An Atheist in Church
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27-05-2014, 02:53 PM (This post was last modified: 27-05-2014 06:46 PM by Cathym112.)
RE: An Atheist in Church
(26-05-2014 07:26 AM)SkepticPianist Wrote:  I feel like a hypocrite.

My name is Greg. I am a pianist. I have been a music lover for my whole life, and a piano player for twelve years. I want nothing more than to make music my future career path.

I am also an atheist. And this presents a bit of a problem...

Anyone who enters the music world will notice that the best musical employers are the church. It's not even comparable. Easily 80% of my work is given by churches. I play Sunday services. I write hymns. I play Christian weddings.

And it makes me feel terrible.

I am an atheist, and yet I am supporting this institution that I vehemently believe should not exist any more. And yet, I don't know what to do. The church is currently the best source of income I can find! Agh!

So here is my question: Is what I am doing wrong? And if the church discovers I am an atheist and rejects me, what then? I honestly need help with this, because I feel my self-respect and career are on the line. I need any advice you can give.

If you are paid, you are not "supporting" them. They are supporting you. Artists need to make a living, even if you disagree with the lifestyle of who buys your art.

How is this any different from Christians refusing survice to gay couples because they don't like their lifestyle? Discrimination swings both ways, IMO.

Your job is to create art. By writing it and playing it, you are making art. your responsibility ends there. After the consumer buys the art from you, you have no more claim on it. If I paint a painting and sell it, and the owner decides to retard the message of the painting and disseminate it, it might bother me but it's not my right to say anything. I don't own the art anymore - I sold it.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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27-05-2014, 04:22 PM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(27-05-2014 02:53 PM)Cathym112 Wrote:  How is this any different from Christians refusing survice to gay couples because they don't like their lifestyle? Discrimination swings both ways, IMO.

I hadn't thought of that. Thank you.
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28-05-2014, 06:30 AM
RE: An Atheist in Church
There are lots of non-religious musicians in churches all over the place. I played bass in a church chior during my deconversion process. Even after I stopped prticipating in the service I still played in the choir. It was a group of good musicians and the music was challenging.

I knew the bass players at one of the Houston mega-churches. According to him the entire worship band was a group of athiest.

Sure there is a little confict of interest, but you are being paid for a service and that is all. There is not much market for an orginist out side of traditional church services.

Play on.
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28-05-2014, 07:04 AM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(28-05-2014 06:30 AM)wazzel Wrote:  There is not much market for an orginist out side of traditional church services.

It depends how big your organ is Big Grin

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If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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28-05-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(28-05-2014 06:30 AM)wazzel Wrote:  I knew the bass players at one of the Houston mega-churches. According to him the entire worship band was a group of athiest.

I could see that, though I find it hard to believe.

I do sympathize with the uneasiness of the OP. I was a guitarrist in my old church myself.
I imagine that it must be a little annoying to participate in worship of athena or zeus unless perhaps one of those sex cults.

There is though pleasure of playing good music (at least for me), so if I was in the OP shoes I would consider my wages the price of dealing with religious folk and play on.

“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” ― Richard Pryor
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28-05-2014, 07:49 AM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(28-05-2014 07:40 AM)djkamilo Wrote:  
(28-05-2014 06:30 AM)wazzel Wrote:  I knew the bass players at one of the Houston mega-churches. According to him the entire worship band was a group of athiest.

I could see that, though I find it hard to believe.

I do sympathize with the uneasiness of the OP. I was a guitarrist in my old church myself.
I imagine that it must be a little annoying to participate in worship of athena or zeus unless perhaps one of those sex cults.

There is though pleasure of playing good music (at least for me), so if I was in the OP shoes I would consider my wages the price of dealing with religious folk and play on.

The entire band was paid professional musicians and not members of the church. IIRC the worship leader (singers) were members of the church and paid. It has been a while so I could be off.
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28-05-2014, 07:56 AM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(28-05-2014 07:49 AM)wazzel Wrote:  
(28-05-2014 07:40 AM)djkamilo Wrote:  I could see that, though I find it hard to believe.

I do sympathize with the uneasiness of the OP. I was a guitarrist in my old church myself.
I imagine that it must be a little annoying to participate in worship of athena or zeus unless perhaps one of those sex cults.

There is though pleasure of playing good music (at least for me), so if I was in the OP shoes I would consider my wages the price of dealing with religious folk and play on.

The entire band was paid professional musicians and not members of the church. IIRC the worship leader (singers) were members of the church and paid. It has been a while so I could be off.

That makes sense. I wonder what the congregation would say if they knew that was the case. Consider

“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” ― Richard Pryor
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28-05-2014, 01:19 PM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(26-05-2014 07:26 AM)SkepticPianist Wrote:  I feel like a hypocrite.


I am an atheist, and yet I am supporting this institution that I vehemently believe should not exist any more.
Are you suggesting that society shouldn't provide services for Christians?
That the local Supermarket shouldn't sell them bread and milk?
That the local butcher shouldn't sell them meat?
That a builder should ask people of their religious affiliation before deciding whether to build them a house?

In my opinion, if you like music and can make money off that and if people want to pay you for your services, then it is a financial arrangement. A way to make a living.

You don't have to agree with people's philosophy, lifestyles or religion in order to provide a simple service for them. Try and keep business separate from your idealism.
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28-05-2014, 02:26 PM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(28-05-2014 01:19 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(26-05-2014 07:26 AM)SkepticPianist Wrote:  I feel like a hypocrite.


I am an atheist, and yet I am supporting this institution that I vehemently believe should not exist any more.
Are you suggesting that society shouldn't provide services for Christians?
That the local Supermarket shouldn't sell them bread and milk?
That the local butcher shouldn't sell them meat?
That a builder should ask people of their religious affiliation before deciding whether to build them a house?

In my opinion, if you like music and can make money off that and if people want to pay you for your services, then it is a financial arrangement. A way to make a living.

You don't have to agree with people's philosophy, lifestyles or religion in order to provide a simple service for them. Try and keep business separate from your idealism.

It's one's personal choice who one works for and what one does. With the music, one might be concerned that by working for the church (an organization, not a person) one is advancing their cause (promoting woo) and therefore not feel comfortable doing it. It's not discrimination to not want to work for an organization because of ethical concerns. The fact of the matter is they might kick him out if they knew he was an atheist, so I think it's entirely natural to have reservations about working for them.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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28-05-2014, 02:35 PM
RE: An Atheist in Church
(28-05-2014 02:26 PM)morondog Wrote:  It's one's personal choice who one works for and what one does. With the music, one might be concerned that by working for the church (an organization, not a person) one is advancing their cause (promoting woo) and therefore not feel comfortable doing it. It's not discrimination to not want to work for an organization because of ethical concerns. The fact of the matter is they might kick him out if they knew he was an atheist, so I think it's entirely natural to have reservations about working for them.
Sure. But if he takes money from them, then he can give it to the needy if he feels the needs to balance the ethical ledger.

Anyway, it's upto him. I'm not judging whether he, as an athiest provides a service for the Christians.

On the other hand, I don't give churches my money. I don't want to fund them. But I am very happy to take their money.Tongue
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