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AIBU to go to church if I'm not religious?

(78 Posts)
Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Sun 30-Aug-15 19:12:02

There's a local church which has lots of meetings and groups for activities that interest me but they are all with an overriding religious theme.

I really like the idea of getting involved with the local church and think it would be good for DS too as he is a complete loner and could do with a shove to be a bit more sociable. I have great memories of my church as a kid as it was a big community.

Problem is I really don't believe in God anymore at least not in the God of the bible. Would it be a complete no-no to go along and pretend I do or are churches a bit more flexible these days?

laffymeal Sun 30-Aug-15 19:14:38

I don't think it matters. I'm a humanist but sing in the church choir, I was also a guide leader for a while and always help out at church fundraisers. They know I don't believe in God and never give me a hard time about it.

Puffinsharon Sun 30-Aug-15 19:17:03

Mine is super flexible, I joke that I only go for the choir but secretly I'm about as religious as toast, I do abstain from Communion though. Recently we're started to sing more up-beat songs, Queen / Lightening Seeds / Adele and even AC/DC! I love it for the community spirit and sense of well being, not for the religious mumbo-jumbo.

Haggisfish Sun 30-Aug-15 19:19:52

Tbh I think quite a lot of people go for the sense of community! I was talking about this with a friend the other day, discussing why it's difficult to get a similar sense of community without religion being involved!

horsewalksintoabar Sun 30-Aug-15 19:21:36

The church can bring a very solid sense of community to families, especially in an era when community is not so strong. It's a great idea! I am religious but I do struggle with my beliefs at times. I find church very supportive though. Your son may find faith himself. As long as you're OK with that then go for it. The church is a welcoming place where we can find peace in our day and compassion for one another. Nothing wrong with that.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Sun 30-Aug-15 19:25:15

Oh thanks Laffy and Puffin that's made me feel better! That's what I miss - the community spirit - from my old church and would like DS to experience it in his childhood as he has no siblings and we don't come from a big family.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Sun 30-Aug-15 19:29:10

I know Haggis, I can't think of any other institutions that have that sense. Maybe the WI but I can't take DS to that!

Thanks Horse, DS was always a bit of a staunch atheist but recently has been getting into Buddhism (meditation classes at school!) so might have a spiritual bent after all..

Wolpertinger Sun 30-Aug-15 19:31:26

It depends on the church and what is/isn't going to bother you. I have similar happy memories of my childhood church and just learning some bible stories which I think are useful for understanding Western European culture while having a lot of fun in a very supportive environment.

However the church I went to as a teenager which launched into a tirade against gay marriage and women priests within 5 minutes of the start of the service, wouldn't work for me at all now, however nice their kids' activities were.

BackforGood Sun 30-Aug-15 19:36:16

You don't have to pretend you do - you can go with an open mind 'to find out more'. As long as you aren't shouting out objections during the sermon I suppose, or putting your fingers in your ears and shouting "la, la, la" during the prayers in a loud voice, I'm sure you will be very welcome. I know you would be at my Church.
I think many of us attend for the sense of community - you can do bible study and prayer at home on your own.

madhairday Sun 30-Aug-15 19:41:05

Church is open to everyone. I hope the church you go to is welcoming as it should be. I know plenty of churchgoers who are unsure about matters of faith. I'm a church leader and delighted to welcome all, whatever their stance, and respect where they are with it - happy to share if people want, or not if they don't. Hope you find somewhere with a good sense of community for you.

