And if that's how they do it (pray everyday at home), why go to church solely on a holiday?
Because they like it?
I like watching Catholic mass on television sometimes on Christmas Eve or Easter, like live from the Vatican. It's quite the artistic spectacle. All of the candles and the bells and incense and the hymns in Latin.
Maybe these people enjoy pastel dresses and calla lillies and empty crosses. Churches usually put on special shows on holidays too, with their adult choirs and children's groups.
Also, what Jennifer said. Family, tradition, nostalgia.
For me I associate holidays with my family more with the home part, like hunting Easter eggs and eating a special dinner, or having Christmas Eve with the pretty tree and all of the lights.
I went to church growing up, but my nostaligia is still tied more to the home things and the symbolism that was adopted from European pagans. That means I don't have to go to church to get that feeling.
To me church means something else entirely, which is why I don't understand it.
"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." - Edward Abbey
I don't believe in heavenly salvation to begin with, but that's kind of besides the point.
What bothers me is that there is no respectable reason for people to attend church only on holidays... I can respect the devout, who regard church as a central part of their life and it's a regular ritual for them. I can respect those that dislike church and don't attend, but still may be "spiritual".
I can't respect people who treat church as some custom, doing it only because that's how they were brought up. I sure as hell can't respect people that think there's some sort of 2-day church quota and then they're square with "God". I'm not a Christian, but I know what the Bible instructs... and it's certainly not a lukewarm, mediocre lifestyle.
I dont get annoyed about peoples personal beliefs these days when they arent interfering with me living my life, I have marked and see these sorts of sentiments expressed by athiests more and more though. With respect its one of the less endearing things about the new athiesm.
I DO respect time honoured traditions and traditionalism, including familial ones, the only caveat I can think of is that it isnt interfering with others or oppressive. At one time I also used to think it was an issue if the traditions or customary habits involved were compulsive, like As Good As It Gets, although to be honest if it makes someone happy, its sustainable and isnt interfering with anyone then to each their own.
This isnt anything to do with an athiestic envy of religious traditions or holidays?
1. While usually people can argue about this sort of thing.. it is easier to get people to agree about holidays.
2. I'm not religious, but I went. It is a family thing.. I was supporting my Aunt, who was singing.
Actually, I really enjoy church, I just dont go day-to-day because... I'm not christian.. so it seems silly to go just to go.
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i do that sometimes because there's not a religious community around me currently that's aligned enough to my values for me to go regularly, but i want to celebrate the holidays as a special day devoted to that ceremony. and i just like the ceremony. often it's beautiful. plus like others have said... family, tradition, nostalgia. to me, holidays are a time for gathering, reflection, celebration, regardless of what they mean, exactly, to your religious beliefs.
i don't see why it should be upsetting to anyone for me to show up. i'm kind of a weird pantheist/agnostic/liberal christian/spiritualist blend, i definitely don't feel like i'm "buying" salvation, or whatever. rarely am i going to darken the door of a church that is so conservative so as not to welcome open religious inquiry and individualistic faith - and if i do, it's only for the benefit of a loved one. not for my own gain, that's for sure.
plus then there's the other side of the spectrum, the catholic church requiring you to go to mass once a week or you've committed a sin so big that you have to go to reconciliation, can't even share in communion until you're reconciled, and booting people out of the church when they don't like them... imo someone attending services on a few holidays only isn't nearly as weird as places of worship turning people away.