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cutiepi92's avatar

Christianity and church attendance?

Asked by cutiepi92 (2252points) April 20th, 2014

Good morning all and Happy Easter! I apologize for the length of this in advance, I have a lot on my mind.

Now why am I asking a Christianity question on an Easter Sunday instead of being at church? Because right after this I have three papers to write that are due tomorrow so it’s a bit of a time thing (and due to stuff I mention in this question). And no, it’s not procrastination that has kept my papers to today. This past week was “hell week” at my university, meaning EVERY SINGLE DAY I had a paper or test or presentation. I barely had time to even sleep.

At any rate, I know I probably won’t get many answers to this until afternoon or tomorrow, but this has really been on my mind lately and I feel that I need to ask this.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve last been to church. I believe in Christ and I talk to God, but I haven’t set foot in the actual building in a long time. I think at this stage in my life (being in college, a very hard one at that) church has felt more like a lecture than me actually feeling involved and a part of what the pastor is saying. I go to school every day and sit in lectures that are hours long all the time. Not by choice, but because attendance is required and if I don’t go I will obviously flunk out of school. Is this the same policy with church? Will I not get into Heaven just because I don’t go to church on Sundays?

It’s just that, since I get lectured so much during the week, I like taking the time out on Sundays (normally) to sit in peace. During this time, I wash my hair, do whatever homework now, study, and meditate. My Sundays are very peaceful, and even my boyfriend gets upset sometimes because I don’t text/call him much on Sundays. This in itself is always a day of relief for me; because the rest of my week is usually very hectic.

The lectures I have received in church also tend to follow the same pattern. They pick a verse, make a somewhat modern story about it, repeat things a lot, and basically make an hour long message about a meaning of the verse that I easily saw and could understand in significantly less time. And not only that, but there is the gossip. I hear it from my grandparents all the time; it seems like people are more concerned with what others are wearing, or how often they go, what activities are they involved in, how much recognition and “church power” they have, etc. There is a lot of judgmental behavior and talking behind each others backs. It’s like everyone there “knows” you, even if it isn’t the “real” you and you have to smile in people’s faces and kind of act fake… least that’s how it is at my church. These are the same people that say they are holy, but then use my grandmother and cause her many many hours of stress and labor on bulletin boards for thirty years with their only thank you being a tiny mention in the church bulletin. Yet they constantly ask for more more more, ignoring the amount of work it puts on her and the fact that she does have a life and schedule outside of doing boards for the church.

That is not to say that the church does not have good people or serve a purpose. I know it does. And this does not mean that I think I’m a “self serving” Christian, one that knows all the answers and can figure out everything on my own without the support of other Christians. I know I have questions, but it seems like going to church on Sundays never really has given me the answers I desire. I only feel like I’m being talked to, when I need someone or some people to talk with. I feel like I would be better served by a Bible study or something; a place where I can read and actually DISCUSS my thoughts and ask questions. Yet I can’t really do this in a church without going on Sundays and being judged can I? There is a group at my college that has these discussions, but I do not like the group. I went; but their the type of Christians that believe even hugging and kissing in a relationship outside marriage is wrong. Different intensity of belief and interpretation of the Word I guess. They’re a little extreme lol. I want SOMETHING, but I’m just not sure what.

So it all comes down to this (and I apologize for the long long read), but does this make me a bad Christian? Am I wrong for not finding solace in Sunday worship (lecture)? I feel bad because I definitely think I should improve my relationship with God and study the Word more, but I’m having trouble finding a place where I can do that. I really need a Bible study lol. Maybe my thoughts on Sundays will change once I graduate since I won’t be getting lectured anymore? Maybe the approach won’t feel so horrible when I’m not getting it every other day of the week I don’t know…..

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20 Answers

Seek's avatar

There are many Christians who choose to abstain from church attendance.

And there are many Christians who believe church attendance is an absolute necessity.

