I Stopped Attending Church

When we were younger, my wife and I took our children to church. We were all in - Sunday School, bible classes, worship services almost every Sunday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and almost all other church events. And I held various unpaid positions, including Elder.

We felt that we were doing what was best for our children. They were learning the difference between right and wrong and learning about God, at least the Christian view of who God was, and particularly the Lutheran Christian view.

I converted to Christianity. I was raised a Hindu and married a Muslim, against the wishes of my parents, especially my father. I also took Christian studies in high school. Therefore, I had a broader, dare I say, more enlightened view of religions and God. This led to some interesting debates and discussions at church meetings, and bible classes. At times I felt unloved and unappreciated by the holy people at church.

We attended faithfully for about twenty years and I did my best to go along with the teachings of the church. I had many questions for which there were no answers, or for which the answer given made no sense to me. I could not follow blindly or turn a blind eye to what troubled me. After all, it was a Lutheran denomination, and Martin Luther questioned the church of his day.

Don’t get me wrong, I am most definitely not comparing myself to Martin Luther.

What Troubled Me

A few of the things which troubled me were:

- women could not hold office in the church except for office in the women’s groups
- Lutherans from other denominations were not permitted to participate in communion
- the belief that this particular denomination was absolutely right about its view of God and what he wants, and everyone else was wrong
- the inability of the pastors to answer my questions in a rational manner

I remember asking the pastor who introduced me to the church if the billion plus people in China who don’t believe in Jesus were all going to hell. He got red in the face and told me that that’s what the bible said.

Later, I had an email exchange with a new pastor, fresh out of the seminary and still wet behind the ears, in which he said, “we are the spiritual authorities.” In my reply I told him that “if you are the spiritual authorities then I am the king of Siam.”

I was eventually “released” from membership, in other words, excommunicated, by registered mail. Now that was cold. I refused to accept delivery of the registered letter, and haven’t returned to church since.

It’s The Lutherans

The story is told of Pablo, a very devout Catholic, who at a very advanced age passed from this world and arrived in heaven. On his second day there, he noticed a one hundred foot high wall which surrounded a large area. There were no openings so no could go in or see in, and no one behind the wall could look out or leave. Pablo was curious about this wall.

“Sister Agnes, what is behind that high wall?” Pablo asked one of the other residents in heaven.

“Ah, brother Pablo, it’s very sad. It’s the Lutherans, and they think they’re the only ones here.”

More by this Author

  • 10 Ways To Serve Your Country
    8

    The phrase “serve your country” is now commonly understood to mean military service. This phrase is very misleading and is used by those who want to attract new recruits to the military. There are many other...


Comments 33 comments

Bruce A. Beaudet profile image

Bruce A. Beaudet 5 years ago from Canada

Sorry to hear that you had such a negative experience.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks, Bruce. I learned a lot from that experience. Despite the negatives, I am happy that I did take my children to church.


Dee aka Nonna profile image

Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

I am also sorry you had a negative experience, but rest assured that you are no alone. There are many people not going to church because of simular things happening. It truly is a sad state of affairs for so many churches and church members who, I believe, are missing the true meaning of what Godly is suppose to be.

And your story could very well be the story of every major religion/demonination out there.

Rest assured, there is a God and I believe He does not condone this type behavior. Voted up..


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks, Dee. Many churches seem to take the attitude "our way or the highway." They just can't stand anyone questioning what they teach. God is not a member of any particular religion or denomination, and he cannot be fooled.


Hezmyjoy profile image

Hezmyjoy 5 years ago from United States

Just because of this experience you had with this group of people, it should not turn you off from the faith entirely. All Christians aren't like this. I know I have had many questions myself. I have listened to many ministers that thought they had all of the answers. I had to do some of my own studies and look at the lessons I was receiving from a completely different perspective. We all have to present our own bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him. The pastor of the church who delivered a message doesn't know what I do when I leave that edifice. Only God does. Therefore, my actions and words are to please Him and not man. Once I realized this and man's imperfections, I took the clergy off the pedestal I put them on and was able to do what I am called to do - in peace. Be blessed.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for your comments and encouragement, Hezmyjoy. I am not turned off from the faith. The Bible contains great wisdom and knowledge but we have to seek and find it for ourselves, and not depend on the preachers to do it for us.

