Why I don’t go to church

This post will probably be one of many that I write about why I no longer attend church.  I grew up Lutheran and went to church EVERY Sunday – rain or shine.  I went to Sunday school, I was in the church programs, and I sang in the church choir.  The church I attended was founded by Slovak immigrants in the early 1900’s and my family had attended for generations. My father was the church president and my mother is still the treasurer. 

I enjoyed going for the most part until I was in my mid-twenties.  I think I had always questioned some of the teachings of the Bible and was starting to realize that things aren’t always so black and white.  I also began to grow tired of the sermons that went on and on about how we were sinners and terrible people.  One sermon was about divorce and how getting divorce was a sin and that you’d better not get a divorce.  Well that is pretty helpful information there, isn’t it?  Along with feeling lonely and confused when you are in a bad relationship you get to add guilt to your self-loathing.   I wondered why the minister didn’t talk about how to value yourself and learn how to choose the right person to marry and how to work through difficult times together. 

Then I began dating a man who is Muslim.  Not a practicing Muslim, but still not a Christian.  As I sat in church one Sunday listening to the minister go on about how only the people who believe in Christianity are going to heaven and everyone is is going to hell, it dawned on me that I didn’t really believe that was true.  I knew my boyfriend was a good and kind person and didn’t deserve to “burn in hell” just because he was Muslim. 

There are far more grievous things that Christians do in the name of their religion that I haven’t mentioned, but they are in complete opposition to the teachings of love and compassion from Jesus.  I really don’t want to be associated with a group that continues to support discrimination, hatred and disdain of fellow human beings.

Case in point – recently the North Carolina Baptist State Convention voted to expel a Charlotte church because they *gasp* WELCOME gays and lesbians without trying to change them.   The NCBSC believes that these gays and lesbians are sinners and need to repent and change their lifestyle to “see the kingdom of heaven”.   Give me a f-ing break.  First of all, I do not believe that gays and lesbians are sinners.  These people did not choose to be gay and cannot change their preference anymore than you or I could change our skin color.   They are not any less deserving of having a loving relationship with another human being – male or female.  How they consummate their relationship isn’t anyone’s damn business.  There are plenty of heterosexuals out there doing far more deviant things that I’m sure would make a lot of the church folks’ hair stand on ends if they heard about it.

The church in Charlotte has received a lot of support from the community.  Six other Baptist churches have left the Convention as well as a show of solidarity with Myers Park Baptist.  Hopefully they won’t continue to be in the minority. 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Why I don’t go to church

  1. “I really don’t want to be associated with a group that continues to support discrimination, hatred and disdain of fellow human beings.”

    I get annoyed because this seems to be the ONLY thing that lots of churches do. That is, I don’t see them out actively campaigning against war, or social injustice, or hunger, but they’re out there persecuting people. If I want to go out and do things that get me in God’s good graces, there are far, far more efficient ways to do it then attending a bigoted church.

  2. Lee

    The church is a human institution. It may claim spiritual insight and direction from God via the Holy Spirit, but in reality, most of the time, the people in a church use its power and influence to validate their own way of thinking.

    I believe God exists, and that humanity is his creation, and that his perfect justice contrasts with the imperfections that humanity has developed as a result of being created with the same free will that makes God who he is. In other words, we are all sinners by God’s definition. What that does, however, is make people who condemn other people’s sins hypocrites. The Bible is pretty clear that Jesus didn’t come to condemn sinners, he came to reconcile humanity with God. You can’t make me change, nor do you have the power to change me. Only Christ can do that. And that is where churches make their biggest mistakes. They think they are the redeemers.

    It’s easy to just walk away, but I don’t think that is what God intends. The church clearly needs reform, but if those so inclined walk out the door, who is left to do it? Go back to church, and you may be surprised, in quiet determination, how many other people feel exactly the same way. It won’t be easy. In fact, it can be heartbreaking. And there are days when you will wonder whether it is worth it. But I think it is.

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