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So You Think You're Not Religious?: A Thinking Person's Guide to the Church Paperback – January, 1989

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cowley Publications; English Language edition (January 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936384697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936384696
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,084,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. . . or, as the Episcopal priest of a friend of mine told him, "A good Episcopalian is an athiest two days a week." It is somewhat in that spirit that James Adams' SO YOU THINK YOU'RE NOT RELIGIOUS was written. It's for people who think they're not conventionally religious but who like the idea of belonging to a faith community (a local church), or who have some religious beliefs but not, they think, to the extent their church would demand. If you would feel like a hypocrite standing up and reciting the Apostles' or Nicene creeds ("We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, and in Jesus his only begotten Son . . ."), then this book is for you.
Adams makes some very useful points in this layman-oriented book. First, many churches--especially Espiscopal churches, his home base--are open to skeptics. Second, many skeptics have more beliefs than they realize. Third, many of your pewmates are more flexible than you may think and perhaps they are somewhat skeptical themselves. Fourth, reciting the ancient creeds is not a scientific formula ("WE belive THAT") but instead a confession of corporate hope and longing ("WE believe IN"). Adams even adds some helpful pointers on how to go "church-shopping"--very useful in this age of ecclesiastical diversity (for example: in other countries of the world, an "Anglican" church is merely a church that is descended from the Church of England, but here in the USA it's often used as a code word to indicate conservatism of style and theology).
My quibbles with Adams' generous and useful book are minor.
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This could be a helpful book for any spiritual searcher who is turned off by the religious right, but would really like to be part of a church. James Adams offers many helpful interpretations of scripture, and a historical background that will help readers see that Christian philosophers and church leaders back through the centuries have raised most of the questions that today's doubters raise. The only quibble I had while reading it is that I think the author occasionally pushes his arguments too far - but this is a book that's just right for people who are naturally skeptical and like to argue. I'm glad I bought it and will pass it on to others
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I am a skeptic. I was raised in the Episcopal church, but had not attended one since my teen-age years, moving instead through various denominations over the decades, such as Congregationalist (now United Church of Christ,I believe), Unity, Religious Science and Unitarian. However, I always missed the liturgy and the rituals of my childhood church experience.

Several years ago, I decided that I wished to explore the possibility of returning to the Episcopal church, but I hesitated for a year or so because I knew that I did not share all the professed tenants of that faith, nor did I see any possibility that I could do so in the future.

I came across this book on Amazon, ordered it, and was ecstatic to discover that so many other Episcopalians, indeed many clergy, share my skepticism about basic Christian dogma; the virgin birth, transubstantiation; the bodily ascension, even the concept of original sin, to give several examples. I learned that belief in these tenets is not a requirement to full participation in an Episcopal congregation. I was tremendously gratified to discover this, and subsequently joined an Episcopal church, and am very, very happy with my choice!

It was such a relief to discover that I was not alone in my doubts. That in fact, my skepticism is very common in the Episcopal church. For other skeptics out there who are looking for a good church "home"; who love the comfort of the liturgy and the familiar rituals but who cannot "believe" parts of the Nicene Creed or Statement of Faith; This book is made-to-order for you! Highly recommended!
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