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Chrysalis 10-16-2008 10:12 PM

I'm interested in trying different religions to see if anything out there is a good fit for me. I am currently agnostic and tend to lean towards the ideas in buddhism and hinduism, but I would try western religions as well, just for the heck of it.



The problem is that I work every single Sunday, and when I look into churches in my area, the services are always on Sundays. So I can't attend services. Unless I am just looking into the wrong churches? I don't know any people who go to church in my city, so I'm not sure where I could go or how else I could attempt to try out a religion. Reading about one online doesn't really do it for me. I would need to meet people who practice religion, see the church, just see what it is all about, in person. I'm becoming frustrated that I can't seem to do this unless I join the club of people-who-don't-work-on-Sundays, which I cannot afford to do right now.



So I guess my question is, for those of you who practice a religion, how do you do so? Is practicing a religion exclusively for Sundays, so basically I'm screwed? How do different religious groups reach out to people like me? I really thought that some churches must have services on a couple days of the week...I am getting a bit tired of googling so yeah any suggestions?



PS: I also know nothing about church etiquette. I have not been to one since I was 6 years old.

Valtyr 10-16-2008 10:19 PM

You can be religious without going to church. I've made assumptions that most churches (at least here in AZ) are here for profit. Most pastors at CCV are making ~$260,000 annually. Most church services also run throughout the week not just Sundays. If you have to see the establishments (churches) before you can decide if it is the right place for you, maybe you're looking for a material value for what you've felt was missing (being Agnostic) from your life. I think materialism and religion go hand in hand in the long run (donations, expectations, monetary value). That's about all I know from religion (being Atheist and all).



Good luck!

synergy 10-16-2008 10:24 PM

It's wonderful you're looking into different spiritual paths.

I'm sure you'll be able to find a church with services on different days, although they may be a little harder to find. I remember we had some mass on Friday nights and things like that.



Practicing religions isn't exclusively for Sundays, by any means. First off, holy days for some religions are Saturday, or Friday. Not to mention a spiritual practice isn't just about sitting in a church for an hour a week. It's a way of looking at the world, a whole paradigm that will color everything you see and do (or at least it should, IMO).



I used to be agnostic, and I spent about 10 years actively researching as many Eastern and Western religions and spiritual practices as I could. Out of this, I became a universalist. I believe that all the major religions are saying the exact same thing when you strip away the dogma and all the cultural interpretations. They are all about love. Bottom line. God is love, we are god and therefore, we are love. We are all one. Anything else is just the illusion that we are separate from God and each other.



This perspective, my own personal spirituality isn't something that just happens for an hour on Sunday, lol. I am immersed in it everyday.



You said you aren't into reading about stuff online, but if I may suggest, some books would be a good way of looking into some of the more Eastern religions where it would be more difficult to find worship services.



If you're not having much luck online/googling to find times, I would suggest looking in your local newspaper. Churches often run ads, or have listings with their service days and times.



I also want to throw an idea at you- if you have never been, I would highly recommend going to Kirtan. It's basically a worship service, or gathering with mantra chanting, and it's an incredibly powerful and moving experience, although it is a little bizzare at first.



Sorry to have rambled, but it's just a really cool thing you are doing!

numinant 10-16-2008 10:36 PM

good question. lemme know if you figure it out, especially if you can do it without sacrificing too much rationality.

Chrysalis 10-16-2008 10:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

If you have to see the establishments (churches) before you can decide if it is the right place for you, maybe you're looking for a material value for what you've felt was missing (being Agnostic) from your life. I think materialism and religion go hand in hand in the long run (donations, expectations, monetary value). That's about all I know from religion (being Atheist and all).



Good luck!

I think it is the sense of community that I'm looking for. Sure I could practice alone, but I have trouble motivating myself to do anything I don't need to do. I know that I will need support from other people - at first, anyway. I feel that I am a spiritual person and I can't figure out how to express it and there is only so much I can learn from the internet, or books. If that makes sense!



Quote:
Originally Posted by synergy View Post


I used to be agnostic, and I spent about 10 years actively researching as many Eastern and Western religions and spiritual practices as I could. Out of this, I became a universalist. I believe that all the major religions are saying the exact same thing when you strip away the dogma and all the cultural interpretations. They are all about love. Bottom line. God is love, we are god and therefore, we are love. We are all one. Anything else is just the illusion that we are separate from God and each other.



