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Does Religion Provide A Sense Of Community?


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One thing I think church, and religion does provide. That is, a sense of community and belonging. That is sorely lacking in this modern America. Don't get me wrong, I myself never fit in in any church that my family went to in my growing years. And I found those that attended them very quick to judge, and very handy using ostracism to control any "waywardness" or "backslidin'". But do they not, at least to those who have no trouble accepting the background rules, provide what is usually so lacking in our society today? I mean, Jesus, I've been de-converted and divorced now for 18 years, and I never found anyone to talk to over the first few years, then finally gave up, then finally found myself not even wanting to talk to anyone! About anything. Are there any kinds of groups for free-thinkers in a place like Wichita, KS? I will say, I was looking at another Rant on here the other day, someone talking about living in small-town Alabama and being worried about getting black-listed. I didn't think there were many places more backward than here, but I don't think that would have happened even in 1980 when I first started working here. So there must be. I think I'd leave! But I've lived in seven states, so it'd be easy.

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Yes, there are a few other free-thinkers in Wichita. I'm one of them. There are a few others scattered around... but they're few and far between.

 

At one time there was an atheist meetup group in town- I don't know much about it, but it might still be around. I go to WSU, and there's an atheist group that meets there once a week- I just went for the first time the other day. It was kinda interesting, and I may go back... but between work and classes I'm not sure if I'll have time.

 

I'm originally from Tennessee... I've also lived in Texas, Colorado, and Western KS (which might as well be a different state). Sure, there's no shortage of fundies here in Wichita- but I can tell you that the level of crazy here isn't even CLOSE to what I grew up with back in Tennessee. People around here generally mind their own business about religion... not so in The South.

 

I agree with you about that sense of community- sometimes I wish there was a free-thinkers 'church' or something just for that reason. Matter of fact, I went to the local Unitarian Universalist church for a few weeks just to try it out as an option. It was interesting and I might have continued, but the wife didn't care for it at all. And like anything else, it demands time and money... both of which are in short supply for me.

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It does provide a sense of community. I know there are people who still belong to churches even though they believe nothing of the doctrine just because of this factor.

 

MWLarry, you might check Meetup.com for local groups of freethinkers in your area.

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Yes, there are a few other free-thinkers in Wichita. I'm one of them. There are a few others scattered around... but they're few and far between.

 

At one time there was an atheist meetup group in town- I don't know much about it, but it might still be around. I go to WSU, and there's an atheist group that meets there once a week- I just went for the first time the other day. It was kinda interesting, and I may go back... but between work and classes I'm not sure if I'll have time.

 

I'm originally from Tennessee... I've also lived in Texas, Colorado, and Western KS (which might as well be a different state). Sure, there's no shortage of fundies here in Wichita- but I can tell you that the level of crazy here isn't even CLOSE to what I grew up with back in Tennessee. People around here generally mind their own business about religion... not so in The South.

 

I agree with you about that sense of community- sometimes I wish there was a free-thinkers 'church' or something just for that reason. Matter of fact, I went to the local Unitarian Universalist church for a few weeks just to try it out as an option. It was interesting and I might have continued, but the wife didn't care for it at all. And like anything else, it demands time and money... both of which are in short supply for me.

 

I see your quote afterward. Hell, you're not an engineering student are you? You must be a little (maybe lot) younger than I, but that's where I got my degree. I've lived in Kentucky and Tennessee, myself. Wasn't bucking things then, though.

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I've never had a need to surround myself with people who hold the same beliefs that I do. The "community" feeling which is sought by many is to be found in service clubs, hobby groups and amateur sports teams.

 

Personally, I have an A-List group of friends that numbers around a dozen. Only a couple are atheists, but none are hard core religious either. Some are Republicans but the majority are Democrats or totally disinterested in politics. Some of them I met through a hobbyist club (which I no longer even belong to) and others share motorcycles as an interest. One came from the workplace. We don't all think the same or agree on every topic but we like to hang out together anyway - nine of us have even gone on two group vacations together. Several of us eat out together weekly, and we party, picnic, and celebrate our birthdays as a group. That's my "community" and it beats the hell out of any church - and there are no tithes!

