Hitting the wall?


My church attendance might be hitting a wall. The trouble started last week during a discussion of the renunciation of wealth in my book group. I had never heard Christians discuss renunciation because my usual experience of them has been that they only differ from non-Christians in that they go to church, equate Christianity with American patriotism, blame the desperate for their desperation, and tend toward smugness and hypocrisy. By contrast, many of the people at Trinity take part in a feeding program for the poor and open their church doors on cold nights so that the homeless will have a warm place to sleep. Then there’s their priest who spends much of his time helping the homeless on the streets and visiting people in jail.

I don’t want to help the poor or visit people in jail, and church isn’t even on my list of deserving charities. Most notably, I find no meaning in Christ because too little is known about him to picture what he was like. As for the Biblical account, it portrays him as angry, impatient, self-contradictory, and a teller of troubling parables with uncertain meanings. What, therefore, do I have to offer to this church? I enjoy going; I owe a minor allegiance to its priest; and I try to make a positive contribution to the groups I’m in, but even if Francis is somehow right, and I will still be welcome as my atheism becomes more widely known, I will never really belong because I won't let myself really belong.

John’s children held an estate sale last weekend (John---pictured--was a friend whose death in July somehow inspired my return to church), and as I perused his 200 or so books, I saw that several of them were by Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. In terms of right-wing hatefulness, Coulter makes even Rush look tame, yet reading such books didn’t inspire George to talk politics with me. He was ever gracious, ever generous, and while he could still be active, he volunteered at the local Catholic hospital and took a friend with Alzheimer’s into this home. Clearly, one doesn’t have to be a liberal Christian to be a good Christian. When I compare myself to this reader of Limbaugh and Coulter, it becomes obvious that I give almost nothing of myself, and I carefully measure what I do give.

I’m not na├»ve enough to imagine that any church is composed of saints, but it just so happens that the kinds of activities that I engage in at Trinity are the same activities that those who take their religion seriously engage in. For example, I go to Saturday mass, and my last book group read the autobiography of Dorothy Day, the woman who started the Catholic Worker movement. She was definitely hardcore in terms of renunciation, and Francis, as well as others, looked upon her as someone to emulate. I enjoyed the group until the discussion of renunciation, for it was only then that it hit me that I was on another planet from everyone else, because of my selfishness as well as my utter lack of belief in Christ on any meaningful level.

Another thing that has hurt me of late is that I’ve shared my blog address with a couple of people at church only to have one of them pointedly avoid me and the other act uncomfortable in my presence (all he said about my blog—not that I asked—was, “I tried to read your blog.”). I’m not too surprised by these reactions, and maybe I was even tactless to share my blog. Besides, I'm only talking about two people, but they and Francis are the only people I’ve shared my blog with, so their reaction has increased my feelings of estrangement and consequent disengagement. One of them is a transsexual, and I had imagined that he, at least, would understand what it is like to be hated for who he is, and to go through life with the feeling that he is looking in from the outside. Yet, he’s the one who goes out of his way to avoid me.

To complete my list of problems, Trinity and a local Lutheran church held a joint Thanksgiving service last night. I lasted ten minutes before I became so bored that I left, but I only mention this to illustrate how little patience I have for things that bore me, which means that I wouldn’t attend Trinity if it wasn’t truly important to me. Still, my main point is that this church is something of a sister church to Trinity, and on its website, it welcomes all ages, races, marital statuses, and sexual orientations, as well as addicts, the impoverished, the disabled, and people with a criminal record. It struck me that in advertising who is welcome (as is popular among liberal churches), churches likewise advertise who is not welcome. For instance, the list didn’t include atheists, racists, pedophiles, the morbidly obese, or anyone else liberals consider it acceptable to scorn, including conservatives. I believe the list could have been on Trinity’s site. Despite Francis’ optimism, I have no thought but what I will be held at arm’s length once my atheism becomes known, as it’s sure to do if only because of the comments I make and the questions I ask.

