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Topic: Church Attendance

Reasons People Don't Go to Church

by Darrel Cline

If you don't go to church on a weekly basis, why don't you? In another article (120) we saw that church attendance is not an optional behavior for those who desire to have God's approval. In this article we want to consider reasons that people refuse to attend church on a weekly basis.

Let's start with this question: Why do we refuse? There are several possible reasons. Some of us consider church attendance irrelevant. We never have gone, and don't plan to start any time soon. Church is for people who are stuck in the past. Those of us who think like this believe that church is just an outmoded way of responding to the real issues of life. But, why do we believe this? Do we believe it because it is true? Or do we believe this for a less-than-truth reason? The answer is in the facts of life. Research shows that people who attend church regularly live more peacefully, generally enjoy better health, have a greater joy in life, maintain a better stability under stress, and, most important of all, die with hope. Therefore, refusing to attend church because it is irrelevant is just an excuse that hides a more sinister reason. That more sinister reason is simple: I don't attend church because it cramps my style. A totally selfish and unreasonable reason, but, hey, it works. At least till the bottom falls out.

Another reason some of us don't attend church is because of those who do. We either don't like some of those who go to the church we might go to if we didn't like them, or we don't like the way they choose to live. Now, is this a valid reason to incur the displeasure of God? Interestingly, the church's central message is one that centers on forgiveness, but often the people who go are unforgiving. But, if I stay away because someone has done something to me that I didn't like, I am doing something to God that He doesn't like. If I continue to be unforgiving, He will also. Would it be better to rub shoulders with someone I don't particularly enjoy being around--and please God, or to antagonize God and satisfy myself by keeping those hypocrites at a distance? Again we see that the underlying reason for refusal to attend in this case is the same as in the former one: church attendance will cramp my style and make me endure those I don't care for. That is still selfish and unreasonable. But, hey, it works. At least till the roof caves in.

Then, there are those of us who don't attend because we have other, more important, work to do. But here we must raise a serious question: what is more important than pleasing the God who made you and has the right to require of you that you put in your time at church? If anything is more important to us than pleasing God, we are already heavily into a deadly idolatry. Idolatry is simply letting someone/thing be more important to me than God is. God's anger against idolaters is pretty well established in history, and I'm personally sure that none of us really want to experience what our idolatrous forefathers endured. So, having more important work to do is not a good reason. It is just a variation of the theme: going to church cramps my style. But, hey, it least until the walls cave in.

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This is article #121.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.