Good reasons to belong to a church even if you are not religious

If the mods care to move this thread they have my blessing. It’s about church, and GD seems to be where religious subjects are discussed, but the less-than-cosmic root (and non-debate format) of it suits it more for IMHO

I am not a religious man but I belong to a church and participate in its services. I do not wish to become involved in a discussion of this contradiction. I do not wish to become involved in a theological debate. Instead, I would like to give some reasons for belonging to a church and solicit more from you, the readers.

  1. The Babes Sermons get boring. The liturgy you can recite in your sleep. What’s to keep you awake except for a little admiration of God’s (if there is one or many or whatever) handiwork? Granted, I go to a Scandanavian church so I know where the Kristen Johnsons and Jeri Ryans and Nikki Coxes of the world come from. There were several in services today. Plus their moms. You want tall, blonde, and slender? Come to my church.

  2. They’ll house you in your dotage At some point you start thinking you might actually live long enough to end up in a nursing home. The homes I’ve been in run by religious groups are clean, the staff is nice, and they are relatively cheap for members.

  3. They’ll plant you Never underestimate the potential comfort for your loved ones when That Time comes. Most mainstream churches will help with your final needs and there’s a built-in support group.

  4. The People Shop around for a church with people who you can stand hanging around with. You might be stuck in a nursing home with them.

Any other reasons?

My church growing up had more than it’s fair share of blondes, but the majority were entirely focused on their future marriages, and once married they think only about kids. Well…they were kinda boring. You’d bring up current events, books, movies, whatever and their eyes would glaze over.

Make sure they actually care enough to maintain the cemetary though. My great, great grandparents were buried in a Catholic cemetary in New Mexico. We hunted for hours for their graves because the weeds were taller than the headstones. In other areas, headstones had fallen over and never been righted It was also poorly positioned at the base of the hill and the ground water run off had greated gullies and settled the ground unevenly. They had no plot map and we eventually had to have the ancient grave digger show us where to find the graves.

Now, that I’m done nitpicking, I’ll list why there is a reason to belong to a church. It’s a god place to feel like you’re part of the community. They generally accept anyone into their membership.

One of the main things I miss about being in a church are the service projects. I liked being a Secret Santa or doing yardwork for the elderly and house-bound.

Yeah, but what if it turns out that hypocrites are sent to a slightly lower circle of hell than honest atheists?

Seriously, whatever floats your boat. I presume we’re talking about some wussy mainstream Protestant church that probably prays “Our Parent Who art in heaven” and so on. The disadvantages of belonging to a really serious snake-handling, no-drinking-gambling-dancing-swearing-or-reading-dirty-magazines-for-the-articles, ten-percent-of-your-income-tithing, hellfire-and-brimstone, Bible-thumping fundamentalist church for any reason other than that you really believe that stuff seem fairly obvious. (Well, you probably do have to get up early on Sunday even for a non-snake-handling wishy-washy church.)

As for other reasons to go:
[list]
[li]Depending on what community you live in, belonging to some sort of church may be considered more respectable and socially acceptable than being a wild-eyed Communistic baby-killing Godless unpatriotic non-citizen atheist.[/li]
[li]There’s always Pascal’s Wager. Maybe I’m wrong about hypocrites frying in the ninth circle of hell. Maybe God is a Pharisee. “I don’t care what’s in your heart, just so long as you pay your Celestial Income Tax by planting your butt in a pew every Sunday.” I don’t buy this, but as the agnostics would point out, I can’t prove it’s wrong.[/li]
Another oft-heard argument is that “it’s great for the kids”, on the theory that it keeps them from growing up to be amoral wicked heathen scumbags and becoming obscenely wealthy through insider trading on the stock market. Personally, I don’t buy this one, but it is an argument people make a lot.

Well, DUH!!!

Actually, I’m not really that hypocritical and will get into a discussion with the pastor if provoked. There’s a difference between being hypocritical and trying to see the worth of a something I don’t entirely share. She tries. I keep my mouth shut, work at the service projects, and enjoy the feeling of community, which is the real reason I like it.

I’m glad this thread is pretty silly in nature.

I thought we were gonna get into the “go to church even though we don’t believe a lick of the supernatural stuff or even if there is a God just because we have kids and we can’t manage to instill any morality or ethics into the little bastards than with this Godhead I don’t really believe in” mentality here…


Yer pal,
Satan

*TIME ELAPSED SINCE I QUIT SMOKING:
Six months, one week, 35 minutes and 12 seconds.
7600 cigarettes not smoked, saving $950.12.
Extra time with Drain Bead: 3 weeks, 5 days, 9 hours, 20 minutes.

I slept with a moderator!*

FREE and cheap food. Churches are always having spaghetti dinners, fish fries, donuts and coffee socials, bake sales, etc etc. At least, us Catholic churches do.
Which bring us to another goodie-Gambling. Us Catholics LOVE to gamble. And as an added bonus, if it’s an Irish Catholic church, you can gamble and get drunk.

