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On atheists who attend church

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  • On atheists who attend church

    There has been some discussion in a few scattered threads about pastors (and church members) who do not believe in God, yet who still identity with Christianity. I find this to be a curious phenomenon; I think Paul was right when he says that Christians are to be the most pitied of men if Christ had not been raised. Nonetheless, I can see why people would want to stay within the structure of a church; it's something they're used to, and people enjoy the social benefits of belonging to organizations, and generally like to fit in somewhere. However, why wouldn't people want to do this within the context of fraternal organizations, or other groups that don't require somebody to basically play pretend? I have also seen the argument that some like the values that Christianity teaches, especially Jesus's ethical teachings. I guess I don't understand why somebody who likes these would require the context of a church to practice/promote them.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

  • #2
    Some could also conclude (accurately) that while they themselves may find value in Christian ethics, others won't unless they also believe so they may support Christianity purely for the institution's secular benefits. I'm not an atheist but if I was this is probably what I would do as I've long concluded that even within an atheistic framework atheism is a huge impediment to humanity (and I've met atheists elsewhere who more or less agree).
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

    There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
      There has been some discussion in a few scattered threads about pastors (and church members) who do not believe in God, yet who still identity with Christianity. I find this to be a curious phenomenon; I think Paul was right when he says that Christians are to be the most pitied of men if Christ had not been raised. Nonetheless, I can see why people would want to stay within the structure of a church; it's something they're used to, and people enjoy the social benefits of belonging to organizations, and generally like to fit in somewhere. However, why wouldn't people want to do this within the context of fraternal organizations, or other groups that don't require somebody to basically play pretend? I have also seen the argument that some like the values that Christianity teaches, especially Jesus's ethical teachings. I guess I don't understand why somebody who likes these would require the context of a church to practice/promote them.
      There is a man in my congregation who is an atheist, but is married to a very faithful Christian wife. He attends Church regularly with her, and even sings the songs during the congregational singing. Has a very good voice, too! He just does it to please her. She allows it, because she hopes one day the Spirit will change him.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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      • #4
        I think some remain because they believe its the right thing to do. Others may stay for the sake of family and children. And some may go because they like the food. We can still pray God bring them back.
        A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
        George Bernard Shaw

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        • #5
          Many in small towns/villages will choose to stay closeted rather than come out as atheists and deal with all the social repercussions.

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          • #6
            All their friends go.


            I went a few times when invited while I was an atheist but I never went unless there was a specific reason. I told very few people about my atheism - mostly because I didn't want my mom to find out (I thought it would hurt her and saw no reason to do so). I didn't go to 'keep up appearances' and didn't respect atheists who did.

            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

            My Personal Blog

            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
              Some could also conclude (accurately) that while they themselves may find value in Christian ethics, others won't unless they also believe so they may support Christianity purely for the institution's secular benefits. I'm not an atheist but if I was this is probably what I would do as I've long concluded that even within an atheistic framework atheism is a huge impediment to humanity (and I've met atheists elsewhere who more or less agree).
              Interestingly enough I have also encountered a number of atheists who attend Churches for similar reasons. A few good friends of mine in college attended quaker Churches for the very reason you mention. They were Spiritual but definitely atheist and agnostic regarding God's existence.
              A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
              George Bernard Shaw

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              • #8
                I am become death...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Catholicity View Post
                  And some may go because they like the food.
                  If I were an atheist, I would definitely be going for the food. As a kid, I went to a black church for a bit and they had the Best.Food.Ever.
                  "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

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                  • #10
                    I think that some agnostic and even atheistic businessmen attend church to establish connections (networking) and politicians do it to increase their chances of being elected.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                      I think that some agnostic and even atheistic businessmen attend church to establish connections (networking) and politicians do it to increase their chances of being elected.
                      Yuuuuuup.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                        I think that some agnostic and even atheistic businessmen attend church to establish connections (networking) and politicians do it to increase their chances of being elected.
                        That was incredibly obvious in Tyler - they'd suddenly start attending Church and even sing in the choir, and put that in their Bio - then when election was over, so was their church attendance.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                          That was incredibly obvious in Tyler - they'd suddenly start attending Church and even sing in the choir, and put that in their Bio - then when election was over, so was their church attendance.
                          I have seen the same thing in politicians here in my part of Alaska.
                          Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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                          • #14
                            I saw a funny story about post tortoises and politicians today. But I forgot to bring it with me so I won't tell it now...

                            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                            My Personal Blog

                            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                              I saw a funny story about post tortoises and politicians today. But I forgot to bring it with me so I won't tell it now...
                              We eagerly await in anticipation.

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