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I go to church

I go to church
April 20, 2009, 04:41:56 PM
I was raised Catholic and in the past few months I've been going back to church every now and then.  It's the same church I grew up at.  I meet my parents there and sit with them.  My parents are so happy to see me and it makes my family stronger.  I'm somewhat well known in my community (I worked at the public library for a year and I was a pretty good football player in high school).  I get a lot of smiles and nods from the people at church.  I especially relish the smiles and nods from the young people who are still "forced" to go to church by their parents.  When I worked at the public library, I met a bright young kid there and he's an altar boy.  He really lights up and almost laughs when he sees me there.  I guess I'm being a "fake," but I feel in some really really small way, it makes my community and family just a little stronger.  It seems everybody's a "rebel" these days.  So how do you become a real "rebel," any more?  You rebel against the rebels.

on a side note, I noticed that the "sign of the cross" is ACTUALLY an INVERTED cross!  you go from the forehead, to the the middle of the chest, to both shoulders - hahaha!

Re: I go to church
April 20, 2009, 09:27:15 PM
Who cares? And what do you get out of it? Also, you sound like a teenager, get over yourself.

A pentecostal coworker invited me to one of his church services, all I can say is despite all the rambunctiousness and singing and whatever, it was pretty boring. I felt no connection with anyone there in the ethnically mixed melange, much less the priest who was shouting like Hitler. I couldn't see a reason to be there except to check it out. It was like the Immolation song, "I feel nothing". If I'm going to get a three hour lecture every week it might as well be on something useful or interesting, not some bullshit...

I don't know where you live but I think church in America tends to suck while church in Europe, having some cultural, historical and ethnic ties to a region, is more interesting. Especially Catholic and Orthodox churches, and regional variations in things like monastic orders to architectural styles and styles of chant. I spent Christmas eve in the Notre Dame de Paris and singing in Latin was pretty cool but not enough to draw me in every Sunday.  I was raised and later self-made an atheist so I regard these things with an air of detachment but I can appreciate some of what they have to offer and their historical and cultural significance.

Re: I go to church
April 20, 2009, 09:41:23 PM
My parents are so happy to see me and it makes my family stronger.

Sounds good to me.

I think instead of attacking the church, and the moral/community/family structure that goes with it, we should infiltrate the church and remove the bad philosophy from it.

Imagine Christianity without:

1. Dualism. The idea of another weird world up there where values are better than this one. Instead, we study values in this world.
2. Pity/equality. Instead of worrying about those who are not adapted to our world, we celebrate the glory of the world.

That would be a non-objectionable Christianity, and a powerful force for good values, as Schopenhauer suggested.

Re: I go to church
April 21, 2009, 10:08:48 AM
From being Christian by volition (my parents are confirmed Agnostics), to being a "Satanist" for about half a year, to changing to Wicca and Witchery, then having "anti-Christianity" as being my "religion", and then, finally, and only recently, considering the ten years since I have been giving myself a labelled religion, moving closer and closer to what could ostensibly be called "Odalism" (yet another label, but one that I prefer to simple "anti-Christianity", being positive and not negative), I have finally been able to recognise that the problem is not with Christianity, but, rather, with the Church.  A number of Christians I have become aquainted with were outraged to find that I believed Catholicism, Protestantism, 5th Monarchism, etc, to be "branches of Christianity".

It was made clear to me that the concept of "the Church" goes against the words apparently spoken by Jesus Christ.  I also realised that my problem with Christianity had, in fact, been a problem with the Church, and "organised religion".

Cosmic.

Re: I go to church
April 21, 2009, 12:38:53 PM
Despite many of you perhaps, I have seen and been around a great deal of very respectable christians. It seems when dealing with the group as a whole we should make three distinctions:
1) their beliefs that benefit reality
2) their beliefs that discount reality
3) the organization

From what I see christians tend to pour their efforts into their community while at the same time creating an identity that is mostly free from the vagaries of modern thinking. This is good. However quality one must stem from quality two if it to be called christian and not 'nice people doing good things". Some of these people depend on the religion for direction, purpose, and identity. Since a number of them show traits beneficial to reality not throwing crap in their face is important unless you like the idea of being the tortured idealist. Who knows, if you mirror their values while publicly rejecting their beliefs maybe you'd make some very steadfast allies?

The organization is like any other large group of humans: susceptible to corruption, weak, fickle, etc. To attack them on this front is almost as valid as blaming you for the corruption in your county.

Re: I go to church
April 21, 2009, 02:32:16 PM
I have finally been able to recognise that the problem is not with Christianity, but, rather, with the Church. 

