With or Without: Does It Make a Difference?

Following is a comment related to this posting by the Closet Atheist:

I’ve believed in God for years and not believed in God for years. It doesn’t seem to make any difference in how my life flows or how I perceive this world. Life is with or without this belief.

I drove by a church on my way to the bike path. I saw people walking into church. I had a thought that it’s weird that people need a man made structure and a man made day of the week to praise their creator. I was driving back from the bike path and watched the same people filing out of the same church. A thought came to me, ‘well, I hope you guys feel better.’ I felt better after rollerblading down the bike path..alive…blood pumping…sound of wind and birds and others smiling and walking. Their little respite from the world is to sit and listen to a preacher talk about God. Mine is different. I hope the way they filled that hour gave them the same joy as the way I chose to spend my hour. People can chose what they want until it becomes an obsession and they affect how others live.

How many of you can identify with this person’s comments?

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60 thoughts on “With or Without: Does It Make a Difference?

  1. I think it comes down to see and be seen idea. Church seems to be a lot about the social scene. For some that means how others are dressed, whose children are more behaved, who looks attentive and so much more. It is wanting others to see you doing things that in your group are impressive such as spending time talking with the preacher or the church board. What committees you are on and how much say they have. I think some part of it is gossip, and a church is a gossip center.

    There are those who are spiritual and do not engage in this see and be ween idea. Those who refresh and center themselves by walks in the woods, sitting on the dock, reading an uplifting book, or in exercising their bodies.

    I guess it is all about what you think the words church, worship, and spiritual really mean. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

      • Hello Mel. Been a while. You are a Pastor of a church correct? Forgive me for not remembering the church name or denomination. Have you have been in a leadership position in different churches in different areas? The reason I ask is can you add more to the “less admired” things that go on in churches in different areas. Does area tend to cause a rise in one kind of sniping or competition over another kind? Be well. Hugs

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        • Hi Scottie! Yes, I am a pastor of a church. And I ‘ve been in leadership in various churches and capacities over the last 30 years.

          I think the bigger detractor is people who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually following Christ. They are following their religious traditions, political agendas, or projecting on to God their anger, hatred, judgmentalism, etc. (This was even true in the Bible). As Pascal once said. “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”

          The negative sniping, etc., knows no geographical boundaries, but human brokenness always facilitates it.

          Jesus said we can summarize everything in Scripture by loving God and loving others as our self. The “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7) is what that looks like. But we seem to focus on other things. When we learn how to receive His love and give it away, all the other stuff gets worked out.

          Hugs and blessings back at you! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • @Mel

        I think the bigger detractor is people who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually following Christ.

        Christians not being religious and simply ”following” the character Jesus of Nazareth seems to me to be the new thing these days so I am curious, as one of the foremost commands of Jesus was the Great Commission how many Jews, Muslims and Hindus have you ”witnessed” to, Mel, and how many have you converted?( or at least caused to have pause for thought)
        I am aware of your dealings and the general reaction from atheists, but those who are followers of other faiths might seem, on the surface, to be the tougher nut to crack.

        Also, of those that disagreed with your position and rejected your testimony, what were the typical responses?
        I have never seen a response to these questions so I am interested to hear from as you as you are a professional.

        Ark

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        • @Ark
          “Christians not being religious and simply ”following” the character Jesus of Nazareth seems to me to be the new thing these days…”
          Actually, it’s an ancient thing. Christianity became a religion as we know it when Constantine claimed it for the Roman Empire. Following Christ means talking on His nature and doing what He says, letting Him heal the issues in our soul (unforgiveness, revenge, enemy hatred, greed, judgmentalism, etc.).

          As far as sharing with other faiths go, it would depend on how open they are to hearing my testimony. A Messianic Jewish (they believe in Jesus) friend of mine from Jerusalem stayed at my house the last few days. They share their faith in Israel with fellow Jews all the time, showing them from their Hebrew Scripture, that Yeshua (Christ) is their awaited Jewish Messiah. But receiving the Messiah doesn’t stop them from being Jews.

          I personally haven’t had a lot of opportunity to share with Muslims but have ministry friends who do. They share with them the Father’s love for them and have many receive Christ. I’ve personally had a few Muslims respond to our ministry for the same reason. They felt loved like never before. Again, leaving “religion” (including the Christian version) to follow Christ.

