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"Return to church, despite your doubts!" I'll pass, thanks.


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So, I was raised a Methodist, and stopped attending for many reasons when I went away to college. I'm so glad I did, my understanding of life is richer for it. There were many in my church who just could not accept my decision, including the minister's wife, who 12 YEARS later is still sending me stuff like this. She sent it to me and a few others, so I think I must be on her "gone astray" mailing list.

Anywho, I've added her to my spam list, but I just had to share what drivel I think this article is. It's fine for the author if she left the church and then ended up missing it and returning, although she still had some doubts about her faith. What's not fine is that she equates leaving the church with being morally bankrupt, no ifs ands or buts. If you leave the church, you're a worse person for it, according to her. Period. Also, she seems to see the fact that she was able to (god forbid) experiment a little bit while not tied to a church to be an unequivocally bad thing. Furthermore, she sees everything outside of her narrow worldview to be "vapid enticements." What of the many exceedingly stupid things that churches do/sponsor? Apparently that doesn't bother her?

Return despite my doubts? I'll pass, thanks. And anyway, they aren't doubts. I'm damn certain I don't want to live my life as the people at my old church do, senselessly condemning others and doing very little of actual service to anyone.

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Hmmm...it sounds to me she didn't miss the faith as much as some of the rituals and community. Fair enough. I love some of the Catholic rituals but damn, showing up in a Church means supporting one of the most f'd up institutions on earth.

Oh, and this made me LOL

Step 4: Try drugs and cigarettes and Pearl Jam.

Yes, Eddie Vedder is the devil!

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Gawd, what a vapid article. There's been a spate of these recently, I notice - articles suggesting, implicitly or explicitly, that lack of faith is childish folly, and returning to church even when you think it's BS is a sign of maturity. It's not too different from folks who insist that you'll turn politically conservative once you hit 30.

I don't need membership in any group, nor allegiance to any imagined deity to be a grown-up, thanks. Nor do I need a ring on my finger or a baby in my belly, for that matter. Put the cookie-cutters away.

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Gawd, what a vapid article. There's been a spate of these recently, I notice - articles suggesting, implicitly or explicitly, that lack of faith is childish folly, and returning to church even when you think it's BS is a sign of maturity. It's not too different from folks who insist that you'll turn politically conservative once you hit 30.

I don't need membership in any group, nor allegiance to any imagined deity to be a grown-up, thanks. Nor do I need a ring on my finger or a baby in my belly, for that matter. Put the cookie-cutters away.

I'm even more politically liberal in my 30's than my 20's! And somewhere around 25 ditched religion alltogether.

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I'm even more politically liberal in my 30's than my 20's! And somewhere around 25 ditched religion alltogether.

Totally, I find that I get more liberal with age too. I was a "pro-choice Republican" in college, and now I'm more or less a socialist. The pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps thing seemed a much better idea to me when I didn't have much experience in life. The more I learn and see, the more convinced I am of the need for humans to take care of each other. And, the older I get, the more obvious it becomes that there is no such thing as a personal god (not that I believe in any other god concept either, but the personal god thing is the worst of the worst IMHO).

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Gawd, what a vapid article. There's been a spate of these recently, I notice - articles suggesting, implicitly or explicitly, that lack of faith is childish folly, and returning to church even when you think it's BS is a sign of maturity. It's not too different from folks who insist that you'll turn politically conservative once you hit 30.

I don't need membership in any group, nor allegiance to any imagined deity to be a grown-up, thanks. Nor do I need a ring on my finger or a baby in my belly, for that matter. Put the cookie-cutters away.

Heh. I always have to laugh at well-meaning parent-generation relatives who insist that I will turn conservative as I age, given that my most politically active leftist friends are older than they are!

(And so much for the "public schooled kids will never learn to have friends who aren't their same age" too, while we're at it.)

I can sort of understand the idea of "it's important to have ties with institutions in your community" but I don't think the church is your only option, by FAR. There are plenty of other civic organizations, politics, clubs. Including the Socialist Forum...

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There is no point for showing up at a church unless you want to be there -- the circles I travel in, doubt and skepticism are fine in a church as well as out -- but just showing up on a Sunday isn't going to convince anybody of a damn thing unless they're interested in exploring that sort of spirituality.

