I have been asked, several times over the years, why I don't go to church. I have a standard answer. I say, think about why you DO go to church and then turn that around. Many people go to church to 'set an example' for their kids. I have no kids. Or because they think they're supposed to. I don't think that. Or because they truly want to 'worship God.' I do not. I don't think there IS a 'God.' Some people like the 'fellowship', being a part of the community. I get that in other ways. Some people think it 'feeds the spirit.' I don't believe in spirits.
These are all good reasons for other people, I think. Just not good reasons for me. Most people accept my answer. Once in a while someone will try to sway me with some argument or another but generally they quickly realize that I really have heard all the arguments for it and they really don't work for me.
I do actually go to church, sometimes. Weddings, baptisms and funerals about cover it. So, once or twice a year, generally. And of course I went a lot when I was young. Catholic, even. So I'm familiar with what goes on there. I went for a baptism back in December. It was at a local Lutheran church. I don't think I had ever been to a Lutheran church before; if I had it was for a wedding and I didn't really listen for any differences between what they say and do and what the Catholics do. This last time I listened. Very similar. Extremely so, even. And therein lies the rub. ; )
The biggest reason I don't go is that I don't accept their main premise; that humans are stained by Original Sin and that Jesus Christ died for us so we could have our sins forgiven and achieve everlasting life in 'heaven.' And I don't accept that premise in just about every way possible.
First, that whole 'Original Sin' story is absolutely contingent upon accepting the Creation Story in the Book of Genesis. I do not. How can I? It makes a great story but was it even meant to be taken literally? I have my doubts. Every culture has its 'lore,' its mythology. Every other culture understands that the old stories are just that: old stories.
To accept the story I have to believe that there is an all-powerful super-being, and I do mean ALL-POWERFUL. Powerful enough to create the entire universe, every molecule in it, by simply willing it. I don't believe that. It's just too preposterous for me to even entertain the notion for very long. But of course there's more. This all-powerful super-being, 'God,' created this whole universe so humans would have a place to reside. He created humans, apparently, 'out of love.' How love existed in a universe that didn't exist yet I've never heard. Or maybe loneliness would be a better explanation. God was lonely. Well who wouldn't be, after an eternity or so of being all alone? But I digress.
After doing all this creating, (in six days, not all at once, not over millions of years) including a Garden of Paradise, God decides to 'test' his favored creatures. Basically, he tells them not to do something, then sends a talking snake to deceive them. One of them, anyway. Naturally, being children, more or less, they fall into the trap, as God must have known they would. And so God decides, almost literally, to Hell with them! They are turned out of Paradise and begin to lead lives of suffering. Sounds to me like God has anger issues. But he loves us, he's all about love and forgiveness. Just not right away.
Apparently God eventually 'calms down,' figures maybe (maybe?) he has been a little (a little?) rash. (This is after he kills the entire human race save for one family in a world-wide flood.) He concocts a plan to appease himself. He impregnates a virgin, waits thirty-three years, then watches as these humans that he has such disdain for (but still loves) kill this 'son' of his in the most grisly, painful way they can conceive and lo and behold, all is forgiven. (Or can be.) A fresh start for everybody, forgiveness of sins, original and otherwise, IF they/we/I accept that Jesus (the aforementioned son) did this FOR them/us/me. Somehow it 'takes away the sins of the world.' Why this impressed God so much has always been unclear to me since he orchestrated the whole thing Himself but I'm told if I just believe it I can have eternal life. Hunh.
Well, sorry, I don't. I can't. Feel free to yourself though.