          But, in all cases, I want to honor what they believe and only share what they’re open to receiving.

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        • Surely following Christ is only possible from biblical interpretation and as it was the Roman Church that eventually compiled the bible, how can you trust what they included?

          But, in all cases, I want to honor what they believe and only share what they’re open to receiving.

          As their faiths flatly contradict your and in light of recent Islamic terrorism, how does honoring what they beleive sit with the way the character Jesus instructed his disciples to react to those who rejected the word?
          This seems to be in contradiction to what he commanded.

          Also, how did you manage to convince them that Christianity purports that the character Jesus was divine?

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        • What do you mean by the Bible? If you saying that they canonized certain letters later on, that’s true. But that’s not why it’s effective and trustworthy.

          Yes, other faiths flatly contradict the Bible, especially Jesus. But that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that I am honoring them as human beings who have infinite value to God and free will to choose or reject what I’m sharing with them. As it was with Jesus, it’s not my job to change their hearts or be open-minded. My job is to witness what I know. When followers rejected Jesus’ teachings, He moved on. He didn’t harass them or try to convince them against their will.

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        • For the sake of this chat we can stick to the New.
          So, I reiterate, as it was the Roman Church that eventually compiled the bible, how can you trust what they included? We know the gospels are anonymous for one thing and the names were added ( we can presume) by the Church at a considerably later date.

          ” …. I am honoring them as human beings …”
          Ah, honoring them as human beings sounds noble. Nothing wrong with this.

          ” …. who have infinite value to God …”
          Do you think they have less value to their god, in that case? How would you know one way or the other?

          My job is to witness what I know.

          You mean what you believe, of course, right?

          When followers rejected Jesus’ teachings, He moved on. He didn’t harass them or try to convince them against their will.

          So how do you respond to the claims that all those who reject his supposed teachings are doomed to Hell, in whichever interpretation each particular Christian sect follows?

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        • I will number my brief replies to your questions…
          1. On anonymous gospels and the “later date” theory, I know the arguments well. They can be reasonably refuted, although I can’t answer such a big subject in a comment section.

          2. No, they have the same value to God, regardless of what they decide. God assigned value to us before we were born with the incarnation and death of Christ. His love is unconditional, which means it has no conditions.

          3. Of course, I mean what I believe. That would be true for any position.

          4. “Doomed to hell” is a toxic religious term, more Dante’s Inferno than biblical revelation. Much of it based in misplaced literalism, not understanding the descriptive genre being employed. There are several viable positions on where one goes in the after-life rather than literally “burning in hell.” I seriously doubt that’s the right position. C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce” is a classic alternative.

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        • 1. On anonymous gospels and the “later date” theory, I know the arguments well. They can be reasonably refuted, although I can’t answer such a big subject in a comment section.

          There is not a genuine biblical scholar that does not acknowledge that the gospels are anonymous, so I am quite baffled why you would claim otherwise?
          At least offer a link that provides irrefutable evidence for your bizarre claim.

          2. No, they have the same value to God, regardless of what they decide. God assigned value to us before we were born with the incarnation and death of Christ. His love is unconditional, which means it has no conditions.

          I asked if they had less value to their god. So, once again, do consider they have less value to their god?

          3. Of course, I mean what I believe. That would be true for any position.

          You used the word ‘’know’’. Your belief is simply that; a belief and a belief it would be fair to say that so far, you have failed to provide any evidence for.

          4. “Doomed to hell” is a toxic religious term, more Dante’s Inferno than biblical revelation. Much of it based in misplaced literalism, not understanding the descriptive genre being employed. There are several viable positions on where one goes in the after-life rather than literally “burning in hell.” I seriously doubt that’s the right position. C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce” is a classic alternative.

          So if I understand your take, you consider that the notion of eternal damnation in a literal fiery place of torment is simply a work of fiction. So:
          1) How do you know this to be true?
          2) How do you know Lewis’s alternative is correct?
          3) How do you know that it is not all a work of fiction?

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  2. “How many of you can identify with this person’s comments?”

    I was a Christian for the better part of 50 plus years. I look back at it and have come to the realization that my church was more my social club than anything else. I belong to other social clubs/networks now and experience as much if not more happiness than I ever did attending church. I’ve also become more responsible and self-reliant now that I realize there isn’t anyone to swoop down and fix things for me.

