If you are a non-believer, and you have a friend or family member ask you to attend a service, for whatever reason, do you still attend?
My dearest uncle is a pastor. Every few years his birthday falls on a Sunday and he asks me to attend service for his birthday. Usually I do. I even bring my heathen ass kids. The whole way there is filled with "it's just like Santa Claus, they still believe it's real and we aren't here to start a riot. Smile, nod and know it will be over soon and you're making your uncle happy."
The last time I went into a church was when I when I was travelling through a small English town, looking for a tea shop, and I heard a choir singing as I passed a church, so I went in and stood quietly at the back to enjoy the music. The service ended soon after and before I could leave one of the congregants saw me and said "Oh, you must be new here; come for some tea and cake in the church hall opposite". Well, no further prompting needed, and it was as I was sitting with my tea cup in one hand and a big wedge of cake in the other that someone said to me "So, where do you normally go to church?".
"Oh", I replied, "I'm not a Christian" and the whole table went quiet.
Tea and cake have rarely tasted so good.
Because it has no meaning to me, I don't really have any reason not to other than it seems a waste of time to engage in the irrelevant. So, if it is for some specific reason in which the church/temple/synagogue/mosque plays a role for those inviting me -- like weddings, ceremonies associated with the death of a family member or close friend, and things of that nature, I have no problem. I see it as a courtesy and outward display of empathy/concern for the others.
I attended my daughter's wedding in a church, and my grandson's baptism. I even read scriptures at the wedding. I was not struck by lightning nor did I burst into flame. I was so disappointed. All my kids know I am atheist, and my kids are pretty much atheist. The one that got married in church was making daddy happy. My SIL, father of the grandson is catholic, and he asked me several times if I was comfortable going to the baptism. I said oh heck ya, it's a good show. I also told him for anything Austin does anywhere, I will be there. That is what Grammys do.
I go every Sunday with my wife because she is a Christian and also has a bad sickness. I keep my mouth shut because someone would eventually say for me not to attend. Fortunately the church has free wifi and it's ok to look at your phone during service because some look up the study verse on their phone. I hope the church isn't tracking my websites. I am usually reading about non-Christian items.
I bow my head when they pray and use it as a time of meditation. I do believe in being thankful so often I use that time to reflect on being thankful
Also, I believe in "When in Rome. do as the Romans". I think if I was visiting a synagogue and was asked to wear one of those little beanie caps, I would.
One advantage I have here in south Georgia (USA) is that I am retired. I don't need to be popular or worry about not finding a job. I have lots of friends that will be my friend no matter what I believe. I don't know what I would have done here in Georgia if I had been an agnostic when I was younger.
Weddings, funerals, plays, community meetings will all get me into church. I volunteer at a church to help keep computers in good condition.
I am an atheist, it is not like I am afraid of being struck down.
That said I have no interest listening to someone preach or explain to me what the good verses say while skimming over all the torture porn. I am long past being quiet when challenged.
I typically do go as long as the person asking me understands that we can agree to disagree. I have gone to church to support a friend for instance who plays in the band every Sunday. He understands Im a heathen and invited me anyway and even tried to choose a day he thought would be less preachy for my sanity. It truly depends though on rach situation. Like my family, I won’t go for because they expect me to believe and go along with everything even if I don’t. So I just don’t go with them and thats okay with them. Better than me being with them and blatantly ignoring everything.
Last service i attended was a friends funeral. He was 41. I went knowing it was going to be a very religious event, even though he wanted a secular service. His elderly, very ill mother is uber religious. I kept reminding friends that the service was not for the dead, D was gone. The service was for his mother who needed something to hold onto so don't be dicks.
I go to many different churches and usually without being asked, sometimes I'll see a church message board that catches my eye, and I'll go check it out. I don't believe in the supernatural, but I do want to understand what exactly they get out of this experience.
Weddings are the only exception, I do not do funerals and hate embalming. The emphasis on sadness is just too high for me. I do not see death as sad when thinking of the person who died. The rest is our own selfish missing of a person. And that is fine but that is what it is.
If it's something like a wedding or funeral, baby dedication, baby baptism, etc. I would probably go. To me, that has less to do with the religious claims of the organization and more to do with showing support for a friend or family member during an important time in their lives. If it's just an invitation to the regular service of a church... probably gonna pass.