The church nearest to us turns out to be "reformed catholic." That's nice to know- it's not affiliated with the vatican. I looked at the web page, and it has its own thrift store, and a youth club that goes skiing. Wow, no wonder people join up, especially people with kids!

Of course, it still maintains that there's a "God" and that the bible is worth following, and that Jesus is still around. Bah humbug.

I've mentioned before how it's a beautiful building, conveniently located, and I'd love to just go over there and meet other members of my 'hood. Somebody need their plants watered and their cats looked after while they're away? Elderly person needs their lawn mowed or some errands run? Sure, I could do that.

But no. I'd have to pretend that the naked emperor is wearing a beautiful set of clothing before I could get involved.

It's frustrating. I've considered becoming a casual member of sorts, infiltrating the congregation, and only eventually revealing that I don't buy into any of the bible stuff. I suppose that would just get me kicked out though?

A friend of ours is a member of a church, but she identifies as a Buddhist, if anything. Her father's a pastor in another state; her mom is a believer; she doesn't seem to mind signing up with a church and simply helping out after mass and using the basement room for parties. I should talk to her about that.

Still, it's the implicit endorsement that wouldn't sit well with me. To be a member of a church implies that you buy into the BS.

I daydream about changing things from within, though- that might be an effective tactic. They say that about, oh I forget the figure, 10% or so? A small number of people within a group have the power to influence the rest of the group. I told John that the two of us vs the seven grown-ups in his family would fit into that category.

If non-believers became casual members of their local houses of worship, and earned the respect of members, but quietly expressed doubts about the supernatural, could that facilitate yet another reform, toward full-out secularism instead of watered-down religion?

Perhaps I could just get permission to use a space in the building for meetings. Support for people who are up against the rabidly faithful. It's a reformed church, so they might be open to the idea of offering support to those dealing with strict religion. I know that at least one secular group in the city meets at a church, but they might be humanist as opposed to atheist. Though humanism isn't much different.

Just some thoughts!

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Nice thoughts but you would have to be careful or you might get kicked out. Meetings would be nice if they allowed secular meetings in the basement. You might influence somebody and "win back" some of those people who think they have souls. This sort of eye opening goes by stages and takes time. Once reason and logic are planted superstition will be weeded out.

Secular, humanist, agnostic, atheist. They are all petty close.

Hmph.  (That's a pondering noise.)  According to a Reformed Catholic website I found -

"We are a valid catholic apostolic church, with our ordained clergy tracing their succession back to Peter in 38 A. D.  Our celebrations of the Mass are identical to that of the liturgical structure of Roman Catholicism, however, in regards to Social Justice,  we accept all people, and hold no bounds or limits to people seeking the love of God."

So, much like Atheism+ (atheism plus social justice and such), they're going for Catholic+.  I dunno.  They still believe in confession (if I do something bad to someone, how can a uninvolved third party absolve me of that?), they're awfully fond of the big JC and the rest of the holy trinity and they still think prayer is going to do something.  Maybe instead of Catholic+ it's more like CatholicLite--catholicism without gay or birth control bashing, but the rest of the tune remains much the same.

I don't know that hanging out there and hoping to open up peoples' minds to atheism/humanism is going to work well.  Unless you're extraordinarily up-front about it: "I'm actually an atheist, but wanted to be part of the community"--when folks eventually find out, they're going to feel lied to.  If you are up-front about it, people are going to think, "Why do you want to be here?  You're not one of us."  Perhaps taking up gardening in your front yard so you can chat with neighborhood folks as they pass by would give you a chance to meet people.

Yeah, I could never join under the pretense of belief, but being upfront would scare too many people off. Unless I just kept my mouth shut for a while, and tried to figure out who's more open minded, but I could see how that could backfire spectacularly.

Unless I called myself a "cultural catholic," maybe that would be considered acceptable as they scratched their heads? And then googled it.......LOL! Yeah, right.

At least it represents a trend for religion to water itself down, and I'm glad that if there HAS to be a church in the 'hood, it's "catholic lite." Hypocritical though it may be, it's the right direction.