This perspective, my own personal spirituality isn't something that just happens for an hour on Sunday, lol. I am immersed in it everyday.



You said you aren't into reading about stuff online, but if I may suggest, some books would be a good way of looking into some of the more Eastern religions where it would be more difficult to find worship services.



If you're not having much luck online/googling to find times, I would suggest looking in your local newspaper. Churches often run ads, or have listings with their service days and times.



I also want to throw an idea at you- if you have never been, I would highly recommend going to Kirtan. It's basically a worship service, or gathering with mantra chanting, and it's an incredibly powerful and moving experience, although it is a little bizzare at first.



Sorry to have rambled, but it's just a really cool thing you are doing!



Thanks! I think I probably see things the same way you do. I have found a church in my area called Universal church (or something like that) which incorporates stuff from all different religions. After all, they're pretty much the same at the core. I can't go to their services though. argh! Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to look into it more...

VeggieLizzie 10-16-2008 10:49 PM

SB- are you talking about unitarian universalist? they are very progressive. Actually, unitarians were some of the first churches established in america from the pilgrims who were trying to break free of the Church of England. Back then, it was just about being able to worship Christ the way they wanted to and not dictated by England. However, now Unitarian churches often embrace several different religions incl Judaism and Christianity (basically they have kept liberal for the times just like they always were and evolved with the country) and welcome anyone of any denomination. Often their sermons are intellectual in nature rather than religious.



Some churches have Sat services as well or even during the week (Jewish services are usually Fri nites and Sat). IF you are looking for a Christian denomination, don't worry about not having gone since you were 6, I didnt go in like forever and had no clue. I am enjoying a liberal episcopal church now (I am in NYC) but I find with me its more where I feel at home and with whom, versus denominations. I have been to catholic, presbyterian, methodist, born again (didnt like those), episcopal, lutheran and synagogue. Wiccan is also interesting too (IMHO). Just have fun exploring....its about where you feel at home in the end. If you are in a major city, you can look up different denominations and their websites to see when services are (for example)- google the presbyterian church of america and go to Iowa or whatever. The internet is a beautiful thing...

SuicideBlonde 10-17-2008 01:29 AM

I think you just study things and do the one that you feel in you hart is best. I think the uu works for anyone. It sounds like a place where no matter what you belive they will except you.

Skylark 10-17-2008 03:12 AM

Even churches that have their "main services" on Sunday often have Wednesday or Thursday night church, and other activities and events throughout the week. You can be an active member of a congregation without ever attending a Sunday service. Although, some people might think it's a little strange and constantly ask you "Hey, where were you Sunday?" until you've told them enough times you work and can't come. This'll be more received in congregations where many people work in the medical field--they already know you can't get time off whenever you want it on a regular basis.

numinant 10-17-2008 03:34 AM

i'd recommend being wary of religions that require belief (which is almost all of them) because belief is a tenuous solution that is ultimately meaningless. it's a psychological solution that isn't necessarily founded on truth, where as there are, presumably, other so-called spiritual solutions that offer both satisfaction and veracity.



you can decide to believe in whatever conception of god an organized religion has fabricated, but it's a placebo. there's no substance to it. the religious experience is ultimately psychological, and it can be reached by self-deception as well as illumination. the trouble with self-deception, even if it gives the practitioner a sense of spiritual well-being, is that they have a false, fixed worldview that may cause harm, the way so much violence and suffering regularly stems from organized religion, or fixed worldviews generally, which are often collective delusions. simple things like bourgeois americanism that, in a sense, are clung to like religious fanaticism, willfully ignoring the harm it causes and focusing solely on the individual benefits.



*3:34 AM post

Music Girl 10-17-2008 06:27 AM

I would suggest the book "the World's Religions" by Huston Smith. It is a fascinating exploration of the major world's religions, what their basic beliefs are and how the core tenets of most/all of them have been abused and corrupted.



If you are curious about learning more and open to exploring the right path for you.....this book would be a good investment. It has opened my eyes spiritually more than anything has in a long time - aside from the Bible, which is always incredibly profound to me.

