Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Why Atheists go to church" by Cole Morgan

This is interesting.  One of our own good friends, an atheist, attends church almost every weekend and he publishes articles in the "Faith" section of the Kansas City Star... (Oh my goodness.) Here's a sample.

Why an atheist goes to church
Special to the Star
“Why do you go?” Friends ask me this whenever I mention that I enjoy going to Bible studies. I suppose that’s because they know I am an atheist. 
About a year ago, some buddies and I started going together to different churches. The initial surprise on our fellow churchgoers’ faces when they learned we were nonbelievers was priceless.
To answer the question, there are a few reasons why I go. First of all, it’s fun. I like to learn, and attending a new church is always a rewarding experience for me. I like to hear how each denomination interprets the Bible, and why people think the way they do. So often we’ll hear someone explain why members of other denominations are not real Christians. 
For the past four weeks, a group of us have been attending a 10-week “Alpha Course” at a church.The purpose of this class, the facilitator told us, is to provide a place where people can feel relaxed about coming and talking about their beliefs. We start off with dinner, then a DVD discussing Jesus, and finally we go to our small groups. The people are friendly and we don’t keep getting asked why exactly we’re there.
When I tell people there how I feel about religion, they don’t take offense. I like that. That hasn’t always happened at Bible studies I’ve attended. Still, I feel a disconnect with my new friends in the Alpha Course. They tell me to “open the door” (the door being my heart) and if I do, “Jesus will come in.” What does this mean? I can’t even begin to understand this idea of “letting Jesus into my heart.”
As a natural born skeptic, I know that the natural world is all we need and all we have. I find the natural world exciting -- there’s so much to learn. I stay active promoting science whenever possible. I feel we only have this life, so I encourage people to be active and to support research that will help us live longer and healthier.
I am a member and help organize several nonreligious meet up groups in the Kansas City area. We have movie nights, science nights, topic nights, breakfasts and picnics to keep us busy. We also keep each other informed with voting issues and other topics we feel are unfair in our society like women’s rights and gay rights. We invite Christians many times to our groups, but few ever accept and fewer show.
I would like it if we could learn to be more rational and laugh at our differences more often. That’s another reason why I go to church. It’s nice to be able to show Christians that we don’t have horns and tails. Atheists live normal lives just like Christians do. We just believe in one fewer god.
Cole Morgan is one of 13 contributors to the Faith Walk column. Reach him at faith@kcstar.com.

Good for you, Cole Morgan, and more power to you.  (But personally, I think I'll still be skipping church.)

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