I realised that most parents, eventhough they are not religious, want their child/ children to be in church. Maybe they think that church builds good characters in their children, is a place to learn socialization, or plainly just better than sitting at home on Sunday. But, they themselves dislikes going to church.
I went to church since quite young. I always felt anxious and does not fit in in church, but I thought this is just me. Until recently, in a therapy session for my family, I searched deep in my feeling, and I told the therapist that I felt that church people are fake. My dad, who also don’t go to church anymore finally said that he dislikes church, and he thinks that people in church are fake, with the fake smile and warmth. This gives me a shock, I thought it was just me who thinks this way.
What makes my dad and I think this way? Is it because I have inherited the personality of my dad? Or have I learnt the “bad” habit of my dad of not going to church? Or there is some truth to this feeling?
Are churches inclusive enough? Susan Cain had said in a book that churches in United States favors extroverts because extroversion is the ideal in United States. This sparks a question in me, is religion really one that stands the test of time, unchanging, or able to be changed according to its inhabitants? Is religion man made and nothing more than the imagination of man, able to shape it to the usefulness of the time period or location? Would the church change into a rock concert style worship to cater to the young people? This constantly changing theme, for me, undermines the foundation of the truth, it makes it seems like it is just a tool.
If a person is not “popular” or fit into the culture of the time or location, he/ she will not fit into the church, because church is the reflection of the society. This creates a paradox where the outcasts and people who needs religion the most are shun by religion itself. Take people with Down Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, shy, introverts.
After years of being a traditional religion, some christians tries to modernize christianity. Their youth leaders tries to be modern. Take an example of a youth leader in college, they will consume illegal drugs or drink beers just to be cool, afterall this is the cultural mandate, you need to bring christianity to fit the culture. If the group you are in swears a lot, you would be uncool not to swear, if they engage in free sexual activities and use languages that demeans woman, you would too, because if you are not “horny”, you are not a man. I have seen many guys who tries to talk about their sexual encounters like a bragging rights, including christians. Of course, they would not say it in church, but everyone knows what is happening behind the scenes.
Trying to be modern and not traditional leads to another weird phenomenon, the bro culture. The bro culture is something like this, you would be totally open in front of each other, including doing stupid stuff, to show that you are totally comfortable in front of each other. This is to shed the pretension in the traditional church. So, if you are a quiet person, the youth leader will hate you, because you are not “bro” enough. You need to do stupid things like the chicken dance, or use weird languages, 180 degrees change in tone of your voice every few seconds to show that you all will blend into a unrecognizable mix, like a family. If you are in a group of guy christians, you would of course talk about girls or beers or anything that makes you macho. Girls will continue gossips about what that certain church goer did last few nights.
People who does not join the bro culture or not “open” enough by doing stupid stuffs will be brand as not religious enough or even came from satan himself because these people does not partake in “fellowship” of the bros.
So, why do I dislike going to church? After hearing about people doing all the supposedly sinful stuffs and see the same people piously attending church, it does underminds my faith. I have come to believe that people come to church because of socialization.