Anyway, my feeling of not belonging doesn’t come from any one thing, and maybe I’ve even made a poor case for it because I can’t always be sure but what a particular feeling predated the reasons that I give for it. In other words, did the reasons cause the feeling, or did the feeling exist below my conscious awareness until it found one or more reasons with which to justify its existence? 

28 comments:

Paula Kaye said...

" I became so bored that I left, but I only mention this to illustrate how little patience I have for things that bore me"....I am happy to think that you still visit my blog because I don't bore you :) I am sorry that you are feeling this way about the church that you have chosen to attend. Maybe it is time to find/start a church especially for atheists. Does one exist? Hope you and Peggy are enjoying this Thanksgiving day

Snowbrush said...

"I am happy to think that you still visit my blog because I don't bore you :)"

No, you don't bore me, and you post enough that I can even select which posts interests me most.

Yes, there's more than one church for atheists. One is even in Louisiana--the rural, Cajun part of Louisiana at that. I can't imagine that it will last though. Here, there's only the Unitarian, but it's probably more atheist than not. What these churches tend to lack is history, tradition, and longevity. The Unitarian might appear to have them, but it's so different from what it used to be that it might as well be new.

All Consuming said...

I think George was a good friend who cared for you a great deal by not discussing politics, as he will have known yours I'm sure and wanted no conflict perhaps. However in social groups of any kind, eventually people find out who you really are, the fact that you gave out your blog address should not be cause for regret. You are a kind, thoughtful good man too. Do not castigate yourself for being selfish, we all take stock every now and again, and I have read your blog for years and know how many people you help through your posts. Unless someone is willing to open themselves completely to something like a religion, then they will never feel accepted, and it's sad to me that so called Christian folk have not the capability to hide their unhappiness at what they may have read on here, rather than see how much you are reaching out and focus on that. You know where I am in this, I feel either you are torturing yourself looking for something that you will not find in the places you are looking, or allowing religion and all your previous experiences of it do so. Which is not to say I don't support your choices at all, and I may well be very wrong (rare, but possible) *smiles*, we choose our own paths, and we alone can make those choices. My basic upshot being - stuff them, you're bloody brilliant. X

Snowbrush said...

"Unless someone is willing to open themselves completely to something like a religion, then they will never feel accepted..."

On this we disagree because I don't see Christians in general as living as Christ lived, but rather as using their religion as a social/support group, and as a means to justify their bigotries and to imagine that they are safer in life (due to divine protection) that they actually are. And, of course, they use religion to reassure themselves that their lives matter, and that they'll go a happy place when they die. Compared to all this, I actually think I come out looking pretty good.

I'm not just playing a game here, but am really present when I'm at church in the sense that my heart is in it even if my beliefs are not. And as you say, I'm not just a selfish jerk, but neither do I go about looking for people to help. If I come across someone who needs my help, I try to help them, and I make an effort to treat people fairly and to show them kindness and respect. Yet, what Christ had in mind goes well beyond that, and what Brent, at least, tries to do goes well beyond that. By these standards, I don't look good. There's much said in some churches about a person being "convicted" in his heart about how lacking he is, and I get some of that from church. It has forced me to look at myself more closely, but it hasn't helped me know how to respond to what I see, and the longer I go, the bigger the gap becomes between my atheism and their belief, and I don't know what to do about that.

"t's sad to me that so called Christian folk have not the capability to hide their unhappiness at what they may have read on here, rather than see how much you are reaching out and focus on that."

Well, yet, they could have interpreted my less judgmentally, but I'm not surprised they didn't even though I tried to pick people with whom I thought I might have a better chance of being seen for the good that is within me. Christians make much about the guidance, strength, and wisdom, that they get from the Holy Spirit, but I've observed very few of them to be better people for their religion.

"I feel either you are torturing yourself looking for something that you will not find in the places you are looking, or allowing religion and all your previous experiences of it do so."

Sometimes, I feel a little bit clear and even good about what I'm doing, and other times I feel like a smuck, but neither I nor anyone else can truly know whether there's more sense to all this than either I or they are currently able to see.

All Consuming said...

Aye, well you know more about it than I do, for you're living it. Anyway, I hope you feel better for it more often than worse.

