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Churches, Religion, Faith and all the rest - advice?

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  • Churches, Religion, Faith and all the rest - advice?

    I'm 26, have probably fulfilled most of the "don't" in the Bible, or any other religious book and my friend and I were having a long chat about this kind of thing last week.
    We both felt that we lacked something, and we really wanted some sort of faith.
    Unfortunately, faith isn't something you can go buy a bottle of from the local store, and come away feeling refreshed and holy.
    So what do I do?
    The local Church, which is apparently Evangelist Church of England (I have no idea what this is) has a service tomorrow morning at 10am which we've decided to attend, but really, I'm extremely nervous. I'm half expecting the font of holy water to start bubbling as I walk past it.

    So I just wondered, are any of you guys out there religious? How does one "fine" a faith? How do you make yourselves believe in something that you've always been told doesn't exist?

    I have no idea where to even start. And I feel rather silly.

  • #2
    Church won't help you believe. Fact is, for people who weren't raised to strongly follow a certain religion, it's usually those little coincidental events some refer to as miracles that make them believe in a God. In other cases, many people as they grow older begin to believe in God in order to deal with the uncertainties in their life and the certainty of death.

    If you really want to become religious, I suggest being open minded to all religions and research whatever holy texts are applicable. Only then can you truly make an informed decision as to which is most suitable to your own personality. This is something that attending churches won't help you with, because they are, in their majority, self serving and narrow-minded, largely based on denial rather than acceptance. That's not to say that all religious institutions are like that, but from my personal experience, many christian ones are.

    It might save you from some disappointment. And after all, religion is a private affair.
    Belziel + Sameer


    • #3
      Religion has always fascinated me, even in school I took the extra classes on it, just to find out more.

      Ideally I'd like to attend several different churches/places of woship and see if anything.. I don't.. struck me.

      I've just found out this one I'm attending tomorrow has a... eucharist... does that mean I won't be allowed to go, or just not allowed to.. eat Christ?!


      • #4
        I agree, church does not make you religious or find faith. Having faith is something personal. Church is more like a place to go to celebrate your religion with others. I consider myself to have a lot of faith and believe in God.
        However, attending church is not high on my list.

        I am not sure how to tell anyone how to gain faith. The suggestion of reading texts and doing research is good. Perhaps talking to someone who you know that does have strong faith may help also.

        My best friend of ten years never believed in God, religion or faith. One day she came to me and said that she felt something was missing in her life and wanted to try going to church. I told her I would be happy to go with her. After many Sundays and even more churches behind us, she was still not happy. There is a pastor at our work and I suggested she talk to him. He got her into a bible study course and adult discussion group for those who are skeptical.

        She now attends that group every week. Though she still says that she is unsure if she believes, she enjoys the discussions and no longer is closed minded and open to the concept.

        It is hard for me to advise anyone because I have always had faith and grew up with it. As I get older if it were not for my strong faith I think I would have been locked in the crazy house or dead. IT gives me strength and helps me go on.

        I hope this helps a little and I wish you great luck in finding what you seek.

        And I truly believe that God works in mysterious ways.



        • #5
          Just be quiet, discreete, unobtrusive, respectful, attentive and open-minded and I'm certain you'll eventually find what you are looking for.

          I very strongly doubt anything will happen around you unless you make it happen. And most religions/churches/beliefs want new members and will welcome you.

          And some will brainwash you and use you Be careful, we all search for some greater meaning/purpose/reason/point of it all, and religion can be a way to find it or be a way to be used and abused.

          Keep an open mind, but be critical and think about it all.

          My advice, the non-religious, but spiritual person.

          Courtier of the Winter Court
          Assistant to the Royal Venefice Her Ladyship Hieronyma
          Fellow of Lexiography at the Royal Collegium

          My pages - My deviant art
          Per Aspera ad Astra


          • #6
            The water won't give you away. You should be able to leave quite healthy.

            Brassy's opinions on Church. Most people prefer to see you suffer until you've met their idea of penitent and that just sucks. It's also human nature. Keep that at the forefront of your mind because it never fails, I see it all the time. Remember that the truth is, you aren't there to meet them, really, are you?

            Brassy's opinion on Religion. Man interprets to his comfort level, and adjusts as he goes and then turns it into some sort of "exclusive, elitest" club with Sunday membership. If you happen to walk into a church where the people are more interested in being friendly than in comparing backgrounds and holiness, you've found a pretty nice fellowship. If it's more about how you look, what you say and how you conform to a dresscode, take it with a grain of salt, and again, remember you aren't really there for them or their club rituals, are you?

            Faith. It's personal. I look at it this way. I prefer a Loving God. If what I read in the Gospel of John is true, he didn't come to condemn me or the world I live in. I work it out from there. I have enough structure, penalties and guilt on my own, thanks. I need relief, comfort and encouragement to be the best, most helpful, loving person I can be. I need a tangible friend who gets the idea that there is enough finger pointing and accusation to go around, without taking on someone else's hang ups about the length of my hair, the pants I like to wear or the more modern worship songs I'd rather sing than hymns of the past. Holiness? Yeah, it's in there but it comes from a Holy source. I dont produce it. I don't mistake it for my own. I just appreciate it. It's why I know the water won't bubble if you go by it. And if it does, run out. It's working for the wrong teeam. If I can find a fellowship or group of folks who are like minded, I'm good to go.

