The Skeptic's Guide to The Universe

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What I learned in Sunday School

Sometime it takes longer for concepts to soak into head than others. Like when I talk to someone about construction, I have a history working in this field and so I can normally keep along with the conversation, likewise with many automotive principles, while complicated can be understand at least in concept and talked about as an intelligent customer or consumer.
However, today was the first time I think the real driving and motivating force of Christianity came through my head. I had an atypical day off one recent Sunday and took advantage of the time to go and check out a local “Sunday School” class. The main issue with finding a Sunday school class is that there is no unifying time for them to start. So you have to drive around and look at the signs or go up to the door and see when this or that church decide it is time to learn about their God and the Bible. This particular day took me past four options before 9:20 am. The first place didn’t have anything posted, which I always take as a sign that they really don’t care what you know only that you believe what they say. This was a more Charismatic church, go figure. The next two were Lutheran, about two blocks apart, one was Missouri synod, the other was Wisconsin Synod, and the first one was having Sunday school at 9:30 and the other and 9:45 am. Across the street near both of these church is a Catholic Church and School; it seems that is one religious road. Since it was just after 9:00 I decided to look a bit further, this took me to a Baptist Church. Not like Westboro Baptist Church but I would guess a more typical Baptist church. I got there about 9:20 am and they started at 9:45 am, of course. Three churches three different start times.

I spend a few minutes in my care listening to “Ask an Atheist” podcast before I go into join them. I walk around and use the toilet before the class to get the only relief I will find in that place, more than likely. Of course this being Sunday at church, people tend to “dress up” well I wore shorts and a polo shirt, you know, typical clothes. I saw they had three CO-ED classes. So I had to look at the rooms and guess which one I thought would give me the best “bang” for my buck. [No money traded hands during the making of this story.] So I saw a classroom with some questions listed concerning the Gospel of John. I thought, A-ha, questions, I’ll be able to speak. So after making my choice I went into the room and in typical Baptist fashion, no one was sitting on the front seats, so I did. “I ain’t no Baptist.”

Prior to the class starting some older woman came up to me to get me to fill out a card with my name and personal information. I asked her, “What is this for?”

She said, “It is so we can have a recorded of your attendance.”

“I really don’t see any reason for that.” She looked at me oddly and went back and sat down.

Now, one thing that has soaked through my head is that Church is the place to tell stories about other people and pretend you’re doing something. You know, prayer requests. Well they mentioned a few and some other shit that really wasn’t anybody else business. So this is my conclusion on prayer, it is the way people can find out about other people’s lives while acting like they care about them.

Back to the class, the teacher was about in his mid-60s and was what you might think about an older gentleman, raised in the church Baptist member, short hair, and hearing aid and in an old but nice suit. I have noticed that if you “break” a social norm in church, you either get totally ignored or much more attention than you desire. This day I got ignored.
The leader of the class began by stating that he would have to leave after 20 minutes due to some baptism. Hearing this made me so sad to hear such news.

“Crap, I thought non-believers are growing faster than this.”

So the leader of the class began his discussion of John the book, There were several topics mentioned including Nicodemus, spiritual mysteries, physical mysteries, salvation, titles, and several other issues, not to mention, John 3:16, which oddly didn’t come up. But the discussion of salvation sure the hell did.

But as I listened to the lecture, because the only questions, which were few, were answered with the “whisper” voice you hear if you attend Sunday school, you don’t want to be WRONG in Sunday school. That might mean you’re learning something.

As the leader of the class continued his lecture I could tell that it wasn’t the content that he was getting wrong as much as failure to see the illogical connections he was making.

Picking and choosing from this story or that story of the Bible or just simply taking a story out from life and incorporating that as support for a the statements of foolishness. That is when I realized, they don’t care about facts, and they just care about their story.

It is like living with role playing people but these people think their game is real.

This was the church:

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