Strayer said...

Well, it is a bit strange, you must admit, that an atheist seeks refuge and acceptance at church. It's strange to me, that you do this, but Oh well, that's life, that's people. We're all different.

Snowbrush said...

"I hope you feel better for it more often than worse."

Tonight, I went to a Thanksgiving dinner at the church. My pain level has been way higher than usual, so I took a fair amount oxycodone before I left, with more in my pocket in case I needed it. Lo and behold, I was happy to discover that the church had provided numerous bottles of wine. How is that I never seem to remember that it's only conservative Christians who don't drink, at church that is. I hit the wine hard, and between it and the oxycodone, I soon realized that I needed to cut back if I didn't want to appear drunk, which I most certainly didn't. Peggy, somewhat to my surprise, had gone with me, and it was good being there with her, not that I needed her with me for it to be good, and not that I have the least thought she will go again anytime soon. Despite what I wrote in this post, I wouldn't be quick to stop going.

"Well, it is a bit strange, you must admit, that an atheist seeks refuge and acceptance at church."

Refuge is a word that I associate with Buddhism, not that I ever understood just what they meant by it. I guess I would see church more as an experiment than a refuge, an experiment for which I have no clearly defined goals.

Elephant's Child said...

I am very glad that you and Peggy went to the Thanksgiving dinner tonight - and even more glad that it appears that overall you had a reasonable time.
'...the reasons cause the feeling, or did the feeling exist below my conscious awareness until it found one or more reasons with which to justify its existence?' That sounds like a chicken or egg question to me.
I cannot really understand your need for the church but hope that you will keep going for as long as you receive anything positive from it.

possum said...

I realize I have been quiet here... not ignoring you, to be sure, but seldom having the alone time to reply in a meaningful way.
A couple points - our Unitarian "Church" here dissolved when several atheists insisted there be NO discussion of anything spiritual. Most of the group attend some other church, a few regularly. We often had interesting discussions about other traditions with no one being openly negative about them until a couple (some call them militant) atheists insisted we stick to social issues. End of the ESUU group. I guess no one has had the energy to try to restart the group.

The other point I wanted to mention - I work with substance abuse people, particularly (but not exclusively) sexually abused women, even young girls, some lesbians, 2 of the young men have been abused by priests, and folks that feel uncomfortable with the god pushing in AA.
It has been the experience of most of my people that when they have "come out" or shared their experiences with others outside our group, they are then frequently shunned. I thought of that when you said that had happened to you when you shared your blog address with a couple folks at your church. Sadly, this is a common experience and is one of the reasons why so many folks keep their thoughts, beliefs, and experiences in a closet. Rejection is painful, even to those who loudly claim they don't care.
I am impressed with the way you are dealing with things. As you know I tried following a similar path and was beyond grateful to find Buddhism as a path that felt more comfortable. But, it is a philosophy, not a religion except in the places where some folks have made it into their religion.
Some folks can make anything into a religion!




Charles Gramlich said...

Most folks have some saint and sinner both in them. As for someone having Rush and Coulter books, I read lots of stuff I don't agree with so that is no real measure of their beliefs.

Snowbrush said...

"I am happy to think that you still visit my blog because I don't bore you :)"

It's different being bored at a church service--one in a church I never attend, and therefore have no allegiance to, at that--and being bored by a post or even a lot of posts, because posts involve relationships. I hesitate to say this, but the posts of some bloggers who I read regularly sometimes bore me. Sometimes the posts put up by some bloggers, often bore me, but I remain loyal to them because I care about them. Peggy has often worried that she bores me because she doesn't have my depth, and she is right at times, but I also bore her by talking in depth about things that she has no interest in. We all bore one another, but I feel a commitment to you, whereas I felt no commitment to that church beyond leaving it as unobtrusively as possible. I will even admit, since I know she won't read this, that one of my face-to-face friends bores the stew out of me, but she's loving, loyal, and generous, and she trusts me to be loyal to her, and for more than a quarter of a century I have. By the same token, I have no doubt whatever that I often bore her. Some of the most scintillating friendships that I've had didn't last very long, maybe because so much was expected, or maybe because they relied too much on intellectual stimulation at the expense of more valuable characteristics. It's good to treasure someone without demanding too much of them.