    Yes life does go on whether you are a religious person or not. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • ‘ I look back at it and have come to the realization that my church was more my social club than anything else.’

      This is the part of Christianity I miss. But not all churches are like this, some are quite toxic. A friend of mine developed a ministry to people who had been hurt by churches but still wanted to remain Christian.

      In my case I miss my Church family, they were nice folk.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “I had a thought that it’s weird that people need a man made structure and a man made day of the week to praise their creator. I was driving back from the bike path and watched the same people filing out of the same church. A thought came to me, ‘well, I hope you guys feel better.’ I felt better after rollerblading down the bike path..alive…blood pumping…sound of wind and birds and others smiling and walking.”

    I would say both are beneficial. Belonging to a “church” family is just that…a family. We come together to encourage one another and learn how to walk in other-centered, self-giving love in relationship. At least it’s supposed to be that way. Unfortunately, some are toxic because unhealthy people will spiritualize their dysfunction. But dismissing it as a “man made structure” is just a straw man…irrelevant. We who believe don’t go to or leave God at “church” buildings. We believe He’s in us and with us wherever we go, whether we’re hiking in the woods, rollerblading, helping out our neighbors, or any other means of enjoying life together.

    Jesus’ teachings were to make us fully human, not mean-spirited, religious, and judgmental. But those who believe aren’t the only ones with these relational issues.

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    • @ Mel

      We believe He’s in us and with us wherever we go,

      Exactly how do you know this to be true, and how would you discern the difference from this being a reality and not simply a self-induced delusion?

      Deconverts will all tell you this is simply a version of ‘wishful-thinking or simply make-believe – excuse the crudity, I can think of no other example at present.

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      • Your question is a loaded one, Ark. I know you don’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science or biology, which means it must be confined inside of time and space. That’s a bit myopic in my view. We now know that the whole cosmos intricately connected together at a quantum level, and that there are at least 8-10 dimensions that exist outside of time and space. This is a non-material reality that cannot be directly measured or analyzed. The best we can do is infer based on its interaction with matter.

        So, my question, why would it then be unreasonable to believe in a “reality” outside of our material world? And if this is possible, why can’t there be some intelligent being, or phenomenon that is “supernatural” in this regard?

        To answer your question, I have confirmation of my relationship with God in many ways. The inner transformation of my heart, attitude, disposition, confirmation of things I thought I heard from God by others. The general feeling of well-being directly related to my personal relationship with God. I’ve also seen people physically healed and emotionally healed with no apparent explanation. I could go on but that’s the gist of it.

        You can certainly dismiss all of this I suppose and create your alternate ontology…mine is just chemicals, delusions, shared-hallucinations, coincidences, etc. But at some point it becomes absurd when you weigh all the circumstantial evidence, the pervasiveness and persistence of this “shared delusion.” And explaining it away with chemicals, neurons, still doesn’t change anything. The biological reaction doesn’t explain the reality of relationship, whether human or otherwise. The question becomes, are we just a bag of chemicals, or is there something more going on? I think the latter is a better explanation.

        But again, if you’ve already dismissed the possibility of a non-material reality, the question cannot be answered to your satisfaction. The argument is set up to keep you from ever agreeing with a “non-local” reality.

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        • You know, I once felt I had the “reality” of the relationship you speak of, but then one day I realized, as the person who left the comment, that there is so much more joy, peace, and contentment in the “real” reality than the one Christianity promotes.

          To each his own, I suppose. Some prefer to live in a “feel good” world while others prefer the real thing, warts and all.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Not sure what you mean by the “real thing,” Nan. It sounds a bit subjective.

          I can live with the warts and all of life with joy because this joy neither denies nor depends on life circumstances.

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        • “there is so much more joy, peace, and contentment in the “real” reality than the one Christianity promotes.”

          Well said, Nan. As well meaning as Mel may be, he degrades and devalues the dignity of humanity every time he gives his cultural god credit. Mel simply didn’t believe he was capable of becoming more humane on his own (gee, I wonder where he learned that from?), so he used his god belief. A placebo. Like you said, to each his/her own, but while he may personally benefit, I think he does a great disservice to the psyche of humanity in the long run.

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        • So, my question, why would it then be unreasonable to believe in a “reality” outside of our material world? And if this is possible, why can’t there be some intelligent being, or phenomenon that is “supernatural” in this regard?

