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Switch to Forum Live View Am I being a hypocrite by going to a fundamentalist church?
6 years ago  ::  May 28, 2008 - 5:45PM #1
SiempreYo
Posts: 3
Okay, so I attend a fundamentalist church, have been going there for a couple of years now (wow, time goes by fast), but consider myself pretty much a progressive Christian so I tend to not agree with a lot of the teachings of my church.  When I don't agree with something that is being taught, I pretty much just discard the "teaching" (or as I really prefer to think of it, the "story-telling") and go on my merry way.  I started going to this church because I wanted a better relationship with God and Jesus and since some family attend this particular church, I thought it would be a good place to start my walk towards God.  I am now very involved in our student/children's ministry (I don't teach, just provide admin services), and have a good relationship with our Pastors, but I really don't agree with everything they say, plus I really, really have a hard time with the whole "Devil" part of being a Christian, have no idea why, and I sure don't believe that everyone that doesn't believe in Jesus is going to hell, as I believe that as long as a person believes in God and has a good head on their shoulders, and is a moral person (not super moral, as I could never claim that title myself), they will also go to heaven, and probably a lot quicker then some of the fundamentalist Christians I've meet.

So, hypocritical to keep attending this church?  Or should I just continue to concentrate on strengthening my relationship with God and continue to go on my merry way???
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6 years ago  ::  May 28, 2008 - 7:26PM #2
Stardove
Posts: 15,552

SiempreYo wrote:

Okay, so I attend a fundamentalist church, have been going there for a couple of years now (wow, time goes by fast), but consider myself pretty much a progressive Christian so I tend to not agree with a lot of the teachings of my church. When I don't agree with something that is being taught, I pretty much just discard the "teaching" (or as I really prefer to think of it, the "story-telling") and go on my merry way. I started going to this church because I wanted a better relationship with God and Jesus and since some family attend this particular church, I thought it would be a good place to start my walk towards God. I am now very involved in our student/children's ministry (I don't teach, just provide admin services), and have a good relationship with our Pastors, but I really don't agree with everything they say, plus I really, really have a hard time with the whole "Devil" part of being a Christian, have no idea why, and I sure don't believe that everyone that doesn't believe in Jesus is going to hell, as I believe that as long as a person believes in God and has a good head on their shoulders, and is a moral person (not super moral, as I could never claim that title myself), they will also go to heaven, and probably a lot quicker then some of the fundamentalist Christians I've meet.

So, hypocritical to keep attending this church? Or should I just continue to concentrate on strengthening my relationship with God and continue to go on my merry way???



Welcome to the forum and to Beliefnet. I believe only you can decide the answer to your questions.

I know I couldn't sit weekly in a church where the message didn't line up with my heart center and beliefs. But that just me. :cool:

Beliefnet Community Wide Moderator ~ Peace Love Stardove
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The words I speak and write carry energy and power, so I choose them with care and clear purpose. 

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6 years ago  ::  May 29, 2008 - 5:42PM #3
SiempreYo
Posts: 3
Thanks for the response Stardove!  You're right, it is something I'll have to figure out myself.  I've always been pretty good about ignorning what I don't want to listen to or hear (my mother could have attested to that when I was growing up).  Oh well, the most important thing is to keep on learning and trying to find out the answers in my heart.

Have a great one, and thanks for the "welcome"!
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6 years ago  ::  May 30, 2008 - 12:10PM #4
Thaklaar1
Posts: 493
Your story resonates with mine.  I stayed a Roman Catholic long after I stopped believing most of the dogma and had grown cynical about the church hierarchy.  (Likely starting when our priest, who I loved and was inspired by, was essentially ridden out of the church on a rail when his long time live-in pastoral assistant died of AIDS.  His treatment by the parish community and the hierarchy never sat well with me.)  This was mostly because I loved the parish I attended and had grown up in.  For several years I read scripture during Mass and sat on the parish council while disagreeing strongly with much of what the Church said I had to believe.  Like you, I had little difficulty tuning out the stuff I didn't believe in and focusing on the messages I needed.

Eventually though, I left.  I married a non-Catholic and moved away from my home parish.  I tried to get back in the habit of my customary worship at a new church, but it was never the same.  And, when my daughter was going to be born, I found myself deeply leery of the prospect of raising her Catholic.  While I was always able to ignore that which I found unpleasant, I had no way to know if she would do the same (two and a half years later and I'm pretty sure I had little to worry about there.  She's a headstrong, self determined little twerp. :) ) and had no wish to spend her childhood continually "deprogramming" her.  But, happily, I found a new spiritual home at a local Unitarian Universalist church.  Personally I find myself inspired and challenged far more here than I ever was in the dogmatic RCC, possibly because I don't have to willfully ignore half of what I hear.  So, from my experience, it's better to worship where the message matches the truth you hold in your heart.  Don't worry about hypocrisy.  But I think you'll find what you're seeking more quickly if you don't have to pretend you believe things you don't.