StampyMum Sun 30-Aug-15 19:43:57

I was brought up RC, and although I def don't agree with a lot of RC ideas about sexuality etc, I still love going to Mass every couple of weeks with DS. Church was a HUGE comfort to me as a kid, and I want that structure for him too. I'm not that sure what I believe in either, but I know that after an hour in a pew, I'm a slightly nicer person.
YANBU smile

rednsparkley Sun 30-Aug-15 19:49:17

YANBU - I´m an athiest but attend Mass regularly as my kids go to a RC primary school. I enjoy an hour of peace and quiet and reflection and I also quite enjoy all the responses and joining in bits. Our Priest is very welcoming to all which helps - his holiday stand-in is quite fire and brimstone and we all get told off for not Amen-ing loudly enough grin

PunkrockerGirl Sun 30-Aug-15 19:51:15

I don't think it matters at all, I'm sure you'll be welcomed and get lots out of it.
Far better that you're doing it so that your ds can join groups rather than the hypocrites who attend so their dc can get onto the local faith school hmm

Lurkedforever1 Sun 30-Aug-15 19:52:13

I'm exactly like you. Dd went to a church primary so started going for stuff linked to school. 7 years later dd is a confirmed athiest too after a brief spell of belief early on. I didn't barge in telling them I didn't believe, but eventually it came up naturally and nobody seemed to care that I know of.

allnewredfairy Sun 30-Aug-15 19:53:02

Nothing wrong in going to church for the sense of community. That's what a church is. I am a Christian and struggle with a lot of what is taught but I persevere. I know that going to church resets my spiritual dial each week and I am a better person for taking the time out to join in prayer with my brothers and sisters of the congregation.
Our vicar is strong believer that we are all in different places on our spiritual journey and no-one should be put off from participating in church life; in fact they should be embraced.

manicinsomniac Sun 30-Aug-15 19:54:17

You don't have to pretend. Churches are open to anyone and should welcome everyone. If they don't, it's a problem with the church, not you.

ThomasRichard Sun 30-Aug-15 19:58:43

YANBU. I'm a church-goer and there are several people like you at regular meetings and even more at the social activities. It's nice to have them there.

UnderTheGreenwoodTree Sun 30-Aug-15 19:59:02

I think a church will accept anyone willing to get involved tbh, and you don't have to wear-your-heart-on-your sleeve beliefs-wise.

I was fairly friendly with the vicar in our old town, through our children - even though I'm not religious. He was quite happy to go to people's houses and do a 'non-religious' christening if the parents weren't believers. He considered his role to be part of the community rather than evangelically spreading god's word.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Sun 30-Aug-15 20:02:31


I've gone to church with friends and with brownies, and have done many social things with my friends church. Everyone is very welcoming, the vicar said i could take communion if I wanted (I'm "not allowed" as I'm not christened") but I choose not to as I feel it would be inappropriate as I don't believe in it. I do get a blessing instead of communion though. I love hymns, we did a three hour thing a few years ago that was to practice some lovely songs. I am able to take comfort from some of the hymns even though I don't believe in God.

I thing you shouldn't have to pretend, as long as you're respectful, everyone should be the same way to you. If the first church you go to doesn't make you feel welcome then please don't be discouraged, try and find a different one that is.

Puzzledandpissedoff Sun 30-Aug-15 20:03:03

If it's like most churches here you'll probably find most people are there because of the "community" thing, rather than looking for religious fervour smile

Why not pop along; you'll soon get a feeling if it's for you, and if not there's no harm done

WitchOfAlba Sun 30-Aug-15 20:06:00

YANBU unless you are only going to get a school place.

At our church, one of the regulars freely admits that sometimes he wonders if he believes in God or not. He's also the priest.

LunchpackOfNotreDame Sun 30-Aug-15 20:10:39

Yanbu I love being part of a church community

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Aug-15 20:11:04

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow, hi, Mad is right, church is for anyone/everyone. I hope it is a good one. Some will be more overtly 'religious' than others but they will all be 'religious' because they are the meeting place of a religion. But within that is lots of room for movement on what people actually believe. May I ask what kind of church it is?

Good luck and enjoy, the church is one of the few places where you will find all manner of people and beliefs, and where you will find sometimes the warmest welcome or the wettest welcome! I hope the welcome where you are is warm! smille

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Aug-15 20:11:35


Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Sun 30-Aug-15 20:28:24

Wow thanks for your positive replies! I'm quite excited now. grin

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