I don't agree, and here's why:

The problem always comes down to individuals denying reality, and forming groups that then officialize that denial of reality.

It probably happened to Jesus, and it certainly happened to Christianity.

Re: I go to church
April 21, 2009, 04:07:32 PM

I think instead of attacking the church, and the moral/community/family structure that goes with it, we should infiltrate the church and remove the bad philosophy from it.


Exactly.


And what do you get out of it? Also, you sound like a teenager, get over yourself.

 It was like the Immolation song, "I feel nothing".


What do I get out of it?  Nothing, really.  Just a few smiles.  It takes 50 minutes out of my week, and I don't go every week - big deal - I have all the time in the world.  Why do I do something that "gives" me "nothing" in return, you ask?  Probably 'cause I'm over myself.  I agree with the Immolation song reference, though.  The service, itself, does nothing for me - I more or less zone out.  I've read Nietzsche's books over and over for years now, and I thoroughly understand how Christianity is Slave Morality.  I'm not a Christian, but I go to church every now and then.  That's it.  I guess I go for the "communal aspect."  It's good for the young people of the church to see a healthy, 20-something year old, with long, wild hair as opposed to the fat, crippled, run-down, people on the verge of death that make up the majority of the church.  Opiates and Heroin are starting to invade the town I grew up in (WTF?).  I figure Christianity is preferrable to that lifestyle for the youth of my community.  And if you think I'm stroking my ego by implying that the entire community is relying on me to go to church to save the kids, you underestimate the power of simply "making an appearance."  I admit it's not much, but it's something.

Re: I go to church
April 21, 2009, 04:22:23 PM
My parents are so happy to see me and it makes my family stronger.

Sounds good to me.

I think instead of attacking the church, and the moral/community/family structure that goes with it, we should infiltrate the church and remove the bad philosophy from it.

Imagine Christianity without:

1. Dualism. The idea of another weird world up there where values are better than this one. Instead, we study values in this world.
2. Pity/equality. Instead of worrying about those who are not adapted to our world, we celebrate the glory of the world.

That would be a non-objectionable Christianity, and a powerful force for good values, as Schopenhauer suggested.

So what is left after those two things are gone.  The remains of Jewish docterine?

The problem I see with it is that it, other than what you mentioned, is that it does not encourage growing as a person.  All they have is waiting for eternity.  I feel as if maybe Christianity might have played an important role in the world ( and I dount myself on this often ) but I can see nothing about it that is good anymore. No good value I could take out of it is worth dealing with hatred of life.

But concerning the original poster, it may indeed improve your community as you stated at the beginging of you post, but the rest of your post makes me think you just crave the aproval and are glad to be accepted even by a lower class of philosophers.  Well you are in luck, because that God loves you no matter what.  In fact, it is the leading new religion of divorcees. 

It may be paranoia and nothing else talking here, but I think they got you.  Enjoy bible study.

Re: I go to church
April 21, 2009, 09:08:01 PM
It's good for the young people of the church to see a healthy, 20-something year old, with long, wild hair as opposed to the fat, crippled, run-down, people on the verge of death that make up the majority of the church.

Especially if that person explains how one can be spiritual and also a Nietzschean.

The aspects of Christianity that are anti-life are the same aspects of liberalism and American conservatism that are anti-life: a belief in a doctrine of equality so that we can feel we have overcome the order of nature. That's 1789 doctrine, and 1968 doctrine. It's not the doctrine of a human future if we want one.

The tents of this doctrine, which I call Crowdism:

1. Dualism. The idea of another weird world up there where values are better than this one. Instead, we study values in this world.
2. Pity/equality. Instead of worrying about those who are not adapted to our world, we celebrate the glory of the world.

These are the enemy.

There are "nihilists" out there who endorse both of these ideals; see CounterOrder.com or other cowards.

The problem I see with it is that it, other than what you mentioned, is that it does not encourage growing as a person. 

The problem with "growing as a person" and "liberty" and "freedom" as goals is that they are negative goals; they, too, are anti-life. That leads to individualism and other partial solutions that obscure real solutions.

What you want is to become disciplined toward reality, and create an aesthetics of holistic positive contribution.

Having nihilists (or whatever Jim Necroslaughter considers himself to be) in churches is a step forward. We do not fear tackling our communities head on, and making them confront our values and our truths. And we believe in community, instead of being more modern brats who talk a good game but service their own callow interests behind that justification.

Re: I go to church
April 21, 2009, 09:47:05 PM
My parents are so happy to see me and it makes my family stronger.

Sounds good to me.