GhostUser 10-17-2008 08:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by numinant View Post

i'd recommend being wary of religions that require belief (which is almost all of them) because belief is a tenuous solution that is ultimately meaningless. it's a psychological solution that isn't necessarily founded on truth, where as there are, presumably, other so-called spiritual solutions that offer both satisfaction and veracity.



you can decide to believe in whatever conception of god an organized religion has fabricated, but it's a placebo. there's no substance to it. the religious experience is ultimately psychological, and it can be reached by self-deception as well as illumination. the trouble with self-deception, even if it gives the practitioner a sense of spiritual well-being, is that they have a false, fixed worldview that may cause harm, the way so much violence and suffering regularly stems from organized religion, or fixed worldviews generally, which are often collective delusions. simple things like bourgeois americanism that, in a sense, are clung to like religious fanaticism, willfully ignoring the harm it causes and focusing solely on the individual benefits.



*3:34 AM post



That's a pretty damn good 3:34 AM post.

JLRodgers 10-17-2008 09:17 AM

I view religion/spiratuality in a way that it doesn't matter -- do whatever you believe in. I'm known twins (ministers) that disagreed on the bible's teachings -- I've known people who were Christian that were conflicted and converted to a Christian-Jewish hybrid religion. And I've known Wiccans and atheists that were perfectly happy. In the end it's what makes you happier.



I personally refer to my beliefs as the religion before man got involved. Just because something's written down doesn't make it true.

froggythefrog 10-17-2008 04:41 PM

If your question is how to make it to a Christian church, some churches hold their services on Saturday nights for people who work on Sunday (or just would rather go on Saturday). Some churches like the Seventh Day Adventists have their services on Saturday mornings.

lunar_limabean 10-18-2008 06:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by froggythefrog View Post

If your question is how to make it to a Christian church, some churches hold their services on Saturday nights for people who work on Sunday (or just would rather go on Saturday). Some churches like the Seventh Day Adventists have their services on Saturday mornings.



And quite a few SDA's are vegetarian - atleast the church my friend attends is.

froggythefrog 10-18-2008 10:30 AM

Yes, the SDAs are definitely advocates of vegetarianism.

sb729 }i{ 10-18-2008 10:36 AM

OP....like other people have said on here...I also believe spiritually and God (love, life) are within you. I completely understand you saying you would like to have support, from a group of people that feel the same way...as would I. But, starting off finding this spirituality within is the start. You also said that reading can only get you so far, and I know other people have recommended readings already...But there is one book I just read that has "enlightened me" so to speak, and has changed my life. It is called "A New Earth: Awakening You Life's Purpose". It helped me reach a level of spirituality and awakening that I never knew was IN me. I guess I'd been going through alot, with not accepting life, negativity and what not...and it just really opened my eyes.





Quote:
Originally Posted by synergy View Post

I used to be agnostic, and I spent about 10 years actively researching as many Eastern and Western religions and spiritual practices as I could. Out of this, I became a universalist. I believe that all the major religions are saying the exact same thing when you strip away the dogma and all the cultural interpretations. They are all about love. Bottom line. God is love, we are god and therefore, we are love. We are all one. Anything else is just the illusion that we are separate from God and each other.



This perspective, my own personal spirituality isn't something that just happens for an hour on Sunday, lol. I am immersed in it everyday.



You said you aren't into reading about stuff online, but if I may suggest, some books would be a good way of looking into some of the more Eastern religions where it would be more difficult to find worship services.



If you're not having much luck online/googling to find times, I would suggest looking in your local newspaper. Churches often run ads, or have listings with their service days and times.



I also want to throw an idea at you- if you have never been, I would highly recommend going to Kirtan. It's basically a worship service, or gathering with mantra chanting, and it's an incredibly powerful and moving experience, although it is a little bizzare at first.



Sorry to have rambled, but it's just a really cool thing you are doing!



I am very interested in the "universalism". I've never heard of it...But what you are describing is exactly the way I feel, and have for a while, but never new there was a name for it!

I am about to move across country to a new city, and will be looking into this. Are these kinds of "churches" common? I, like the OP, would like to meet people and support of the same ideas (instead of being around "bible thumpers" which is what I was raised around). I am hoping that this is something that is common......?

VeggieLizzie 10-18-2008 11:51 AM

This is unitarian universalist, there are tons of congregations (esp in major cities). I have never been to one altho I strongly considered it in the past (I actually wanted something a bit more structured) . It is very open, intellectual, and supportive and into ethical and moral issues (not tied to religion) and not subscribing to one particular doctrine as the only way to be:

http://www.uua.org/aboutus/index.shtml

I would love to know your experience as we have a few places in NY I just havent been to them!

