Working in the church as an undercover atheist

If you've read my earlier blog posts, you know that I don't believe in god, but one of my current jobs is directing music at a small Methodist church.  It's so interesting just how your perspective on a church service changes once you remove belief in god: things that previously seemed quite ordinary now seem absolutely ludicrous.  I mean, there are the obvious things: the Lord's Prayer, prayer in general, the scripture readings (yesterday, no joke, we actually read aloud Psalm 14, which begins with "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'...").  But there are little things, too, such as the way people sit and listen to a sermon, lined up on those pews, trying to look interested in a sermon that is rehashing all the usual stuff.  The language of hymns seems so crazy.  Oh, and how about the "children's moment" I heard yesterday?  All about how much god loves everyone, no matter who they are...yes, he loves them so much, he's going to send a large percentage of them to an everlasting hell, while a small number (no one can agree on who) will end up with him, praising him for eternity.  Gosh, what a loving God!  Let's pray, kids...

The part of all this that's not at all funny is, my two daughters were among the children being fed this ridiculous crap, and at this point, I feel I have to grin and bear it.  I realize some of you reading this will feel sorry for my children, for being subjected to this indoctrination, and I don't blame you.  I'm horribly conflicted about it, too.  And I don't know which would be worse for them, here in the Bible belt: developing this irrational worldview, or living as atheists in an overwhelmingly religious part of the country?  After all, do I want them to be subjected to having friends tell them they're going to hell?  Do I want them to get the idea that their Daddy is going to hell?  As my atheism is relatively new found, I still have a difficult emotional journey to get through before I can simply shed my religion.  More on this in future posts...thanks for reading.

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Comment by Physeter on September 18, 2013 at 12:44am

It's so interesting just how your perspective on a church service changes once you remove belief in god

Ain't that the gospel truth.

I have been more or less kind of atheist for almost three years, and I notice all the time things that made so much sense to me before suddenly seeming bizarre. I've posted before on some weird stuff my Christian friends and church talk about. You hear people talk about religious freedom, and all nod solemnly as they remind each other of just how much Christians are persecuted by atheists, an I'm just dumbfounded. Or they'll talk of how disturbing our world is, because gay people have some rights now...

Comment by Sagacious Hawk on September 18, 2013 at 9:15pm

You know, I've been wanting to start visiting some local churches just to see what it is they are saying around here. I've heard that most of the time it's some derivative of "Jesus loves you and has great things planned for you," and feel good stuff like that. But I realized the other day that I have no idea because when I was a religious, I had zero inclination to hear what anyone from another religion had to say and would avoid going to any other churches. These other services are cultural experiences that I've never had, because in the past it was anathema to me to participate.

Coming back to the Southeast, it has piqued my curiosity to learn more about them.

Comment by H3xx on September 18, 2013 at 10:41pm

If you're worried about your children growing up to be christian, the best thing to do to prevent that is to start bolstering and fortifying their intellect. Read enlightened books to them, watch educational tv with them. It becomes harder and harder to be a christian the smarter and smarter you become.


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