I was raised sort-of "cultural Catholic"--about 3/4 of our extended family was Catholic.  (Hey!  I can still recite a Hail Mary with the best of them! :D )  Never was baptized into any church since my folks had a definite, "Let the kids find their own way when they're old enough to make up their minds" policy.  When I hit age 12 and had read the bible cover-to-cover and realized it was a bunch of hokum, it was amazing how much homework I had to do on Sunday when my Great-aunt would stop by and try to guilt me into going to mass with her.  And during the summer, I'd have been outside either getting filthy doing chores or smelling strongly of horse when she stopped by and shucks! I couldn't go....

What'll drive you nuts if you hang out there is being buttonholed by everyone as to your level of "Catholic street cred"--born in church?  Convert?  How long?  Follow that with, "Oh, hi!  Welcome to our church and canyouprayforthislonglistofpeoplethatneedprayers".  Being a reformed org they might have more important things to discuss like the latest encyclical, but you'll have to do a lot of tongue-biting, I fear.

LOL glad you got out early!! I was confirmed and Dad asked if I wanted to keep up my religious indoctrination education, and I said, "NO, I GET IT! Jesus is great, blahblahblah," words to that effect. I couldn't believe there was MORE to learn! UGH!!

Now (for the first time) I'm wondering, what comes after confirmation? What's the next step? Is it like Scouts, where you go from Brownies to Girl Scout to whatever? (I couldn't even keep up with the Scouts, maybe I have commitment issues....)

I can't help but daydream about not having to bite my tongue. Just by saying, "Well, I was raised catholic, and confirmed, but that's as far as I got. Truth be told, I live a secular life, but want to get involved with the community." See what happens. Maybe other people are sick of pretending?

Like when I told a co-worker about being an atheist, and confided how the born-again co-worker reacted to this fact, he said, "I guess it doesn't make any sense from a scientific viewpoint, but I believe....." He sounded sheepish about it, but not entirely convincing.

People just don't have enough regular exposure to atheists, b/c they assume everybody believes, or they're afraid NOT to even if it's odd.

"Now (for the first time) I'm wondering, what comes after confirmation? What's the next step? Is it like Scouts, where you go from Brownies to Girl Scout to whatever? (I couldn't even keep up with the Scouts, maybe I have commitment issues....)"

Lol!  :)  Well, you gots your Seven Sacraments (sounds like the ballpark peanut vendor, "Getcher sacraments!  I gots seven sacraments right here...").  If you did confirmation, you had baptism at some point or other, so there's two down.  Two of them: eucharist and penance are pretty closely aligned--can't take the eucharist if you haven't confessed and done your penance.  That's four.  Anointing of the sick isn't a mandatory; I mean, what if you die in an accident and there's no priest handy?  I also like the name change from its old name--Last Rites.  Nice.  It's an added extra--most Girl Scouts are going to wind up with the Cookie Business Badges, but only some will go after, say, the Financial Literacy badge.  ;)  Number six on our hit parade is marriage--also an extra, but strongly encouraged in the church.  How else can you legally-in-the-eyes-of-the-church churn out kids for the lord?  The seventh is the Eagle Scout of the church--holy orders.  

So, first two are really mandatory, eucharist/penance are mandatory to be a "good" Catholic.  The others?  Meh.  Do 'em if you want to fill out your sash...I mean, be a "real Catholic" (at least, in some folks' eyes) and last rites are a bit of a crap shoot.   Aside from lighting a candle or two and trying to pray to Saint Francis (Hey!  He was good with animals!) when I was little, I haven't had any of them.  I'd best be back practicing Hellbound Train on my bagpipes.  :D

Reformed? Does that mean that they used to rape alter boys, but now they are in recovery?

Ha, yeah they're in the process of being de-converted from gay. Because of course gay = pedophile as you know.

Shrouded- indeed, I could fake being a catholic pretty good! I can remember most of the Apostles' Creed even. Webelieveinonegodthefatherthealmightymakerofheavenandearthofallthatisseenandunseen..


When I was a teen our Fundy churches had the Apostle's Creed written on the wall. We even had to recite it at one time.

Today the open belief of Fundies and most Pentecostals is just to get the people into a church and "the holy spirit will do the rest." I don't see this happening. More people today smoke and I really think some would go to church in pajamas if they could. It doesn't look like the holy goat is doing anything.

I wonder why that is happening? No god, no spirit. Is that a clue?


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