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Should I Try to Find a Church?

I am currently really struggling with this, and I need to reach out somewhere and get some opinions and thoughts of other parents. I really appreciate anyone that takes the time to read all of this and is able to give some feedback. Here is my dilemma. I am a true agnostic, I think (lol…spoken like a true agnostic). I believe that there has to be something more than the physical world. I believe in purpose. I believe that I have witnessed miraculous and wonderful things. I believe that life can’t just end. I believe that I am in some way watched over. Or at least I feel that all these things are possible, although my very logical side knows that I could be wrong. I am a constant contradiction of right- and left-brain. I believe that whatever the greater explanation for all of this is yet unknown, and that if we were meant to know then we would all know. If we were meant to know, there would not be this great splintering among religions. I also know that I share a lot of my personal moral beliefs with the Christian faith. I believe that abortion is morally wrong, that homosexuality is morally wrong (although I know it is not PC to say that these days), that divorce and premarital sex are wrong, etc. I believed these things first because my parents and the church of my childhood did. Then, in college, I learned all about postmodern theory and my eyes were open to moral relativism. Out of that, I still believe that the Bible is a book, a myth, that was written by man, and edited and revised for, sometimes nefarious, political purposes. I believe that many awful things have been done, and continue to be done in the name of a literal interpretation of the bible. I love the Jesus story. I am big fan of the gospels. I love the parables. I also like a decent amount of the old testament, when it is treated as parables with the message extracted and not as literal interpretation. I do not know if I believe there is or was a Jesus. I do, however, know that I believe that we do not have the whole exact story told in the bible. I believe that our society has become corrupted by science and secularism. I believe that total faith in science (as it is just “theories”) is as much of a religious leap as total faith in god. I believe that secularism/atheism is a religion, and that it is slowly becoming the established religion of America, despite supposed first amendment protection against it. I believe that there are whole set of values that emphasis moral relativity and choice and individualism that go along with atheism and that I don’t like them. I know that ultimately adoption of a system of morals is a choice. I don’t believe that there is necessarily True right and wrong. I believe that we do ultimately create and construct right and wrong as a society. Knowing that, I have made a personal decision that I believe in certain things, that I feel in my heart that certain things are right and wrong, and that I want my children to believe that certain things are right and wrong. I believe that those things will help them to be the happiest and healthiest, and I believe that our society would be stronger and happier if we all had more of those beliefs. I see morals and beliefs that are closest to my own reflected in Christianity. On top of that, I remember the time that I spend in the church growing up. My parents are basically on that agnostic fence as well, although my grandparents were more firmly Christian. We didn’t go to church until I was nine or ten. Then, my parents probably had a thought process much like what I am struggling with now. We joined a church. My parents were active on and off in spurts, but I went, even when they didn’t, and joined the choir and other activities until I went to college. I don’t remember the church being pushy at all. I don’t remember any of the fire and brimstone side. I don’t remember anyone ever insisting that I believe. We just learned the stories, got good morals out of them, and participated in a community. Maybe I was too young to see more or maybe it really was that way at the time. When I returned briefly to that same church is 2003 to have my son baptized, I was overwhelmed by more proselytizing than I remembered and gave up on church. At this point, I was still unsure what I really believed in, and I really hated the “you must BELIEVE” idea. I know some crazy Christians. My husband’s ex-wife and my step-daughters are like that. Where it is overwhelming and constant preaching and pamphlets and crying because my husband and I are going to go to hell. I am very fearful of that “Jesus Camp” mentality. I don’t think it is healthy to believe too much. I also don’t think it is completely rational to believe too much. We know how the bible has been edited and manipulated. Still, I like the idea… And I liked growing up in a church. And I would like to include my family in a church community. I want my children to have Christian morals.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 1:43 PM on Mar. 11, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (9)
  • I ran out of characters. ::continued::: And I almost wonder if, like Santa Clause, it can be good to believe in something that represents and good and morality, even if it is ultimately seen to be mythological. My husband is more on the atheistic side of agnostic in terms of really not believing in a god, but he agrees with me on all the other ideas of what is right and wrong. And, like me, he was raised in a church environment, even though he eventually pulled away from it. However, he has been really open to this discussion, and we are just sincerely questioning. Some of those questions…Would it make us awful hypocrites to join a church knowing that we do not believe in the way that they would maybe want us to? If we do not join a church, is it actually possible to translate the morals that we want to translate without any outside support, especially with such atheistic schools and society?
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 1:44 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • ::continued again::: Is it possible to find a church that would be “Christian-light” as I call it? Could we find a place without any “fire and brimstone” nonsense, a place that treats the bible more as parables and guides than literal truths, a place that isn’t all about BELIEVING, and a place that would welcome our questioning?
    Anonymous

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 1:44 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • Not so much hypocrisy as... you won't stick with something if you don't really believe it that much. And your children WILL pick up on that. My leaving Catholicism was as much a result of my Dad's disenchantment with the Church as anything else (he's probably rolling over in his grave over that now).... it was just reinforced when our local parish lived up to some of his criticisms.

    I've started attending an Episcopalian church, which doesn't push at all. But they accept homosexuality, and I think you would have a problem with that.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:49 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • I have never heard of or seen a church like the one you are looking for. Good Luck.
    meooma

    Answer by meooma at 1:53 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • Based of your long description, you aren't an agnostic. An agnostic takes the position of "not knowing' in reference to God. You sound more like a non-denominational theist or just plain confused.. My suggestion would be to stick to on-denominational churches or try a UU church.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 2:02 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • Hmmm...if I was in your place I would definitely think about talking to a clergyman of some kind. Christian universalism seems to be more suited for you. I would find a clergyman from one of those churches, I think they would be more open to discussing this with you rather push their ideas on you. My DH and I attend a non-denominational church, Church of the Highlands, and it is a great church, you can view most sermons, etc. online. Here is a link to their page, it may not be much, but it's a start. I hope you find the answers you are looking for.

    http://churchofthehighlands.com/about
    mommy_jules

    Answer by mommy_jules at 2:14 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • And if you have any more questions, feel free to PM me. I'll try to answer as best and respectfully as I can.
    mommy_jules

    Answer by mommy_jules at 2:19 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • Like some of the others suggested, maybe a non-denominational church would be a good fit. Even my Presbyterian upbringing wasn't really focused on fire and brimstone, so there are moderate churches within many denominations. You may just have to check around...talk to people at different churches and/or visit their websites if they have one to see what their beliefs and principles are.

    I am personally most interested in one of these churches:

    Unity Church: Beliefs

    Unitarian Universalist Church: Principles
    pam19

    Answer by pam19 at 3:05 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

  • I encourage you to start looking if you want to get involved with a church, you'll eventually find the right one. Try non-denominational, like these ladies have said, do a little research on the different denominations, and see if there's anything out there that you really relate to.

    Praying the Lord lead you to the place where you can be 'at home'. God bless!
    the_kimmers

    Answer by the_kimmers at 9:19 PM on Mar. 11, 2011

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