Bible study: the day after

It wasn’t actually a Bible Study, it was a Small Group.  With churches I’ve attended in the past, these have tended to be the same thing.  But I forgot that this church is pretty light on the Bible learnin’.  And, there’s a bit of a personality cult going on with the pastor, Mr Appeals To Emotion. 

So anyways, this Small Group was like a mini-church, where we had worship songs and a little tiny lesson on DVD prior to the discussion.  When humanism came up, we were supposed to define the humanist worldview, and someone immediately said, “I am god,” as in humanists believe that they are gods.  I was surprised (in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been) and I started to offer an accurate definition of a humanist worldview, and the group leader looked at his little guide and said no, it was a little more along the lines of what the first guy said.

I smiled.  “I am a humanist, and I can tell you, that’s not what it’s about.”  That got their attention.  They asked me to explain more and so I did.  I don’t think I did too great of a job, but I think they got the main point, that humanists believe that we can make the world a better place based on what we learn using the scientific method, and how it’s also a system of ethics based on human knowledge rather than divine revelation.

The best part was probably when the woman sitting next to me looked at the leader and said, regarding the “I am God” thing, “That’s probably just the spin the church is putting on it.”

Good for her!

Anyways, it never really came out that I’m an atheist, though the leader and his wife know.  I was going to mention it at an an appropriate time, but then my husband told his testimony, which is very powerful.  So it quickly became an inappropriate time to tell my un-testimony  🙂

One person did say, though, following my husband’s testimony, that she didn’t understand how anyone could hear that and not believe in God.  Oh, how I wanted to tell her.

It was a stressful night.  I really felt like I didn’t belong there.  I would like to be a sort of ambassador for humanism and atheism, but I couldn’t get over the awkwardness of trying to be considerate.  So, maybe next week.

I did learn something very useful, however, about worldviews.  Well, actually, I think “philosophy of life” would be a more accurate term than worldview, since a philosophy determines what you do, why you do it, what you expect to result from it, and how to function in the world and interact with others.  I learned that my philosophy has been a sort of going along with whatever happens.  Of course I would have said I had a Christian philosophy, but as far as my personal behavior (as opposed to my belief system), I was definitely a go-alonger.  This came under some pretty serious pressure two years ago, and I realized that it’s not a good philosophy at all.  It failed me at the most stressful period in my life, and a good worldview would get me through that unscarred and improved (or at least improved).

So last night reminded me to get back to work assembling a worldview and a value system that I can hold to– something that can get me through stressful periods.  I was working on defining my values this morning.  As for humanism, I need to examine it more closely and learn what I agree with and be able to describe it to the random people who will ask me what I believe.  (Like the random people who ask me about Pascal’s Wager.  Agh!)

So the Small Group was surprisingly useful.

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2 Responses to “Bible study: the day after”

  1. Sisyphus Fragment Says:

    I’m sorry it was stressful for you but I’m glad you were able to make lemonade with it. I’m more of a go-alonger as well I guess. I define that part of my worldview when I cross it, my only general rule of thumb is that I go with the path of least resistance when either option is harmless or small. Like when people say “Merry Christmas” or something of that sort.

  2. Temaskian Says:

    Looks like you’re not the only one who feels that way.

    http://atimetorend.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/do-you-eat-with-sinners/

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