So many religious people prioritize their religious beliefs over their family.
It often results in hurt and pain when the religious family members will not fully accept their non-religious or differently religious family members because they do not share the same beliefs. Much effort is poured into “converting them” or “changing them” instead of just accepting them as they are.
Why not put the effort you put into your religion into loving the people around you with no strings and judgments attached? Just a thought.
Church attendance takes priority over family in many cases too. I’ve seen families where the non-religious person isn’t able to visit very often, but when they do the religious members still go to church. Now I understand that church is important to them, and it’s generally not fair for someone to ask a very religious person to skip church (I wouldn’t ask it of anyone unless it was an urgent situation), but wouldn’t it show a lot of love if they voluntarily skipped church one weekend in order to spend a few more valuable minutes with their non-religious or differently-religious family? They can go to church any other weekend of the year- couldn’t they serve God that particular weekend by showing love to their family instead? Instead, it feels like they throw it in their family’s faces: “Church is more important to me than spending time with you. If you want to spend time with me today, you have to honor my religion with me.”
Christians, you’re free to go to church whenever you want. But think about how this affects your family relationships. It doesn’t help convince us to convert to your religion when it so obviously makes you prioritize church attendance above your own family. We don’t want to be like that- so you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot here.
After 20+ years in church and many, many, MANY years of participating in incredibly intense and emotionally charged worship services, I’ve learned that this kind of musical experience is not unique to Christianity, or even religion in general. I experience the same rush of emotions, the same euphoria that I felt back when I was in church: peace and inspiration and deep thought provoking responses, the desire to dance around happily, to just fall on the floor and cry, or to run out and fight a righteous battle of some kind. Except now it’s to other kinds of music with no worship or prayer involved.
Music moves us, drives us, and causes us to experience things that we can’t always explain unless we happen to be psychologists who have literally written books on how it works, or we’re one of those people who like reading those books (raises hand). In a church worship service, the addition of other people experiencing the same thing is very similar to what we feel at an intense rock concert where everyone is singing along. Many people coming together to focus on the same experience creates a sort of group high.
This isn’t a commentary about whether or not god exists, we all have our own beliefs on that count and it’s a different issue altogether. This is just my own commentary on the phenomenon of the musical “high” that churches often claim as supernatural, based on my own experience and what I’ve learned about in science and psychology. I think that much of what is thought of as “God’s presence” in a worship service is nothing more than our natural responses to being in such a charged musical atmosphere. This is probably why some religious sects don’t allow music, because they recognize the power of music in driving emotional responses that aren’t necessarily supernatural. But when you’re raised to associate these feelings with “God’s presence”, it becomes confirmation bias. If God is real or not is another issue- but the whole musical experience thing is something that all humans, religious or not, can access. You could say God made music that way. I’d disagree with you, but at least it’s a more logical interpretation of how we feel in worship services.
So enjoy your music, however you like it. View it as divine or not, it’s up to you. These are just the thoughts that go through my head as I drink root beer and listen to awesome music that I never listened to when I was a Christian. 🙂