          What I believe is immaterial, and I am not saying there is no possibility of your non material reality I am simply asking how you are able to discern the difference between the veracity of your claim and a self induced delusion?
          More to the point, as many, many former believers were in exactly the same reality as you are currently in how do explain their deconversion?

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        • Ark, I cannot speak for former believers why they chose to leave the faith. But my point is, it’s not unreasonable to believe in God, given what we’re finding out about our “reality.”

          I think part of the problem is that Christians are typically taught what to think in churches instead of taught how to think. So, when they read compelling alternative views, it shakes their faith. There’s also bad theology that doesn’t provide explanatory scope and abusive experiences, etc.

          My non-material reality? We pretty much know there is one from Quantum physics. And, again, my question to you is, why would some shared delusion experienced by millions of people be a better explanation than that there may be some truth to what they believe? As I said, at some point it begins to sound a bit unreasonable, even though it’s not measured in some lab.

          And why do you take non-material answers off the table when looking for an answer. Again, that’s a bit myopic to me. You should at least allow for the possibility.

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        • Ark, I cannot speak for former believers why they chose to leave the faith. But my point is, it’s not unreasonable to believe in God, given what we’re finding out about our “reality.”

          For the sake of our chat I will admit it isn’t unreasonable and we may find out that you are spot on the money.
          My question is, how do you know and how do you discern the difference between the supposed veracity of your claim and a self-induced delusion?
          It would be much easier to navigate if you simply answered this question directly.
          Thanks.

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        • Ark, you like to pull the “answer me directly” response, but you have asked me many different questions here; most I have already answered directly.

          And you have not directly answered my question: how you account for millions of people sharing this supposed shared delusion over many centuries? Is it honestly reasonable to dismiss them all as deluded? And if you say superstitions can persist, why does this still persist in the “Modern” world,” in spite of what we now know. And don’t say it’s because of ignorance either, because I’m not ignorant of the criticism against it, neither are millions of other people who believe.

          If we were trying to prove someone’s guilt or innocence in a trial, we wouldn’t do this by concluding beyond all possibility of doubt, but beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, we can find it to be reasonably true. If we applied what you’re asking me to do equally to anything else in ancient history, none of it would pass your veracity test.

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        • Ark, you like to pull the “answer me directly” response, but you have asked me many different questions here; most I have already answered directly.
          And you have not directly answered my question: how you account for millions of people sharing this supposed shared delusion over many centuries?

          Childhood indoctrination is one answer, Culture another – one reason you are Christian and not Muslim – and any deconvert will attest to this.

          Is it honestly reasonable to dismiss them all as deluded? And if you say superstitions can persist, why does this still persist in the “Modern” world,” in spite of what we now know. And don’t say it’s because of ignorance either, because I’m not ignorant of the criticism against it, neither are millions of other people who believe.

          I offered two examples in the first response. There are others, no doubt. Victoria is more qualified to give you the neurological reasons.

          If we were trying to prove someone’s guilt or innocence in a trial, we wouldn’t do this by concluding beyond all possibility of doubt, but beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, we can find it to be reasonably true. If we applied what you’re asking me to do equally to anything else in ancient history, none of it would pass your veracity test.

          Again you seem to be skirting the issue and unlike a trial we have no hard evidence to work with, only belief. So, as I am prepared to acknowledge the possibility of alternate realities and you are asserting the absolute veracity of your claims therefore my question still stands: how do you know and how do you discern the difference between the supposed veracity of your claim and a self-induced delusion?
          Are you now prepared to offer an honest open answer this time?
          Thanks

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Mel. Do you think the God you feel this power / presence from has to be the only God? Could you reconcile that god with the many other entities that people have also had those feelings about? I was wondering, could your faith in your god and your personal connection to that god let you throw away the bible? Can you base your view of god on your perception you experience? The reason I ask is not to belittle your belief or to be a dick to you. See what you described is how my pagan friends tell me they know that there is an energy force in the universe. Some describe that energy as intelligent. Some think that energy is a multiple energy with different aspects. The ones I know base all this on the same things you said you base your belief on. Plus they even have holy texts and leaders, but as always you have subset of interpretations and views. As with Christians not all Pagans believe the same things, nor follow the same spiritual paths. Thanks. Hugs

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        • Fair questions, Scotty. Certainly, feelings can be attributed to lots of things. And that includes the possibility that this is how we were designed. Sometimes, the differences may be like the story of everyone looking at the same elephant from different perspectives.

