Sunday, November 18, 2007

Church for the Secular Humanist?

Well, it's an interesting thing for me, leaving the cult, and trying to 'strike it out' on my own. It's nice to be able to manage my own time, make my own decisions, think for myself. No longer do I have to feel guilty about my research on Genetic Algorithms and their applications in computer science. No longer do I have to worry about converting people, or the amount of time I've spent out in the ministry. No longer do I have to feel guilty about watching R rated movies, drinking, or sexual behavior.

So, I have a lot more freedom.

Now, while I am not an 'atheist', at least as defined by the American Atheists (a definition, which I feel aids fundamentalist Christian arguments and damages other real atheists), I am also not religious. I do have faith in things 'more' out there, not material or physical. That said, I have little desire to join a religious group. I have even less desire to look at a group for an every Sunday type religious experience. Indeed, the whole idea leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But, part of me does miss the sense of community that I had when I was a member of a Church.

It seems that the skeptics community has given so much attention to arguing and fighting against the religious groups, that one of the major aspects of religion - the church - has gone unnoticed. Are regular group meetings good things? If not based on fluffy bunnies, faeries, and invisible men, what should communities be based on? Should their be ritual at these gatherings? What would the meeting be like? And, if you started doing this, what would keep it from being a religion, or would it be a religion just by virtue of doing it? After all, at it's most basic, religion doesn't require any supernatural belief.

In all honesty, I think most churches are so busy preaching various messages, that they forget one of the critical aspects that led to the importance of the church in a community in the first place - the town gathering.

I don't think there's any valid way to say that individuals have grown past the need for socialization. At our most basic roots, we are social beings. And, I feel, a culture that resists and suppresses desires for human interaction invites mental illness, education nightmares, and societal breakdown.

So right now, all I have is questions, hopefully time will give some answers.

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