The Bible says that you shouldn’t forsake gathering together with other believers, but it never sets out a requirement of every friggin’ Sunday ad nauseum forever.

Religion is a personal choice – do what feels right to you when it feels right for you. If you’re not hurting anyone else and you feel content in your beliefs, bully for you. If, when you have time, you want to study more and become more active, that’s great too.

If any other Christian tries to make you feel guilty for doing what you need to do, you can point them to any number of verses about judging not, or removing the beam from one’s own eye. There’s more Biblical instruction for minding your own darned business than there is for mandatory attendance.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Since you seem to have made up your mind that actual “church going” is not necessary I don’t know what kind of an answer you are looking for.

As a “Church going Christian” who actually looks forward to being with fellow believers once a week, I can’t relate. Personally I find people who don’t want to go to church on Sundays are many times just too lazy to go.
Also they like to “pick and chose” what they want to live by and not be true to the doctrine of their particular Church. As a practicing Catholic I see that all the time by non church going Catholic’s in name only.

Happy Easter. <BTW I went to 9:00 Mass this morning and I’m having 10 people over to dinner today>

FlyingWolf's avatar

According to my understanding of Christianity, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and a Savior you are good to go. Communing with other people of faith is not a requirement to make it to Heaven.

cutiepi92's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Where did I say in my post that it was unnecessary to go? I stated my reasons for not going and asked if I was still wrong anyway for not going. I didn’t say it was unnecessary or something but that it feels like lecture; in fact, my question was ASKING it if was necessary. You state laziness when I explicitly gave my reasons…...

Your answer comes off as very judgmental (like if you really must know, we are having Easter dinner too) and your rapid assumption of something that I never even said further strengthens my point of certain people who are in the church coming off as judgmental of others who don’t do exactly what they do instead of being warm, understanding, or inviting. Obviously I’m confused and asking for help, but instead of addressing what I said you just stated all non church goers as just lazy…...Your answer seems very unhelpful towards my specific situation and does not address anything I said in my question. But maybe it’s just a Catholic thing? I do know Catholicism is very different from other strains of Christianity (my church is an AME)

I am not looking for people to confirm me being right; I don’t know if I am. Maybe I do need to go to church every Sunday, but why am I feeling lectured? Is going to Bible study, which is fellowshipping with others, enough?

JLeslie's avatar

Only you can decide for yourself. There are Christina’s who think it is important to go to church and others who believe their relationship with God is good without going to church.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@cutiepi92 I suspect that @BeenThereSaidThat‘s view will be unpopular here (and it’s not one that I agree with), but in fairness, you did ask whether not going to church makes you a bad Christian. Some people will certainly say that you are a bad Christian for not going to church, so you need to be prepared to hear that.

But perhaps your reaction to his post will help you to decide whether your going to church or not should be a matter of public opinion. Instead, maybe you should just do what you think is right.

bolwerk's avatar

The people who would judge you a bad Christian for not attending church are probably the last people any sane person wants to try to please anyway.

cutiepi92's avatar

@dappled_leaves I suppose their response irritated me because it was mostly unhelpful and almost seemed as if they didn’t read my question; they uplifted themselves and then answered off an assumption that I didn’t even state.

I’m open to people telling me if I should go or not, and if I need to go to church in order to be closer to Him then I can hear that too, but at least base your response off of something I actually said and give helpful feedback you know? Not just a “non church goers are lazy” response.