          My short response would be, what’s the reasonable answer, considering every possibility (including non-material)? And even if it’s an “energy force,” we have to include answering the questions: what started it all, why was it started, and why are we here? And doesn’t the evidence imply that this energy force is intelligent?

          Science and biology cannot answer these questions. Like I said in the other comments, to me it seems a bit like a bunch of carpenters trying to fix a plumbing problem.

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        • Yes but your “joy” is dependent upon some invisible entity that you have “faith” in (e.g., feel in your soul/heart) but can never see or hear, whereas mine is based on the way the world presents itself to me from day-to-day.

          Mel, believe me, I know where you’re coming from. But once you realize (if you ever do) that you’re living in an airy-fairy world that has no true substance, perhaps you will understand why we simply shake our heads in amazement that seemingly intelligent individuals live by such wishful thinking.

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        • Nan, with all due respect. I don’t think you do know where I’m coming from. I know where this joy comes from, just like I know it from my relationship with my wife. The point is, it’s not unreasonable to believe in God.

          I have read your book and know that you had what you thought were genuine experiences with God, and I believe they probably were. I know most, if not all, the arguments you addressed, like from the Jesus-myth people and every other line of skepticism. I have investigated these positions and I found them wanting. It’s not just wishful thinking. Faith has substance, although not a material one.

          But, again, as I told Ark, if you dismiss the possibility of non-material answers, I have no basis of answering your questions to your satisfaction.

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        • I have investigated these positions and I found them wanting. I guess we’re at an impasse because I could say the same about your position.

          I guess we all have to do whatever helps us get through this life. For some, it’s trusting/believing in a “non-material” entity. For others, like myself, it’s accepting … and enjoying … the world as I see and experience it.

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        • Nan, I never doubted we are at an impasse about these things. 🙂 I’m just trying to explain why I don’t agree with your conclusions (as much as these brief replies allow).

          And my faith doesn’t disallow me from enjoying the world as I see it, it only enhances it (in my opinion, of course). So I don’t see any reason to deny it.

          And I DO appreciate your gracious attitude and making me feel welcome here. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Nan, I have stated this on another blog but in my own case, it’s absolutely true that I recognized the social status of attending the church I was a member of, for 30-plus years. I know it makes me sound like a hypocrite but it’s one of the things I readily admit to. I can certainly still see the appeal – there’s no question that it’s used as a credibility ‘flag’.
    Now? I experience joy in lots of other ways and do not miss the responsibility of all those committees. 🙂

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    • I hear ya’ Carmen. Church life can most certainly draw a person in. In fact, I would daresay a large percentage of church-goers are Christian in name only. For many, it’s the social and status appeal (depending on the person) that plays a major role in weekly attendance. Certainly, there’s no denying that some hear the “call of God” but once they become part of the “family,” I can’t help but wonder how big a role the “giving love” that Mel talks about really plays.

      In any case, for me, “without” has brought much more peace, joy, and contentment to my life.

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    • Carmen I find it frustrating when people want to deal in absolutes. Most things I come across in life have upsides and downsides, religion (in my opinion) is no different. There were both positive and negative aspects to me experience of religion.

      It was not negative experiences that caused my to deconvert it was simply I concluded it was not true.

      At times I have considered rejoining religion purely to regain the social network.

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      • Agreed, Peter. I still see my friends who attend my former church – they are wonderful people and I have nothing but respect for them. I just find it impossible to attend, feeling the way I do. I think I said once before that I now cannot repeat the Lord’s Prayer at funerals . . . it just seems such a dishonest thing for me to do.

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      • There’s something else I wonder, Peter. How many of those folks really believe everything the minister says . . . or if they just want to ‘belong’. I pass no judgement on them; I just couldn’t do it anymore.

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  5. Nan, I think you and Carmen touched on a big reason why religion is still so appealing. It provides community, togetherness, and structure to the uneasiness of living in a very imperfect world. Its great weakness, however, is that it’s built upon false premises. Reality will crash down on everyone’s party no matter how vigorously one tries to avoid it. That’s when problems arise.

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  6. The only thing church has going for it is the social appeal. Church was social media way before we had social media.

    But damn all that noise. I have no desire to rub elbows with a bunch of uppity, holier than thou (or trying to be), judgemental, nice to your face and stab you in the back when you ain’t looking types, and hypocrites.

