Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Church

It might come as a surprise to some readers here or my other blog, but I actually used to go to church.

After I "became" an Atheist as age 10, I still went to churches.  Mostly because at age 10 to 12 I didn't have any choice in the matter.  I did go to sunday school, vacation bible school and I was in the Boy Scouts.

The trouble is sending an Atheist to church  really only helps them solidify their point of view.
I have mentioned before that whenever I'd take my questions to church people I was told "not to ask questions like that", and when I did get answers it was obvious to me even then that they no idea what they were talking about.

I asked about Noah's Ark once.  I must have been about 11 or so.  I asked them about how could an boat the size they described hold all the animals we have today.  The answer I got was "well we don't know how big it really was", to which I said, "Yes we do, it says so right here. Dimensions in cubits." which got me a "Well we don't know how big a cubit really is." and I countered with "yes we do.  I looked it up in my encyclopedias at home."  and that of course got me the "we are not talking about that now."  I never even got to my question about fish and how salt water and fresh water fish could survive in the same ocean.

Later in Sunday School (I was at least 12 then and really turning into a young atheist jerk by then) our teacher told this horror story about a snake named Sin.  Frankly the story didn't scare me at all. I thought in fact it was stupid.  But what bugged me most about it was how much it insulted my intelligence and it was clearly designed to be a scare tactic.

We stopped going to that church.

My mom dragged me to another church in hopes that would work.  I decided to take a paper route job that had me working on Sundays.

When I was on summer vacation years later making spare money for college, I worked at Southern Baptist Church as a janitor.  Never have I seen such a hypocritical bunch of human beings in my life.  Oh, and I caught the married pastor having sex with the married organist in the baptismal. No kidding.

I made a habit of going to churches with my friends and even checking others out on my own. Just to see what the deal was.

I found that while for the most part the people are nice and decent and even a few struck me as very bright, for the most part they knew very little of their own religion or holy texts and even less about science.

I think all Atheists should (and I am sure most have) attend a church service and talk to the people there.  If you don't come out of it more convinced that your (our) point of view is the correct one, then let me know, I will be very, very surprised.


  1. I used to go to Catholic school and they taught us the wacky stories as well. Of course I was too obedient and never questioned.

  2. Want you to know I'm reading your posts, I haven't found too much to comment on in your B one yesterday and today's either. Just enjoying reading your perspective.


  3. Wow, interesting perspective on church. You have certainly met some characters along the way.

    For years I just went out of obedience, only recently have I questioned texts and started reading about the history. I agree that most church goers are nice and intelligent but they know very little about science and their religion. Honestly, we are taught to just believe and have faith (in other words, rarely question) both in our homes and at our churches.

    Eat Live Move: Intuitive Eating from A to Z

  4. I would never trust a church that did not encourage questions. They should be places we can go to seek answers. But I don't think there is any one place that has all the answers.

  5. I always wondered about Noah's Ark among other things. Not only do you have to fit all the animals in there,(beetles alone constitute almost 25% of all known life-forms on the planet) but what about food? They all had to eat, right?

  6. I have little respect for any religion that tells you to have blind faith or your going to h*ll. Aren't humans supposed to ask questions? As a Jew, we've been taught to question every aspect of our religion. People will pick apart scriptures and get into strong intellectual debates about things that do and don't make sense in the bible. No one has ever told me to just accept and believe. I even remember a Sunday school class when the teacher said, "Do you believe this is a piece of chalk? Of course not. We know that's chalk! Do you know their is a God? No, but we believe it, or do we?" It makes for an interesting discussion.

    Catch My Words