Why do christians go to church?
Posted: 11 January 2010 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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From what I’ve heard, in the New Testament, Jesus says that his followers SHOULD NOT pray in public, but should only pray in the privacy of their own homes.  So why do churches exist?

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Posted: 11 January 2010 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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The Bible also says:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

The faithful are supposed to congregate together and support each other.

Like so many things, you can find passages in the Bible to support almost any position, but beware of too literal an interpretation.  And in this case, if you’ll pardon me for saying so, I think you are interpreting just a bit too literally.  The passage to which you are referring, Matthew 6:6, exhorts Christians to pray in private.  The reason for Christ enjoining his followers to do this is to set them apart from people with very overt, showy piety.  The message is: don’t make a big show of being holy and righteous, simply live a good life, and be a good example, but do you’re actual worshipping in private so as not to be one of those hypocritical holy rollers who is more concerned with everyone around him seeing how righteous he is, rather than actually being righteous and living a good life.

As much as I am an atheist, I think this is actually one place where the Bible gives good advice.  I can’t stand publicly showy piety.  It’s usually hypocritical as hell.  This is why things like religious bumper stickers and especially religious personalized license plates really set my teeth on edge.  From what I’ve seen, most people who really want you to know how righteous they are are usually overcompensating for not actually being so good in reality.

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Posted: 12 January 2010 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Airy Spirit - 12 January 2010 12:52 AM

From what I’ve heard, in the New Testament, Jesus says that his followers SHOULD NOT pray in public, but should only pray in the privacy of their own homes.  So why do churches exist?


Churches aren’t public in that sense though. In every way significant to the context of that verse, they’re private communities.

But, why do believers go to church ... ?
Well, they’re communities, but there’s a very common addiction quality to much, perhaps even most faithful church attendance. There’s the affirmation fix believers get by communing with others who agree with their take and express it, which is a huge part of what church is about (I call it cheerleading—did when I was a believer too). When reality is so completely stingy about providing affirmation for the basic way an individual perceives and understands it (I’m not sure there’s a heavier possible investment, except perhaps if you add an afterlife to it), there’s usually a great deal of anxiety, which, in these cases, is intensely compelling.

I think this is pretty key to understanding fundamentalist psychology and behavior (I’m not a psychologist, however).

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Posted: 14 January 2010 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Christians may be allowed to congregate together, but if they want to follow Jesus, they still have to pray in private.

They are being hypocrites if they don’t.

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Posted: 14 January 2010 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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When I was growing up Catholic in the 1950s, we went to mass every Sunday and “Holy Day” because we believed we would go to hell if we didn’t. Then along came the church council called Vatican II, which decriminalized missing Sunday mass. Church attendance among Catholics has never recovered.

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Posted: 08 July 2010 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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daniel12 - 08 July 2010 09:06 AM

I personally don’t think one stands a chance against the tricks of Satan practicing their faith by them selves, especially in this generation..


Or, in the raw, untransposed (de-religiofied) language of addiction:

I can’t imagine dealing with life sober, without my drug.

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Posted: 08 July 2010 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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There is probably something very specific to point to this, but a certain part of it is the picking and choosing of scripture. If the bible is the word of god than it should be perfect, right, but it is not so people ignore the parts that are morally wrong or feel is useless.

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Posted: 11 July 2010 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Airy Spirit - 12 January 2010 12:52 AM

From what I’ve heard, in the New Testament, Jesus says that his followers SHOULD NOT pray in public, but should only pray in the privacy of their own homes.  So why do churches exist?

It’s different for each of us.  I’m about to head that way myself, so I’ll tell you why I’m going. First, I’m preaching this morning (I was invited to do so by the pastor).  Second, my granddaughter is playing the piano this morning on one song - that’s a biggie.  Third, I like the music and worship (we have a little band: I play bass, there’s a woman who plays keyboards, and another guy to plays drums and sings).  Fourth, I enjoy the fellowship.  I don’t really consider the prayers in church as being like the hypocritical prayers on the street corners that Jesus spoke about.  It’s a matter of like-minded people meeting, encouraging one another, enjoying the experience, and talking to their God. I agree with Billy - you are a little overly literal in your interpretation.

[ Edited: 11 July 2010 10:27 AM by Ecurb Noselrub]
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Posted: 23 July 2010 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Airy Spirit - 12 January 2010 12:52 AM

From what I’ve heard, in the New Testament, Jesus says that his followers SHOULD NOT pray in public, but should only pray in the privacy of their own homes.  So why do churches exist?

“Should Not Pray in Public” maybe means we shouldn’t show off for our holyness…

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Posted: 23 July 2010 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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sena123 - 23 July 2010 08:34 AM

“Should Not Pray in Public” maybe means we shouldn’t show off for our holyness…


Holiness.

Good point.

It’s definitely bad PR for churches overall when the true colors of religious faith become too visible.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 23 July 2010 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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SkepticX - 23 July 2010 08:50 AM

It’s definitely bad PR for churches overall when the true colors of religious faith become too visible.

For one of my favorite examples.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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