View Full Version : Does church calm you down? And is it wrong to attend if you aren't religious.


Grabs39
01-14-14, 04:55 PM
I was wondering down the street the other day, past the church at the end of the road. Although a lot of my family are religious, and so I was brought up with Christian ideas and stories, I myself am agnostic. I generally go to church a couple of times a year at most for family or friends events - weddings, christening or funerals, but my mind is generally otherwise occupied during the service.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone on here regularly attends religious services. Do they find it relaxing or spiritual to take time away, and reflect on oneself and others? I ask because I'm normally racing through life at 1000mph doing twenty things at once, and even when I try, I can't slow down or take time out. Maybe reflecting in a structured environment would help?

Or would this be taking advantage of the church? As someone not too religious myself would it be a bit cheeky to show up?


Thoughts? Experiences? Hopefully this post has made sense!

ADHD_Adult
01-14-14, 05:02 PM
You may not feel religious but something is making you want to go inside and that is a good thing. You do not have to claim the same God as I may claim but you should know there is one. You do not have to fall out with the holy spirit because other are doing it but just recognize those who do it have a meaning and message behind their excitement. I do not thing God cares who you come, just that you came. I think God would be happy you are taking advantage of the church. As long as you are not defaming him, you would be very much welcome even if it was just for a blanket, something to eat, or to talk.

stef
01-14-14, 05:09 PM
i think its nice
and the uk is ok with questioning your faith etc (so ive heard! friend's mom worked in anglican church...)

dvdnvwls
01-14-14, 05:22 PM
It depends to some extent on the church's denomination, and also on the "local culture" that every church has. Some individual church might have a lot of pretentious snooty people who let you know (subtly or not so subtly) that you're an intruder - so if you find yourself in such a place, simply don't go back there; choose somewhere else for your next try.

In general terms, I expect that you would be welcome in most churches - simply find out online or by reading a sign when their service is, and just show up.

There's a website friendly to agnostic-type interested Christians like yourself, called Ship of Fools. One of the items on their site is called "Mystery Worshipper" - notes from people who did simply show up at various churches around the world, telling what kind of experiences they had. UK churches are fairly well represented on that list last time I checked (which was quite some time ago).

ginniebean
01-14-14, 05:28 PM
I go and sit sometimes when the church is open but empty. I don't care to be part of the service so to each his own.

addthree
01-14-14, 05:32 PM
If it makes you fell bad than donate to their collection.

dvdnvwls
01-14-14, 05:59 PM
addthree - you mean feeling bad about showing up when the church is empty, just to be there, because it's calming or whatever? Well, there's no reason to feel bad about that, but sure, if you feel they've helped you, there's nothing wrong with contributing a couple of bucks to their heat & light bills.

Grabs39
01-14-14, 06:09 PM
Thanks for the input guys. Ship of fools is a very interesting site (there are a couple of churches I've been to on there which was interesting).

Think I will go down on Sunday to have a look.

Odd being referred to as a Christian too, I don't see myself that way, but my devout Catholic Grandma would have approved.

The church itself is methodist and in the middle of my generally friendly (if a bit crime ridden) community which is a strange combination of working class and Hasidic Jewish

dvdnvwls
01-14-14, 06:16 PM
Sorry I didn't mean you were a Christian but just that you might be interested in it. Because you weren't asking about a synagogue or a football stadium. :)

Grabs39
01-14-14, 06:23 PM
Sorry I didn't mean you were a Christian but just that you might be interested in it. Because you weren't asking about a synagogue or a football stadium. :)

I didn't, and wouldn't take offence! Quite the opposite.

Restless1
01-14-14, 07:43 PM
Going into a church service to calm yourself is no harm. If anyone gets snooty tell them churches are meant to be open to all. They should be glad to have people in there.
Going into churches does not have to be a religious thing. They are very significant buildings if old that is. My parents local church is a timeshare between CofE and Methodist. The Methodist gets better audiences, mostly made up of CofE followers. Its a significant building in the village as youd expect of a building dating from the 1100s! Thats not unusual in the uk, theres a lot of churches that were founded then or even earlier, mostly modified but still parts from that sort of era. Either way I find them historically interesting and worth a visit for that reason only. Im an atheist not an agnostic though. I have beliefs but none of them includes a god.
Btw singing is actually a good exercise as well as good for mental health apparently! Church services are as good a place to do it as any. Id just miss out on any ritual like holy communion. I can see how that could be disrespect.
PS