"our Unitarian "Church" here dissolved when several atheists insisted there be NO discussion of anything spiritual."

They must have either been in the majority, or obnoxiously aggressive. It's hard for me to picture such a happening otherwise.

" I guess no one has had the energy to try to restart the group."

The first thought that hit me was, if you can't work with the atheists, then work around them by reforming and not letting them in.

"Rejection is painful, even to those who loudly claim they don't care."

I hate it, but it doesn't silence me so much as it inspires me to be prudent in my exposure. Sharing my blog with people whom hardly know me probably isn't the best way of introducing myself, yet I hate the idea of letting them know me know over a period of time by carefully parsing out bits and pieces of myself only to have them reject me anyway, which is what I anticipate. Doing the little bit at a time thing also implies that I'm so ashamed of my thoughts that I can only bring myself to share them once I've won someone's affection. Still, I haven't gone out of my way to tell people I'm an atheist, but it's not entirely--or even mostly--a fear of rejection that stops me as it is not wanting them to frame me in a rigid and predictable way. By analogy, I don't tell people I'm with how many narcotics I'm on, not because I'm ashamed, but because I don't want them to interpret what I say and do as being caused by the drugs. When I tell believers that I'm an atheist, then everything I ask or say about religion can be dismissed, as in, "He's an atheist, so what do you expect?" In other words, I fear that I'll be framed entirely through the lens of their bigotry. I consider this a rational concern given my past experiences along with surveys regarding the public's attitude toward atheists. Still, I've shared my blog address, but I regard doing that as being at a far lower level than coming out to an entire discussion group.

Snowbrush said...

"I tried following a similar path and was beyond grateful to find Buddhism as a path that felt more comfortable. But, it is a philosophy, not a religion except in the places where some folks have made it into their religion."

I'm stuck on staying close to my roots, maybe because I have so few of them. My blood family consists of one half-sister who rarely writes and never calls or visits, a half-brother who has never once communicated in any way, and a full-sister who hates my guts because our father left everything he owned to me. So, I have no family roots, and since I left Mississippi I have no roots as far as the land either. I love Oregon's outdoors, and have made it my business to learn a great deal about the flora and geology, yet I never get over feeling uprooted from the land that is Mississippi, although when I go back--which only happens when someone in Peggy's family dies--I don't feel a sense of belonging there either. This means that I only have a very few long term constants in my life. I have some possessions that go back to my childhood; Peggy will have been with me for 43 years next month; and Christianity goes back to my earliest remembrances. Where the last is concerned, I can't embrace it, but I can't let it go either. I'm currently reading a delightful book on Buddhism entitled "A Monastery Within," but I can't really imagine myself saying that I'm a Buddhist. As for Christianity, I'm more attracted to the gnostic writings than to the New Testament, but few Christians know anything about them.

Snowbrush said...

"As for someone having Rush and Coulter books, I read lots of stuff I don't agree with so that is no real measure of their beliefs."

I wouldn't read Rush or Coulter because listening to them has convinced me that they have nothing to add to the public dialogue. Instead, they cater to the hatefulness of those who agree with them. As for George, he was a right-winger alright, but by the time I started visiting him in his home as opposed to talking briefly in his yard or my yard, he had had a stroke, and words were difficult for him to remember. Maybe, had it been otherwise, he would have talked politics, and that would have been fine because I know he wouldn't have spoken to me as Rush or Coulter would have, but then maybe they wouldn't talk that way either if we lived in the same neighborhood. I can never tell how much people like them really believe, and how much they say in order to promote their careers. With Coulter especially, it's obvious that she spends a lot of time--or maybe she hires people to do it--to come up the most hateful things imaginable to say. She, Rush, and O'Reilly, at least, are all emptiness when the hate is removed.

Helen said...

