Since I was a little kid, I haven’t liked going to church. Since my teen years, I also haven’t believed much of what was preached to me there. For the time that I’ve been an active atheist, I’ve been disgusted about what’s taught at church and its effect on the world. But somehow it wasn’t until just recently that everything fell into place and I realized why church is the perfect formula to be a man-made money-making scheme. Church, to me, means traditional, doctrinally structured services within the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, but a lot of my apostate readers will relate, whether you were Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist, or probably any other denomination, even nondenominational. Read more
Luther’s Small Catechism is a required reading for the confirmation class that every LCMS teen needs to take (against their will) in order to be a confirmed adult member of the LCMS church (which I am, unfortunately). It’s included in the Book of Concord, which is a complete collection of the confessions of the Lutheran Church; everything in the Small Catechism is to be taken as true (or at least the student should say they believe it) in order to be confirmed. So let’s take a look at what my entire family and I (and my fiance) agreed to when we became members of the LCMS! (I just picked out the worst bits and pieces to actually discuss, but feel free to read the whole thing here.)Read more
Two weeks ago, I wrote my response to a booklet I found in my church called Questions for Evolutionists from the Creation Research Society and edited by Theodore J. Siek. This is part #2 from that post as I write my reflection to the other creationist booklet I found that day, Questions for Creationists: Must Christians Choose Between Science and the Bible? (Click here to follow along in the booklet or read it on your own. This PDF has been shared with the permission of the Creation Research Society.) Read more
Finally, the day has arrived: my last church service of the summer! The fact that I can choose not to attend church at college is something that I take for granted when I’m there, and next week I’ll be talking about other reasons why I’m so ready to return even though it’s a Christian college. For now, however, I can’t help but share something that I found in my church this morning: booklets on evolution and creation made by the Creation Research Society.
My church had the same pastor from the time that I was about thirteen to the time I was about nineteen. Having bigger things than religion and atheism and the afterlife to worry about as a teenager, I didn’t realize it at the time, but this man really passionately believed and taught the opposite of everything I believe. He is the type that refers to atheists as if they are a group only to be fought with and not a group to make amends with; the type that believes that gays have no place in church and that to be transgender is to be mentally ill; the type who shares a lot of Matt Walsh posts on Facebook. You know the type. Unfortunately.
It is a common argument against Christian thought that scripture calls for us to not question God when he does something we do not understand. This can apply to times that God does not save those who are suffering, times in the bible in which Jesus performs miracles that are impossible in the natural physical world, or times when God does not answer prayers. Admitting that there is no way to comprehend God’s means or reasons for doing what he does is an easy way for Christians to come to terms with this cognitive dissonance, but I like to give them the benefit of the doubt. The majority of Christians that I’ve met are not stupid people. Some questionable logic is generally necessary for reconciling various fantastical claims in scripture that can clash with our reasonable, observable conclusions, but it doesn’t stop believers from doing their best to apply logic to these situations.
Some questions that atheists and skeptics are commonly asked are “Why do you only criticize certain religions?” or “What do you have against Christianity specifically?” For me, the answer is that Christianity is by far the most popular religion in the United States, and I see it everywhere, whether it is at home, at school, or out in public. Specifically, my family are members and leaders in different congregations of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, or LCMS.
The LCMS is the second largest branch of the Lutheran Church, and it has almost 2.1 million baptized members (including me). I’ve grown up with the ultra-conservative LCMS teachings since I was a baby, but until about last week, I dared not read into the details of its doctrine. After reading for a while on Wikipedia, I came across A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, a concise but clear summary of LCMS teachings written by Franz August Otto Pieper in 1932. I want to highlight some sections of the Statement that thoroughly dumbfounded me and truly left me at a loss for words, especially knowing that my own family and many of our close friends actually believe these ideas. Read more