Restless1
01-14-14, 07:59 PM
To the person posting earlier with God this and God that. Dont take it the wrong way but Im not sure an agnostic believes in God. Using God so much comes across as putting your beliefs onto someone else. I like it that you have your faith but is it just me that expressing it like you did after the OP said they were agnostic is insensitive in someway. If he was a Hindu who liked churches would you be saying your Christian God would be pleased he'd found him no matter how that was? IF i understand his post he does not believe in God and his church visits are about some kind of peace due to the church or the music/singingvin the service.
Sorry but I'm an atheist with a high degree of sensitivity from religious types having some overbearing need to express their religion. I've had way too many Christians try to convert me. It's made me a bit touchy. THats why i feel chlaustrophobic in church services. I have no problem visiting as a tourist but not during a service!
PS my sisters vicar was good. He was more than happy to let me be a Godfather to my nephew even though an atheist. He accepted my own words too. He only bothered that i meant most of it. I did. I'm quite happy bringing him up Christian if anything happened to them.

dvdnvwls
01-15-14, 02:55 PM
Id just miss out on any ritual like holy communion. I can see how that could be disrespect.
Even that, different between different churches. Every church has a policy on that, whether stated or unstated. Most churches (the ones that are decent to newcomers) they will tell you what you need to know. Most certainly if you feel like not participating in some ritual then just don't. If you find that you do want to but you're not sure you should, ask someone who looks intelligent. :)

Alex_Huntington
01-15-14, 03:06 PM
Most churches love to have visitors, and most won't be intrusive about it! If you find peace there, then by all means go, and even if you aren't religious it can be really soothing to participate in a positive corporate event like that. Hope you find the peace you're looking for there!

Grabs39
01-15-14, 05:11 PM
To the person posting earlier with God this and God that. Dont take it the wrong way but Im not sure an agnostic believes in God. Using God so much comes across as putting your beliefs onto someone else. I like it that you have your faith but is it just me that expressing it like you did after the OP said they were agnostic is insensitive in someway. If he was a Hindu who liked churches would you be saying your Christian God would be pleased he'd found him no matter how that was? IF i understand his post he does not believe in God and his church visits are about some kind of peace due to the church or the music/singingvin the service.

I don't mind anyone putting their views across, religious or otherwise; it's all good. :)

But no, it's not a religious thing, I don't really believe in God (nor do I believe there is no god) more a CBT thing. If I can't study because I get distracted I go to the library. So if I can't reflect on life, the universe and everything it stands to reason I should go to a place where that can be done in a structured environment (ie a church).

dvdnvwls
01-15-14, 05:24 PM
Grabs39:

If you're a poetry kind of person, and if you haven't already, take a look at "Church Going" by Larkin. Somewhat related to your thoughts. :)

I also noticed a really excellent typo in your original message - you said you were "wondering down the street". I actually do that sometimes as well. :)

Grabs39
01-15-14, 05:30 PM
I also noticed a really excellent typo in your original message - you said you were "wondering down the street". I actually do that sometimes as well. :)

I wonder and wander simultaneously! :lol:

Very interesting poem, thanks.

sarek
01-16-14, 03:09 AM
I go and sit sometimes when the church is open but empty. I don't care to be part of the service so to each his own.

My idea exactly. I do not attend services but I do very much enjoy being inside a church building. They have some kind of intangible magic to them.

EmilyRay42
01-16-14, 05:13 AM
Any church that has a problem with you coming isn't worth your presence. Some believe they are the owner of the building and forget who bought it and who they claim to serve.

Daydreamin22
01-16-14, 05:38 AM
it's healthy to be spiritual and the bible is filled with so much wisdom.

Kunga Dorji
01-24-14, 07:38 AM
It used to irritate me, as I was expected to leave my rational mind at the front door.
If something seemed illogical and I asked questions, I was told off. That grew old really fast.
Now, I no longer get irritated if attendance is not compulsory.

Kunga Dorji
01-24-14, 07:40 AM
Having said that-- I just attended a three day Tibetan Buddhist ceremony and loved it.
However, the attitude to my rational mind was different. My questions were encouraged.

Fuzzy12
01-24-14, 07:42 AM
I'm not religious and I usually feel a bit guilty when I enter a place of worship. I quite like visiting churches in a sight seeing kind of way..

