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AMA: I am an atheist who regularly attends church
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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 09:28

I was reading something in bed last night that made me realise I am probably quite an anomaly. I am an atheist (moved from being agnostic to truly feeling that it's all just a social construct) who attends church fairly regularly. I have no idea if this is interesting to people...but I thought I'd find out!

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PornographicPriestess · 14/09/2022 09:32

The obvious question is: why do you attend church?

I'm agnostic, verging on atheist. I like ecclesiastical buildings and history so I've been known to visit churches but I wouldn't dream of attending a service.

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OperaStation · 14/09/2022 09:33

Are you trying to get your kid into a good faith school? 😂

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orbitalcrisis · 14/09/2022 09:34

Do you attend services? Or just go to churches a lot? I'm an atheist and I like churches, they're a beautiful part of history.

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orbitalcrisis · 14/09/2022 09:35

Sorry! Already been asked! I'm also a little lazy.

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 09:41

PornographicPriestess · 14/09/2022 09:32

The obvious question is: why do you attend church?

I'm agnostic, verging on atheist. I like ecclesiastical buildings and history so I've been known to visit churches but I wouldn't dream of attending a service.

I attend because I want to respect my husband's faith, even though I don't share it. I struggle a lot with the DC attending Sunday School because they get told a lot of stuff that I disagree with. However, I am confident (hopefully not misplaced) that they will not be brainwashed, and that they will have enough non-religious influences that mean it's a very minor part of their lives.

More importantly I believe there are many positives to them belonging to the church community - there is no community quite like it. There have been many controlled studies which have found that the mental health of youth that attend church is better than those that don't.

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 09:41

OperaStation · 14/09/2022 09:33

Are you trying to get your kid into a good faith school? 😂

Haha - no! I said no to a faith school. That was beyond my limit!

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 09:42

orbitalcrisis · 14/09/2022 09:34

Do you attend services? Or just go to churches a lot? I'm an atheist and I like churches, they're a beautiful part of history.

Yeah - I suffer through the masses in order to reap the other benefits! I am a fraud through and through. I don't particularly try to hide it though.

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Caroffee · 14/09/2022 09:44

IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 09:41

I attend because I want to respect my husband's faith, even though I don't share it. I struggle a lot with the DC attending Sunday School because they get told a lot of stuff that I disagree with. However, I am confident (hopefully not misplaced) that they will not be brainwashed, and that they will have enough non-religious influences that mean it's a very minor part of their lives.

More importantly I believe there are many positives to them belonging to the church community - there is no community quite like it. There have been many controlled studies which have found that the mental health of youth that attend church is better than those that don't.

I get the idea of attending church to have a community. I am an atheist and would like to attend church for this reason but can't make myself. Church communities do a very wide range of activities.

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MadameCholetsDirtySecret · 14/09/2022 09:51

I'm amazed you can do this OP. I'm an atheist and couldn't begin to consider going to any religious service willingly. I've had to go to 2 in the last 20 odd years and they were excruciating for a number of reasons. Whilst I remain quiet and respectful, inside I'm screaming to be let out.

I suppose if you find some upside to going, that's great.

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orbitalcrisis · 14/09/2022 09:58

Do you get angry about anything that is said in church? Last time I went to church the vicar said something about homosexuality being wrong and it took everything I had in me to to walk out in protest!

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FetchezLaVache · 14/09/2022 09:59

Do you take communion?

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OperaStation · 14/09/2022 11:16

What do you say to your children when they question the things they are told at Sunday school? Do you tell them you don’t believe it and that the evidence doesn’t support any of it? And if not, why not?

If I were you I would let my husband crack on and make the most of a Sunday morning free from husband and children!

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:18

Caroffee · 14/09/2022 09:44

I get the idea of attending church to have a community. I am an atheist and would like to attend church for this reason but can't make myself. Church communities do a very wide range of activities.

I recommend it. It's a very unique kind of community. By definition it should be welcoming, friendly and non judgemental! Obviously not always the case, but mostly hopefully.

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:19

MadameCholetsDirtySecret · 14/09/2022 09:51

I'm amazed you can do this OP. I'm an atheist and couldn't begin to consider going to any religious service willingly. I've had to go to 2 in the last 20 odd years and they were excruciating for a number of reasons. Whilst I remain quiet and respectful, inside I'm screaming to be let out.

I suppose if you find some upside to going, that's great.

I get you. If it wasn't for DH I wouldn't be going. At all. However, because I want to go for him, I have had to find upsides like you say. And I am pleased to have to be forced to go. If that makes sense.

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:21

orbitalcrisis · 14/09/2022 09:58

Do you get angry about anything that is said in church? Last time I went to church the vicar said something about homosexuality being wrong and it took everything I had in me to to walk out in protest!

Yes, I get angry all the time. And I have to talk myself down.

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:22

FetchezLaVache · 14/09/2022 09:59

Do you take communion?

I used to but I cannot do it now. I do not confess either because I don't believe in the whole 'sin' concept at all. The priest welcomes me with open arms but know not to provoke me on any of these things!

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:28

OperaStation · 14/09/2022 11:16

What do you say to your children when they question the things they are told at Sunday school? Do you tell them you don’t believe it and that the evidence doesn’t support any of it? And if not, why not?

If I were you I would let my husband crack on and make the most of a Sunday morning free from husband and children!