My 91-year-old grandma is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality. While she is personally squeamish on abortion she certainly doesn't think it's her place to judge what others do. And she's an adopted grandma for a circle of gay guys who have had, shall we say, issues with their blood family. She's a devout UCCer and a Democrat. Anecdotal or not, she does blow the "older people get more conservative" thing out of the water.

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My 91-year-old grandma is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality. While she is personally squeamish on abortion she certainly doesn't think it's her place to judge what others do. And she's an adopted grandma for a circle of gay guys who have had, shall we say, issues with their blood family. She's a devout UCCer and a Democrat. Anecdotal or not, she does blow the "older people get more conservative" thing out of the water.

:clap: Your grandma is awesome!

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I am 30, been a Marxist for twelve years, and getting more left wing by the year ;)

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I am 30, been a Marxist for twelve years, and getting more left wing by the year ;)

I dunno, JFC, you've been sounding so right wing lately... ;) :lol:

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:clap: Your grandma is awesome!

Yes, yes she is. She drives us all crazy on other issues, but she's pretty awesome. At least there's no political fights in my maternal line! :) She did manage to arrive on the scene a couple of months after the Nineteenth Amendment but otherwise, think of the changes in her lifetime! Seriously! (And consider, ladies, that there are still women around who were alive when they couldn't even bloody vote. It's not really been long in the grand scheme of things. On the one hand it's cool on the other it's pretty scary!)

As far as church goes, well, I have a lot of doubts and questions. Lots. But I love the people, and being in the choir. And I love the ritual. So it works for me, at least at this particular church with these particular people. Elsewhere, who knows? I find it more than a little presumptuous to assume that people should be religious if they just aren't or don't want to or whatever.

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I'm even more politically liberal in my 30's than my 20's! And somewhere around 25 ditched religion alltogether.

Me too! I haven't quite ditched religion (well, maybe...I like my Jewish traditions, but I believe that if God exists, he isn't all that concerned with us), and getting to the point that I'm at took about 34 years (I'm 34 now). I did go from a republican fundie-lite teen to a socialist secular Jew in my 30's!

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Me too! I haven't quite ditched religion (well, maybe...I like my Jewish traditions, but I believe that if God exists, he isn't all that concerned with us), and getting to the point that I'm at took about 34 years (I'm 34 now). I did go from a republican fundie-lite teen to a socialist secular Jew in my 30's!

Omg, are you *me*?

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I was religious (although not fundie), conservative, and pro-abstinence only as a teen. I'm now 37 years old and a die hard liberal, not at all religious, and fully support comprehensive sex ed. I chalk it up to maturity and life experience. The more I see, the more I believe that information and education are key to a successful society and the more I realize that we are all in this together and we'd better learn to get along and take care of each other. We sink or swim as a whole.

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Omg, are you *me*?

I like some of the Catholic rituals...the incense, the beauty of the latin language and the art. But I abhor the dogma.

I think a lot of it has to do with moving to a large, multi-cultural city and having been able to travel a bit - at least in my case. I've always been liberal but seeing that people can have happy lives not living exactly like me has pushed me further into the liberal camp.

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I don't think the author can process the fact that some people have serious logical and moral objections to what is taught in a church, and that has nothing to do with rebellion or childishness.

She obviously had emotional ties to Christianity and the concept of a personal deity, which is no wonder considering her upbringing as the daughter of missionary parents. Those two things combined must be what drives people to return to churches after leaving. If you have no emotional tie to the religion and have completely lost belief in a deity, then there's no reason to return.

The author seems like she had doubts, but they were strictly emotional in nature:

Listening to a sermon at my older brother’s church one Sunday, I stood up, leaned over to my father and said, “This is bulls**t.†I made my way to the end of the pew and marched out of the sanctuary. The sermon didn’t sit right with me. The pastor was preaching about Psalm 91, saying in so many words that a person just needed to pray and have faith in order to be protected from suffering.

More than just that sermon, I was sick of church. I was sick, too, of all the spiritual questions plaguing me: Why does the church seem so culturally insulated and dysfunctional? Why does God seem distant and uninvolved? And most of all, why does God allow suffering?

Obviously, she still believed in a god. She was just frustrated with her concept of the god that she was taught to believe in. It doesn't seem to me like she ever got to the point of assessing evidence for her deity's existence.