Peace,

Thak
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2008 - 6:15AM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

SiempreYo wrote:

So, hypocritical to keep attending this church?



Considering that the expectation of fundamentalist Christian churches is that everyone involved with them not only believes all their dogma but does so unquestioningly, yes, I think it is hypocritical to continue attending this church, no other factors considered.

Or should I just continue to concentrate on strengthening my relationship with God and continue to go on my merry way???



As others have intimated, I agree that you would do best to weigh the various factors involved--family and friends go to this church, etc.--and determine for yourself what is more important to you, the relationships you are able to sustain by quietly denying some essential beliefs of this church vs. your integrity. Admittedly, there may well be other issues complicating your decision, but I agree that only you can weigh the considerations and determine what will be best for you.

I don't think, oftentimes, that people in larger towns or cities understand the importance of church relationships for those who live in very small towns, particularly rural ones distant from a city of any size. It's not so easy to establish and maintain cordial relationships with one's fellow citizens in a small rural community if "What church do you go to?" is not a question that can be readily answered. Not to mention that a good portion of the social life of such places arises out of relationships established in church.

While I'm not implying that the above necessarily defines your situation, I think that such factors deserve more weight and consideration than might otherwise be the case depending upon where a person lives and how dependent local society is upon churchgoing.

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2008 - 5:43PM #6
Bob_Bennett
Posts: 916
I see you more as someone who is wasting his time on Sunday am when you could be attending a church that speaks to you instead.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2008 - 7:02PM #7
eklectic
Posts: 40
[QUOTE=SiempreYo;529353]So, hypocritical to keep attending this church?  Or should I just continue to concentrate on strengthening my relationship with God and continue to go on my merry way???[/QUOTE]

A hypocrite is someone who does not practice what they claim to believe. If you believe in a progressive approach to your faith in Jesus and you practice that approach, then WHERE you practice it is, IMO, between you and God.

I am a progressive Christian and I attend a United Methodist church that is very evangelical and somewhat fundamentalist on some doctrines. Sometimes on speak out on issues that are progressive, especially when I have the verses to back up what I am saying. That way, if the harder fundies want to argue, they can argue with the scriptures. And other times I simply keep my mouth shut, realizing that I don't need to win arguments or convert (or de-convert) anybody. So I tend, perhaps like you, to filter my experiences in that church.

Why don't I look for a progressive church in my area? Three simple reasons. First, most of the progressive churches in my area are so progressive that you hardly hear the name of God or Jesus. Little to no focus is given to Jesus' teachings, which, IMO, is not progressive Christianity. Second, I love the people at my church. God does. I do, too. It's my job to love them, not to constantly correct them. If I live out being a progressive Christian, maybe some of those who question the whole fundamentalist paradigm will see something in my life that encourages them to seek a wider faith. And, third, God hasn't abandoned this people, so why should I? If I took that attitude, I would be a fundamentalist progressive, only wanting to be with other progressives. :)

So do as your heart leads you. At some point, you may grow uncomfortable and feel the need to move. Or if you get to vocal about being progressive, some may offer to help you pack. :D  But follow the leading in your own heart. If you can take it, take it. After all, Jesus ministered amongst a whole bunch of legalistic fundamentalists. Why can't we?
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 03, 2008 - 5:04PM #8
SiempreYo
Posts: 3
Wow, thank you ALL for your wonderful advice and thoughts to my question.  I don't live in a "rural" area, am in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area (and as you can imagine, we have a TON of different churches to choose from), so there is no lack of places to worship.  I have a lot of thinking to do as this last Sunday I found it particularly hard to even sit still through the announcements (which isn't a good sign), let alone stay for the sermon.  I continue to pray that I figure it out eventually, as the most important part of my attending church and being involved in the ministries is my path towards a better relationship with God (I like most of the folks at church also).   

At this time, I'm pretty torn up inside since I like helping out in the church, encouraging young people (I tend to pretty much try to live by example, as I hated to be preached, so I tend to try not to be "preachy") to be strong, not let others "guilt" them into anything (that includes the church/pastors) and to always remember that their relationship with God is imporant, but that it is THEIR relationship with God, not anyone elses so to go with what their hearts tell them.  I've let my Pastors know (or at least a couple of them) that I don't allow others to think for me, so far, it's been okay, but who knows, it may change quickly.

Again, thank you all for taking the time to respond, I greatly appreciate it.  I'll keep on my path towards a better understanding and relationship with God and Jesus, and hope that I can sort out the rest of the stuff in between (especially with the stories in the bible).

Que Dios los bendiga a todos!
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