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I've never had a need to surround myself with people who hold the same beliefs that I do. The "community" feeling which is sought by many is to be found in service clubs, hobby groups and amateur sports teams.

 

Personally, I have an A-List group of friends that numbers around a dozen. Only a couple are atheists, but none are hard core religious either. Some are Republicans but the majority are Democrats or totally disinterested in politics. Some of them I met through a hobbyist club (which I no longer even belong to) and others share motorcycles as an interest. One came from the workplace. We don't all think the same or agree on every topic but we like to hang out together anyway - nine of us have even gone on two group vacations together. Several of us eat out together weekly, and we party, picnic, and celebrate our birthdays as a group. That's my "community" and it beats the hell out of any church - and there are no tithes!

 

 

You make a good point!

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I see your quote afterward. Hell, you're not an engineering student are you? You must be a little (maybe lot) younger than I, but that's where I got my degree. I've lived in Kentucky and Tennessee, myself. Wasn't bucking things then, though.

 

Yeah, I'm majoring in mechanical engineering- should be done in December. I'm a late-comer to college- I've spent the past 15 years as a diesel mechanic. But I'm looking forward to a desk job with a little better pay. So in my mid 30's, I'm about 10-12 years older than lots of my classmates.

 

Like I said, I'm from Tennessee- and I have lots of kin in Kentucky. Hell, you and I are probably cousins.

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I see your quote afterward. Hell, you're not an engineering student are you? You must be a little (maybe lot) younger than I, but that's where I got my degree. I've lived in Kentucky and Tennessee, myself. Wasn't bucking things then, though.

 

Yeah, I'm majoring in mechanical engineering- should be done in December. I'm a late-comer to college- I've spent the past 15 years as a diesel mechanic. But I'm looking forward to a desk job with a little better pay. So in my mid 30's, I'm about 10-12 years older than lots of my classmates.

 

Like I said, I'm from Tennessee- and I have lots of kin in Kentucky. Hell, you and I are probably cousins.

 

I doubt it, buddy, but I like your sense of humor! I'm from Kansas City. Anyway, stay out of Aircraft!

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Well, I have a cousin in Kansas City. :scratch:

 

My people are spread out all over the place, but particularly through Kentucky and Tennessee... and distant kin throughout the midwest.

 

Anyway, stay out of Aircraft!

 

I've only been in Wichita for four years, but from what I can tell that's good advice. I'd definitely take an aircraft job if I had no other options... but I'd be looking elsewhere while drawing the paycheck. Too cyclical and too political for my tastes.

 

Are you in engineering? If so, do you have any suggestions for good employers for an entry-level mechanical engineer? I have a couple of opportunities in the works, but I'm still looking around.

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Well, I have a cousin in Kansas City. :scratch:

 

My people are spread out all over the place, but particularly through Kentucky and Tennessee... and distant kin throughout the midwest.

 

Anyway, stay out of Aircraft!

 

I've only been in Wichita for four years, but from what I can tell that's good advice. I'd definitely take an aircraft job if I had no other options... but I'd be looking elsewhere while drawing the paycheck. Too cyclical and too political for my tastes.

 

Are you in engineering? If so, do you have any suggestions for good employers for an entry-level mechanical engineer? I have a couple of opportunities in the works, but I'm still looking around.

 

Yup, I'm an engineer in the aircraft industry! Don't know what to say. I've got a bad attitude, and I come by it honestly! I've become a contract engineer (temporary) because the money's good, and the other way wasn't doing anything for me! The only problem is the direction in which this country's heading. Everything's offshoring! Sorry to not be any help.

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Well one up-side to the recent (relatively) high oil prices is that oilfield equipment sales are booming- and one of the jobs that I'm working on involves designing oilfield equipment. I'm also looking into an internship for combined-cycle powerplant engineering. I reckon the demand for electricity is gonna be pretty stable for some time.