The author says her doubts are welcomed in her church. Maybe they are, but I bet it's the right sort of doubt, the emotional kind. The sort of doubt that simply assumes the existence of the biblical deity and doesn't question the assumption of its existence, the veracity of the Bible, the morality or the importance of Jesus, etc. Someone who goes to a church with doubts about those things probably isn't going to be welcomed with open arms. I don't really think there's a place in a church for someone who goes in doubting that the supernatural is even real, let alone important.

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I don't think the author can process the fact that some people have serious logical and moral objections to what is taught in a church, and that has nothing to do with rebellion or childishness.

Yep. And in that, she is HARDLY alone - it's the same old same old false dichotomy, either you believe in (our) religion or else you're just seeking after fleeting sinful pleasures of the flesh. No one really leaves religion because they find it unbelievable, no, they just want to sleep around and eat cheeseburgers. The only reasons people leave religion is that they are too weak, or that they are rebellious (usually portrayed as childish).

Sad part is that so many people who are still in it fall for that line.

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Yeah worked GREAT for me for 10+ years. It worked so well I left Christianity entirely!!!

Despite my conservative relative's predictions, i've definitely become more "bleeding heart" liberal since i've aged. G-d only knows what I'll be like at my grandmother's age *envisions self as full blown hippie*

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My 91-year-old grandma is pro-choice and pro-marriage equality. While she is personally squeamish on abortion she certainly doesn't think it's her place to judge what others do. And she's an adopted grandma for a circle of gay guys who have had, shall we say, issues with their blood family. She's a devout UCCer and a Democrat. Anecdotal or not, she does blow the "older people get more conservative" thing out of the water.

I agree with you that older people get more conservative. My grandmother used to be a very strict, obey all the Catholic Church teachings, never question priests, tried to stop my aunt from dating and marrying a Jamaican man, anti-choice and homophobic. When my oldest cousin came out of the closet about 15 years ago she never admitted that her first born grandchild was a lesbian. My cousin's girlfriends were referred to as her "funny friends." Now my grandmother's favourite grandchildren are her biracial ones and she is far from being racist. She thinks abortion is wrong but now thinks its a choice every one should make for herself based on her own situation. She also thinks if you are against abortion you should support single mothers and fundraises for various charities that help single mom's and volunteers her time at home for teenage mothers and their babies. She also now regularly goes to drag shows, supports gay rights, loves my cousin's girlfriend and keeps bugging her "to marry that girl! she's perfect!"

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Yep. And in that, she is HARDLY alone - it's the same old same old false dichotomy, either you believe in (our) religion or else you're just seeking after fleeting sinful pleasures of the flesh. No one really leaves religion because they find it unbelievable, no, they just want to sleep around and eat cheeseburgers. The only reasons people leave religion is that they are too weak, or that they are rebellious (usually portrayed as childish).

Sad part is that so many people who are still in it fall for that line.

A lot of this is just good, old-fashioned religious privilege. Our society considers faith a good thing. Believing in and trusting a god (and joining a religious community) is purported to make one more moral, more grounded, and more mature. Secular life is stereotyped as being a hotbed of rebellion, selfishness, and "sin." So if you don't have faith and/or choose not to follow the path of organized religion, then you're obviously living a sadder, emptier, more immature life.

I wonder if this is the reason that a lot of people who leave more conservative religions go off the rails. They've been so repressed and constricted and have never been taught how to make good choices outside of a religious framework. So they leave and pursue all the things they were taught were bad, but they're never able to shake the shame, guilt, or nagging feeling that their old way of life was superior. After some years of internal conflict, the childhood indoctrination comes to the forefront, and the person returns to the religious fold out of a desire to experience forgiveness and redemption.

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I agree with you that older people get more conservative.

Um...do you mean less? Or do you mean maybe in general, but not in our families?

I don't doubt that some people go more conservative, but not us. We tend to head further left. I don't know where I'm going to end up, but it ought to be interesting. :D

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I used to live abroad and an old bloke there asked me was I a Christian? I said, no, you know I am a communist, the two things wouldn't really fit. He patted me on the knee and said he was just like me at my age and it's natural "but when you get older, you'll be faithful again" :D

This was a Buddhist country, maybe it works differently there, lol. I do not envisage a return to Christianity meself.

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