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Paranoid Android

What I learnt at church today!

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My church is full of lovely people too.

And yet people who are just as Catholic as we are were responsible for throwing babies down wells in Ireland.

Does the good disprove the evil or visa versa?

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I refer your 'red' statement to the present situation in parts of the Middle East.....

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I noticed in the States, and apparently this is also so in Australia, that one cannot find friendship and society outside church. That is too bad. There is nothing, mind you, about friendly people in a church, and one should always greet newcomers to whatever (even to a local Communist Party meeting), but surely that is not what going to church is really about.

I think all ideologies, including religions, do a lot of good.

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Anyway, this morning's service was a breath of fresh air in my life. I hadn't realised how much I missed going to church until I got there. Everyone was friendly, very helpful folk, salt of the earth type folk. As always, when visiting a church for the first time I chose to sit silently in a corner saying nothing, to gauge how "cliquey" the church is (some churches are so like that, that a newcomer is virtually ignored by all but the pastor, and I see that as a sign of a very insular church). I had barely a moment of silence as person after person greeted me warmly and asked me about my life, among the most friendly welcomes I've ever received at a new church.

They're just preparing you for the Wicker ceremony. They like their sacrifices to go willingly! :innocent::P

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Im glad they made you feel welcome and im happy that you have faith and a belief.

But surely, to criticise a persons none belief in a subject makes you and them equal, or to put it another way, as bad as each other?

Im certainly not a 'charlie church' and dont read a bible, the only verse i can resite is from pulp fiction, I certainly dont want jehovah's witness' or, as ive noticed recently, young american men and women who like nothing more to knock on my front door and 'discuss' how my life would be better by listening to the word of god.

Sceptics do the same to believers that believers do to sceptics.

Live and let live is important when it comes to religion.

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Posted (edited)

Hi all, there are a few replies made, and to save on space and spam, I'll address it within this single post instead of making four or five individual posts.

My church is full of lovely people too.

And yet people who are just as Catholic as we are were responsible for throwing babies down wells in Ireland.

Does the good disprove the evil or visa versa?

I don't think it is either. If it does prove or disprove anything it's the idea that religion is a tool, not a curse, and that how it is used determines its usefulness. We should no more eradicate religion for extremist violence than we should eradicate science because it brought us the Atom Bomb (among other things).

I refer your 'red' statement to the present situation in parts of the Middle East.....

Mostly I'd say "see above" to my reply to Sir Hats. I'm not saying religion is free from all wrongs, but eradicating it and calling its members brainwashed isn't the way to go. I think religion is a cause for far more goo than it is a cause for evil, and I think to argue the eradication of all religious views in order to quell the obvious injustices of the few is, to put a spin on it, throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

I noticed in the States, and apparently this is also so in Australia, that one cannot find friendship and society outside church. That is too bad. There is nothing, mind you, about friendly people in a church, and one should always greet newcomers to whatever (even to a local Communist Party meeting), but surely that is not what going to church is really about.

I think all ideologies, including religions, do a lot of good.

It's not that there aren't friendships outside of church, I'm saying that church is one avenue for meeting people, and one that often provides greater friendships than non-religious groups. I belonged to a Star Wars costuming club for several years, there were some great people there, and I still keep up with some of them (though not as many as I'd like). However, in terms of depth of the relationship, there is no comparison. Church exists for several reasons, but one of these is the welfare of its adherents (both physical and spiritual). No matter how hard it tries, a costuming club is only a costuming club, and exists primarily for that.

Don't get me wrong, there were wonderful people in this group. Welcoming, friendly, some even willing to go the extra hard yard to help you with whatever you needed (people who were financially unable to travel distance to attend an event were subsidised in some instances by wealthier members, being just one example). But in my experiences with church, relationships tend to "go the extra mile", for lack of a better phrase, because the purpose of the organisation exists (in part) to care for the needs and wellbeing of those in the group and the wider community in which it resides.

Though this is somewhat moot, since you have also agreed that religion does have its good points.

Im glad they made you feel welcome and im happy that you have faith and a belief.

But surely, to criticise a persons none belief in a subject makes you and them equal, or to put it another way, as bad as each other?

Im certainly not a 'charlie church' and dont read a bible, the only verse i can resite is from pulp fiction, I certainly dont want jehovah's witness' or, as ive noticed recently, young american men and women who like nothing more to knock on my front door and 'discuss' how my life would be better by listening to the word of god.

Sceptics do the same to believers that believers do to sceptics.

Live and let live is important when it comes to religion.

Just to focus on what I see as your main comment, I've set in bold the section that is of most interest to me. I'm not sure if you read my caveat (it was there in big red letters), but I never once criticised someone with non-belief. I embrace the fact that we all have differences in our beliefs, and how we see the world. One of the reasons I've remained active here for so many years is that it affords me the opportunity to learn not just what other people believe, but more importantly WHY they believe. My criticism, as noted, was not about non-belief. It was about those who actively wish to eradicate it, to denigrate its followers as mindless sheep who believe fairy stories, that kind of thing. It is to these people that my post was being addressing. I think they take the worst aspects of religion (which I admit do exist) and then lump all of it together into "this is what believers think/feel/say/dribble", and then demand religion be set aside and eradicated, while ignoring all that is good and beautiful about a lifestyle based in faith. Yesterday's events helped me to clarify this in my head.