I think instead of attacking the church, and the moral/community/family structure that goes with it, we should infiltrate the church and remove the bad philosophy from it.

Imagine Christianity without:

1. Dualism. The idea of another weird world up there where values are better than this one. Instead, we study values in this world.
2. Pity/equality. Instead of worrying about those who are not adapted to our world, we celebrate the glory of the world.


Great points. I think that by now, most intelligent members or this site will have realized that abolishing Christianity is:
 1) near impossible
2) itself a blockade to cultural development, given the cultural and spiritual disconnects that afflict the West at this time. Doing away with spirituality will not lead to greater consensus or social stability, but rather will serve to further wedge the West spiritually.

A few problems that will present themselves in most efforts to reform Christianity.
1) Literalism: Even if the church respects the ideals of non-Christian members of its greater community, it is obliged by its own allegiances to perpetuate Christianity in a literalistic manner, such that its basic myths (creation, the doctrine of Jesus as the son of god and saviour of man) will be preserved in the church-goers minds as literal beliefs and not stories that reflect the greater truth of our world.
2) Huge disagreements over hedonism, ethics, the nature of culture

Trey Azagthoth in my mind represents one of the more sensible opinions about this matter in the Metal community, which is that Christianity could be bettered by removing the literal belief in Christ as the pathway to spiritual development and evolution. While it's near impossible to see Christianity existing without some form of the saviour story, one could imagine a school of Christianity in which the story of Christ is approached more as a symbolic matter (something like a modern version of the various non-literalistic schools of Christianity that have existed).


Re: I go to church
April 22, 2009, 01:59:21 AM
My parents are so happy to see me and it makes my family stronger.

Sounds good to me.

I think instead of attacking the church, and the moral/community/family structure that goes with it, we should infiltrate the church and remove the bad philosophy from it.

Imagine Christianity without:

1. Dualism. The idea of another weird world up there where values are better than this one. Instead, we study values in this world.
2. Pity/equality. Instead of worrying about those who are not adapted to our world, we celebrate the glory of the world.

That would be a non-objectionable Christianity, and a powerful force for good values, as Schopenhauer suggested.

Good points.

Most attacks on Christianity are based on strawmen, and have much more to do with combating religion in general from the perspective of individualism ("I AM THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING AND DETERMINER OF ALL - GOD/REALITY IS EVIL BECAUSE IT LIMITS ME AND MAKES ME HURT SOMETIMES") and materialism ("THERE IS FUNDAMENTALLY NO ORDER TO ANYTHING ANYWHERE, THEREFORE ITS OK FOR ME TO OVERDOSE ON CHEEZWIZ AND TELEVISION").

The criticisms you've presented here, however, are totally warranted and are the main obstacles that intelligent people encounter when approaching the subject.

Dualism has been a problem in/with Christianity for a long time. It typically manifests in two forms:

The first is something that has called itself or been called Gnosticism, Manicheanism or Catharism at various points in history, and hinges on a belief that the "heavens" and the "world" are absolutely antagonistic and discontinuous with one another. It often presents "the world" as actually evil, a kind of metaphysical abberation that must be eliminated or escaped. Careful observers may note that this position actually resembles a misinterpretation and over-literalization of certain Eastern ideas. It is also noteworthy that these dualist deviations have been regarded as heresies by the more powerful Christian sects. Islam also has seen similar eruptions of dualism, and likewised attempted to banish them.

The second form that dualism takes is actually a more sinister and much more prevalent form, because it's not actually recognized as such. This could loosely be called "supernaturalism", and in reality is actually a sort of materialism. Having no grasp of the basically symbolic character of religious doctrine, it takes religious stories and interprets them in the most literal way possible. God becomes a finite entity, like a person. Heaven and hell become places, rather than conditions or principles. Basically, because these people are unable to think outside of material terms (people, places, spaces, objects), they are blind to the very concept of metaphysics, and simply fill it in with what they're familiar with. This certainly isn't something unique to Christianity, but it is phenomenon that almost completely dominates it.

Regarding pity and equality, it shouldn't be too difficult to discover the origins of these attitudes. They stem from a decay of the concept of love as an intregral element of God's creation, and by extension, a virtue to be expressed in society. In some other post somewhere, you demonstrated an understanding of this as a realization that spite/hatred/vindictiveness are symptoms of personal weakness and a lack of reverence for the world. This is really what it comes down to. True reverence for reality (dread and love of God) cannot help but manifest as a sense of the love of things; an appreciation for the excellence and appropriateness of everything that exists.

