Oxymoron...they are diametrically opposed, mutually exclusive views.
No, I believe they are not.
I believe in free will, and that belief in human freedom and the moral worth of the individual are part of what it means to be Christian.
Nothing for none.
I'm pretty much a devoted, fanatical member of the Church of Fly Fishing, with the mighty Steelhead being my patron saint.
Seriously though, when I'm out on the river with my fly rod in hand, I feel like I am doing what I am meant to do. When a fish slams my hand-tied fly, I feel as though i am getting my reward, or, a blessing, if you will.
I belong to the Church of Reason.
Godrulz: Never been JW, but I am your friendly neighborhood token evangelical Christian (Pentecostal)...not that anyone cares.
GR, cheer's for discovering a particle of reality!
I'm an atheist, but I've attended a lot of different churches since my departure from JWism. Early on, I went to many different churches just to see what they were like. It was kind of a rebellion, like I've never been allowed to attend another church so I'm going to attend them all! I attended a Unitarian Universalist Church for a short time, hoping to make some friends on the outside and establish a social network. The people were very welcoming and friendly, and there were many atheist and agnostic members. Ultimately it was just too fluffy for me, too empty I guess, and I hated the drive for membership. I only lasted a couple months, never joined.
I attended a local secular humanist group for a while too, but I couldn't stand their constant criticism of all things Christian. I'm no fan of Christianity, but I was attending the meetings to learn, to hear positive and informative lectures, and to make friends. It may just be my local group, but the tiresome Christian bashing wasn't my thing. I'm not looking for friendship based on something I dislike. I gave up joining any sort of religious group. Instead, I decided to go back to college for the sole experience of learning, taking classes in subjects that interested me, particularly in philosophy.
Ironically, I'm back to attending church again. My daughter is 9-years-old, and she is starting to become very curious about religion and spirituality. Her father (we’re divorced) is still a JW, and she attends meetings, assemblies, and goes door-to-door. She knows his views. On the other end of the spectrum, she understands my skepticism and atheism. She has never bought into the JW religion in the least. She doesn't like it. She has always seen things more from my perspective. Lately though, it's the kids at school who are influencing her, and they are really into witchcraft, vampires, and ghosts. She believes that she can do magic. She is still trying to figure out the spell to make me disappear. LOL
Even though I personally think it's a bunch of nonsense, the last thing I want to do is what my parents did to me, decide her path in life. I challenge her to think critically, but I also encourage her to explore religious concepts for herself as they become interesting to her. She loves to read books and websites on Wicca and witchcraft, and I'm fine with that. I just monitor what she's reading. She has also expressed an interest in religion, stating that the only thing she likes about the JW's is getting to see her friends all the time, so we've started attending the UU church together. It bores me to tears. I usually just write or sew during the sermon, but she has enjoyed going to Sunday school there with other children. It gives her an opportunity to explore religion and spirituality with other people separate from her dad and me, and because they are very accepting it seems like an open environment for her to ask questions and express her own ideas.
I have a vested interest in persuading her from joining the JW religion because it would likely mean an end to our relationship. She knows that if she gets baptized, she'll have to shun me like the rest of my family does. She hates that about the Witnesses. She swears she'll never join them. I hope she doesn't. But she may desire belief in a god or religion when she grows up, and I would rather she gravitate toward a welcoming group that promotes tolerance and activity within the community, one that enhances her happiness instead of oppressing her. I want her to feel the freedom to explore now so that she knows that she has choices as she gets older.
I let her decide if we're going to church though, and lately she has been more interested in sleeping in on Sundays. Works for me! LOL