In recent times, there have been so many new members actively critical of religious ideology, that the jarring face of reality as presented to me on Sunday was quite overwhelming as I saw first-hand how mistaken they were about the "problem" of religion. My months and months away from the church scene perhaps compounded the matter.

Edited by Paranoid Android
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Hey folks,

As some of you know, I've been in transition between my old home and new (and then a new new one after that) for a while now. I've finally settled down in my new area and felt that it was time to finally find a new church to call home. This morning I visited the Presbyterian church. I've already discounted the idea of going to the Anglican church (unlike Sydney Anglicans, the country town here is still very liturgical, and I prefer a less formal gathering). I then attended an afternoon gathering put on by the local Baptist congregation who had organised a sing-along for folk who love their hymns (naturally the majority who went were older folk who grew up primarily with old hymns).

Anyway, this morning's service was a breath of fresh air in my life. I hadn't realised how much I missed going to church until I got there. Everyone was friendly, very helpful folk, salt of the earth type folk. As always, when visiting a church for the first time I chose to sit silently in a corner saying nothing, to gauge how "cliquey" the church is (some churches are so like that, that a newcomer is virtually ignored by all but the pastor, and I see that as a sign of a very insular church). I had barely a moment of silence as person after person greeted me warmly and asked me about my life, among the most friendly welcomes I've ever received at a new church.

What I learnt today (apart from finding what is most likely going to be a new church home for me) is that sceptics don't know what the heck they're talking about when it comes to religion

CAVEAT: By "sceptics", I'm not referring to non-believers and others who are happy to leave everyone to their faith, regardless of what they believe or don't believe. I'm referring specifically to the minority subset of non-believers who think religion is evil, that believers are deluded and brainwashed, that religion is a cancer to be eradicated from society, that kind of thing. The type who go on the internet to tell every man (or woman) and their dog (or cat) that religious folk are dumb, unintelligent, brainwashed parrots squawking back whatever their pastor says about their bronze-age mythology, that kind of person.

The friendly nature of every person I met was a joy to see. These people could have gone to the surf club, or the bowling club, or any other social gathering event, but they went to church, and they were happy there sharing their deeply held convictions with other people who believed the same. Being there for the sole purpose of rejoicing and singing and praising and learning and socialising. The sing-along this afternoon with hymns brought me close to tears as 80-something year old people (there were younger ones too, I'm just singling out an age bracket) had such a joyous look in their eyes as they relived their youth and younger days. That's the power of music right there (any art form, actually). But because of the special significance that this music had for people in their life (forming a major basis of their deeply held convictions, most of them probably for their whole lives), singing it again was a trigger to great past memories.

Often people ask if there's anything a religious organisation can do that a secular organisation cannot. Gifting people the power of music and art, and then associating it with deep convictions at the core of a person's being is one such thing.

So that's my big revelation for the day. I thought I'd share it with you, so if you've read the whole thing, I thank you.

So long, and thanks for all the fish :tu:

~ Regards, PA

I'm glad you found some like minded people PA. It is nice.

I present for a Wiccan group once a year or so, and its always refreshing that I can be myself around a group of people That are kind and understanding.

You are a credit to Christianity PA.

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Often people ask if there's anything a religious organisation can do that a secular organisation cannot. Gifting people the power of music and art, and then associating it with deep convictions at the core of a person's being is one such thing.

You must have never made it to a Grateful Dead concert.

Glad to hear about the great experience in the new church though, what a great way to be made to feel at home in a new place. I don't consider myself a red-letter skeptic and don't know how they can deny the obvious and harmless benefits and appeal that religion can provide for some people.

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Congrats on finding the right group of Magic Blood Cult members that Cherry picked from the same Tree as you.

I am sure if Trekkies going to a Star Trek convention thought that one day very soon they would serve the same Captain on the same Starship? They would all act joyous and personal too.

Delusion can bring the best out of people.

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Posted (edited)

You must have never made it to a Grateful Dead concert.

Glad to hear about the great experience in the new church though, what a great way to be made to feel at home in a new place. I don't consider myself a red-letter skeptic and don't know how they can deny the obvious and harmless benefits and appeal that religion can provide for some people.

You're right, I've never been to a Grateful Dead concert. To be honest, I'd never even heard of them until you mentioned it. Quick google search seems that it may be of some relevance to my musical interests. Without knowing more about them, I can't give a fully committed reply, but I question how a playing of Grateful Dead songs would match a small building with an out-of-tune piano and pastor/part-time guitarist and singer for pure emotion, even considering that they are a brand name apparently based on jam-session employees.

