“Let’s go back to church. Let’s go back to church. Been so damn long since we sung this song. Let’s go back to church”.


Yesterday this devout atheist attended church for the first time in many years. It was for a Remembrance Sunday service and my hosts were going.  It would have been churlish not to have joined in.

The war remembrance part of the service was done well with local representatives of the Royal British Legion carrying flags, a schoolgirl tooting out the ‘Last Post’, and the names of parishioners who died in the First and Second World Wars being read out. There were 40 killed in the First World War. It must have been devastating for that small village to have lost so many of its young men.

In addition to reflecting upon the casualties of war, the service also provided an opportunity to reflect upon the role of the church. I was reminded of how implicitly – and sometimes explicitly – these church gettogethers can be.

Despite falling attendance over the long-term, atheists still have to respect the fact that for a lot of people all over the country church services (or other religious events) represent a community coming together, an opportunity to meet neighbours and participate in civic activities. That is in itself a good thing and a secularising culture needs to somehow replace that function performed by religion. At the very least an atomized society where people feel little connection to the community around them should surely be opposed by those who support any sort of collectivist politics?  

In terms of the explicitly political aspects, there was a lay speaker who spoke of the terrorist threat being a greater danger to the world than the Cold War clash between capitalism and communism. He also made undoubtedly well-meaning but potentially dodgy comparisons between the Holocaust and human rights violations taking place today.

There is no opportunity for questioning or alternative points of view to be put forward at services like yesterday’s. It is clear how vital the influence of established churches have been for governments trying to maintain the political status quo and discouraging independent-thinking amongst their people throughout history.

All in all, despite my aversion to the inevitable ‘God’ stuff and disagreement with many of the views expressed during the service, it was an interesting experience and I’m glad I went.


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4 Responses to ““Let’s go back to church. Let’s go back to church. Been so damn long since we sung this song. Let’s go back to church”.”

  1. Clawes Says:


  2. captainjako Says:

    My long-term aim to have the majority of churches converted into gay bars and Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurants still stands. I will just be more sensitive when going about it.

  3. Al Widdershins Says:

    Interestingly, there was actually an idea in the ’60’s that churches ought to include bars, youth facilities (but I repeat myself) and the like while retaining their primary religious function.

  4. Ronny Says:

    Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do
    you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

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