The trouble is that, first of all, people don't usually get that far. The result is that we end up with sentiment, instead of something rooted in reality. The other problem is that people often have a great deal of difficulty grasping the concept that love isn't necessarily something soft. Love does not necessarily translate into a gentle action. Fritschoff Schuon said something to the effect of humility being objectivity towards oneself, and charity being objectivity towards others. Objectivity towards others means recognizing what they are completely - not just superficially, and then taking the appropriate actions - gentle or otherwise. While there definitely is a current within Christianity that calls for kindness to the downtrodden, I don't think this needs to be interpreted as mindless permissiveness and softness.

In terms of how we might improve Christianity.... I would say that the first task would be to understand its strengths and shortcomings thoroughly. It should be noted that I do not mean, by this, that one should attempt to change it to fit ones political ideology, rather that one should use its real strengths and rid it of its real weaknesses. It doesn't need to be re-written - just excavated. I don't know if it's really possible to actually reverse the whole course of its decay (it has gathered a LOT of downhill momentum over the last 600 years or more), but I think it's definitely possible to work with it in a localized way.




Re: I go to church
April 22, 2009, 02:08:09 AM

A few problems that will present themselves in most efforts to reform Christianity.
1) Literalism: Even if the church respects the ideals of non-Christian members of its greater community, it is obliged by its own allegiances to perpetuate Christianity in a literalistic manner, such that its basic myths (creation, the doctrine of Jesus as the son of god and saviour of man) will be preserved in the church-goers minds as literal beliefs and not stories that reflect the greater truth of our world.
2) Huge disagreements over hedonism, ethics, the nature of culture



Yeah. These are the reasons why I'm not sure if it's realistic to think it's possible to transform Christianity as a whole, or even as a kind of 'movement within it'. I mean, there's a reason why it got this bad to begin with. However, this shouldn't mean that one has to reject it all out of hand, or not try to engage in mutually beneficial dialogue/argument/learning/figuring-things-out with Christians.

A few months ago, I attended a Greek Orthodox service with a friend of mine. While the ceremony itself was intriguing, and seemed pretty advanced in terms of the doctrine it was advancing, I was definitely not impressed by the congregation. After the service, everyone got together in the rec-room and sat around eating junk food and chattering about bullshit. I seriously wouldn't know where to start in terms of getting these people not only to dig a little deeper into their religion, but to even take the rituals they took part in more seriously. It seemed like the priest didn't know how either, so had just resigned himself to not trying.

But maybe working with folks on an individual or family level could yield better results.

Re: I go to church
April 22, 2009, 06:30:00 AM
Whenever someone asks what religion I am, I say I support the fundamental point all religions are trying to get across. The setting aside of the sin within us, the ever-wanting ego, and asserting the God in us. If people that cannot recognize this have to subscribe to a theology and attend church to understand it, I have no problem with that. But churches will always get confused and miss the point.

Re: I go to church
April 22, 2009, 11:32:22 AM
I have finally been able to recognise that the problem is not with Christianity, but, rather, with the Church. 

I don't agree, and here's why:

The problem always comes down to individuals denying reality, and forming groups that then officialize that denial of reality.

It probably happened to Jesus, and it certainly happened to Christianity.

The fact of the Church's existence, in its many forms, gives those who deny reality a chance of refuge among others of like mind, therefore, I suggest we remove the formalisation/organisation of "Christianity", and it will become far easier to reveal to people that there are correct and false parts to their worldviews: without the support of a "community", people's views are more malleable, thus it will become easier to straighten them.

Re: I go to church
April 22, 2009, 02:35:09 PM
I was raised Catholic and in the past few months I've been going back to church every now and then.  It's the same church I grew up at.  I meet my parents there and sit with them.  My parents are so happy to see me and it makes my family stronger.  I'm somewhat well known in my community (I worked at the public library for a year and I was a pretty good football player in high school).  I get a lot of smiles and nods from the people at church.  I especially relish the smiles and nods from the young people who are still "forced" to go to church by their parents.  When I worked at the public library, I met a bright young kid there and he's an altar boy.  He really lights up and almost laughs when he sees me there.  I guess I'm being a "fake," but I feel in some really really small way, it makes my community and family just a little stronger.  It seems everybody's a "rebel" these days.  So how do you become a real "rebel," any more?  You rebel against the rebels.

on a side note, I noticed that the "sign of the cross" is ACTUALLY an INVERTED cross!  you go from the forehead, to the the middle of the chest, to both shoulders - hahaha!

You are absolutely right that going to this church makes you, and your community stronger. But the same could be accomplished if you all met at a bowling alley as well. In other words, the religious doesn't make your community stronger, it's the human experience that does. Those are two HUGE differences.