Looking for a Few Good Atheists

My name is Barry.  Not too long ago I was on here after having suffered a crushing blow at an SBC church as a former associate pastor.  I actually came across this site looking for people who had been scorned by the church in their past.  My scorn was in regards to child safety.  There were serious safety issues in the children's program run by a very prominent family in that church and when I went to address them under the direction of the senior pastor, I was quickly threatened and intimidated to keep my mouth shut if I valued my job.  They also tried to force me to make my children part of their program even though I was not confident in it at all.  This left me with a choice: either tow the church political line and act as if nothing happened, or stand up for children whose safety and well-being was put at risk.  The experience left me so emotionally bruised that I wound up resigning in disgust of the church - especially since the senior pastor quickly betrayed me and sold me down the river the moment things got to politically hot for him.  His famous last words to me were "Barry, this church is dysfunctional; it's not going to change."  This was my cue to exit.

Any way, what I wanted to ask was for a few good atheists to give me their take on the institution we all know as church.  If you have roots specifically in the SBC, that is a plus.  The reason why I am asking for you to do this is that I intend to start writing about it.  There are many problems within the church - starting with the fact that it is an aging, irrelevant, and corrupt institution that is more concerned with power and control than it is with providing freedom, salvation, and enlightenment to humanity.

Oh, and if you are wondering as to whether or not I am a theist?  The answer is yes - just not the same one I was several months ago or even years ago, and I am not a pastor anymore.  I am not here to debate whether there is a God or not; nor do I wish to convert anyone - the reason why this site exists is because many of you on here have already made up your mind definitively and I would rather respect your position than attack it.  You are welcome to ask any question you may have of me if you are skeptical. 

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    Suzanne Olson-Hyde

    I think that some of the most interesting people on this site is the young'uns, who have analysed their situation, and the bible, and come to the conclusion that they are in fact, an Atheist, and the repercussions of their decision, either they come out of the closet, and the wrath of their loving xian family, to the disownment of same loving xian family.

    This takes incredible guts, as these are still considered children by their parents, and should not be thinking for themselves, and how dare these children go against the word of god, and they will end up in hell.

    Just one example, http://www.atheistrev.com/2011/05/damon-fowler-kicked-out-of-parent...

    and there are also many examples of these smart and brave 'kids' on this site.

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      Barry Adamson

      Okay.  So now that I have a few good answers, I have more questions?  If church (as in Christian) were to exist in a different form, what would you expect/demand of it?  What would be your ideal.  Suspend the idea/philosophy of theology in your response for a moment, and instead think of what something, like the church, should embody.  I am looking for how you would interpret it in action since, as with all human beings, action reveals belief/belief systems of others.  Anyone can say: "I believe in Jesus" as most Christians say; however, this is a mere intellectual ascent to the "collective" or "hive" mentality of the group - which is found in almost any group of people regardless of belief or non-belief because, ultimately, it revolves around a person's desire to be accepted by others.  If you think something like the church should not exist at all - go for it and tell me!  Explain your answer as to why because I am interested in knowing why.  If ultimately the desire of every human being is to be accepted by his/her fellow human beings, what can be done to propel this forward?

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      Barry Adamson

      Let me pose another question along a similar vein to the last:  Should the church be dissolved?  If so what do you think should take its place (if anything at all) since, naturally, there would be a vacuum of empty space in terms of societal structures?  This is much like the last question, but cuts through the language I used in the last one that may have thrown some of you off.  Ultimately, in many ways, this is already taking place with people leaving the church and replacing it with activities that involve family and friends as a support structure.  What are some of the things you have all done?