took the punishment that both you and I deserve. By His stripes we are healed.

  3. notreallyalice Says:

    Wow, Russ, that’s all news to me. Please tell me more!

  4. notreallyalice Says:

    Coogan, you’re right, and I’d rather not go to church at all, but for now I am going with my husband. I admit it would be nice to have something to do on Sunday mornings, and singing in an awesome choir happens to be one way I like spending my time. So we’ll see.

  5. coogan607 Says:

    Whuf! Russ sounds like my stepdaughter–who’s an actual freaking scientist! I tried to get to the root of hers and her husband’s beliefs, but it was an impenetrable fortress. Her husband, a post-doc genetic researcher (yeah, almost ironic) simply suggested I talk with his wholly self-righteous father (whom he claimed was a “scientist”–while I am not a scientist (just an IT architect)). I may have made a serious faux pas when I told my son-in-law that I thought it wouldn’t be good for either of us, but it appears to have been missed or forgiven.

    I’m pretty sure Jesus was real, but the early Christians twisted his philosophies around for their own purposes. None of that supernatural stuff happened, at all. I’m far more worried how my wife and family members feel (my insensitivity notwithstanding) about me, than some invisible being.

    PS: My stepdaughter asked me to listen to Dr. Francis Collins’ audio book “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.” His setup arguments were the same ones we’ve all heard (and all false for various reasons). He fianlly boils down his wonder at the universe to “I can’t imagine this could have been done any other way than by god.” So that’s the sum of his beliefs. I just say “we don’t know how it happened” and leave it at that. I’m OK not knowing; it doesn’t dim my awe one little bit.

  6. notreallyalice Says:

    It really boggles the mind when a scientist is a Christian, doesn’t it? It would require such skill in compartmentalizing that they might want to consider going into espionage.

  7. Russ Says:

    I changed my mind. I think you should continue to go. I also enjoy singing in a group that is praising to God.

    Actually, I think that perhaps you are near the kingdom. You see something at church that you don’t see anywhere else in the world which is why you have continued in it up to this point. You smell the aroma of life but you are afraid to taste it for yourself.

    Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

  8. notreallyalice Says:

    Russ… are you being cute, or have you not read my blog? You might want to get to know me a little more before you start making assumptions about what I “see in the church”. I go to church because my husband asks me nicely and I enjoy the opportunity to spend time with him.

    And of course I am near the Kingdom. Jesus said it is within, didn’t he? But now I’m the one being cute.

    And thank you so much for your approval re my churchgoing. However, I have to wonder if you’ve heard of the UU church. The last time I was at a UU, the offering song was John Lennon’s “Imagine” with all lyrics intact.

  9. Russ Says:

    But you don’t smell the life there. It smells just like the rest of the world.

  10. notreallyalice Says:

    What are you talking about? And how do you know what I’m smelling?

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