I am agnostic. But I go to Church. Confused?
Yes, I know, it seems odd. We just started going actually. There are a bunch of reasons of why I not only go, I enjoy going. First, I should say, that I think it is unfortunate the way religion has gotten to a point, for many people, where they hear any one else say the word “God” and they run in the other direction. There are so many people that are, shall I say, ‘preachy’ about religion and it really scares others away. Truth be told, it scares me away. There is that stereotype out there of the “crazy christian” and as a result it is hard to talk religion anymore with out it being viewed as a ‘fringe’ conversation. But with most things, the vocal minority seem to be dominating the conversation, making it difficult for the middle of the road majority to be heard.
Anyway, back to the point…. why I go to Church. I guess I should explain why I am agnostic first. You see, I can’t help but feeling that there is something bigger then us. To me, in my head, this something is so not a man in the sky pointing at stuff and commanding. I just can’t buy the idea of a “God” who is, well, a person making decisions. My view of “God” is a fluid force which influences, more like the concept of Mother nature. And yes, I know that most religions are using the concept of a personified God symbolically, not figuratively, but still.
But the real reason that I am agnostic is that I don’t like the role that organized religion plays/has played in our world. I don’t like the way it controls people, gives a few power over the many, is used to justify wars and horrible treatment of each other. I don’t like how it discriminates and makes people feel bad for who they are. And yes, I understand that it is people that have used religion in that way, and that it is not “God’s” (or any other religious deity’s) fault. But further more, (in my opinion) if there is a “God” I 100% do not buy that “God” would pick some people to ‘know’ the real deal and not others. If there is a “God”, I am utterly convinced it is the same “God” for all of us and religions are about the way different people have interpreted that “God’s” message differently.
Anyway, I go to Church for five reasons
1) Community. The Church we go to has a very wide ranging, diverse community. Young families, single people, families with teenagers, retired people, ect. People from different backgrounds, from different countries. And all these people get together once a week and talk to each other. We greet each other. We get to know each other. Community is something that is fading in our world as we fragment ourselves from each other. But it feels so good when you are in one.
2) Time to reflect. It is so nice to be able to use that time to reflect on the week. Reflect on how I feel. Reflect on the choices I have made. So far, every week we have gone, the minister talks about something that makes us think. He is not ‘preachy,’ but he asks real questions about how we want to live our lives and see our world.
3) Singing. I love to sign. I just do. I am not a good singer, but singing, especially with other people, makes me feel good.
4) Nursery. It is one of the only times guaranteed each week, where my husband and I can spend time together and A can go to the nursery. No baby whining and pant leg pulling. Ahhhhh.
5) Social Justice. This particular church is very involved in a number of secular and non-secular charitable projects, but also in advocacy for social justice. They talk about real issues of poverty and discrimination. They are an ‘affirming’ ministry, which means they explicitly welcome the gay/lesbian/bi-sexual/cross gendered community.
6) Accepting. Actually, more then just welcoming all the groups that churches have traditionally been critical of, they welcome people that do not even believe in “God”. I spoke with a member of the Church the other day about if we should be members of the church (in that we could vote) and she was very clear about how much they valued and welcomed members of the community who were atheist or agnostic. So they aren’t just accepting of difference, they are welcoming to those who disagree with the very principles the entire organization is based on. Wow. It blew my mind.
So I go to Church. And I like it. Who knew?