 

I'm not planning to get rich or anything... I'm under no such illusion. I just want some stability and better pay than I make as a mechanic.

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Well one up-side to the recent (relatively) high oil prices is that oilfield equipment sales are booming- and one of the jobs that I'm working on involves designing oilfield equipment. I'm also looking into an internship for combined-cycle powerplant engineering. I reckon the demand for electricity is gonna be pretty stable for some time.

 

I'm not planning to get rich or anything... I'm under no such illusion. I just want some stability and better pay than I make as a mechanic.

 

 

Yeah, I wasn't either. Anymore, about all I want is out! : )

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Well I know a place that's looking to hire diesel mechanics. :wicked:

 

The pay isn't anything to brag about, but if you can pass a physical and sign your name, they'll give you a try.

 

 

LOL! Seriously though, I think I'd pursue the power generation industry. I'm kinda anti-big-oil because of the wars their toadies've gotten this country into. Good luck!

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Florduh makes the best point, in that community can be built around ANY group of people with the same interests. Doesn't have to be outlook on religion/beliefs, it could be any number of things.

So, yes, church does provide community for many - but so can many other things. All it takes is a group of people with a common thing they like talking about. Fill in your interests, and find 'em!

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I second the meetup.com suggestion. I'm a member of several meetup groups, and it's a good way to meet people who hold similar interests. And, like Florduh said, they don't have to hold all the same interests. For example, there are Christians in one of my meetup groups, and that's fine, but then I also go to an atheist meetup group, which is nice. Good luck!

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What Christianity...at least evangelical/fundy Christianity does is create a bubble and call it a community. They make it so that you are totally surrounded as much as possible by people who think and believe alike and use the 'Community' or peer pressure to squash any part of the individual YOU. They can be very good at crushing your individuality.

 

For once I agree with you :grin:

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I've never had a need to surround myself with people who hold the same beliefs that I do. The "community" feeling which is sought by many is to be found in service clubs, hobby groups and amateur sports teams.

 

Personally, I have an A-List group of friends that numbers around a dozen. Only a couple are atheists, but none are hard core religious either. Some are Republicans but the majority are Democrats or totally disinterested in politics. Some of them I met through a hobbyist club (which I no longer even belong to) and others share motorcycles as an interest. One came from the workplace. We don't all think the same or agree on every topic but we like to hang out together anyway - nine of us have even gone on two group vacations together. Several of us eat out together weekly, and we party, picnic, and celebrate our birthdays as a group. That's my "community" and it beats the hell out of any church - and there are no tithes!

 

Ditto florduh - I have just a handful of good friends that i actually enjoy being around. That's it! my days of large crowds and buzzing around at bible studies are gone.

 

It is nice to have a couple of good friends to hang out with. 'One' can be a lonely number.

 

Hope you find what your looking for MWLarry! good luck my friend.

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What Christianity...at least evangelical/fundy Christianity does is create a bubble and call it a community. They make it so that you are totally surrounded as much as possible by people who think and believe alike and use the 'Community' or peer pressure to squash any part of the individual YOU. They can be very good at crushing your individuality.

 

I definitely agree with that! Notice what I said about not fitting in myself. I do completely avoid settings anymore, where a free and open exchange of ideas is not welcome.

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Church a sense of community? Only if one is prepared to join the borg. I'm not :) Church has shown me i'm not a joiner, could care less about conformity. I have not replaced the church "friends" that I lost. I enjoy online communities much more these days.

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For myself certainly. That is why I am holding tight to going to church still even though I feel awkward and out of place. I like the people there. I like belonging. *sigh*

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For myself certainly. That is why I am holding tight to going to church still even though I feel awkward and out of place. I like the people there. I like belonging. *sigh*

 

I was playing devil's advocate. I certainly don't miss it that badly. I was just making a statement about modern society, I think.

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