VeggieLizzie 10-18-2008 11:55 AM

also check out the UU different websites. Some tend to have a bit more leaning towards one faith whereas most don't (but its like any other place of worship in terms of some catholic churches can be more conservative than others). For example the one near my mom (in Fl) celebrates Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions and all the holidays. COOL!

synergy 10-18-2008 02:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by sb729 }i{ View Post


I am very interested in the "universalism". I've never heard of it...But what you are describing is exactly the way I feel, and have for a while, but never new there was a name for it!

I am about to move across country to a new city, and will be looking into this. Are these kinds of "churches" common? I, like the OP, would like to meet people and support of the same ideas (instead of being around "bible thumpers" which is what I was raised around). I am hoping that this is something that is common......?





I use the world universalist as a shortcut to explaining my belief system and philosophy. I don't have any affiliation with the unitarian universalist church, but I think they come from the philosophy, and I'd love to check it out one day. I don't currently meet with any formal groups, I just practice my sprituality with my friends and family, who tend to think the same way.



Actually, my worship service is dancing. I love going to festivals, clubs, friends houses or even just dancing in my living room- generally to electronic music. DJ's are my shamens, and they create sacred energy when they drive people to dance. It's a very kind of pagan, earthy, tribal feeling- very ecstatic You can feel the divine connection competely.

VeggieLizzie 10-18-2008 05:19 PM

They do (the UU) follow your beliefs Synergy (as in accepting and stuff). As long as you have people to discuss your thoughts with that is great. I have quite a few friends that are the same way and we discuss spiritual issues as well.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitari...st_Association

Here is some history



If I ever moved to where my family is I would probably join the UU church bc its more conservative area than here and I am sure the churches would be as well. Plus I really like the emphasis on social justice, ethical living, etc.

xNewNoisex 10-18-2008 06:51 PM

I think if you have to act how to be religious, you don't need to be.

sb729 }i{ 10-19-2008 08:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeggieLizzie View Post

This is unitarian universalist, there are tons of congregations (esp in major cities). I have never been to one altho I strongly considered it in the past (I actually wanted something a bit more structured) . It is very open, intellectual, and supportive and into ethical and moral issues (not tied to religion) and not subscribing to one particular doctrine as the only way to be:

http://www.uua.org/aboutus/index.shtml

I would love to know your experience as we have a few places in NY I just havent been to them!



I have not either! This is my first time hearing these beliefs categorized...well, I've never really looked into it enough to know. But I am so into this idea! Thank you for posting that link!

I'm in NY now, but am moving to FL next week....looking to search around there for a Unitarian universalist congregation....It would be awesome to finally be around people with the same ideals!





Quote:
Originally Posted by synergy View Post

I use the world universalist as a shortcut to explaining my belief system and philosophy. I don't have any affiliation with the unitarian universalist church, but I think they come from the philosophy, and I'd love to check it out one day. I don't currently meet with any formal groups, I just practice my sprituality with my friends and family, who tend to think the same way.



Actually, my worship service is dancing. I love going to festivals, clubs, friends houses or even just dancing in my living room- generally to electronic music. DJ's are my shamens, and they create sacred energy when they drive people to dance. It's a very kind of pagan, earthy, tribal feeling- very ecstatic You can feel the divine connection competely.



That's awesome I love dancing a festivals and stuff...though I really like zydeco type music. But I agree...there is such an energy when people dance...I know exactly what your talking about, there's not really a word to pinpoint it, really any word would diminish that energy....

Chrysalis 10-19-2008 07:51 PM

Thanks for everyone's replies...I'm really tired so I'll just answer a few comments



veggielizzie: Yeah, I'm talking about the Unitarians! I think they are probably my best bet. Their website says their services are Sunday only but I'll try calling them and seeing if there are other nights they just don't advertise or something. The problem is that I ALSO work Saturday, and Friday night. Yeah I have no life on the weekend, yay me!





Numinant: Thanks for your feedback. Your viewpoint is the exact same one that I have held myself for many, many years. And you know what? I'm not a very happy person. So I may as well further explore what is out there before I completely reject all religions...which I probably will end up doing, but at least I will be making an informed decision. If I can't find an organized religion, I want to find some alternative way of expressing my spirituality.



Music Girl and Sb729: hmm I'll have to see if my library carries those books! Thanks for the recommendations



synergy: Dancing as worship service, huh...that's actually really cool.



Newnoise: What do you mean?