Though I've stepped back a bit from writing and reading others' blogs, I enjoy visiting yours ~ you never fail to inspire introspection and set in motion a most challenging (and enjoyable) chain of thought.
Ponder-worthy is what I consider your writing to be, a compliment for certain.

It ihas been rainy and close to warm in Bend, though cold and snow are on the way ... skiers ecstatic of course, this old broad, not so much. Son Carl and I are heading home for the holiday ~ St. Louis ~ where we never know what we face in terms of weather!

My best to you and your partner of 43 years ... what a treasure.

rhymeswithplague said...

Random thoughts while reading this post and comments:

Little by little we are revealed to ourselves. (And more so as we get older.)

You and I disagree on several things but you have never bored me.

What if what you say and do is being caused by the drugs? (I'm not saying it is, I'm just saying....)

I admire your tenacity.

I admire Peggy's even more.

I can't resist saying this even though it's an obvious cliche -- maybe you should stop analyzing everything to death in such detail and just "let go and let God"....

I repeat as I began, little by little we are revealed to ourselves.

Snowbrush said...

"maybe you should stop analyzing everything to death in such detail and just "let go and let God"....

You thought this would resonate with me, did you (probably not, I know)? I'm laughing my you know what off (I won't use the actual word out of respect for your sensibilities). You would have done as well to have written, "Hoogay boogay, mumbly foogay," because what I interpret when I hear "let go and let God" is as follows, only about religion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pouOzsRLJM

"What if what you say and do is being caused by the drugs?"

BTW, I actually wasn't talking about my blog, although I've written in all kinds of conditions. Just as you would be very unlikely to know if i'm on pot or narcotics in person, the same would USUALLY apply to my writing, although drugs and alcohol (not that I drink much, what with all the drugs) do give me one gift when I write, and that is deeper insight--into myself anyway. Pot was especially good at this, but I had to stop using it because I would be profoundly tired and depressed for a good 24 hours after the frenetic high went away (neither feeling is how pot affects most people). Anyway, the result might need to be cleaned up a bit later, but drugs can uncover gems (not to suggest the Biblical parable here, which, by the way, makes a lot more sense in the Gospel of Thomas version--maybe you would enjoy Elaine Pagels writings about the gnostic gospels).

"I repeat as I began, little by little we are revealed to ourselves."

Only, I'm afraid, to become senile and forget it all in our modern world where our bodies go on after my brains have done like Elvis and left the building. When I think about the one situation where I have no doubt but what I would end my life, it would be Alzheimer's because I wouldn't inflict it on Peggy, and I wouldn't inflict it on myself.

I love you, Robert.

"Son Carl and I are heading home for the holiday ~ St. Louis"

When Oregonians ask where I'm from, and I tell them Mississippi, most of them immediately ask, "What part of Missouri?" Maybe I mutter, or maybe they simply can't believe they're talking to a bonafide white Mississippian who isn't dressed in Klan robes, but they really do ask this, and not just a few either. I hate the question because none of those who ask it know anything about Mississippi's geography, so my answer is always meaningless. Peggy's parents used to live across the river from St. Louis at Scott AFB, so I've visited the area several times. I hope you don't have to go through Chicago on your journey because if there's one airport in the whole country where things are going to be shit, it's Chicago. Peggy flies South a time or two a year, and I always plead with her to please, please, PLEASE, don't fly in winter because I don't want her to be stuck in some airport for three days, and I don't want to sit at home and worry about her being stuck in some airport for three days.

Stephen Hayes said...

I can't think of anything better to say than to repeat your own words--"Hoogay boogay, mumbly foogay." I wish you weren't so troubled by the unknowable. I find it reassuring that life contains unfathomable mysteries.

Helen said...

No Chicago .. warning, avoid at all cost! Salt Lake City can be tricky in winter too.

When my then husband was in Vietnam I would pile all four kids in our VW Bug and drive to Scott for groceries. During that year we lived in Fairview Heights, not far from the Base. Oh, those were the days, my friend!

lotta joy said...

By their own invitation, they invited transexuals, making your friend feel accepted whether he was or not. Because they didn't welcome athiests, your friend was placed on a higher playing field than you, and he reacted out of fear of being "connected" to an athiest.