God bless you.


Joshua 5 years ago

Should I go to church?

Yes, you should go to church because early believers according to Acts2:42 continued Steadfastly in Fellowship. Similarly, Hebrews 10:25 warns us not to ignore gathering together as a church.

Please do not stop going to church because people are judgemental. Hebrews 12: 1 & 2 say that we should look unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Let us not be bothered about what people say. Jesus Christ has shed His precious blood for us and it is enough to cleanse us from all sins (1 John 1:7).

You should also not be discouraged because people in the churches are not what they are supposed to be or what they claim to be.

The Bible says in I Peter 1:13-16

14. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Therefore our focus should be only on the one who shed His blood for us and he should be our role model.

If you are comfortable, let me know the place where you live and I'll try to find out a Church established on Sound Doctrine.

I will continue to pray for you and you can get in touch with me any time.

God Bless You,

Joshua

joshua_biotech@yahoo.com


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for your comments, Joshua.

God bless you.


Arcjahad 5 years ago from New Jersey

@Ramsa1 you are the church that building that you used to go to means nothing to our heavenly Father it's only brick and mortar. I left church many years ago because many things that were being preached weren't scriptural , like dying and going to heaven upon death ,the secret rapture, the trinity and humans suffering in hell for eternity. So I began to search the bible myself and learning the Hebrew language and understanding ancient Hebrew culture and I discovered how ignorant me and my pastors were to the Word. Reading the bible and quoting scripture is very different from reading and understanding the Word. I have at home fellowship now with smaller groups of people building closer relationships and having more in-depth studies


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for your comments, Arcjahad. I agree that the church is the people and not the building. I too have done a lot of reading on my own to learn what the bible really teaches, and what it teaches is very different from what most denominations teach.

God bless you.


amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 5 years ago from Chicago IL

I can truly relate to your experience. I haven't been back to church for quite sometime and have no intentions of ever going back.

I don't really have a problem with people who believe in god but I have a lot of issues with religion. I am also really sorry that you had a bad experience. Keep in mind that you can be a good person with strong morals and set a good example without attending church. Thanks for sharing your story. I rated up, useful and interesting.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks, Amymarie. Religions have nothing to do with God. In my opinion, they were created to control people. Here's a question for the religious people: "What is God's religion?"

I agree that one can be a good, moral person and actually do much good in our world without attending church.


Ruchi Urvashi profile image

Ruchi Urvashi 5 years ago from Singapore

Hi Ramsa, thanks for the great article. My parents are Hindu and I attend Church whenever I can. To me, church solved 70% of my problems or questions. I also take my kid whenever I get a chance. I just enjoy the music and environment. Yes, I know there are certain things which we might not agree. I would say we just take the positive things and leave the rest.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Hi Ruchi, thanks for visiting and reading the article. Thanks also for your comments. I'm happy that you are happy with your Church and are taking your child with you. It's a very good environment for your child, and of course, for you also. I wish you the very best.


THEHuG5 profile image

THEHuG5 5 years ago

Wow I can really relate to this article. I also had bad experiences in church. My problems were money hungry church leaders, hypocritical church folks, and just the overall promotion of fear and intolerance that the church taught. I have a problem with people who are afraid to ask questions just because of their faith. I only went because my parents forced me to go. Now that I am grown I refuse to go to church but I have nothing against those that do. I still have faith but I don't find peace in church like a lot of people do but who knows, maybe that will change one day. Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading more from you in the future.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Hug5. I do still believe in God but can't deal with religious people who think they have all the answers, and are right, and that everyone else is wrong. No one has all the answers. One of the things I did was ask questions. Few appreciated this.

