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Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama's Supporters

Is it weird that Obama's support among people not affiliated with religion looks so similar to McCain's support among fundamentalists?
What these graphs mean to me is that there is a certain type of people who have rejected the church. It's obvioulsy not the point of the research, but that's what it says to me. It means that to me because I really think the church has something to offer those people that are so like me, but I have been pretty unsuccessful in communicating this effectively to any of these people.

7 comments:

Matt Dick said...

I have been pretty unsuccessful in communicating this effectively to any of these people.

I think your choice of vocabulary might reveal something of the 'why' of that. Can you tell me if I would be one of the people you would place in the category of those to whom this post refers?

JimII said...

You would be in the demographic of the people I'm talking about. You personally have been a devout atheist since I've known you and if you lived close by I don't know how much time I would spend inviting you to my church.

Although, and I'm serious here, I think atheists could get something out of going to Chalice.

I am interested in hearing your critique of my vocabulary.

Matt Dick said...

It's all about "rejected". I have not rejected it in any sense that that term conveys. I don't go. It never occurs to me to go. Going to church, a mainline Christian church, would occur to me no sooner than would going to a seance.

Now strictly speaking that isn't true, because I know you and love you and if you invited me I might go, and I would certainly go if you were speaking. I'm sure I could get something out of it as well. But for going for its own sake--in the absence of friends-to get something out of it in any kind of spiritual sense, well then I'm back to saying it would never occur to me in a million years. And in no negative way, I really mean it would not occur to me, not that I would find the idea objectionable. At FUMA I went to chapel 8 days a week (it was always twice on Sundays), and I attended Sunday school as a kid. It's not unfamiliar to me, or alien, or strange or threatening or to be rejected. It's just rituals that other people do.

You might have in your mind this kind of indifference when you say "reject", but you're never going to get an atheist to go if you assume their absence from your church is as active a stance as "rejection" implies.

Did I explain that well? I feel like I kind of got lost in there.

Matlatzinca said...

I would echo Matt's thoughts on the matter. However I think you would find a very wide distribution of worldviews within the group "not affiliated with any religion" that entirely contradict each other, yet at the same time "reject" the neocon agenda. I'm thinking that the group of church rejecters includes me and Matt just as much as New Age-y neohippies. Would this other group of people also be ones you would want to bring in to Chalice?

JimII said...

I had to go back and see where I used the word reject. I would be perfectly happy to replace "people who have rejected" with "people who never have thought about." In other words, I am assuming that I need to go out and show people a reason to go to church.

So, I hear what you are saying, but I don't actually think it is my problem. Namely, I realize that I need to actively demonstrate to others why they will get something out of church. Can I do it? No. But it's not that I don't understand that I need to.

Matt Dick said...

I think the "reject" term was important. You are willing to put it aside, but I think your use of it might reveal something of your assumptions. I'm not sure what exactly, but it struck me as a very pointed word.

But here's a question: What do you think someone might get out of attending your church? Do you see it as a case where someone who has some light or latent belief in God might be moved to rejoin a congregation? Or do you think an atheist might be converted? Or not converted but moved in some way to attend your church? And if it's the latter, what would an atheist who remains an atheist get out of your church?

JimII said...

I understand why it struck you, I'm just saying that I don't think I do the thing that makes it striking, which is assume everyone's default position is to go to church. Also, there are a number of people who have actively rejected the church. Not every day, for sure, but they went to church as young people and as adults determined that church was not for them.

As for the compelling question of what can people get out of church, I will elevate that to a new post.