It seems that everyone needs someone on a lower rung to be judged, and you mistakenly shot yourself in the foot. If a white looking man attended a KKK rally, was accepted, then invited another member to read his blog, stating he was a black man, the same thing would happen.

Water seeks its own level. Birds of a feather, yada yada.

I don't mention being an athiest on my blog because it's not open to anyone's input because I don't CARE what others think of my choices. It just IS, and not open to conversation. But neither do I attend church expecting to be accepted as I am. Religion leaves no room for acceptance unless they form a committee and reach an agreement on what is and is not acceptable....in their humble opinion.

The man you lost from your life was a good man, and would have been a good man whether athiest or christian. Don't confuse his personality with his beliefs. He obviously did not need one to improve the other. He just WAS what he was, and not due to a building with a cross on it.

I've been absent from your blog only due to internal and external matters beyond my control.

Joe Pereira said...

"My church attendance might be hitting a wall"

Snow, I'm glad, in a selfish way, that you're reaching that point for I struggle with the idea of an atheist seeking any kind of comfort in a church. I do understand you wanting to be part of a particular social group though and in this case a group that just happens to meet and gather in a church, but can't imagine you having the patience to listen to a sermon full of myth, historical mis-information and faith. Good luck Snow

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

You Snow...so many people just don't put themselves out there. I'm certain it's a fear of rejection. Let's face it, if we knew everything about even our closest friends, we would most certainly find a reason to shun them.

Snowbrush said...

"they invited transexuals, making your friend feel accepted whether he was or not. Because they didn't welcome athiests, your friend was placed on a higher playing field than you, and he reacted out of fear of being "connected" to an athiest."

My success rate with figuring people out is so dismal that I hesitate to try. I mean, really, the guy's reaction might have been due to the fact that he was buggered by a coven of loudly blaspheming male atheists with enormous penises and no Vaseline when he was ten year old. Your analysis makes perfect sense, of course, but is it true? I don't know. People are too complicated for me to know what they're thinking unless they tell me, and that's assuming that they themselves know.

"If a white looking man attended a KKK rally, was accepted, then invited another member to read his blog, stating he was a black man, the same thing would happen."

The difference is that some Christians, few though they be, are open to atheists, whereas NO Klansmen (other than that one fellow in Montana, perhaps) are open to blacks--or atheists, for that matter. I say this because Christians aren't obligated by oath to reject anyone, and Klansmen are. BTW, what I said about the Lutheran list applying to Resurrection was meant about the church itself rather than about Brent. If I've gotten nothing else from this experience, in Brent, I've met someone who stands out in my life as a Christian in the best sense of the word. Now, for your next comment...

"The man you lost from your life was a good man, and would have been a good man whether athiest or christian. Don't confuse his personality with his beliefs."

If I take the position, which I do, that most religion hardens the hearts of most religious people, it means that I'm open to the possibility, however slight, that some religion just might have the capacity to soften some people's hearts. I don't know if this was true for George because I really don't know how religious he was. Brent is another matter. I do believe that, however good he would have been anyway, he is better for his religion. The same was true of Dorothy Day, the woman who founded the Catholic workers. One need only read her autobiography to see the difference that religion made. Certainly, she was a well-meaning person before she became a Catholic, but once she became a Catholic, she devoted her entire existence to helping others. This is what religion CAN do. Before I went to Resurrection, I would have agreed with you, and in general terms, I still do agree with you. Religion tends to make people worse, but I now see that it at least can make people better. I really hadn't realized this, and it is congruent with what Christ said about how few take the "narrow way that leads to life." As a kid, I always thought he was talking about non-Christians. Now, I think he might have been talking about religious people.

"I've been absent from your blog only due to internal and external matters beyond my control."

I've been thinking about emailing you to ask. You wrote that you think of me as your brother, and then this religion thing came along, and you disappeared. I know of many of your problems, so I knew it would be wrong for me to take your absence personally, yet I knew it might meant personally because I know how you feel about religion. How ironic that you are married to Joe, and you go to church every Sunday. It's a funny world, Sis.

