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What does that make me?


23 replies to this topic

#1 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:23 PM

A person (aka me) who believes in God (without a doubt) and has enough spiritual encounters to ever doubt God's existance, who is growing to not believe in the church?

Unfortunately when making a firm decision whether to raise our kids in the 'church' I'm afraid we are choosing not to because I believe the 'rules' of the church and the nature of it has damaged myself and my opinion of it. From beliefs of sexuality, to the treatment of some issues (and people), to the cult nature I've seen others follow, to the brainwashing nature of some churches I've been witness to, to the closed-nature of churches towards certain people, religion and sexualility issues.

Even down to the fact that my DD attending RE (due to the apalling way it is taught) means she wants no part of it, even though she talks about God (she's 7) so I opted her out for her own reasons/choice - I felt she was better NOT participating because I felt it is going to give her a negative viewpoint towards God.

So what does that make me?? Am I christian without the church? If not, what do you call me??

#2 Guest_Hoggle_*

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:26 PM

I have issues with the church so I stopped going a while ago. I still believe in god and have my own relationship with god so I still consider myself a Christian.

#3 livvie7586

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:29 PM

a christian??  i'm not a church goer, last time i stepped into a church was almost 2 years ago (christenings, weddings and deaths here, now DS is at a catholic school the odd liturgy), but i don't believe that going to church makes you more christian.  the way we treat people, the way we act, and what we believe in our hearts is what i think counts.  God sees everything we do, and knows everything we think/feel, so unless you get something out of the church you go to, why does it really matter

#4 Rubixx

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:30 PM

Non-practicing Christian?

#5 Kay1

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:31 PM

A free thinking Christian.

#6 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:33 PM

QUOTE (livvie7586 @ 02/03/2012, 06:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
a christian??  i'm not a church goer, last time i stepped into a church was almost 2 years ago (christenings, weddings and deaths here, now DS is at a catholic school the odd liturgy), but i don't believe that going to church makes you more christian.  the way we treat people, the way we act, and what we believe in our hearts is what i think counts.  God sees everything we do, and knows everything we think/feel, so unless you get something out of the church you go to, why does it really matter



I think because the church brainswashed me into understanding you are not a christian without the church. I had a friend tell me at a party for instance that my medical issues are a direct result of me not having gone to church. And the sad thing is it is probably something at the time I would have said too which I'm completely ashamed that I ever thought this way! We were 'shunned' is that the right word - ignored, forgotten as the lost sheep, when we left and apart from this friend never heard from anyone again (despite us being part of a big social network and circle). That was around 10 years ago now... but we still see said friend (hubby's really) and I know he still sees things that way. I watch the comments on Facebook and know they are brainwashed into thinking those things. The thing is, they WOULD say you are not a christian if you don't go to church...

#7 LittleJacksonOne

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:33 PM

I dont believe you have to go to church, we happen to have a great one and thats the only reason I go original.gif

#8 Beltie

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:50 PM

I'd call you a Christian if you are living by Christian values, have your faith as a central anchor in your life and actively try to better understand God on a regular basis.

I went to an Anglican school for 10 years and we received extensive religious education as well as weekly chapel. The school minister taught us, repeatedly, that a physical church was just a place to share faith with others but not a place to define your faith. He said you carried your true "church" within you. When questioned he said he believed some "strong" Christians never set foot in a church but practised their faith in their home, family and community instead.

I have found in my experience that sitting in church on Sunday doesn't assure particularly Christian behaviour the other 6 days of the week.

Edited for typing during feeding time at the zoo

Edited by Beltie, 02 March 2012 - 05:51 PM.


#9 ali27

Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:53 PM

Isn't your faith personal and between you and God?
having been brought up with missionary parents, I am fully aware of the must attend church argument, but don't believe attendance at church is a prerequisite for being a Christian. Many of the people I have come across in churches are petty  bigots!

#10 Angelot

Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:44 PM

A realist?   wink.gif

No?  Ok, serious answer then.

The church is bigger than any one institution or congregation.  It is, for the sake of a simple phrase, the whole corpus of people who are in Christ.  In that sense, of course you're a Christian without going to church, but I'd argue that being a Christian automatically makes one a part of the Church, however you choose to express that in associating with others.

That said, I believe that we are (except for a few people called to be contemplative hermits) called to be Christians in community.  However, when the church in its place and time fails to live up to its calling to be a sign, instrument and foretaste of the reign of God...I think it's quite reasonable that individual believers might refuse to treat it as such.  I would generally encourage people to find some form of community in which to be part of a spiritual reality greater than themselves.

