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Good church for an atheist? - Page 2

post #21 of 27

Just a brief note: the lectionary in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer already "skips over" some bits of Scripture those of a more progressive bent would consider offensive - such as the part of Romans, chapter 1 that talks about homosexuality. I've not seen a BCP for eight years, but I specifically remember noting that omission.

Originally Posted by shanniesue2 View Post

Former Christian here, raised Catholic, spent 6 years as an episcopal... now I'm UU with pagan/earth based leanings.  My husband is Epsicopal.  Just wanted to give you some Episcopal info...


Yes, they are a more liberal Christian denomination... so they will tend to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles and beliefs.  And they aren't fundamentalist in the sense that everyone MUST believe the same thing about a particular tenant of Christian theology... there is this idea of a continuum of beliefs.  However, they are definitely Christian.  And while they will not turn you away if you don't believe in God, the Eucharist ritual is very centered on Christian scripture and is participatory in nature... meaning there are creeds/prayers/responses that the congregation says together and that reflect Christian theology.  This is why I don't attend church with my husband.  It doesn't feel right to me to participate in prayers and recite creeds that I don't believe in and I feel that by not saying them with everyone else, I am separating myself from the communal nature of the service... that's my personal take on it... if you try an Episcopal church, you may have a different sort of spiritual experience. 


Also, I want to address the the question about the Episcopal church getting to pick which stories they emphasize.  When you're talking about individual parishes, this really isn't the case.  Episcopal Churches individually are part of the larger American Episcopal church... similar to the way Catholic parishes are part of the larger worldwide RCC (although the Episcopal church in America is democratic in that representatives are elected to go to regional and national conferences where they vote on church policy).  And the American Episcopal church is part of the larger worldwide Anglican Union... so anyway, part of this organization is that the liturgy (church worship) follows the same format in every Episcopal Parish.  And the church follows a lectionary, which is a three year cycle of bible readings, usually one reading from old testament and one non-gospel new testament reading, and one gospel reading, and a psalm.  These are prescribed readings that every church follows... so that it doesn't matter which Epsicopal church you go to or where in the country it is.  On any given Sunday, all Episcopal churches are reading the same bible readings... it's not a pick and choose sort of thing.  Although, the sermons you would hear on the readings have the chance of being pretty varied.  As for my child, I am comfortable with him going to church with his dad (and not just because it is his dad's religion)... because on a whole, the Episcopal church is very open and focused on being loving toward all people.  The particular parish that my husband attends is GLTB friendly... a large number of our friends there are lesbians and have been lovingly accepted into the community (even though I've never heard a sermon openly speak positively about homosexuality), and there is one lady there who is transgendered and everyone is very welcoming to her.  So basically, what I'm saying is that Episcopals on a whole tend to be very warm, open, and loving people.  But they are definitely Christian, and the church services and religious education are going to be Christian in nature.



Having experience in both the Episcopal church and the UU church, I'm really going to recommend the UU church for an atheist family.  I think that you will have a higher likelihood of finding a place that allows room for you to raise your children atheist, but at the same time explore a variety of spiritual practices and ideas... and also there will probably be plenty of opportunity for charity and community involvement.




post #22 of 27

I am a member of  a United Church of Christ church  (not to be confused with Church of Christ which is pretty strict and conservative). My partner trends towards athiesm and he is very comfortable there. The services are bible based but very open minded and accepting. Our church welcomes GLBT people at all levels including the ministry. We have an awesome children and youth program- our youth group goes on mission trips and also protests for higher wages for migrant workers!  I never realized that there was a church out there that I could go to and have it fit so much to my liberal outlook...it is a wonderful community.


post #23 of 27

I will suggest you look into some New Thought spiritual centers.  Unity is more Jesus-y.  We go to a Science of Mind Center for Spiritual Living. 

New Thought is an affirming, non-denominational, yet All-encompassing thought.  The underlying message is that God is no-thing, and All That Is.  Therefore there is no separation between Self and God.  All That Is contains guidance for One to continue to achieve their Highest Good.  The Truth is within, and we tap into that Knowingness that All is an echo of the One.  I can go on & on.....and on......but, I'll leave this open for more discussion without hijacking the thread.  


here's a link to some links: http://www.ahavacenter.com/links.html

post #24 of 27

I, too am looking to branch out in my fellowship (Im a formal evangelical turned mystic). I am very interested in UU, however the UU and most liberal churches here are overwhelmingly white...one of my main beefs with evangelical churches. I don't care how "open minded" a group claims to be, most liberal churches here are LGBT friendly (we're in the Palm Springs, CA area) if only middle class white people feel welcomed there then it isn't for my family. We are planning on visiting a small local Episcopal parish one day soon...LGBT accepting, black priest and ethnically diverse congregation on the "poor" side of town.

post #25 of 27
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post

Lots of parishes in the Episcopal Church that are very liberal and do lots of community service, although they are Christian, it's not of the shove it down your throat type. Plus, the ritual is lovely and the music is often pretty good. Worth at least checking out the websites of the parishes in your area. Some parishes are conservative, but a look at the website will usually tell you that.

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

Yes to the above.  The Canadian equivalent to the Episcopal church is Anglican.  My very science minded, look at physics to find the origins of the world, enjoys the study of evolution 11 year old son hangs out with the minister after church discussing science.  He's never been told to "leave his brain at the door" and discount a rational view point of the world, and at the youth group the kids have brought up everything from reincarnation and Buddhists, to whether the Immaculate Conception is just a metaphor and not had their ideas knocked down.  It does depend on the parish and the minister.  In our personal experience, no one in the family has  the view point that the Bible has literal truth and we all see religion as a tool for humans to share common truths as to what it's like to be human, common values and and share in providing community service; and the members of the church know this and have not ever made us feel like we don't belong.


post #26 of 27

Humanistic Judaism?  http://www.shj.org/ 


post #27 of 27

I love our UU congregation...but as one PP said it is definitely a majority middle class, white congregation ... on the other hand, many in our UU congregation are active in a lot of progressive stuff out in the community.

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