Dogma 10-19-2008 08:39 PM

This world has surpassed the barrier of disappointment when we pick our religion like a set of clothes.

VeggieLizzie 10-19-2008 11:51 PM

sb729 I peeked a look at your profile bc I thought it might say where in NY you are (maybe you said before on the NY thread but I forget). ANyway it says you are moving to Tampa. That's my family's neck of the woods (I am in NYC) but that is where the cool congregation looked that I checked out! http://www.uuclearwater.org/ I don't know where in Tampa you are relocating (or if you have even decided) but new tampa I believe is good for young people and westchase(I think- check on the latter). Again, if you havent picked an apt def look into diff communities bc Tampa has lots of elderly peeps so you want to be around people you can hang around with....

I am sure there are UU in Tampa as well (the above is in clearwater but most things are kinda close). Also you will notice when you move down there, sometimes you can be in like..Palm Harbor and be close to one part of clearwater but really far from another part. Its hard to explain- you will see what I mean, the towns seem to intertwine. the best thing to do is when you pick your apt, google map and see which churches, restaurants or whatever are nearby bc some places might be nearer or further than you think!



starblossom- definitely make sure they dont have any services during the week, most congregations do (at least in NY) often on something random like a Wed night. Let us know what you choose and remember to just keep an open mind....you will find what is best for you!

synergy 10-20-2008 01:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogma View Post

This world has surpassed the barrier of disappointment when we pick our religion like a set of clothes.



Why do you say that? I would personally be more disappointed in this world if people who have access to information about every religion just blindly follow whatever one they happen to have been born into.



It's a good thing to learn about other religions. If one resonates with you far more than your birthright, why not pursue it?

Dogma 10-20-2008 07:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by synergy View Post

Why do you say that? I would personally be more disappointed in this world if people who have access to information about every religion just blindly follow whatever one they happen to have been born into.



It's a good thing to learn about other religions. If one resonates with you far more than your birthright, why not pursue it?



Perhaps because practically all of your options are not only harmful to your health, but they practically change like passing fads. If religion is now such a loosely held ideal, why bother with it in the first place?

*AHIMSA* 10-20-2008 07:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogma View Post

If religion is now such a loosely held ideal, why bother with it in the first place?

So, being rigid, fixed, is the only way to 'salvation'? Or, is it consistency, tradition and ritual?

Dogma 10-20-2008 09:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by *AHIMSA* View Post

So, being rigid, fixed, is the only way to 'salvation'? Or, is it consistency, tradition and ritual?



Salvation from what? Are we being tortured and imprisoned here? The only thing I feel restricted by is the stupidity of others. I could easily say that humanity will only ever find salvation the day they find no need for salvation.

GhostUser 10-20-2008 10:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starblossom View Post


Numinant: Thanks for your feedback. Your viewpoint is the exact same one that I have held myself for many, many years. And you know what? I'm not a very happy person. So I may as well further explore what is out there before I completely reject all religions...which I probably will end up doing, but at least I will be making an informed decision. If I can't find an organized religion, I want to find some alternative way of expressing my spirituality.



IMO, you are looking for religion for the wrong reasons. You appear to be unhappy, so why not thoroughly analyze your life and make a list of things that make you unhappy and go from there? Adopting a religion in your situation instead of trying to get to the root of your problems doesn't sound like the answer. Turning to religion to as a form of escapism to cope with your problems is no different than turning to drugs, alcohol, or anything else; in either situation, you are turning to something unrelated to the underlying problem, as opposed to directly addressing the real issues you're facing.



This is not to say that turning to religion wouldn't make you happy, because there's a chance it could. However, I believe it's possible to find a more permanent, reliable happiness by introspectively analyzing your problems in order to find out the real reason(s) for your unhappiness.



You don't appear to truly believe any of the theories of God, so why adopt a religion in which you don't really believe? One should form her beliefs pertaining to the existence of God based on rational, objective analysis of the facts, by asking if there is a solid basis for believing in the teachings... not as an attempt to deal with problems that should be tackled directly. That is the only way to make an "informed" decision.



You seem to attribute your unhappiness to your lack of religious beliefs. Why? You don't need a crutch! You have all the tools you need to be happy! If you do some extensive research on a religion and are thoroughly convinced its teachings are correct, then by all means, become a member! But please, try to find out why you are really unhappy, and don't use religion as a form of escapism.


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