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What do you feel when you walk into a church?

Walking through this dark, rainy english evening I lifted my foot onto church steps to tie my laces. I couldn’t help to be drawn in by the sight I have used as my featured image. It is a sight of warmth and light. Shelter and community. The huge open doors used as an invitation to draw you in. It’s bonfire night here, so the constant sound of firework explosions and busy traffic almost tempted me in to a building so tranquil.

  
Just before I took this photo, three people were seated in the last row together. Not talking, simply looking forward. They could be a family going through a difficult time and looking for guidance. They could be criminals past or present looking for forgiveness, I don’t know. What I do know is that church acts like a comfort blanket. 

Like a nice cup of tea, church is that feel good, stress relieving remedy for many. I know this, I like to think most atheists do. I would never argue this. What I do refute is that because church has this effect Christianity must be considered equal to science.

‘Christianity has done so much good throughout history and still does, can’t you see that?’

I can. But it does not make the Bible any more accurate in it’s claims. Toy Story was a great movie but I don’t believe toys come to life from time to time.

Church also has a darker side, overlooked all to often. What is the first thing you noticed in the picture, the cross perhaps? I’ll assume so. There is a brutally murdered man up there, whipped, crucified and stabbed whilst made to wear a crown of thorns. Is this where you take your children despite all of the violent movies you have banned them from watching? I won’t.

Christians, we understand that your religion beings happiness to many. Debates between science and religion don’t occur with this in mind. What is argued is that regardless of how happy it makes people, stories are stories and no more. Religion should not be placed in a higher pedestal and used as an explanation for our origins.

What do you feel when you walk into a church?

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5 replies »

  1. Christian discipleship is not about feelings, it’s about the daily practice of virtue (the pursuit of excellence).

    It is through virtue that the human being gains knowledge of self and the fulfillment of his human nature.

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  2. There is a problem with your theory here in claiming that as something is seen by some as a story, it means it isn’t true. Fairy tales and myths are born inside imaginations’ storehouse; just because something is considered to be a “story” doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Stories are based from reality and experience. As a writer myself, one of the biggest rules I follow is, “Write what you know.” I can’t write a tale about the destruction of greed and lust if I hadn’t experienced it in one form or another, either from myself or from another.
    Now religion shoudn’t be higher than science, that is true (as religion has nothing to do with science I’m not sure why Atheists constantly pair these two. I think what you mean to say is science and faith). Now, to take religion away and pair it more appropriately with faith, I don’t think science should be placed over faith. Both should work together in harmony, not be against each other. A song by one of my favourite rock bands, Attalus, goes, “Faith without facts is dead religion, but facts without faith is science fiction….. when facts and faith collide, we need not choose a side, our souls need both to come alive.”
    Now I’m with on the idols of crosses (note, I said idol).

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    • It not so much that it’s seen as a story. It is if the stories do not have sufficient evidence, they should be seen as untrue. And you don’t need to experience something to write fiction, J K Rowling found huge success with Harry Potter, without meeting a single wizard.

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  3. How I feel is usually like an anthropologist. I look at the architecture, and think about how the designers meant it to affect the people attending. I look at the way people interact with the building, how they’ve furnished it, how it makes them feel about themselves.

    When I think back to the church I grew up in, I think of cozy meeting rooms full of squashy sofas. Warm and inviting. The Sanctuary was tasteful and understated, with only minimal stained glass. It was a good match for the liberal protestantism preached there.

    Then there’s this monstrosity that I visited recently, that I call “Our Lady of Conspicuous Consumption”:

    I’m almost ill when I walk into a place like this. The waste of resources is shocking. It’s meant to glorify the egos of the people who built it, and to make the average parishioner feel powerless and small. I have no positive responses to this kind of space.

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