• View from the Pew: Dispatches of a Church-going Atheist–Church-That-Must-Not-Be-Named

Fifth in an ongoing series of dispatches from the pew (Week 1–Mormon Church, Week 2–Jehovah’s Witnesses, Week 3–Christian Science, Week 4–Seventh Day Adventist, Week 5–Roman Catholicism).

Part 1 is all of my live tweets from Sunday service at Church-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Part 2 gives my impressions of a brief (not nearly brief enough!) conversation with the local head chaplain about his experience converting to the faith and church finances.

Part 1

NOTE: I should clarify that we were saying “Goodbye” to one another over and over as some kind of exercise (pseudoscientific mindfulness, probably).

Part 2

After this bizarre and rather brief service I spoke to the local head chaplain (who boasted of 700 active members in the area–a small but astonishing number in context if true). During the service he had mentioned that he was once atheist and I wanted to find out what attracted him to the Church-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.

“It makes sense and nothing else does…” he responded. And then proceeded to talk for the next 20 or 30 minutes about himself, his faith, and anything and everything not related to my question (I pressed repeatedly for specific details, but he evaded me time and again). I’m not sure if this was intentional or simply his habit. He was ludicrously loquacious, after all.

Indeed, when I asked him about his belief in God he responded that whereas he was once atheist he now believes in some divine power. And then went on to explain, at great length and in great detail, the 8 dynamics that govern the beliefs and spiritual priorities of the Church-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Finally I asked him about finances. “Does your church require mandatory donations?”

“No, of course not. Sure, some churches do, but ours does not. Everything is voluntary. We do have fundraisers and you can pay graded fees for different membership levels, but again this is all purely voluntary.” Simple enough. Or is it? He went on to describe how he has given much of his own money to the church but he’s comfortable with it because he believes in the good that it does (although he did not provide specific examples of what kind of good that might be).

All in all it was a unique and rather unusual experience. My initial apprehension quickly gave way to boredom. It is tragic that anyone is taken by the drivel that was on display for my visit.

Until next time, dear reader. Stay rational!


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