the real reason many people go to church

"Real Reason" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Real Reason” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

[Get a really nice print of this cartoon HERE!]

I help people deconstruct their beliefs and their religion, and I also help them reconstruct their own independent spirituality.

The Lasting Supper is where I do it along with hundreds of others. (I invite you to join us HERE!)

One of the common struggles for those who have left the church is loneliness. What do they miss about church most of all? The company. Friends.

I concur.

It’s sad that for many people this requires suspending the intellect and even their integrity because they have to sit and endure listening to things they simply cannot or will not believe.

All in order to belong.

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7 Responses

  1. Kenton says:

    Love the big screen! Nice touch.

    As far as the overall message, I think there’s a lot of truth there. At the same time, if the fellowship of friends is truly authentic then isn’t it enough to transcend someone’s doubts? And aren’t there things that are sometimes taught from the pulpit that everyone can agree on? Not always, certainly, but we can avoid being disagreeable and still disagree.

  2. Christopher Curzon says:

    It’s hard to know what would be taught that everyone can agree upon, except, I would hope, the great commandments “Love God” and “Love Neighbor”, as far as ethical teaching goes. The manifestation of these two great commandment will likely involve some difficult questions, and debate and dispute. But if the differences are respected, then the preaching ought to be a unifying dynamic. With respect to doctrinal questions (as distinct from ethical questions) I think there is far too much emphasis in most churches on what you are required to believe, which results in relationship-ending events over inconsequential stuff.

  3. Bernardo says:

    As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term “Golden Rule”, or “Golden law”, as it was called from the 1670s.[1][6] As a concept of “the ethic of reciprocity,” it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[1][5] It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, “two-way” nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[1]

    Rushworth Kidder discusses the early contributions of Confucius (551–479 BCE) (See a version in Confucianism below). Kidder notes that this concept’s framework appears prominently in many religions, including “Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world’s major religions”.[7] According to Greg M. Epstein, “ ’do unto others’ … is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely.”[8] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.[9] In his commentary to the Torah verse (Hebrew: “ואהבת לרעך כמוך” ca.1300 BCE):”

    You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

    —Leviticus 19:18[10], the “Great Commandment”

    Did the historical Jesus utter a version of the Golden Rule? Luke 6:31 = Matt 7:12- no he did not according to the findings of many contemporary NT scholars.

    e.g Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 151f] notes the ancient and diverse attestation of this saying in antiquity, including its earliest occurrence in Herodotus III 142, 3:

    “I will not do that for which I censure my neighbors.”

    From Ludemann’s book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 151-152, ” In view of the widespread attestation of the Golden Rule in antiquity and its generality, it cannot be attributed to Jesus.”

    See also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb033.html

    And because of the common sense nature of the Golden Rule, most humans to include myself and my friends follow said rule.

  4. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bernardo: I agree that the two great commands, Love God and Love your Neighbor, predate Jesus. After all, according to the Gospel Accounts of His life, Jesus was quoting the Torah.

    What Jesus is credited with, though, is using the most despised person as the hero of His story (we call it the Parable of the Good Samaritan). The Samaritans were mixed race (wrong genetics), mixed religion (wrong beliefs), and unusual marriages or live-in arrangements (per John 4).

    By the Parable of the Good Samaritan, we see race, religion, and even marriages as minor doctrines – but we see love in action as the major emphasis.

    Love in action pleases God more than any doctrine, more than any race or caste, more than any religious endeavor, and more than any form of marriage.

    This was the staggering implication the authors of Luke pressed forward.

    It is sadly what our Catholic and Protestant churches have most often forgotten.

  5. Caryn LeMur says:

    Going back to the point of the cartoon: I have little intrinsic need for face-to-face community. I find that vulnerable discussions and dialog on the Internet to meet my needs.

    However, my wife (Bonnie) has been discussing how deeply she misses the face-to-face community. We had some of that back when I lived as male-presenting. She likes face-to-face, but not with vulnerability.

    So, Bonnie is thinking of visiting an Episcopal Church down the road (about 8 or so miles from here). We shall see…. we shall see….

  6. I do think fellowship/ community is the church’s greatest asset.

  7. Bernardo says:

    More on the non-authenticity of the great commandments (the golden rules) of Jesus:

    http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb201.html