My search for religion.
Since leaving the JWs I have become more interested in finding out about other faiths. Here are a few of my findings.
LDS: I just couldnt get my head around the mental gymnastics I would have to do to understand their doctrines and theology. I attended their services twice. Not a lot of scripture mentioned and wasn't for me.
christadelphian: mind blowing how similar they are in beliefs to the JWs. I was able to use wording and doctrine that I thought was unique to the JWs, and the christadelphians knew what I was talking about. Quite bible based, but was pretty uninspiring and only went once.
Seventh day Adventist: I had a female friend who was a seventh day adventist. I liked her and was sort of hoping for a relationship. They are a lot more lienent towards the out side world, and I felt community based. A variation of the JW beliefs, but I think I was going for the wrong reasons. I think a relationship would of worked with her due to our similar back grounds. Went about 6 times.
Christian Science: found the service to be very bland. They basically read a verse from the bible and then explained the verse from a Christian Science church manual. Very big on healings, and some of their ideas were just wrong. Found the minister to be not very knowledgeable on bible topics. I ended up explaining stuff to him. Went twice.
Pentecostal: ive been to 2 variations of charismatic. One was a Chinese church. I went for two reasons as I was interested in God and also wanted to learn the language. But with all the Hollywood antics and the fog machines I just couldn't take it. Although bible based it resembled more of a show rather than learning about God. I went for about 5 months.
Filipino based: Had a friend who was Filipino so went because of that. Not as Hollywood as the Chinese one, but just wasn't for me. Went for 2 months.
Iglasea ni Christo: I had been attending services here for the last 5 months. I went for two reasons. (1)They had the services on a Saturday night, so it was easy to get to. (2) I had heard so much about them on JW forums so was interested to investigate them further. I think they are perhaps more JW than the JWs ( if such a thing exists). They were trying to get me to do their 25 courses. But I could see it going down the same road as the JWs. I was encouraged to email the pastor with questions. So I did. One was on the consumption of alcohol. The other was on dose God require a visible organisation. The other was on been only church members who can attend and partake of the lords supper. Despite making the claim that they base their beliefs on the bible I recieved no reply to my questions. This religion is probably even more stricter than the JWs (e.g covering up the windows, locking doors when service begins. I think unless they ease up this religion will struggle to attract westerners who would perhaps view this as cult like. I have since stopped going as I realise now what I was told on the internet is true. " ITS A CULT". I am glad however that I explored this avenue.
Catholic church: Have attended mass the last 3 Sunday's, and been to all the Easter services. Although I realise the Catholic Church is far from perfect due to my JW upbringing, I was quite surprised to find out how wrong they have been portrayed by JWs. They have bible readings and the father bases his sermons on those readings. Quite ceremonial, and in a way with communion it helped to impress upon me the body and blood of Christ. Although it's early days yet my good impression of the Catholic Church was quite unexpected. If I'm still going regularly in a couple of months I think I might start taking courses to become baptised. Btw I find doing the sign of the cross to be quite spiritual and something I never felt as been a witness.
Well that's were I am on a religious note.
Thanks for the summary, joe. You’re a trooper in the same vein as SlimBoyFat who has put out the occasional post of his sampling of various religious groups.
You’ve looked at a handful which leaves about 1,000-plus more organised religions still to sample. Indeed, 1,000-plus could be an under-estimate. Phew!
One of my best school friends was raised a SDA and it was he who got me interested in that religion. But ultimately, organised religion just doesn’t spark my kumara any more.
I joined all those except Iglesia in Cristo, but I've not written about the Christian Science meeting or the Pentecostal ones.
The Christian Science meeting (Wednesday night) was just a set reading followed by a few experiences. Only 6 people including myself were present. One my took my email and sent me a few video testimonies of healings.
The Pentecostal meeting was distinguished by very loud and cheerful singing with hands in the air. The owners of the church also seem like money grabbers to me, and I was quite clearly made to feel unwelcome.
Other groups: Quakers, Unitarians, New Apostolic Church, Methodist, Catholic, Church of Scotland, Baptist, Church of God/Grace Communion International.
The New Apostolic Church makes a particularly interesting comparison with JWs.
I stumbled across a debate on YouTube yesterday, the topic being: "Is the Catholic church a force for good in the world?"
The Catholic Church makes the same claim that J.W.'s do - "We are the only true religion & directed by God."
Listen as both of the speakers who are against the motion, put the Catholic Church's "unsavoury" history under the spotlight.
The Catholic "defenders" in the video were like pea-shooters against sledge-hammers.
Not good viewing for faint-hearted Catholics.
Christopher Hitchens - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgaV-3epSEU
Stephen Fry - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G4QoEhFPTI&t=8s
Complete video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBSH2oWVGEs&t=2825s
Well that's were I am on a religious note.
Interesting. Any reason why you are exploring only Christian religions?
I gotta say Joe, you visited some fringe outfits.
Might as well try Secular Humanists, Unitarian Universalists, and who is to say that Christianity is the one true way?
There are so many variations within. Disagree on one key point and you got yourself another Christian religion.
What about the Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and YADDA YADDA YADDA?
I found it was sufficient to do my research online and through books in order to dismiss them all. And while I haven't specifically researched every last one of them, I figured the ONE TRUE FAITH should find me. The last time I wanted the ONE TRUE FAITH, I wound up as a Jehovah's Witness. Don't wanna wind up in a dangerous mind-control cult AGAIN!
Hi joe134cd, thanks for sharing your spiritual journey. As a Christian, my personal opinion is that when the Bible says to avoid "sects" and other similar thoughts, this applies to all denominations. Any subdivision of Christianity is in effect a sect, and as such there can be no true religion in the sense of any one denomination that 'has it'. What makes Christians different than ancient Israel is that now God deals with individuals and their personal faith. Not that it's wrong to fellowship with other Christians, even in church settings, but I don't think it should take precedence, and I'd never want to get dogmatic/set in my ways or 'go beyond the things written'. Do your best to maintain you personal autonomy, and never give your faith away to humans.
Religion is an illusion. Everything striving to catch the wind.
I don't think you may find something such as the "True Religion"
Well if you would like to live in a Bubble - Knowingly - then all the best !! You may find something that suits you.
Wow! You're truly making an effort. I do want to mention that JWs leave their religion they temd to be vulnerable and desprately look for a substitute. It's like leaving an abusive relationship and falling into another. There's also religious co-dependence. During this time, i would focus on strenghthening your relationship with God and follow Jesus NOT religion. Religion can be good at introducing people to faith and sparking that desire within for a spiritual life. God is a spirit and those worshipping him do it in spirit and truth. Humans have a need to belong but if you pray about you WILL find your tribe. I highly recommend you read a book called The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen. It's extremely important to know who you are, how being a JW affected you and how to avoid falling in a similar pattern.
My unsolicited advice to you is to spend less time concerning yourself with the denomination name on the building and believing "this is how this denomination operates" and spend more time examining each individual church group.
There are two churches that have the same exact name as mine in my town. The other one should just change their name to "The Grumpy Old Pharisees Group".