I attended church on Sunday. It wasn't my idea; a friend of my girlfriend was getting baptized, and she had asked along a few friends to something very important to her. I agreed to come along for her, because she is a sweetheart, and I remember my initiation into Eclectic Religious Witchcraft, and how momentous these type of occasions are.

My friend attends a City Life church, which has a young congregation, its own very good band, and partakes in a lot of activities concerning charity and networking to bring members together. Their denomination is evangelical. They rent a beautiful location smack in my city's centre. From what I can tell, the services are about 70 percent music and singing, 20 percent preaching and prayer, and ten percent everything else. The people were nice, the atmosphere good, and all I could think is 'would you still be as nice to me if you knew my sexual orientation, my faith, my life?'.

There will be no bashing of Christianity in this post, and I will not condone it in the comments either. I think Christianity is a very valid religion, and it gives hope and comfort to a lot of people around the globe who are obviously in need for it. Christian charities around the world are doing a lot of good, helping a lot of people in ways that literally save lives. This is good, this is noble, and while it's not for me, a lot of people find comfort in the Word of God.

I cemented for myself that you are wired for religion much like you are wired for anything else in life. Just like sexual orientation, or the way you have hated Brussels sprouts since as long as you could remember, I firmly believe people are wired religiously. Yes, you can follow whatever religion you want, but in the end, only one religion (along, perhaps, with a circle of similar religions that surround it) is right for you. This is the religion you step into and think 'I don't have to change anything in my life to be here; I have always belonged here'. I have that with Hellenismos. Sure, I adopted some practices, but I have always practiced the core tenants of the faith, and I have had to make zero changes in my ethical life.

Hellenismos, for me, embodies how I view divinity; as removed entities who can be called on for help in a time of greatest need, but only if you have maintained a relationship with them. The Gods are not divine gumball machines in the sky and earth; They don't pass out happiness and they certainly don't guard over you all the time. They are there if you need them, but only if you sacrifice to them in return.

I don't think YHWH is like that; From what I gathered in a single service at City Life church, and remember from my childhood Christmas services, God is always there for you. He doesn't need anything in return, except for you to follow His commandments--and He will know when you do not. Even then, though, if you atone for your sins, He will be there for you; He will never really leave, and it is His mission in your life to make it better for you. Honestly, I think that is a beautiful sentiment. I know it's all much more complicated than that, but let it slide for the time being, please. I think this is the basic description, and it differs so much from that of my faith. In fact, it differs so much that it made me uncomfortable during the service.

With my tainted vision, I looked upon the proceedings and thought 'but where is the sacrifice?'; there was singing there, a procession, even, and the Lord was praised over and over, but then... nothing, unless you count the baptisms themselves, but I do not because a) not a weekly thing, and b) from what I gather, a baptism is basically a way of saying 'I belong to You', like any initiation, and you are initiated into something for yourself, because you want to. I spent most of the service figuring out what God got in return for spending 24 hours, seven days a week, watching over his flock.

I'm going to say it, and i don't mean this as a reflection upon the faith, but simply as my personal view upon it: to me, Christianity feels hollow, void of the deep connection I feel to the Theoi. I know it's different for my friend, and she would probably feel odd about a deity's support being conditional. This only goes to show that we all have different desires when we look for religion--or do not look for religion; atheism is a beautiful thing as well--and I would never be able to find spiritual fulfilment in Christianity.

The experience was jarring, and while it happened two days ago, I am still not completely over it. It's still on my mind a lot. I want to understand how Christianity works, who gets what out of the experience. Mostly--and I'm sorry for thinking this--I want to know how it's possible that Christianity overtook the polytheistic religions. What was the appeal? The lure? What did it offer people that the old faith couldn't? I will get back to this, because it's on my mind now. Consider this a messy, rambling, introduction and forgive me for it, please.

Before I post this mess, let me wish all of you who put any stock in this day a blessed new year. I don't, but I have family and friends who do, so I'll be celebrating it, regardless. I'll see you all in the new year, and as always, be careful today and tonight!