    That’s before you really get to know them and see how they act at home when other chuchies aren’t around. The entire church thing is a put on. Play acting. Who looks better, who acts better, who knows their babble verses better than anybody else. There are good ole boy perks to being in the system too. They base their existence on who are “good x-ians” and look to hire those people for all jobs big and small. (Religious nepotism.) I actually met a guy who really puts on the good x-ian show just for that reason. On his own time he is anything but. Hey, he stays busy…

    There might be a few people, and I have them met in my years, who take their religion to heart and try to be good god loving people without all of the put on, the hypocrisy, and do a good job of it. Those few, I tip my hat in respect. The others not so much.

    To answer your question, yes very much so 🙂 I can easliy think of 1000 things I’d rather be doing, and enjoy, than spending my time at the church theatre.

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  7. Going to church was never a respite, and it certainly never involved just an hour, unless you were a bench warmer. That’s not to say that I didn’t have times where I enjoyed the community it provide (if you played by the rules), but being an active member was exhausting, especially if you were a woman.

    Sabbath rest? LOL

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  8. Over the last 10-15 years I have come to realize that why and how the “help” comes to those in need isn’t as important as GETTING the help there and done simply for the sake of common basic humane altruism!

    With neverending immediate humane issues, needs, problems, disease, catastrophies, psychological dysfunctions within & from familial dysfunctions, and social dysfunctions, constantly all over the world, there is TRULY no time, let alone no need, for superstitious beliefs or folklore about a deity that has not done and still does not do anywhere NEAR ENOUGH to reduce the human suffering or constant need of direct or immediate actions of relief by other “more fortunate” humans and their simple goodness. Simple acts of kindness, caring, and giving do NOT require any invisible unknowable “God” or savior. Period. Act!!! The Abrahamic churches have obviously not done anywhere near enough for the last 2,000 – 3,000 years… and that is still the case today.

    Lose the arrogance of needing to explain your “source” of your goodness, kindness, and servitude and just DO IT… humbly… for those in dire and great need! Stop wasting so much time and so many resources! This person’s comment demonstrates that wasting time worshiping a questionable existing loving deity does NOTHING for all the immediate needs of the globe, your continent, your nation, region, state, or municipality.

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      • A very apropos video-clip Victoria! Thank you. 🙂

        Those 4-mins bring up some great controversial topics, huh. How old is the character Beneatha Younger in that scene? Over 18? When should she have the right to believe what she chooses? Can those beliefs peacefully coexist with her mother’s beliefs… “in her house (of God)?” Was it really necessary to slap her (adult?) daughter over an unproven (fictional?) idea? Do ‘believers‘ do more than slap others when they are different than themselves, when they have different life and world-views? Or in this case, different forms of self-expression? Does orthodoxy make something or an idea TRUE!?

        What was/is your spin on this video-clip relative to my above comment Victoria? I’m very curious. 🙂

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        • While I was writing my first comment, I was thinking about adding additional thoughts, but didn’t as I was concerned it might be seen as OT. Then you came along and wrote what I had been thinking. Lol The clip, starting at the 1:27 minute marker depicts this attitude that is still strong in our culture and current political climate. The mama character prided herself in taking her children to church, then used physical violence and shaming tactics after her daughter gave credit where credit was due — humanity.

          To tie this into the OP — mama’s belief became an obsession and it affected how others lived.

          “Don’t say it told you to tell people what to do with their lives. But most of all, don’t give away our dignity!” Phil Hellenes

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        • Great analysis, interpretation, and elaboration Victoria! ❤

          If I may, I'd like to expound on your bit "…her daughter gave credit where credit was due — humanity.” Giving credit for simple empirical actions/origins is more than sufficient. It is for and based in pure survival and betterment “by humanity” (as you rightly point out) and as presented by the raw empirical data, by Nature… on the cellular level… not theory, not fiction, not magic, and not folklore. And by the way, that “Nature and Humanity” are everyones responsibility and workshop, equally, and the global cumulative scientific consensus has jurisdiction, not continental, national, or regional orthodoxies.

          That’s my humble opinion. 😛 Love the Hellenes quote Victoria. Spot on!