With that said, I don't consider you a red-letter sceptic either. In fact I've often seen you argue my (and other) world views with such nuance that you can almost seem to be a believe (I know you're not, but you have a relatively unique ability to put yourself in the shoes of others and see where they come from). I'd like to think I can do that, and sometimes I do, but I wish I could do it with the ease that you appear to show when you do so. It's a remarkable ability, and I personally rejoice in your individual ability to do so.

Edited by Paranoid Android
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Congrats on finding the right group of Magic Blood Cult members that Cherry picked from the same Tree as you.

I am sure if Trekkies going to a Star Trek convention thought that one day very soon they would serve the same Captain on the same Starship? They would all act joyous and personal too.

Delusion can bring the best out of people.

Such cynicism, but not unexpected. Best of wishes, Davros :tu:

~ Regards, PA

P.S - I do find it edifying that you imply that I would be a good leader of a congregation of parishioners. I think it a credit to my learning and experience, as well as my ability to express myself. However, I have no interest in pastoring a church. Maybe a Bible Study Leader, but not a pastor. I once thought of it, even strongly pursued it, but on reflection it's definitely not a path I'm going to go down.

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Such cynicism, but not unexpected. Best of wishes, Davros :tu:

~ Regards, PA

P.S - I do find it edifying that you imply that I would be a good leader of a congregation of parishioners. I think it a credit to my learning and experience, as well as my ability to express myself. However, I have no interest in pastoring a church. Maybe a Bible Study Leader, but not a pastor. I once thought of it, even strongly pursued it, but on reflection it's definitely not a path I'm going to go down.

If I was a believer and a member of the Church you mentioned?I would no doubt find you a very welcome and valuable new member.

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You can't say, you can only find that kind of social experience in church. I went to a drum circle yesterday, I got just as it was ending, but I was told there had been 100 people there. I had a hard time finding a place to park. Friendly, happy people all there to make music and share. You don't have to the trappings of dogma to have a community. They have one downtown by the river, today. They have potluck and feed a lot of homeless people, then drum the evening away. I would go, but even with the sun down and the river it is too hot for me.

(Frank you're just hanging out with the wrong folk, there is lots of places and things to do to meet people and not all of them are churches and bars.)

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This one they do on the beach every Sunday.

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Congrats on finding the right group of Magic Blood Cult members that Cherry picked from the same Tree as you.

I am sure if Trekkies going to a Star Trek convention thought that one day very soon they would serve the same Captain on the same Starship? They would all act joyous and personal too.

Delusion can bring the best out of people.

And here we thought hateful words, ridicule, and intolerance were only for the religious fundamentalists.

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And here we thought hateful words, ridicule, and intolerance were only for the religious fundamentalists.

I speak the truth.

Atheists get together to chant and sing too btw.

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I speak the truth.

Atheists get together to chant and sing too btw.

So do I :)

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You know what I think has been lost in society is the sense of tribe. When people go to churches for most of it are listening to the preacher. In a tribe it is a discussion. When Pagans worship they do so in a circle. It is very participatory and it takes a group to do a proper ritual. You end up forming very strong bonds with people. You have priests and priestess, but they are guides to point you down the Path. They are not going to tell you what to believe, you have to figure that out yourself. There is no revealed book. It sounds like chaos, but most people end up with similar conclusions and we are happy to agree to disagree. To me it is very different experience from churches I have been, too.

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If the experience was enjoyable then live it up. Last church I went to was so narrow minded that it felt like a wake every Sunday. Unfortunately I have a habit of always finding the bad apples in crowds if you catch my drift. So my view is a bit askew. One day I hope to find good religions people without getting dirty looks from them.

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If the experience was enjoyable then live it up. Last church I went to was so narrow minded that it felt like a wake every Sunday. Unfortunately I have a habit of always finding the bad apples in crowds if you catch my drift. So my view is a bit askew. One day I hope to find good religions people without getting dirty looks from them.

Did you watch GreenMan's video.

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Yes, seems nice. Unfortunately there is nothing like that where I'm at.

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I noticed in the States, and apparently this is also so in Australia, that one cannot find friendship and society outside church. That is too bad. There is nothing, mind you, about friendly people in a church, and one should always greet newcomers to whatever (even to a local Communist Party meeting), but surely that is not what going to church is really about.

I think all ideologies, including religions, do a lot of good.

Sorry to disagree, there is plenty of friendship available outside of church. This may be true in a very small town, though.

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Yes, seems nice. Unfortunately there is nothing like that where I'm at.

You sure about that. They are really getting popular. Here is a site listing them internationally. http://drumcircles.net/internationalcirclestext.html

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Posted (edited)

CAVEAT: others who are happy to leave everyone to their faith, regardless of what they believe or don't believe.

If only the religious would do the same instead of trying to insert their beliefs into politics, education, gender equality, science, human rights, healthcare, and just about every other facet of our daily lives. Oh, and then there are the religious that want to kill you because you don't worship the same flying spaghetti monster that they do.

But hey, I'm happy you found a nice community.

Edited by Rafterman
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