A Godless Church?

Hello World,

I must confess…I am somewhat fascinated by atheists…the idea that there are people out there who believe this magnificent Earth despite all of the ugliness from war to sickness to downright stupidity just appeared without God is just incomprehensible…

Every now and then, I come across an atheist, and I am always unsure of what to say…I’m not a master in apologetics, and I should certainly study apologetics more I always feel when I find myself in these uncomfortable encounters…But at the end of the day, a belief in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is an act of faith…And of course, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” At at 40 years old, I’ve “seen” God work in my life so much so that I will continue to hold on in my belief in Him until I die so help me God

But apparently, there is a growing initiative to create godless churches…Here is one article I found about a former Methodist minister who is now a “godless” church planter…

“From Pastor to Harvard’s ‘godless church’ Planter”…below are a few interesting excerpts of an interview with Teresa MacBain…

I was raised in the Deep South where my dad was a Baptist pastor. I always felt my calling was to be in ministry but the Baptist church didn’t allow women pastors. As I moved through my young adulthood, my theology became more liberal leading me into the Methodist church where I became a pastor. I’d always been a thinker so when questions relating to my faith began to pop up, I ignored them at first. You see, questioning and doubts were sinful in my faith tradition…

An enormous number of Christians have threatened to do physical harm to me. Many others have been kind in their response. They don’t understand and of course, they offer to pray for me. Some atheists have disagreed with me. I’ve heard comments like “I’ll give you a year but this won’t stick.” But overall the Christian response has been much worse than the feedback I got from the “angry atheists.”

We need to work with language. Some like the Sunday Assembly are calling these “atheist churches.” Some who have been burned by religion but are looking for community want to reclaim the word “church.” For others even a liberal church like the Unitarian Universalists will not meet their needs. For this reason, we’re using the term “Humanist community.”

So what do you think? What do you when you encounter atheists? Why do you believe in God?

Any thoughts?

P.S. I am always very respectful of people I encounter who don’t believe as I believe because I think it’s the Christian thing to do…

 

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2 thoughts on “A Godless Church?

  1. Hello there! I came across your site while looking for an image of Hebrews 11:1. Atheist here, so this may not be what you were looking for, but thought I would chime in and let you know my take on the matter.

    So from what I’ve read, Teresa MacBain is one of the people who was in the Clergy Project which helps clergy/religious leaders who no longer believe, to provide help coming out to family & friends, finding jobs, providing a place to talk to others in the same situation, etc.

    At their core I think one of the churches main functions seems to be to provide a sense of community, and helping others in need. Spiritual guidance also, which I can see could be beneficial as well, though words alone I think are less important in terms of actual tangible benefits on the well being of society in general.

    If you have a meetup at a coffee shop every Sunday with some friends/family, I wouldn’t call that place a church, nor would I if it was done at some rented conference room. I think it is when you bring sacred texts, dogma and supernatural stuff into the mix in a building expressly for this purpose that we get a more fitting idea when using the word ‘church’. While I don’t see the use of them calling it that, I suppose is theirs to use if they feel that way.

    Now in regards to your first two paragraphs, and the last part, I’ll tell you why I am an atheist. Bear in mind this is just my opinion, and I am sure if you speak with other non believers their stories and reasons will vary greatly as we are a diverse bunch!

    So basically, where I am in Canada, religion was never a prominent thing from my perspective. While my parents and family are not what I would call religious, they’re not exactly atheists either, my dad is an ‘organic foods’, ‘big pharma is out to get us, spiritual new agey kind of guy, and my mom is pretty quiet and religion & god were never really discussed growing up that I can recall. Our more distant relatives I would visit in TN were more religious, saying grace, praying, etc and I also would see the references in TV/movies of course, but it never struck me as anything more than metaphor at best and often, at least to me didn’t seem to add anything of substance, eg: thank god (expressing thanks), pray for this person (wish this person well), look at wonderful thing X god has given us (look at this wonderful thing).

    Granted I wasn’t brought up in any sort of religious setting so I may have just not understood any of it well enough then, but omitting the religious stuff in people’s words and just taking the stuff of real world substance was what I did on the few occasions they came up, and it seemed to still permit me to get the jist of what was being said.

    Surely there are people you have come across with other beliefs, be it a totally different religion, or branch of your own (as even in one’s own church beliefs tend to not be uniform). So if someone were to speak to you of the greatness of Allah, or a Jehovah’s Witness giving you their interpretation of the bible, etc. you most likely would not believe/agree with what they claim. Or to put it in another way, you have not yet been convinced what they claim is true. The same goes for the countless other religions and gods out there that people believe in that you probably reject (that you also would have likely been brought up in if you happened to be born in another part of the world).

    This is pretty much my position on the matter as well. I am reject one more god than you do – I am simply unconvinced that any of them are true (from what I have been exposed to thus far). Mind you I’m not saying it’s impossible for any god to exist or for a religion to be correct, or that such a thing is 100% certainly false, not at all. But I am just unconvinced.

    It’s a hard thing to discuss I’ll admit as it is hard to put myself into the another person’s way of thinking and try to understand them better.

    I really care about truth and if something is true or real I absolutely what to know it as I think we are better off having as many true beliefs and and few false beliefs as possible, simply because the better informed we are the better choices we are able to make. I’m not sure if you see my email address but let me know if you want and I’ll send it to you if you would like to discuss this matter further one on one and I’d be glad to hear what you have to say.

    -Some Canadian atheist. 😛

    • I guess my first question to you “some Canadian atheist” is why were you looking for an image of Hebrews 11:1? 🙂 You have some interesting points on what separates a church and a community. And I think you’re right about people tending to fall in line with how they were raised…However, in my case, there was a definite time when I had to investigate what my family believed and whether I believed in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. And I’m so glad that I believe in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit because of my own personal experiences not because of what my parents told me…Now, I have to admit that what my parents taught me created a foundation for my faith, but I have my own personal relationship with God independent of my parents. Have you come to your beliefs based on how you were raised or what you have actually experienced?…