            I hope your search brings you to a good place, mentally, spiritually and physically.
            Originally posted by Max Powers
            There are a lot of options out there outside of screwing with rank bonus to accomplish balance. I am more worried about people getting bored of the game because there are zero roleplay goals to be had which leaves mechanical goals, and those are effectively being capped.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Isobel View Post

              I've just found out this one I'm attending tomorrow has a... eucharist... does that mean I won't be allowed to go, or just not allowed to.. eat Christ?!

              I want to address this. It's considered a "mercy" to deny you the emblems if they have no confirmation of your faith. It's a religious "CYA" thing. They dont' wanna be in trouble because there is a scripture that implies to partake without belief is to bring death to yourself. They want a clean conscience and so very likely you will be "denied for your sake". It's not a rejection of you, even though some deny you with that attitude.

              (Can you tell I've had some run ins with certain churches. And it's no one denominations. Some good places of the same denomination were nice and kind and others of the exact same denomination made my teeth hurt.)
              Originally posted by Max Powers
              There are a lot of options out there outside of screwing with rank bonus to accomplish balance. I am more worried about people getting bored of the game because there are zero roleplay goals to be had which leaves mechanical goals, and those are effectively being capped.


              • #8
                I know exactly how you feel. Or at least how I felt in a similar situation. My father is agnostic, my mother is Christian but doesn't go to church or ever talk about it, because she had a horrible experience with a pastor growing up. So, I basically grew up without religion. But, that didn't stop me from trying desperately to find my own religion because everyone else has one and seems to feel so complete and happy with theirs.

                Despite not believing in the bible, or any sort of higher sentient power, God, I went to countless different kinds of churches. They were all christian, but different kinds of christian, Catholic, Evangelist, Lutheran, etc. I went to churches where they stood up and screamed for Jesus to save their soul. I went to churches were everyone sat is silence while a preacher droned on. I went to churches were we sang songs. I went to churches were we did youth activities. I went to churches were we discussed the bible and God in depth. All with different friends who had found what I thought was that "something more".

                But, I personally was never happy with any of these things and never stayed. I personally was never able to force myself to believe in the bible because it doesn't make any sense to me, or God because I simply don't, or an afterlife even though I wish there was one because I certainly don't want to die.

                Anyway, I personally explored outside of christianity and with many years of searching and a whole lot of skepticism, I decided on how I felt. That is ever-changing as I learn new things. I can identify closely with one religion, though I don't always call myself that due to the connotations and occasional differences of opinion. And, how I felt about things turned out to be comforting, to me, even though it wasn't a life-changing event.

                All my personal opinions, which I would never force on anyone else. Anyway, even biased though it is, I hope it helps. And, I know from experience you won't burn from eating Christ; the water, crackers, or juice (I seriously wasn't sure if I would too when I went).


                • #9
                  Was raised Episcopalian.. and even in my school and student days, the religion I practiced at services was mostly choir. Loved the music.

                  These days, I'm a Unitarian; you don't have to 'believe' anything to be a member, except that every person has the right to decide for him/herself what to believe. What I practice is ethical kindness.

                  Best of luck in finding something that works for you.

                  ~ Maurita, who pulls Jerisa's strings


                  • #10
                    Spirituality doesn't equal religion, and certainly doesn't equal Christianity. I can't imagine why anyone'd decide to turn to a system of beliefs that requires buying into the most ridiculous notions, garbage, and lies. (That goes for Judaism, Islam, and most other actual religions, too.)

                    The only "conversion" I've seen (and the only case of genuine spirituality I've witnessed) was a friend of mine who's took up martial arts, then joga, and finally meditation; he reads, he meditates, he thinks, and damn, does he seem happy and centered. No belief in ridiculous fairy-tales required (since believing in chi isn't necessary for benefitting from the exercises). He's a non-denominational enlightenment-seeker, combining various kinds of buddhism and joga into a personal quest for peace and wisdom. Now that's something I can respect.

                    Don't go to a church or other institution seeking spirituality; it has to come from within. Reading is a good start; sitting down without distractions and just thinking is a nice follow-up. Start with general works, and narrow it down as you figure out what resonates with you.


                    • #11
                      My mother raised us with the strong conviction that religion was a choice each of us would make for ourselves. She did not allow anyone to tell us this church was right, or that church was best, or whatever. She encouraged us to attend whichever ones we wanted to learn about, and to make a decision for ourselves, or alternatively, that if we did not wish to go to church that that was also an acceptable choice.

                      I went to different churches with friends and family, and some just gave a good feeling while others just did not feel right. I was of course still rather young, just in my teens, but I visited the churches that were in my area of whatever denomination, and tried to visit more than once and with people that I felt comfortable with so the experience could be as positive as possible.