Snowbrush said...

"I find it reassuring that life contains unfathomable mysteries."

I think of "mystery" as a euphemism for ignorance. I especially hate the glazy-eyed, beatific smile that Christians get when they talk about things that people made-up and that don't make a damn bit of sense as a "Divine Mystery."

"I do understand you wanting to be part of a particular social group though and in this case a group that just happens to meet and gather in a church..."

No, it IS the church. The book group and the class I'm taking are just as much church as the actual service."

"...can't imagine you having the patience to listen to a sermon full of myth, historical mis-information and faith."

Brent's sermons only come to about three type-written pages, and they're mostly about taking the high road. I actually pay attention to them. To their credit, liberals aren't motivated to distort history because their beliefs don't depend upon the Biblical accounts being history.

"if we knew everything about even our closest friends, we would most certainly find a reason to shun them."

Or maybe we would love them more. I really can't say. I've certainly been rejected A LOT for telling people more about myself than they wanted to know, but that's because they met my revelations with fear. Once we get beyond fear, we become open to whom people are in their deepest selves. I know that, within my deepest self, I'm good, so I think the same must surely be true for other people too.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Hello Mr Snowbrush, it's me - Yorkshire Pudding. I hope that my comment will pass through the Snowbrush Censorship Machine (SCM). As a lifelong atheist, my heart goes out to you in your intellectual and moral dilemmas regarding church links. I guess that in modern, godfearing American communities it is by no means easy to profess your atheism. Here in England it is quite easy to be an atheist these days as hardly anybody attends Christian churches any more. If it all gets too much for you you can always flee America as a persecuted atheist refugee in search of sanctuary. You can stay in our house for a while - just until you get yourself settled elsewhere. England would be a good choice as we speak English here and we dance to the devil's tunes!

lotta joy said...

I went to church as long as I could stand it, then stopped. Haven't been back in over a year, with much relief.

Joe has gotten to the point where he's more comfortable with his beliefs without feeling like he has to meet the standards of those sitting in the front row every Sunday. So he's now content to be himself minus any type of affiliation with any building.

You helped me accept myself when I was first slipping into the reality of being an athiest, and for that alone, I'll never desert you or your blog. If I'm ever absent for waaaaay too long.... well.... but I'm not permanently MIA from life yet - that I'm aware of. lol

Robin said...

Hi Snow! I an glad you and Peggy were at a Thanksgiving Celebration... I think of you always...and Brewsky too! I actually updated my Blog (gasp) and did a teensy post!

Love to all three,

♥ Robin ♥

kj said...

hi snow,

i keep wondering how being an atheist would or wouldn't affect my life. i tend to think i would still pretty much have the same friends and pretty much do the same things.

when I read about your attendance at this church, i think back to a time when I just kept being invested in understanding other points of view AND trying to convince (and influence) others about my own. i think i had a bit of arrogance if not superiority under my motivation. i'm not saying that has anything to do with why your energy pursues religion, but this is what i thought about myself reading this. which is to say your blog continues to offer the really good big questions.

love
kj

Snowbrush said...

"Here in England it is quite easy to be an atheist these days as hardly anybody attends Christian churches any more."

A heavy cost can come with it here, especially in rural parts of the South, but in other places too.

"You helped me accept myself when I was first slipping into the reality of being an athiest..."

I had no idea, and I'm honored that you told me. There's nothing better than knowing that my thoughts benefit others. I try awfully to make this happen, but almost never have any thought that I succeed.

"i keep wondering how being an atheist would or wouldn't affect my life. i tend to think i would still pretty much have the same friends and pretty much do the same things."

Some of those friends might put some distance between them and you. It's like with becoming seriously ill in that some of the people you trusted turn away, and some you weren't that close to draw near.

"when I read about your attendance at this church, i think back to a time when I just kept being invested in understanding other points of view AND trying to convince (and influence) others about my own."

You've inspired another post. I'm pretty much through with my next post, so it will be the one after that. You are like a gift from the universe in that you make me think in directions I might not otherwise go.