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        • One thing I know is that with the slap and forcing her to say words she did not believe, the mother lost a good measure of the daughters love and respect. many of us have been forced to repeat words or even actions we did not agree with or mean. We all know how we felt about that. Has any child forced to say “I’m sorry” really feel sorry? But they will be angry at the fact they are helpless to fight back against the one that is making them do it, and that will breed great anger. Hugs

          Liked by 2 people

        • You are correct Scottie. Much needed human critical-thinking skills not only apply to everything external in one’s life, but equally as much to self, internally. Pure statistics can elucidate and assist in this self-recognition reality: You are 1 person, 1 brain, 1 system of emotions, hormones, and cognition out of approx. 7.5 billion on this planet within some 8.7 million other species on this planet. Learning and FULLY understanding how to be the BEST contributing collaborating 1/7,500,000,000 part of the Superorganism within all the other moving parts… would be EXTREMELY wise. But you DO indeed have a part to provide! This can never be done in a closed monistic system. Period.

          Liked by 1 person

        • What a wonderful idea and image you mentioned. “…part of the Superorganism within all the other moving parts…”. I so love this. THink how true it was when we were small groups in the distant tribe trying to survive against all dangers. We had to be one group, one team, organism. I bet at the time they thought of the members as family. Now we are spread out and have smaller tribal unions, as small as only two people called couples. I think that causes people to stop working together and work against others for their own betterment. They don’t realize the betterment of the whole organism is far superior ways for all to prosper. I think we could slash crime and negative behaviors, even racism if we stop the them vrs us way of thinking. Instead endorse and promote the idea that every single entity, every person is only as well as the least.

          Sorry I have not thought out ways to promote or implement this understanding. Many right now would laugh at it, and others would see no benefit to themselves. But I love the idea because it can then be extended to the whole planet step by step. Oh well, I think it is just a dream, a daydream. But it is a grand one. Think of the community here, how we support and help each other, talk about important things, include all education levels. IF we could extend this idea of community, family to encompass more people, I think it would stop many negative impulses we humans have to the “others”. Hugs

          Liked by 1 person

        • Unfortunately, Scottie, the world left the “one group, one team” outlook a long time ago. It’s painfully obvious in today’s world it’s me first and maybe you second.

          And while there will undoubtedly be some who disagree, I’ve found those who are NOT believers are more likely to agree with you that “the betterment of the whole organism is far superior.” IOW, they consider all people, not just those who are part of the “inner (Christian) circle.”

          Your example of the online community is excellent, as is your suggestion (dream) that this could be extended to all people. Sadly, I’m afraid the die is cast. And, unfortunately, it’s being reinforced daily by the selfish, self-absorbed actions of our “leader.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, you are correct Nan. I realized it as soon as I got halfway through my comment and found I had no idea on how to accomplish what I was thinking of. The truth seems to be we have becomes islands in a vast sea, occasionally making a bridge to one or more other island. However even with the bridge(s) we never lose our bounders of our own islands. Or few of us do. But I wonder if those who are so sure in their own isolation are as happy as those who build big wide bridges to as many islands as the can? Hugs

          Like

    • Hello Professor you always manage to get right to the heart of a matter. Helping others has to come from the person, as it has repeatedly been shown prayer doesn’t do or help at all. As Ricky Gervais said when everyone was praying for the victims in Oklahoma, and he replied he felt like an idiot as he only sent money. I think if you are helping people to be seen helping people it is the only to boost your own ego or popularity. Hey sally and sue, look at me I am pushing this person’s wheelchair. Yes I am banging him in the wall and going on constantly over my problems to him, but I am still the best right? I once read that gratitude is a tunic that chafes and smells if worn too long. Another way of saying it is do not hold your helping someone over them forever they will start to hate it and you. Plus you are a total ass for reminding everyone of the thing you did at the expense of the self esteem of the person you helped. Thanks again Professor. Hugs

      Liked by 4 people

  9. You ended by asking if anyone can identify with this person’s comments, and I can relate. I’ve struggled in my faith and church in the past, and I still struggle with church in the present from time to time. I used to go out of obligation, but now I attend out of desire. It’s a family and with any family there are ups and downs even within God’s family. Thank you for sharing. I appreciated your perspective. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Each of us has to decide for ourselves what makes life flow the smoothest. As for me (and many of my followers/readers), I tend to enjoy life much more without any god(s). But to each his own.

      Thank you, ATG, for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you will visit again and perhaps participate in some of our more “livelier” discussions. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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