Religion filter: I'm really trying to understand religion and why people regularly attend services.
Scroll down for the TL:DR verion. Throughout this I use "service" to mean mass/service/temple etc.
This is not meant to be flippant, but I do not understand the draw that takes adults to religious services on a regular basis. Part of me wonders what I'm missing. Part of me wonders why anyone would go. This question has been kicking around my head for some time, but when I read the following while reading some threads here, it really struck a nerve:
"Yeah, no holes to fill for me. I understand Christianity quite well, I understand what captures people about it and why it is important to some people, but I do not need it. It basically never crosses my mind. Being in a church setting is actually actively uncomfortable for me, because I know I'm just pretending - I'm waiting to get out so I can go back to whatever it is that I want to do, while these other people are getting something out of it."
by Medieval Maven
3 years ago here
I was born and raised in the Catholic church. My father was actually a former Catholic priest and my brother and I were sent to CCD and told we had to go to church until we turned 18. I didn't last quite that long due to a weekend waitressing job and then going to college at 17, but I always knew church wasn't something I connected with. Never got anything out of it, probably because I never put anything into it. While in school I also spent some time at a more conservative church's youth group because it was where my friends went and I spent a week at bible camp
. I even attended a retreat or two from my parents' church, but I never really felt anything. While at a (private, non-denominational) college I went occasionally with roommates but I've essentially not gone to church for 14 years. It went far beyond a teen rebelling against religion I just felt no connection and no draw back.
I love the idea of religion(s) from a study point of view. As an undergrad I took several religion classes that looked more at religion through a sociological and.or historical lens. I've read Bruce Feiler and have looked through recommendations in various religion-related threads here. I had an amazing trip to Israel in 2009 and am fascinated with the history of the Middle East which is impossible to separate from the religions that have origins there.
I'm not an atheist, I definitely feel a spiritual connection to something. It was acute after my father's passing in 2006 but present far before that. While living in Japan I learned of a dear friend's passing and my instant reaction was to go light a candle. I do think that the people we have lost are still here with us somewhere. I have vague childhood memories of thinking heaven was cumulus clouds mixed with Care-a-Lot. I feel equally comfortable marking any festival/holiday but I can't feel a connection with any organized religion.
I don't have an issue with religious observances. I've attended a large number of seders, festivals at the muslim cultural center & mosque across from where I used to live, celebrations and festivals with friends and coworkers while living in Japan. Family still gets together on Christmas/Easter, but there's no religious aspect to it even though some people attend services. I always try to understand what is being observed/celebrated but that's again from an educational/historical look rather than a desire to be a part of this religion. I enjoy marking occasions with friends and family but I don't see it any different to a birthday party or any other secular celebration. Does that make sense?
I love reading and learning about religions, especially through historical and sociological POV but I have no desire to attend services or "be religious". Am I weird? Have you been through this? If you regularly attend services, what draws you? I find myself surprised when I make plans with someone and they say they it has to be after church. I guess I struggle with why people would choose to go to church. Those of you who do probably feel the same about my views.