Seriously though, there’s this cookbook set available through WQED, the Pittsburgh PBS station, and it’s called Church Lady Recipes or something like that. And it’s a ton of money (pledges) for the set, but I want it. Those church ladies can COOK. All those good pierogie recipes and the BEST cookies I can remember from my childhood.

Yep, churches always have good food.
Except the communion wafers. What’s up with THAT? It’s like eating paper!

Well, if you happen to be a grad student applying for residency status at a North Carolina state university, one of the criteria they use to determine whether you’re a serious NC resident is whether you’ve joined a church down here. So going to church can save you about $5,000 a year.

On the other hand, NOT going to church can save your sanity. But if you’re in grad school, you probably didn’t have much of that to begin with.

And think of all the free booze and crackers you’ll get!

That’s crackers as in food, not parishioners.

Support you in your dotage?

I lost my job about six weeks ago {am happily re-employed now, thanks) For the entire month I was out of work, every time I saw Father Francis (usually about twice a week, I’m the cleaning committee) he would ask me, “Are you ok, do you need food, do you need money?”

I had enough socked away in the bank to hold me for a few weeks, so I didn’t really need the help, but another week or two and I would have. It’s really great belonging to a community that cares about you.

Now that I’ve gone Lutheran we don’t have the gambling and the drinking. I haven’t entirely gotten used to that.

Bbut, boy howdy, they can cook. My wife collects those books, which explains my rotundity. But there can be a certain reliance on the old reliables. I dropped my daughter off at a Polynesian pot-luck and I could smell the bloody Aloha meatballs (Swedish meatballs with pineapple chunks) in the parking lot. And they match the Jello molds to the color of the liturgical season–it’s after Pentecost, so they are green.

Parishoners bake our Eucharist bread. Whole wheat, goes well with the rather tasty Burgundy altar wine. Beats the hell out of the Muscatel of my youth. You ever smell that shit at 5:30AM mass?

And, Satan, I miss the supernatural stuff. Mainstream Protestant churches have some trouble recruiting us fallen Catholics because they aren’t weird enough. Lutherans are, well, they’re a cliche of boringness. But nice and cute.

When I was little, if you rode the church bus to and from services on Sundays, you got candy. Good candy! No Necco wafers here–I’m talking jawbreakers and Dino-sour eggs! That was all the reason I needed to get myself up on Sunday mornings!

Maybe you could find a really old-fashioned Lutheran ethnic church where the services are still held in Norwegian or something. That way, even the dullest Protestant sermon is transformed into something as incomprehensible and mysterious as an old Latin Mass.

Oh for God’s sake. You want church for the babes and the community and the spaghetti, but not the belief system, and you don’t have to be a hypocrite? What do you think God made Unitarians for?
(No kidding. My mother’s a Unitarian and she’s a total babe.)

Alright, dropzone, we’re in the same neighborhoodd. I gotta know where the church of the holy Swedish Bikini Team is. I might be driving 10 miles out of my way every Sunday!

beaker - I suspect he was speaking of a slightly different type of stimulation than mental.

Please substitute “intellectual” for “mental”.

business reasons, network with parishoners, get them to spend money with you. if you can put up with the boredom for the money.

Dal Timgar

You are all Unitarian Universalists!

{ahem}

Sorry.

Esprix

I can’t believe no one else is ragging Beaker about the amusing typo: “It’s a god place to feel like you’re part of the community.”

Anyway, that is NOT a commuinity I would ever feel a part of. It’s kind of like saying, “oh, so what if you’re black? The KKK has some great beer-bashes, just put on whiteface and they’ll never notice!”

Besides, I already have the spot I want my ashes dumped, and I have NO intention of winding up in a nursing home. Why do you think barbituates were invented?

At my church, Pascal calls the Bingo games! :wink:

Now you got me going serious, which I did not wish to do in this thread, but I believe you have exagerated to the point of being ludicrous. These are nice people who will not kill me because I don’t follow the party line. When I get them talking I find that they have their own questions.

My “wussy mainstream Protestant church” is politically liberal and socially involved. We are devoted to community service and have an administration working to make diversity mean more than getting Swedes to join with the Norwegians and Danes already there. Unfortunately, because the Evangelical Lutheran Church has a reputation for being so darned Nordic, we have that additional barrier to cross but we are working on it.

Because I do not believe that Jesus was God does not mean I do not value his philosophy. Lacking faith in any supreme being does not mean I cannot question the possibility of one. Maybe I’d be more appropriate as a Unitarian, but I like this one fine. If everybody I knew thought the same conversations would get pretty dull. But dull can be good, too. Eve, please do not underestimate how nice it can be to be in a non-competitive social situation sometimes. Nobody needs to prove they are smarter or wittier or faster or anything.

Dinsdale, the Norwegian Bikini Team is too young for either of us.