Good day everyone on the Think Atheist forum. I hope your holidays have been good & treated you well this year.
I'm here today because I need some advice. First, a little back story (my apologies if its too long).
I have identified myself (and still identify myself) as an atheist for nearly my whole life, but I'm open-minded enough to dismiss my beliefs in order to understand where one's or a group's belief is drawn from. I now live in Columbus, Ohio. In Columbus, there is a church called Xenos Fellowship (http://www.xenos.org/aboutxenos/index.htm
) that I attended 10 months ago just to learn a bit about Christian beliefs because I grew up in a non-religious family and didn't know anything about it. After one visit, my now friend Brian asked what I was doing there so I told him I was an Atheist attending out of curiosity and wanted to understand Christian beliefs. He was considerate and invited me to his house to meet some of his roommates. Turns out his house was a home church. Regardless, everyone was cool, funny, and generally nice. Brian allowed me to attend his home church meetings in order for me to learn more about the Christian belief, so I did & have been for the past 10 months. Between then and now, I have heard and documented how they talk about Atheists & Atheism. Here are some of the words I have heard to describe Atheists & Atheism: lost, ignorant, foolish, closed-minded, wrong, evil, empty, and deceitful. I've reached the point where I cannot sit through one of their teachings without feeling hurt, feeling that these people who I've come to consider friends look at me as one would look at an abused dog or cat at an animal shelter.
So this is where I need advice. I'm divided between two decisions: leave or continue to attend. On the one hand, I feel offended throughout nearly every one of their teachings. On the other hand, continuing to learn would help me understand how the Bible is taught vocally & how it can be interpreted. What do you guys think? Should I stay or should I go? If I should go, how do I depart appropriately? If I stay, how do I turn my frustration into something more productive?
Thank you for reading,