It’s like the equivalent of us Christians telling non believers that “they’re going to hell” all the time and expecting them to come to Christ based of that negativity. If I say that one of the reasons is because people are really judgmental and “holier than thou” in the church, being judgmental definitely won’t help lol.

cutiepi92's avatar

That being said, I do appreciate other answers I have been given so far. I suppose my issue is that I know I want to get closer to God, get some questions answered, and want an outlet to do it, but Sunday service hasn’t really helped me with that in the past so I’m not sure where to go from here. Not that I just don’t want to go to church at all and would rather stay at home

dxs's avatar

Religion is personal and subjective. Do what you feel brings you closer to God, not what others or their dogmas tell you.

chyna's avatar

Will I not get into Heaven just because I don’t go to church on Sundays?
You can still get into heaven if you don’t go to church every Sunday as long as you believe that Jesus died for your sins.
If you have issues with what is going on with the people within your church, you need to find another one that fits you better.

kritiper's avatar

Being a good Christian isn’t about attending church. It’s about how you treat other people. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is what is important and covers just about everything.
A Christian is a person who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Again, it isn’t about going to church. (My mom might not agree to that one!!)
Supposedly, the Bible teaches followers to go into a closet or other room, another building or location, someplace away from other people and worship by yourself. No church here, either.

Strauss's avatar

As has been stated above, your Christianity cannot be judged by your attendance at church. If you go strictly by scripture, the commandment mandating keeping the Sabbath {Exodus 3:8–11) says only to keep it holy and refrain from work and to refrainfrom causing others, mankind or beast, to work on your behalf. There is no commandment to attend anything on the Sabbath, whether you celebrate it on Saturday or Sunday.

Also, If you recall, Mark 12:28–31, says that the two greatest commandments say first, love the Lord, and second, love your neighbor.

Your salvation, or loss thereof, is a personal thing between you and your God/Saviour. No one else, other than yourself and God/Jesus, can judge your worthiness for salvation.

Darth_Algar's avatar

In my experience regular church-going Christians and good Christians are rarely the same.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t understand how people can say with conviction that going to church or not going doesn’t matter. Doesn’t it really depend on what the individual believes. None of us know for sure what Jesus thinks. Do we? If it was 100% for sure black and white there would not even be a question. I’m an atheist and Jewish, so what do I know. I think God loves all his children if there is a God and IV he is a judging God he judges us on how we treat ourselves and those around us. I can’t imagine a God so absorbed with Himself that he wants people sitting and worshipping him, rather than doing good deeds.

bolwerk's avatar

Presumably what Jesus thinks is nothing, ‘cause he’s dead.

What he thought doesn’t seem too incomprehensible from what we have of his teachings, but then Catholic/Orthodox Christianity is probably based more on the organizing/evangelizing of Paul than the teaching of Christ.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am speaking as an atheist, but I respect your view and I will try to be as helpful as I can.
The purpose of going to church is to enhance your religious experience. It does not make you a bad Christian for not going, but you owe it to yourself to find a church that you feel comfortable in. If you do not feel comfortable in your current church, I would suggest finding another one.

cutiepi92's avatar

I have received many a good answer here. I will search for a different church (to the dismay of my grandparents, but I really am not a fan of theirs). For the time being, I may try to find some online resources were there is Bible study or the like until I feel comfortable enough as a member of a new church to go there. ^_^

sinscriven's avatar

I think part of where you’re struggling is your expectations of sunday service/mass/whatever.

Those aren’t meant to provide spiritual enlightenment and growth, they are there to provide sustenance and reinforcement of your faith. They’re designed to be a time that allows you to pull your head out of the stress and throes of the mundane life and to just sit and exist outside that daily bubble. It’s a meditation of sorts.

But the growth comes from your own personal investment into your faith. If that means bible study and things like that, then go for it. And through that learning and growth on a personal level then the stuff that goes on at sunday will resonate more with you, because you’ll get it, you’ll know the back story, you’ll know the interpretation. And even if you heard the story a million times it still has value to reflect on it because chances are you need to hear it again anyway. Priests may have quoted “Inasmuch you have done to the least of my brothers, you have also done to me” over and over for ages and people still haven’t managed to be less of jerks to each other. It’s an ongoing refining process of humanity.

KNOWITALL's avatar

if you are still close with God, have no fear. Man is fallible & can often divide you & God.

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