So I went to Spanish Catholic Mass tonight with one of my best friends. We have kids that play together at least once a week and we are both Survivors. Both were married to Mexican men who treated us like shit. We have a LOT in common.....she called me and said, "Hey you want to come over for dinner and then go with us to Mass tonight?" Without batting an eyelash I said, "Sure!"...........and then realized what I had agreed to.

I decided I would go, not because I believe any of it but for curiosity's sake. I wanted to see how I would feel after not having stepped foot inside a church in well over a year.

It was boring as hell!

Although I did like the band! LOL!!!! I love to sing and I'll sing to anything. It gave me goosebumps as always, and what I used to think was the Holy Spirit "speaking to me" as the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, I realized, I just love to sing and the music is pretty.

I spent a lot of time in deep thought looking at the paintings and figures of the saints, staring at the crucified Christ hanging dead center, watching the Alter boys wondering if any of them were currently victims, (yes my mind went there)....watching the faces of the people....

I came to the stark realization at just how deep rooted, cheesy, and ridiculous it all is. And saddened by the deception of it, and also wondered how I never saw it before.

Does that make me a bad Atheist for going to church? LOL!!!

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Does it make you a bad atheist? No.

I used to go to church every weekend with my wife (while she used to go. Not out of her desire to "save" me or anything, just because she didn't like going alone). 
Take it as a social experiment. You are observing the theist in its natural habitat.

You are observing the theist in its natural habitat.

lol, I like that!

I still get goosebumps from Beethoven's Ode to Joy. I think goose bumps from group singing's built into most of us. And so are feelings for team sports.

If you don't get goosebumps from the Ode to Joy, you might want to check and make sure your heart hasn't been eaten by a joy-stealing alien.

Also, I know the English translation is a straight-up hymn to Jesus, but the original German is a bit more nuanced. It references Elysium, the classical Greek 'heaven', and one verse is about friendship and romantic love. God doesn't show up at all until closer to the end.

From Wikipedia:

Oh friends, not these sounds!
Let us instead strike up more pleasing
and more joyful ones!

Joy, beautiful spark of the divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter your sanctuary, burning with fervour,
o heavenly being!
Your magic brings together
what custom has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.

Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!

Every creature drinks in joy
at nature's breast;
Good and Bad alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.

Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

Oh creator beyond the stars,

If ye be not there, why less our wonder and our joy?

The human host has believed well, and matured past the dream of you,

Our human wonders now move among the bodies of creation,

Our vision can see past the vail of interstellar dust and view new creations light,

The possible reach of life has extended past our little world,

Our sight has reached back to the beginings of things.

We find you not 'great dream',

But some hold that small light upon the window sill in honor and memory.  

>Does that make me a bad Atheist for going to church?

Not really, it's a nice way to see how much one's views have changed, I not longer have the anger and oppression and guilt i felt when i still believed. Looking from outside, it's amazing how cultish all seems (wonder why). 

I haven't been in a church in a year but i have noticed how few churches where i live don't have alter boy nowadays. However, what i love the most of mass is to hug cute random girls during the "Peace Hug", I used to choose my sitting place based on that.

Everything else is boring, but when i go i always remember the words of my Grandfather when first went to a Catholic mass "Did i come here to pray or to make exercise?" and chuckle to myself.

I recently watched Sunday Mass on local TV. Most people looked bored and rather stern, especially during “The Mumblings”, my term for group prayer. When the singing started everyone brightened up a bit. The subjects congregation seemed to become more engaged with each other only then and at the end when they were leaving. They just go for the emotional and communal aspects of it. The rituals and recitations are just background noise.

No, I don’t see anything wrong with going to church if you use it as a yardstick to see how far you have removed yourself from that way of thinking. I think if everyone in the church had gone to a choral or choir sing-a-long for an hour instead then they would have been just as content. They may have even been better off as it would have produced a greater emotional bond and sense of belonging for all as there would be no “sin eating” to endure.

The overall sense I got was that it was a shame that so many people feel they need the false hope and promises in order to be fulfilled. Everybody means well but once you know its foundations are based on myths and lies then it is not possible to feel like you belong there. You know they are all misguided (god delusion) but there is no point saying that to them as that would be seen as an attack on something they have built up emotional currency in.

My gal friend & I were sitting down to dinner last night, and she asked me to say grace. I said 'GRACE', which does not cut it really, and this started a rather painful conversation. We seem to have a good relationship, but the atheist/theist boundary/contact point does allow her to be overly insecure.

