Congregational Church – Wakefield, MA (Photo credit: Lucius Beebe Memorial Library)
The quotation that follows is from Neither East Nor West by Christiane Bird. She and I both were raised in the Congregational Church which has become the United Church of Christ to which Barack Obama belonged in Chicago.
“I’ve never understood the fuss regarding different organized religions. Though nominally a Christian, I view most of the world’s religions–and especially Christianity, Judaism and Islam–as being remarkably alike. Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe in one god, in doing the right thing, in certain prophets, and in the power of prayer. So how can so much hatred be expended on minor differences when many of the major beliefs are shared? A hopelessly naïve question, I’m sure, but nevertheless– I greatly admire truly spiritual people of all regions but cannot understand their fundamentalist counterparts.”
Photo of the First Congregational Church of Ceredo, West Virginia. The photo was taken from across 1st Street West at the intersection with C Street (). The building was constructed in 1886 and the church is a member of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (NACCC). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My father was a non-practicing member of the Lutheran Church and my mother was a committed member of a Congregational Church. I attended a few Lutheran services and daily vacation bible classes, and I attended Congregational services at the youth level until I graduated from high school. Then I stopped attending church.
I consider myself an agnostic because I do not know whether or not God exists. An atheistic knows or thinks he/she knows. I do believe in much of the Christian code for living. I moved away from the Congregational Church of my mother’s faith because there was too much guilt. The Lutheran Church to my youthful eyes seemed old-fashioned. I am not in the market for a religion at this point in my life, but if I were, I would be looking for these criteria: a pacific religion, one not supporting war. I would also insist on a religion that did not judge people here on earth. There is plenty of time later for judgement after death.
Please see Love thy neighbor | Brother’s keeper
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: a Biblical Study by Ronald J. Sider. I recommend this book to all. The message is quite simple. God will judge us one and all by how we treat the poor among us.
Please see Love thy neighbor | Hunger | Brother’s keeper
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According to Rick Santorum, Barack Obama practices a different theology. I was raised in the Congregational church and each congregation was free to interpret the Bible as they chose. In fact, each individual could read the Bible in different ways. My parents believed that members of the Catholic church were instructed what to believe by the Pope. There are many different Protestant denominations and I suspect that each interprets the Word of God differently. That is what gives rise to religious disputes, the burning or beheading of heretics and religious wars in the past. As a practising agnostic, I am not an expert on religion. I prefer to mind my own business as long as my neighbor minds his/hers.
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I am an agnostic and my wife is a lapsed Mormon by conversion. Originally I lived in the Chicago area and then in Southern California. Now we live in Saint George, Utah, which is a very red state. When we moved here eight years ago, I soon noticed that local residents practice their religion and practice it more faithfully than I observed elsewhere. My wife disagrees with me on this and contends that Mormons stray from their faith as much as other Christian denominations do. So there is a difference of opinion within our family just as there seems to be a difference of opinion about the Mormon faith nationally.