Why Do the Faithful Avoid Church?

How many Christians do you know? Me, I know several. My mom, one of my friends, pretty much all of my extended family. They all consider themselves to be Christians. Yet here’s the interesting part: very few of them actually attend church on a regular basis. Oh, they might pop in for Christmas Eve services or Easter, but otherwise? They don’t go every Sunday. They don’t even appear to go on other days of the week.

Turns out they aren’t atypical. According to an article on Slate, a large number of Christians don’t actually attend church and the fun part is they say they do. Yes, they lie (bear false witness?), and say they attend church regularly, but don’t.

What’s up with this? Why do people lie about going to church? I think, and others seem to agree, that what’s happening is that people are constantly told that to be a good person, you must attend church. The people who lie about going know they are good people and want to appear as good people, so they figure a little white lie to firm up the image of them as a good person isn’t a big deal.

I think there are also a lot of people out there who really don’t believe in God anymore, but can’t quite take the step of viewing themselves as atheists. They certainly don’t want anyone else to know they don’t believe anymore, so they lie and exaggerate and claim to be religious and claim to go to church when they aren’t and don’t.

It’s an interesting disconnect, but one that I expect won’t last much longer. America is becoming more and more secular and in time we won’t have so many people feeling the need to pretend. They’ll discover the real freedom that comes with being true to themselves.

3 Responses to “Why Do the Faithful Avoid Church?”

  1. thekeyofatheist Says:

    I think some people also avoid church because they identify with a religious tradition but disagree strongly with specific points of doctrine that they can’t avoid at their local house of worship. Catholics run into this problem with Contraception, some Mormons and Protestants have difficulty with the homophobia they hear from the pulpit, and many people take issue with things as central as the doctrine of hell.

    My hope is that some of these individuals will eventually come to embrace a secular religious identity. If the churches are unwilling to become more progressive they deserve to continue losing membership.

    As for why people exaggerate their attendance, I suspect you’re completely right.

    • Chris Says:

      What would a “secular religious” identity? I’d this that would be a contradiction in terms. Perhaps you’re thinking along the lines of how people can be “born” Jewish?

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