I think, if you are visiting a church for a bit of peace and calm, it doesn't really go against what churches are supposed to be for, right?

dvdnvwls
01-24-14, 02:48 PM
I think, if you are visiting a church for a bit of peace and calm, it doesn't really go against what churches are supposed to be for, right?
No, it doesn't go against anything at all, as long as you're not interrupting an event or something.

Fraser_0762
01-24-14, 03:09 PM
A church in any shape or form is open to everybody. You don't need to believe in specific biblical stories to enter such places. If a church allows you to feel good and to make peace with yourself, it's serving it's purpose.

meadd823
01-31-14, 03:11 AM
Maybe reflecting in a structured environment would help?

Or would this be taking advantage of the church? As someone not too religious myself would it be a bit cheeky to show up?

A note here to point out that Christians are not the only spiritual group that have a structure enviroment or spiritual practices. As a pagan myself I find using the wheel of the year helps me maintain balance between self reflection focusing on the internal portions of me and external goals and my own impact upon my personal community - So many types of groups can help you take time to reflect upon life and it's big questions.

It may just spice things up a bit to try a variety of groups spiritual and non-spiritual - I am part of a shamanic group whose members are from a wide variety of spiritual practices - It is a wonderful place when Christians are able to work along side of Wiccians, Buddhist, Luciferians, and atheist. . . Women from all spiritual walks are welcome as long as they walk in understanding there will be spiritual diversity . . . afterwards the vegans munch along side the meat eaters we just don't munch on the same things -

I would not say you are taking advantage of christian churches as they are like most of the rest of us in that if there is a ritual or practice reserved only for believers they will specify it as such. It has been a while but if I remember right Sunday service are open to all who are interested in attending. Unless you announce your agnostic stance they will have no way of knowing - Even if they did I think as long as you were respectful they would still welcome you as Christians are taught to spread their faith to those who lack it - Logistically speaking it is more convenient for the Christians if the doubters come to them. . .

I do agree however that if you attend any spiritual group or church regularity you should pitch in to help pay for the space - Even churches have to pay the light and heating bill so all those who use such should contribute in according to their frequency of use.

Daydreamin22
01-31-14, 03:50 AM
I say definitely not wrong at all. It would've the opposite of that. The minister gives you comfort by recognizing their is a higher power for you to live under and will help you make choices and think about the teachings.

There is a lot of truth in the bible and it's an awesome guide and full of wisdom. You can even go online and pick an area you're concerned about. Healthy people are spiritual. It's an important part of life.

If you were taught about a higher power or something in early childhood, it's there for good and you can always refer to it and count on it, even after not believing, leaving behind, denying it, etc.

But, the point is, there is life saving truth in the bible and it is a source of overpowering and it is so healthy bc it's a higherbeing, which makes the world and people's actions make sense and label situations going on around you, being open minded, though. Anxiety stems from not knowing what's going to happen. It would be exhausting to have to take the time to size everything up and creating cognitive dissonance in ones head.

Also, at the core of Christianity is the pursuit of people who have not heard the truth to learn and be saved. Now, when I think about it that makes so much sense. The bible has so many truths in it that it's called that.

Believers are those who believe in the truth or word or meaning of the bible. It is a book that is open to analysis and the good part is when you're having trouble , sometimes it's like a sermon is made for you. It can be taken in so many ways and guidance.

It's a stable way to live and lots of support. In my church they give visitors a welcome mug. It's almost too much attention along with it. People are looking to "spread the word" and gain "followers of Christ" who will be "saved.

execfunc
01-31-14, 02:53 PM
Going to Mass puts my soul at ease in many ways, which isn't to say that it always calms me down. Sometimes I find pause to reflect on the state of the world, my place in it, and how I might be lacking in availing myself of opportunities to make it a better place, to bring God's love to others. Then I become very restless. It is, however, quite a wonderful feeling because it is a stirring compelling me to a goodness I know I can handle with God's love and guidance. It is very calming, though, to be reminded of God's love for me, despite my shortcomings, mistakes, and misdeeds. That's irreplaceable.

I'm Catholic, and our doors are open to anyone. Before each service starts, the lector makes a point of offering sincere welcome to any visitors. At my church we also have a chapel that is open 24 hours a day, which is a very peaceful and comfortable place.

Grabs39, I think I might have been where you are now (I was raised Catholic, got into all manner of spirituality as a young adult, was an atheist for a decade, then came back to the Church a few years back). Check out "Mere Christianity," by C.S. Lewis if you haven't yet. I think you might be surprised at what it says to you.