I often wonder how many atheist sit in church each Sunday going to the motions of singing hymns, receiving communion and praying to a god they don't believe exists.
Ah, yes. Crutch. My theist friend told me this morning that all my problems would end if I just came back to Crutch. When am I going to come back to Crutch? My friend talks to Jebus all the time even when he is not in Crutch.
I think I have made my point here.
There's a lot to be said for participating in music. There are community choirs that aren't connected to a house of worship. (Though perhaps not in many smaller towns!)
Similarly, larger communities might have secular "unchurches" such as Ethical Culture, or perhaps a UU congregation that doesn't assume theism.
Religious music can have strong emotional associations, too -- we had some threads about reclaiming and repurposing some of it (mostly but not entirely about Christmas songs). Jerry Phillips' Humanist Hymnal is one example; George Speckert's collection Heritage Songs of the Ethical Society (of St. Louis) includes many reclaimed hymntunes as well as other songs -- including lovely new lyrics to Amazing Grace. (And we also have humanistic words to the Hallelujah Chorus!)
I bet many go to church or synagogue and just go through the motions..I was one....The only reason I did was because it was expected of me...I tried to fit in but religion was just not my thing...Once I learned about science and read the books I realized what a joke religion was...It wasn't until recently that I realized and admitted to myself that I was an Atheist....Reading up on it I just knew this is what I was....Just goes to show how educating oneself can open up new horizons and bring satisfaction to your life....
"thousands of non-believers still allow their prepubescent daughters to don wedding dresses for the distinctly creepy, coquettish ritual that is First Communion."
The author used the word I would use, "Creepy".