I’m genuinely curious about this one. All year long, certain Facebook friends and people I know from a variety of places make it clear in one way or another that they consider themselves christian. I know the vast majority of them do not attend church regularly, but seeing as how Christmas is the big deal holiday for them, why aren’t they attending Christmas Eve or Christmas services? I was out earlier and saw sparse church lot after sparse church lot. Perhaps those lots will be full in the morning, but if previous years are any indication, they won’t be as full as they “should” be. So why is that?
Christmas and Easter are usually the holidays that such Christians actually DO go to church. In fact, a lot of “good” Christians who go to church regularly get upset with people who go specifically only on Christmas and Easter, so maybe that’s why the others aren’t going.
Because it is inconvenient.
Seriously, my father was an ordained minister with a congregation for a couple of decades. Inconvenience was high on the list. Interferring with football game live coverage was also a major factor (sub set of that inconvenience thing).
They don’t want to suffer the cold stares from those who attend church year round.
I know quite a few people who identify as Christian but don’t go to church regularly, or don’t belong to a church at all and never go - and only one that does (as an atheist, I respect her commitment to her faith a bit more, I admit.) Of the non-church-going ones, I get the impression it’s more how they were raised and they’re sort of apathetic - not willing to take a stance or really live life according to Biblical values or whatever, but not willing to take the step of declaring themselves apatheists/agnostics/atheists.
Is belonging to a church, or attending regularly, a necessary part of being a Christian?
All of the ones I personally know are going tonight for the night service.
A lot of your Catholic friends are probably planning to go to “Midnight Mass”: Christmas Eve - Wikipedia
Obviously that might be one reason that you’re not seeing the full church parking lots, because they’re doing the services at a special time.
I live near a Catholic Church, and you can’t park anywhere near my house right now. It’s never like that on a regular Sunday or late Saturday.
The church I attended growing up did not have services either Christmas Eve or Christmas unless it was a Sunday. All the religious observances would happen the Sunday before Christmas and the holiday was for family.
I’m not actually sure what “being a Christian” means to people. The ones I encounter don’t behave any differently than the atheists I know. I just think I’d feel silly talking about being a member of a certain religion, taking the “moral” stance on issues, etc., and then not bother to attend church. If it’s that important to a person, it seems like they’d go. This sort of shit is why a lot of us look at religious people as hypocrites. They’re all talk.
I agree with all of this, especially the bolded part.
Well, for starters, there’s believing in God and that he sent Jesus to die for the sins of mankind?
Some Christians think that regular church attendance is essential, others don’t.
Yes, because going to church is somehow a requirement for having a belief system. :rolleyes:
Do you want to know why Christians behave a certain way, or do you want to sit back and throw shit at us and judge us?
I tried to phrase it as respectfully as possible. Again, I don’t know what being a Christian entails for most people, that’s why I’m asking. It’s not exactly news that a lot of people do not practice what they preach. I’d like to know why.
But that belief is the easy part (I suppose.) People can believe - or claim to beleive - all sorts of things, but aren’t we more defined by our actions, or don’t actions matter as much as belief?
What about trying to avoid the seven deadly sins, (Most people fail at several of those, Christian or not) not casting the first stone, loving thy neighbor, etc? In other words, living and behaving in ways laid out by scripture.
Because, if I get what Indygrrl is saying, many or most self-identified Christians are fairly unabashed about violating at least several of the seven sins (hello, gluttony and envy - I know a husband and wife pastor of a Baptist church who are both obese and live in a ginormous McMansion - not very Christ-like but what do I know); lie, cheat and steal with the best of us and don’t in general seem to be particularly more Christ-like or virtuous or generally better people than people who claim to be non-religious.
So actually belonging to a church or fellowship is irrelevant, but simply professing belief in God and that he sent Jesus to die for the sins of mankind is enough?
Is that necessarily so? Easter is often considered a more important festival - to the point that Puritans in England during the Commonwealth period banned the celebration of Christmas. Religious observances on days other than Sunday was considered Popish.
So, don’t assume that all Christians put the same weight on Christmas services, and that failure to attend a Christmas services is somehow a mark of insincerity - it depends on their particular theology.
There are an awful lot of different ways to be Christian, so it’s not like it’s going to be the same across the board.
Oh yeah, about the Christmas thing. Unless it’s on Sunday, my church does not hold services on Christmas itself because the family is considered to be more important. Presumably you would be doing devout things at home. We don’t have a particular doctrinal need to attend a special service on the day, though others do, and I think that’s nice. We’ll be going to church tomorrow, though the usual 3-hour meeting (with Sunday School and all) is cut down to just the main 1-hour service.
How would you expect to see me behave in daily life that would mark me as a Christian? I am curious.
I’ll apologise for coming dangerously close to threadshitting above - amen to this and a merry, safe and happy Christmas to everyone who is celebrating it.
Very true. Easter is the big Christian festival, and Christmas is not as important. It’s just that modern culture took it and ran with it.
Perhaps I should have put this in Great Debates so we can get into this, because I am curious about the same things. Not to make it all political, but we’re always hearing conservatives go on about their faith, then behaving in ways that directly contradict it. It’s pretty simplistic to just assume all religious people are big time hypocrites, and even as jaded as I am I want to believe there’s more to it than that.
I grew up with my Quaker grandma, who lived her life very much like what was talked about in church. Unfortunately, I haven’t known very many Christians like my grandma. It’s hard to understand what the point is in declaring yourself Christian if you aren’t at least going to attempt to live a “Christ-like” life. It’s kind of bleak to think that people are only paying lip service to it because of a fear of hell, rather than because they actually have faith and believe in the bible.