Why finding a church sucks

I’m really having a hard time with this, and not because I don’t know what I believe. I know exactly what I believe, I just can’t find a church home that happens to agree with me or will accept how I believe. All of the churches I’ve attended over the past few months would probably tell me not to come back if I was 100% honest with them about what I believe, and that bugs me to no end. I know I’m not the only one who believes the way I do, so why can’t I seem to find a church where I would feel safe being myself?

I know I belong somewhere. The problem is finding that place. Which brings me to the bigger point of this post.

We’re human. We make mistakes, big ones. We’re not perfect. And my favorite phrase when it comes to religions is people fuck that shit up. So my problem is how can we be certain we have the right answer? They say have faith, but how am I supposed to have faith in a man-made religion, when I know that the men who created it were just as screwed up as I am? Don’t get me wrong, I’m good on the God part. Beyond that though, I can’t say for certain what it is I believe, and I’m pretty sure that 90% of the people who fill the pews of these churches are in pretty much the same place as I am. And it really bugs me that they go around all high and mighty pretending like their religion is the only way to God when we can’t say this side of the grave whether it’s all real or not.

The bigger problem I have is the exclusivity of it all. The “If you don’t follow this path, you’re going to hell.” How can we say that? How can we be so certain of that “fact” (and I use that term loosely) that we ostracize entire groups of people based on the writing of MEN 2,000+ years ago? Plus, how can we be certain that the meaning hasn’t been lost in translation? Furthermore, how can we say we believe in a bible (the Christian one) that says to love everyone without prejudice, but then turn around and insult and belittle anyone that doesn’t stick to the mold we hold ourselves to? I have a really big problem with that.

Additionally, how am I supposed to believe in a religion that contradicts what millions of scientists the world over have PROVEN with FACTS and EVIDENCE when the only thing that religion says I’m supposed to go on is faith, despite the mounting evidence against that faith? And why should I be damned to an eternity in hell just because I don’t believe some guy named Moses lived to be well over 600 years old and lived on a boat with millions of animals while God “punished” everyone else?

Furthermore, how am I supposed to believe that people who live good lives, who improve the world around them, who work hard to be decent human beings are going to hell just because they don’t believe what some pastor is telling them? I have a hard time being okay with that, especially considering the rather subjective litmus test most pastors are preaching as the path to heaven. From what I’ve seen of God in my life, he isn’t that exclusive, and I resent the implication that good people are going to hell just because some pastor says they are. And I’m pretty sure God does too, whoever God happens to be.

So I’m done. I’m done with organized religion. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a hair up my butt and start my own. Lord knows it worked for Joseph Smith.

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4 Comments

Filed under Biblical Liz

4 responses to “Why finding a church sucks

  1. Hi Liz,
    I found your post on religion very interesting. It’s so easy to get turned off to churches today because so many are fundamentalist or polarizing, just like politics. I am like you in the sense that I don’t believe in a particular dogma. I consider myself a Christian but don’t think that just because I believe in Jesus that I will be “saved” (whatever that means). To me Christianity is following in the example of Jesus Christ. In other words, find God in the world around you. Use your talents (within your limitations) to improve society in some way or to help others. There are thousands of ways of doing this, but doing it with generosity and love in your heart is the harder part. Tolerance is key (I love your “Coexistence” sign, by the way – I have something similar as a bumper sticker on my car!)

    As far as heaven and hell are concerned, I don’t understand why people are so preoccupied with these mythical places. Isn’t what you do here on Earth and the kind of life you have while you are alive the most important thing? No one really knows for sure what happens after you die. But in my opinion, heaven and hell are the terms that people still alive on Earth use to describe the kind of person they remember in a loved one (or an enemy). For example, most people would say Hitler is in “hell” because he did such evil things while he was alive and convinced others to be intolerant as he was. Most people alive think badly of him. So “hell” is where our collective memory think he is. On a personal level, you have memories of loved ones who have died that you share with others in your family or circle of friends. If you remember someone as good and kind, who was generous toward others, who sacrificed his/her time and efforts to make this world a better place, then your collective memories place that person in “heaven.”

    Anyway, to answer your original question, there are many non-dogmatic churches out there, but they don’t get a lot of “press” necessarily. If you tend toward Christianity, look for a denomination that encourages its worshippers to think for themselves, that promotes community outreach projects as well as fellowship among its members. I think in every faith group (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.) there are places of worship like this. There are also more all-encompassing faiths, like the Ba’hai. Among Christians, I would say try Unitarian, Society of Friends (Quakers), UCC (United Church of Christ) including “liberal” denominations such as Congregationalists, or Methodist. In Judaism, your best bet would be a Reform congregation. Other than that, I don’t know much about the differences within other faith groups.

    I wish you luck in finding a church that answers your spiritual needs!

    • Liz

      I really wish there was a way to like your comment, because I really do agree with most of what you’ve said, and you’ve said it better than I could ever hope to have said it.

      The only thing that I’m not fully 100% convinced on is your ideas on heaven and hell. While I agree that we need to make the most of our lives here, I have to believe that there is something beyond what we have here on earth. I don’t really have any tangible facts to back up that belief, so I understand why some people don’t agree with me, but there’s just something out there that makes me believe there is something for us beyond what we’re doing here.

      I spent a large chunk of time this morning looking into the different churches you mentioned. I don’t think I can jump so far as Ba’hai or Unitarian, but I looked into the UCC and found a church near my home that sounds a lot like what you’ve described, and a lot like what I think I’m looking for. We’ll see on Sunday though, won’t we? I’ll probably post on my experience on Sunday, and I’d really appreciate your input when I post it.

      Again, thank you for your comments. It means a lot to me to know there are other people like me out there.

  2. Pingback: God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit: What the hell do I believe? « NotMyBetterHalf

  3. I’m so glad you are looking into the UCC. So much of what you have posted about your religious beliefs lead me to think you will find a satisfying church home at the UCC. It has been instrumental in helping me explore my beliefs about God, Jesus and the Bible, and has been a spiritual home for me for many years. Let me know what you think after next Sunday!

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