                      Ultimately I believe that you are the only one that will know what is right, and I fully believe that that feeling comes from within. You can of course read every book relating to every religion there is, but faith isn't gained through concrete evidence, hence the definition of the word faith. Knowing what each religion is about is of course wise, though again, I believe that you'll know what is right for you when you find it.

                      I wouldn't feel rushed to find something, and I wouldn't allow someone else to tell me which ones to investigate and which ones to avoid. It is a decision only you can make, not your friends and family. Of course I would be open to advice and suggestions, but religion can quickly become a slanderous topic when the participants think you might choose something other than what they believe is true.

                      You'll find people that say one religion is bad because of x, y, and z, or you'll find people that say religion is for people who are afraid of death (or whatever) so they are suddenly looking for hope. Either way, no matter what anyone else believes, the choice has to come from within yourself.

                      There are so many different things to experience, and so many ways for an individual to feel about what is going on around them. I remember visiting the different churches and some just felt right. They had that feeling of comfort and acceptance, while others seemed to be not quite right - dark, muted colors, pictures of fire on the walls, that sort of stuff just didn't give me a good feeling during their services, or people suddenly standing up and shouting as if taken hold of by something. All of that did not seem reverent to me, but seemed out of place and somehow inappropriate. Granted I cannot say that such things are wrong, as what I interpret for myself to be correct, may not be what someone else will choose for themself.

                      Our lives are about free agency, the right to choose. Take your time and look around and exercise your agency. You'll find what you're looking for. It's not a race to hurry and find a church to belong to.

                      As for being nervous or whatever, I wouldn't worry too much. None of us are perfect, and choosing a religion shouldn't be based on guilt.


                      • #12
                        I am sure that most churches out there will accept you reguardless of your past lack of religion. I suggest you set up a meeting with the leader(s) and talk with them about your situation. They might be able to help you more then any of us can. I've been, Roman Catholic, Bahi, Buddhist, Morman (not offically though). And honestly all you will find is the same basic teachings. A name or church doesnt really make faith.

                        What ever your pleasure I'm your punk.


                        • #13
                          I'm more or less what people would call a 'Bible thumper' but I wasn't always that way. Though my mama always told us about God and Jesus, we never went to church or anything of that nature. It wasn't until I was 15 that my mama started going to a new church and she wanted me to go with her. I had went to a church before (albeit halfheartedly) a year before with a friend of mine and I didn't like it by the time I stopped going. it felt like it was filled with fakes and just make me feel..ugh. I think that's one problem that detours a lot of people from going to church (That is if they're inclined to Christianity). They go to one bad church and then they lump all the churches together (They're all about money, they're all about this or that agenda, etc) and then they never go back.

                          When I started going to my current church, I was a bit aprehensive, but after being there for a while, I realized that that church was the church that made me feel happy, that taught me things in a different way, that made me feel closer to God. Everyone in my church (it's pretty small) is like family to me and I really do like that feeling. I don't go to church because I fear death or because someone is making me. I go because I wanted a closer relationship with God, because I want to learn and keep myself content.

                          I think churches are like pants. The first ones you try on, aren't going to always fit so you gotta search until you find the right one for you. If you're truly honest about wanting to connect with God, then he'll lead you to where you oaughta be.
                          ( っ '๐')づ# I was going to give you this waffle
                          #さ('๐' さ ) But then i was like...
                          (>'#'<) I'm hungry.
                          (。◕‿◕。) So i ate it.


                          • #14
                            Just a little reminder.

                            Christianity isn't the only religion out there and it's not necessary the right one either.

                            Study them all and see what fits and sings to your heart and soul. The one whose teachings you can agree with whole-heartedly, the one you trust to be fair and in line with your moral values, the one that makes you smile and say, this is just right.

                            Finding one's faith shouldn't be about fear or desperation, it shouldn't be out of need but out of desire because it feels right and enhances your life.

                            And I fully agree with the statement that spirituality has nothing to do with religion. The two can be utterly seperated or they can be completely cluttered together.

                            Look at all the teachings out there, all the religions, all the philosophies and then make a decission.

                            Courtier of the Winter Court
                            Assistant to the Royal Venefice Her Ladyship Hieronyma
                            Fellow of Lexiography at the Royal Collegium

                            My pages - My deviant art
                            Per Aspera ad Astra


                            • #15
                              You've all been very helpful, thank you.

                              The problem I have is I find the whole religion thing ever so confusing.

                              I have just come back from a morning service at a church that I thought was Church of England, but turned out to be Baptism, but also Catholic? And Evangelist? Whats the difference! What's protestant? Catholic? Christian? Church of England? Baptist? I can't find out these differences anywhere and anyone I ask seems rather vague.

                              The church I've just been to were lovely, the people were nice and the reverand ever so welcome, but it didn't feel right for me.
                              People were talking about "blessing all Catholics" whereas I felt it should have been, "Bless -everyone-", our religion or otherwise.
                              There were many aspects of it that didn't feel right to me, but I will try it a few more times to be sure.

                              And thankfully, there were no flames or bubbling water as I entered.

                              I'm going to a service at another local Church on Wednesday, this one is pure Church of England, and on Thursday.. I have a Buddhist group to attend. Can't say I'm not exploring all avenues!