As for the idea that people might be punished with disease for not going to church, I'm going to describe that with the highly technical theological term of "baloney."  As for the lost sheep - if they knew their gospels they would know that the lost sheep is never shunned or abandoned but sought out and celebrated by God.  


#11 **Xena**

Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:54 AM

I'll start off by saying I am not a Christian (though I have looked into Christianity and been a member of a Church) so you may want to take what I say with a grain of salt original.gif

I would call you a Christian, whether you went to Church or not. Perhaps a Gnostic Christian? To me it is a title given to a person of a particular belief system and who lives their life as such. With my own religion I prescribe to the thought that what I believe in is all around us, in every plant, animal and person. I see God in much the same way. He knows your heart.

I like to think of it in the same way as the quote in Stigmata:

"The Kingdom of God is inside you and all around you,
Not in a mansion of wood and stone.
Split a piece of wood and God is there,
Lift a stone and you will find God."

#12 Angelot

Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:45 AM

No, not Gnostic.  Gnosticism holds a bunch of beliefs which are different from mainstream Christianity, including the idea that the material world is evil and that the purpose of faith is to transcend it.

#13 **Xena**

Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:58 AM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 13/03/2012, 11:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No, not Gnostic.  Gnosticism holds a bunch of beliefs which are different from mainstream Christianity, including the idea that the material world is evil and that the purpose of faith is to transcend it.


Oh not that then laughing2.gif I hadn't much looked into Gnostic, I had only seen reference to it as someone who didn't attend Church. Didn't realise it had other strings attached. My apologies OP.

#14 Bathsheba52

Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:08 PM

I'd call you intelligent. There's no problem with belief outside of insitutional structures. Bring your children up by living your beliefs instead of just giving lip service to them on a Sunday. It's just a shame that there are so few independent schools that aren't tied to one institutional religion or another, but perhaps you should meet with some and see how they "walk the walk".

#15 MrsNorris

Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:55 PM

I'd still consider you a Christian.

I don't agree with everything my denomination or minister does or says.  I certainly don't agree with the views of every member of the congregation. And as long as it is made up of humans, the church will always be flawed in some way.   But, even with it's imperfections, being active in my church community is such a wonderful thing that I would never cease to be a part of it.     God calls us to worship in fellowship, and that is more difficult (but not impossible) to achieve without being part of an organised church.  

So, I would encourage you to consider ways in which you can maintain your integrity, and still be part of a church.    Perhaps you can be part of the change you wish to see?   Rather than abandoning it altogether?

#16 Guest_Retro_Mumma_*

Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:57 PM

A christian.

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

#17 Guest_Buy Me A Pony !_*

Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:24 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 13/03/2012, 11:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No, not Gnostic.  Gnosticism holds a bunch of beliefs which are different from mainstream Christianity, including the idea that the material world is evil and that the purpose of faith is to transcend it.


The world as evil is an inaccurate simplification of Gnosticism. It's regarded as more of a flawed creation of the mind. Or even more simply, an illusion. This illusion contains aspects of good that are representative of higher realities. Gnostics view contradictions as being characteristic of this world and that we exist within a plane of confused realities that must be separated.

To take this conversation one step further.. What you have described also describes Christianity. Christians also regard the world as inherently sinful hence the requirement to seek forgiveness via the Christ aspect. To personally acknowledge Jesus as Christ and to allow him into one's life is to bridge the gap between self and God as created by our sinful nature (the downfall) is it not? So your distinction of Gnosticism as being different from christianity is not made clear.

QUOTE (tess @ 13/03/2012, 08:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
God calls us to worship in fellowship, and that is more difficult (but not impossible) to achieve without being part of an organised church.  

So, I would encourage you to consider ways in which you can maintain your integrity, and still be part of a church.    Perhaps you can be part of the change you wish to see?   Rather than abandoning it altogether?


I hear this often from church going christians and have posted similarly about this same issue. At the end though I have to say I completely disagree with the reasoning. I love hearing about others finding peace or joy in attending church but for me it simply does not afford that. I'm more aligned with the OP in experience and I now know that to spend time in the company of people who regard themselves as being more righteous than they are is actually an incredible waste of time and quite damaging for me. The churches I've been involved with have focused more on keeping up appearances and were burdened by an enormous amount of judgement of others. I've seen individual thought discouraged under the guise of faith and seen people shunned for their natural curiosity. In short I've experienced little that would extend beyond the definition of bullying.

Fellowship to me is about celebrating the god aspect with all people. Communion can and should be found with anyone and this is what Christ taught.

#18 ubermum

Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:32 PM

Sounds to me that you are a Christian that has been going to the wrong church. I have experienced some of what you mention at some churches, but not at the church I am raising my children in.