I'm happy that you still have faith. And thanks again for visiting.


helmutbiscut profile image

helmutbiscut 5 years ago from Ohio

Ramsa1-

I am so sorry for your negative experience as well. It sucks when people get so caught up in the rules of their denomination, and then don't focus on the only thing that matters: a relationship with Christ.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, Helmutbiscut. I think that it boils down to tolerance. I'm confident that God loves us regardless of our denomination. This simple statement would drive some people bananas.


helmutbiscut profile image

helmutbiscut 5 years ago from Ohio

I think you are right, Ramsa1. God loves all of us no matter what. He gave us all equal opportunity to accept His gift of salvation. :)


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

I agree, Helmutbiscut. Thanks.


chamilj profile image

chamilj 4 years ago from Sri Lanka

I am a Buddhist but studied in a Christian School. So I know about both religions.

There are questionable things in both these religions. Religions help people to live peaceful life.

If you can understand yourself and importance of living peacefully with other people you don't have to go to church or to temple.

Just love all the people and trust your self. Peace and happiness will come to you.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 4 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for your encouragement, Chamilj. I agree with what you've said. We can love all, and live peacefully and happily, without being part of an organized religion. In fact, we may be happier living without the dogma of organized religion.

Peace and happiness to you, brother.


charles wade profile image

charles wade 4 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

Organized religions seem to have their place in the world. They are not for everyone. It seems that whatever becomes "organized" by man also in time becomes corrupted by man. It may be impossible to remain in any type organization for long without also becoming corrupted by it in some way.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 4 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Charles. I agree totally with your comments. One of the things organizations can't stand is questions, so most people stop asking the tough questions and eventually leave.


bscott4388 profile image

bscott4388 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

If you ever come to Chicago, you are more than welcome in our church. All are welcome!


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 4 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks. A lot of churches say "All Are Welcome" on their signs, but once you get in the door it's their way or the highway. If I ever go to Chicago I'll contact you and check out your church.


bscott4388 profile image

bscott4388 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

Yes, you should!


breathe2travel profile image

breathe2travel 4 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

I am glad to read you are studying for yourself. The bible clearly instructs us to know Him for ourselves & to study personally.

I don't think any one Christian denomination has the entire picture of God - He is infinite. If we could contain all that He is in our finite minds, why would we need Him?

This I do know - He is loving, kind, gracious and faithful. He is holy (not in a religious, sour-lemon faced way!). He is willing to heal, prosper and comfort - He desires to be intimately involved in our lives.

I am saddened to read your account & I know that religious hierarchy is far too alive and well in churches. We are all called to hear His voice for ourselve, with our hearts and spirits,and to hear from Him daily.

I wish you the best and pray you and your family walk closer with your Maker each day. I pray you find a place of encouragement, where congregants make allowances for the weak (as we are instructed) rather than judge another man's servant (which we are instructed not to do!), where congregants encourage one another in love and reason the Word together, rather than claim to be "the" authorities.

Grace & peace be multiplied to you and your family now and increasingly in the name of our Savior - Jesus of Nazareth.

BTW - your hub reminds me of the Proverb I am working on today - Proverb 25:19.

Voted up & interesting.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 4 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks for your kind, encouraging words, breathe2travel.

May God bless you and your family abundantly.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia

Wisdom comes from experience not from dogma. How fortuitous to have a questioning mind so you can be your own authority. There are gems in Christianity and Buddhism and Hinduism and many other isms. I'm a firm advocate of taking the fundamentals and apply what works to my own awakening and path to the God inside myself. Very fulfilling, hard but fulfilling.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 4 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks, Jewels. My father used to say that religion is like an elephant and those people who think they have all the answers are like blind people who grab onto one part of the elephant, and being blind, think that the part they're holding is the whole animal. We have so much to learn.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 4 years ago from Australia

I remember that story, I think it has shades of Hinduism. I like your dad! I've come to understand that the more I know, the more I know I don't know. I am blessed to have a teacher who uses all branches of esoteric knowledge and we use what works experientially. The best principal - Have experiences not beliefs. Yes, we have so much to learn.


Ramsa1 profile image

Ramsa1 4 years ago from A citizen of the World Author

Thanks, Jewels. My dad was a Hindu priest, so I think that you're right that the story about the elephant is probably based on the teachings of Hinduism.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working