Church on Sunday

I rarely go out on Sunday as it’s my self-designated day for washing and cleaning. And besides, most stores are closed. But yesterday was different because I needed a couple of ingredients for our Sunday dinner so I hopped in the car and headed for the grocery store. As it so happened, my chosen route took me past a church.

On my first pass-by, I didn’t think much about it except to notice the parking lot was only semi-full (it was still early). However, on my way back, things had changed and cars were everywhere and anywhere that a parking spot was allowed.

As I continued my way towards home, I thought back to my “church-going” days. It took a bit of digging through my memory banks as it’s been a very long time since I walked through the doors of a church. And even as memories came to the surface, they were fuzzy and ill-defined. Mostly I remembered greeting my “brothers and sisters” before service started (which I always enjoyed).

But the songs … prayers … sermons? None of those memories ever materialized. Perhaps because they no longer hold any significance for me. Perhaps because I now find such things irrelevant and unnecessary.

Then my thoughts turned to the idea of a “God.” And I mused over why so many people feel a belief in same is so important. I looked up at the sky and thought to myself … what is the need behind the idea that some unseen entity exists somewhere “up there?”

Then I took my thoughts a bit further and asked myself … could “something” really exist somewhere in the cosmos? Is there truly some kind of invisible force that interacts with humans? And more specifically … at their request?

It didn’t take but a moment or two for me to answer my self-imposed questions. 🙂

Christian Intimidation

Not too long ago, I asked an interior designer to give me her thoughts on updating my bathroom. (Side note: She offered some great ideas which I’m currently implementing.)

As she was getting ready to leave, we shared a bit of chit-chat at the door. For some reason, our conversation turned to religion and I asked her if she attended church. I immediately sensed her discomfort as she replied no, and then quickly began giving me reasons why she didn’t.  When she finished, I assured her that I didn’t attend either and she visibly seemed more at ease. We then went on to have a discussion on why we chose to be non-believers.

After she left, I pondered her reaction. Why was she so uncomfortable with the question? Did she feel guilty that she wasn’t a church-goer? Did she think perhaps I was a Christian and and would start “witnessing” to her?  Probably a little of both.

A few weeks after this incident, as I thought more about what happened, I wondered why it is that non-believers so often feel intimidated by Christians. In my mind, this should not happen. We are all individuals and we each have a right to believe (or not believe) what we choose. Instead, because this nation has become so indoctrinated by Christianity, anyone who even remotely indicates they are not a believer is suspect. Perhaps not openly, but the air around them definitely changes.

Contrary to what Christians are taught, Christianity is NOT the be-all, end-all religion. Of course, trying to convince the faithful of this fact is a fruitless endeavor. They have been so brainwashed (yes, that’s what I said) by over two-thousand years of dogma and doctrine that they are unable to see any version of the world outside of theirs. It’s sad, really. Especially when you hear or read of individuals who are down on themselves simply because they feel they aren’t living up to the standards “the church” has placed upon them.

I lived in the Christian world for over 15 years and, contrary to what one person commented on this blog, I was a “spirit-filled” Christian who took what the Bible said very seriously. For me, everything written within its pages was true and right.  And I firmly believed anyone who didn’t see things this way was headed for a world of hurt.

Today, however, I am no longer a part of that world — and there has not been one day that I have regretted my decision to leave. Why? Because there are no words to describe the freedom, the happiness, the pure joy of living that I have enjoyed since I made my “escape.”

Help Out the Poor Pastor – Are You Kidding Me?

Today I came across a blog posting entitled, “10 Creative Ways to Honor Your Pastor” (written by a pastor, of course). It listed such things as providing dinner for a full week, assisting with home chores (landscaping, painting, handyman tasks, etc.), washing the car and filling it with gas, buying gifts for the kids, financing a vacation, sending notes and letters of appreciation, plus a couple of other things.

I was amazed. When many people today are barely able to put food on the table, their pastor is asking for dinners? When individuals are spending their days out looking for work, their pastor is asking them to take time out and  mow his/her lawn? When families are simply trying to makes ends meet, their pastor is asking them to put gas in his/her car or buy gifts for the kids? And to ask financially strapped church members to pay for the pastor’s vacation? Such a request is simply beyond belief!

But what I found even more amazing is that this writer/pastor felt the need to post these requests on the internet!

Things I Never Learned in Sunday School

NanCover-ebookIt’s finally done! The book I’ve been writing for the past five years has finally come to fruition and is now available in both paperback and Kindle format through Amazon. Other eBook formats are also offered through Barnes & Noble, Kobobooks, Sony eBookstore, et al.

During my years in the Christian faith, I accepted what was taught in Sunday School and church without question. It wasn’t until I left the church that I began to investigate the history behind many popular Christian beliefs … with surprising results (i.e., things are not always as they seem).

In this book I challenge readers to go ‘outside the box’ and investigate what they believe. It is not a task for the faint of heart because it could very well mean discovering things that are in direct contrast to what you have been taught. On the other hand, it could result in a spiritual rebirth.

Some may find the contents of this book unsettling, but I believe you will find it difficult to put it down until the very end.

Visit my “Escape From Religion” blog for more details, book excerpts, and how to order your copy (at reduced pricing) of “Things I Never Learned in Sunday School: Facts about the Christian faith that will surprise and astound you.”

Afterlife Insurance

In a recent conversation with a friend, we got on the subject of religion. He commented that his parents attend church every Sunday (except for occasional sleep-ins), but he’s never heard them talk about God or Jesus, nor do they read their bible, say ‘grace,’ or demonstrate any other spiritual behavior. He wondered aloud why they even bother going.

I would venture to say this describes a large percentage of church-goers. They wouldn’t miss a Sunday service, yet any thought about God is absent from their lives the rest of the week … UNLESS they experience some type of situation where they want/need God to step in. Then prayer and supplication enter the picture. (Oh God! Please help!)

But praying to God doesn’t require church attendance, so what’s going on?

In my opinion, it has to do with the underlying concern (fear?) about what happens after one dies. Christianityafterlife.jpg has long taught there are only two things that can take place (possibly three if you’re Catholic) … you either go to heaven or you end up in hell.

Because hell has gained such an infamous reputation over the centuries, most people want to make sure they have plenty of “Afterlife Insurance” to guarantee them a spot in heaven. Church attendance helps make the payments.

It’s rather sad that Christianity has indoctrinated people with so much fear about what happens after death. Instead of living for and enjoying the present moment, they feel pressed to perform certain actions, rituals, and sacrifices to satisfy what they believe are God’s requirements for a ‘heavenly afterlife.’

The undeniable truth is we don’t KNOW what will happen when we die. And after-death experiences are not de facto proof of anything. So why not focus on today and let tomorrow take care of itself? (Even Jesus taught this.)