#19 Angelot

Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:49 PM

QUOTE (Buy Me A Pony ! @ 18/03/2012, 04:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The world as evil is an inaccurate simplification of Gnosticism. It's regarded as more of a flawed creation of the mind. Or even more simply, an illusion. This illusion contains aspects of good that are representative of higher realities. Gnostics view contradictions as being characteristic of this world and that we exist within a plane of confused realities that must be separated.

To take this conversation one step further.. What you have described also describes Christianity. Christians also regard the world as inherently sinful hence the requirement to seek forgiveness via the Christ aspect. To personally acknowledge Jesus as Christ and to allow him into one's life is to bridge the gap between self and God as created by our sinful nature (the downfall) is it not? So your distinction of Gnosticism as being different from christianity is not made clear.


I understand that Gnosticism is actually more a spectrum of related streams of thought than one single system, but as I understand it, generally speaking Gnostics reject matter as evil.  They believe God didn't create matter but seeks to liberate us from it - ultimately leaving behind physical bodies to be spiritual beings, that sort of thing.  

Which is not what Christianity teaches.  Christianity, in its Scriptures and Creeds, affirms the goodness of the material world as God's creation, affirms God taking on real physical flesh to redeem it, and proclaims the hope of the resurrection of the body to eternal life.  There are other differences but that is a fairly key one.

QUOTE (Buy Me A Pony ! @ 18/03/2012, 04:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Fellowship to me is about celebrating the god aspect with all people. Communion can and should be found with anyone and this is what Christ taught.


Leaving aside your comments about church which is not living up to what it should be (about which I completely agree with you), I don't think this last bit is fair.  We can't celebrate "the god aspect" with all people - some deny it altogether, and others conceive of it in terms so radically different from us that there is little common ground.  Communion (koinonia in the Greek), in the Scriptures is presented as an intimate mutual participation which has its foundation in our relationship to God (see 2 Cor 13:13 for an example). While that's not an excuse to avoid relationship of any sort with others, it does mean that relationship with others is not the same thing.  We are not all members of the one body, acting according to one will and purpose, with those who are not in Christ!

#20 Bodacious Prime

Posted 18 March 2012 - 03:57 PM

I haven't got time for a long winded answer, just a few points.

QUOTE (livvie7586 @ 02/03/2012, 03:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
God sees everything we do, and knows everything we think/feel, so unless you get something out of the church you go to, why does it really matter

It matters because it's not about what you get out of it, it's about what you give. Church is about a communion of believers. Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 12:27 "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. Also in Hebrews 10:25, it says "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Going to church does not make you a christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. But the bible says that there are things we should do, like gather together, hear the word preached, worship in unity, take communion and serve one another. Your salvation depends on your relationship with Christ but the way you live your life as a member of the Body of Christ is important too.

#21 Guest_Buy Me A Pony !_*

Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:18 PM

I've deleted my post as it's way off topic

Edited by Buy Me A Pony !, 18 March 2012 - 05:31 PM.


#22 Angelot

Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:59 PM

And since when was that a problem, BMAP?   wink.gif

Seriously, if you'd like to continue the discussion, please do start a spin off or even send a PM - if I've got something wrong I'd like to know, too!

#23 MrsNorris

Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:45 PM

QUOTE
I hear this often from church going christians and have posted similarly about this same issue. At the end though I have to say I completely disagree with the reasoning. I love hearing about others finding peace or joy in attending church but for me it simply does not afford that. I'm more aligned with the OP in experience and I now know that to spend time in the company of people who regard themselves as being more righteous than they are is actually an incredible waste of time and quite damaging for me. The churches I've been involved with have focused more on keeping up appearances and were burdened by an enormous amount of judgement of others. I've seen individual thought discouraged under the guise of faith and seen people shunned for their natural curiosity. In short I've experienced little that would extend beyond the definition of bullying.


I don't think I would find peace or joy with those people either.  But I have been part of many churches over the years, and while none are perfect, all are places where I have found love, acceptance, peace and joy.   I would encourage you to keep seeking a church where you will find true community.    But I understand that your previous experiences, as you've described them here, would not inspire you to do so.  

QUOTE
Fellowship to me is about celebrating the god aspect with all people. Communion can and should be found with anyone and this is what Christ taught.


We have a different idea of fellowship then I think.  Fellowship to me, is about being with other Christians.    My husband is not a Christian & doesn't believe in God - there is no human being to whom I am closer, but I am certainly not in fellowship with him.

#24 clinkers

Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:58 PM

I am a Christian and a long time ago I never went.  I did a lot of Church shopping to find the one that I liked and we all had to agree, my husband, me and the children.

I find that I am challenged more spiritually when I go to Church.  I feel more accountable.  I find it easier to stay grounded.

Is there a Bible study that you could go to instead?




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