I defintiely wouldn't mind a childfree and husband free Sunday morning. But I go for a few reasons - the kids are pretty small still and there are 3 so it needs both of us really. Also, I like to be there as an example that you can pick and choose the good bits from life. You don't have to completely jump on the bandwagon in order to enjoy aspects of something. I want them to be able to be accepting and relaxed in different situations, even if you're not a fully paid up member. Finally, it's got a pretty good social scene! I'd miss out.

Also, they're a bit young yet to really be asking too many questions (eldest is 5) but when they do I say 'daddy thinks this, and I think this'. I try and do it without any judgemental language, but to clearly express our differences of opinion.

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:29

I think things will get tricker when they get older and start asking harder questions. I don't know if they are going to side with a parent, or be swayed by their peers at school. I don't know how DH will feel if they reject everything. He says he'll be fine with it but I'm not sure.

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Adversity · 14/09/2022 11:34

I have attended church on and off all my life and have met a few people like yourself.

There are differing degrees of atheism, one of my old colleagues lived in a small village and it was the centre of village life and she loved going but she wasn’t an anti religion atheist. She just didn’t believe. I would imagine you are somewhere along the lines of this. My DH is an atheist but not anti, he has attended services at Easter and Christmas and been to the occasional church social. I refused to marry in church as he is a non believer so we got married in a registry office, his Mother was very annoyed. She never attends church and is actually in to angel cards and crystal healing.

Our children did not go to a faith school they made up their own minds. DH does admire the church I attend, they set up a food bank about 15 years ago and feed up to a 100 people a week at a free lunch that I used to help run until my health became too poor.

I do not like hypocrisy which is why when I have had a wobble I have not taken communion. I do think non believers should be welcomed and go for a blessing but communion is a step too far for me. When I had covid during first lockdown the Vicar and some others dropped food on my doorstep for me. They offered this service to anyone through severe lockdown via their Facebook page whether they attended church or not.

You are similar to my DH though he attends far less than you. He is as I always say a very gracious human.

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fantasmasgoria1 · 14/09/2022 11:42

I didn't go to church during childhood and only a couple of times during adulthood. My sibling is very religious and wishes I would attend. I have always thought you don't need to have a building to visit to have faith. For my DC I always felt it was up to them and said when they are old enough to understand and make sound decisions about it then it's up to them although they never have gone to church.

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badgerybadgerboo · 14/09/2022 11:45

You aren't that unusual OP. Not sure why you think you are :)

Lots of atheists get involved with religious events and church.

I guess the unusualness is the fact you think you're unusual 🤣

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:46

Adversity · 14/09/2022 11:34

I have attended church on and off all my life and have met a few people like yourself.

There are differing degrees of atheism, one of my old colleagues lived in a small village and it was the centre of village life and she loved going but she wasn’t an anti religion atheist. She just didn’t believe. I would imagine you are somewhere along the lines of this. My DH is an atheist but not anti, he has attended services at Easter and Christmas and been to the occasional church social. I refused to marry in church as he is a non believer so we got married in a registry office, his Mother was very annoyed. She never attends church and is actually in to angel cards and crystal healing.

Our children did not go to a faith school they made up their own minds. DH does admire the church I attend, they set up a food bank about 15 years ago and feed up to a 100 people a week at a free lunch that I used to help run until my health became too poor.

I do not like hypocrisy which is why when I have had a wobble I have not taken communion. I do think non believers should be welcomed and go for a blessing but communion is a step too far for me. When I had covid during first lockdown the Vicar and some others dropped food on my doorstep for me. They offered this service to anyone through severe lockdown via their Facebook page whether they attended church or not.

You are similar to my DH though he attends far less than you. He is as I always say a very gracious human.

Thank you for this, it's really interesting hearing about your own experience and your DHs, and it's nice to know there are others like me out there.

I see a lot of hypocrisy in the church I attend. A lot of ignorance. A lot of squabbling in the upper eschelons. I often want to reject it all, and I often feel quite negatively about organised religion. But then I am reminded that churches are full of very average relatable humans just trying to make sense of an existance which cannot be made sense of.

I do very much struggle with any kind of preaching or judgements. I have to close my ears to it.

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:54

badgerybadgerboo · 14/09/2022 11:45

You aren't that unusual OP. Not sure why you think you are :)

Lots of atheists get involved with religious events and church.

I guess the unusualness is the fact you think you're unusual 🤣

I said I thought I am 'probably' quite an anomaly. But I wasn't sure.

My post obviously riled you, why? Are you also an atheist that attends a church? Are there many? It's not the kind of thing you go and openly own up to, so I don't know!

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IAmNotHoratio · 14/09/2022 11:55

fantasmasgoria1 · 14/09/2022 11:42

I didn't go to church during childhood and only a couple of times during adulthood. My sibling is very religious and wishes I would attend. I have always thought you don't need to have a building to visit to have faith. For my DC I always felt it was up to them and said when they are old enough to understand and make sound decisions about it then it's up to them although they never have gone to church.

Out of curiosity, if you don't mind saying, how did your sister get to be religious?

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Turquoisesea · 14/09/2022 11:57

I work for a church and I don’t attend services and I’m not religious! However, I like the fact there is a real sense of community to the church I work at, they genuinely want to help people in need. I’m lucky that the vicar is lovely and very open minded. Having worked here for a long time though I have witnessed a lot of very unchristian behaviour from some of the other clergy and congregation. It’s certainly opened my eyes to the fact a lot of people don’t live what they preach. I like some of the other aspects of the church but not really the services, although meetings normally take a while as everyone stops to pray every 5 minutes!

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