Her theism seems to be rather immature, while I see it on balance with deeper concerns. I seem to need love in my life, as she. I need an open social context to share ideas, explore, and consider options with little engagement in preconceptions. While 'ideas' for her, pass through her theism and are often times discounted, even before she has attempted to understand. At times it seems clear that much of what I am must be hidden behind silence.  

Reg, those rituals and recitations are more than just background noise.

Their repetition strengthens certain brain synapses.

Metaphorically, they pour a slow-acting concrete into people's brains

Does that make me a bad Atheist for going to church? LOL!!!

The last time I set foot in a church was when my grandmother died. She had specifically requested that I be one of the pallbearers. So not only did I go to church, I sat in the front in a specially reserved pew.

I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school, so I recognized every part of the mass and everything in the church for its meaning and purpose. Yet, as I looked around, it all seemed so alien and strange. It was as though I'd been asked to visit a sanitarium to view inventions and services offered by people with psychiatric disorders.

The tiny bathtub where offense to God is washed off of newborn babies.
The giant statue of a corpse, stripped and bleeding, having been slowly tortured to death.
The priest holding his hand over a chalice to magically turn crackers into flesh from the corpse.
The golden ping-pong paddle that is held under the chin of each person who accepts a corpse cracker.
The golden box in which the leftover corpse crackers are kept.
The little rooms where people tell the priest about things they've done wrong.
The padded two-by-four that swings down whenever it's time to kneel your humility in comfort (I sat those times out).
The list goes on.

Surreality gave way to mirth, then to pity. To think that humanity puts so much into such a sad, utterly pointless waste of minds and resources.

The priest who said the mass-- a dear friend to my mother and father who is aware of my atheism-- in his sermon for my grandmother was sure to include a dig for "the foolish" who did not believe my grandmother was in heaven for believing in Jesus.

Gratefully, I've not been to mass since. I have no plans to go again until someone religious and quite close to me dies. With all of my grandparents now in the ground, that leaves my folks and my older brother. I suppose I can handle three more masses.

During a mass years ago, I went up for communion with a friend. As I knelled I watched my mind hatch thoughts about the situation, and noticed one that was rather telling, 'so I have the wine, the crackers, but where is the sacred bean dip?' It was clear that I was mostly done with the whole thing.

Over the last several years I had both worked on some models for carbon sequesturing in the environment and started the process to perserve some family land(s) from development. Sadly my marriage died before the perservation process was completed, and the environmental school never matured.

The sequesturing model(s) were partly completed, with enough insights extracted to imply a possible ugly future for us, in addition to the rest. I found other models that seemed to imply the same results  

I fear, based upon my understanding of mathematics and the environment that we are facing another threat due to global warming. As the climate warms, many trees can stop sequesturing carbon, and our soils can start releasing carbon back into the atmosphere due to biological activity of soil biota. I expect that this reaction could outstrip human production in time.

I am familar with the slowly maturing 'theist' based environmental movement, and recent position changes implyed by the new pope.

It might be time to consider that natural world as 'sacred' not 'profane'. And to promote an intensive planetary program of stewardship.     

I tend to like the tension between what I think and the beliefs of others.

A gal friend and I attend a local Lutherian church and have helped out with their food bank, the stewardship program, planning meetings, and even recently the actual service. I was asked to serve the wine during our last communion, which I did after suggesting that 'I have never been a a aide to the priest'. This experience did feel very strange, with folks coming up one after the other, I filling their little cups, and blessing them with 'the blood of Christ'. It was easy to see that they were moved, while I felt tears welling up, I think due to both the contradictions and family memories.

I think my perceptions of culture and ideas has deepened because of this and other experiences. If I stay away from the painful details, quiet atheists and quiet theists might be able to build a more civil culture. As I am accepted, I hope to be more forthcoming in my thoughts concerning deity. A stewardship presentation I did recently using Sagan's 'Pale Blue Dot', and my own nature pictures and recent insights, did place me into the 'who is this guy?' catagory...     


I would wager the church elders will make sure you are not serving up the 'blood of christ' in future rituals once your identity as an atheist is discovered. I could never go there (participate at that level).

P.S. It is interesting that our website spell checker underlined the word christ in red and was not happy until it was made a capital C.  :^ )


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