I miss church. I really do. I miss the singing. I miss the fellowship. I miss having such a common sense of purpose. I've tried to fill that void with other things but nothing really scratches that itch. I've thought about finding a progressive congregation but that's even harder for me because you have to ignore so much of the Bible to believe in it and still have progressive values. I'm not sure the Unitarians would be a good fit for me either. I just wish I could find something with a built in community like you have at church.
Try a Unitarian church. I go for the fellowship, community and singing.
"As an atheist I wince at the words 'God' and 'Jesus,'" I told the minister.
"You're not alone," she replied. "Many people here are atheist; the majority of members are agnostic. So in the hymns, we changed the word 'God' to 'good.' It's just adding an 'o.' No big deal."
I appreciate that.
I've been going to a UU church some. The people there are great, and they haven't said anything about God or the Bible in the many times I've been there. In one of the services they even sang "Ain't Necessarily So", a great song about the myths in the Bible. You might give it a try.
Your church group isolated you from other social interactions. But you can try:
And good luck on re-adapting to society!
Join a choir and you’ll get the singing and the community...supposing you can actually sing of course! You won’t be restricted to singing hymns either, but a real variety of music. You can also volunteer at one of the local charities, I do at a food bank, but there are other charities where you will get a sense of belonging to a team, and also the satisfaction of doing something to help others.
I tried my local UU. My first visit I liked; the second--not so much.
Even though they are open to any belief, or no belief, I found it still invoked too much "god/universal consciousness" stuff for my liking.
Also, the speaker on my second visit, in my opinion, hi-jacked science in an effort to support her belief in reincarnation of the consciousness and her belief that a man (a yogi) in the year 1100-ish, went into a cave and was able to move his hand so fast it caused a sonic boom; and he was able to push his hand through solid stone--leaving his hand print in the stone as "evidence."
She used the science that shows that all atoms are surrounded by empty space (that we are 99.999...% empty space) to support her argument that this is possible--if one attains the proper state of consciousness. Just as we are able to overcome illness etc.
Now, I don't care that she believes that--but no science I am aware of will support her beliefs that it is possible to do that; and I didn't care for her use of science to try to "prove" her beliefs. She also mentioned some idea that humans showed up in their present form about 200,000 years ago and that didn't sit well with me either.
This was my experience. It might not be yours. And, the only way to know is to give it a try.
Taking identity more seriously or making the group more valid than ourselves is a notion most of us are indoctrinated with in authoritarian cultures. We aren't respected or loved nearly as much for being who we are naturally as we are for being who we're expected to be by conforming to group rituals, behaviors and affirming prioritized doctrines. This kind of groupism under any title is an addictive process.
We can be our own 'church'; our own identity, articulated as we please and reason. Each person has primary validation by fact of our existence. No external approvals are necessary for that internal status. To know, respect, value and love ourselves we become our own true friends, parents and guardians. Loneliness vanishes because self company is enriching. We literally become something whole and of value to bring to any arena of sharing with others with similar attributes.
Groups requiring self-abdication as part of the membership fee are parasitic and reject anyone unprepared to surrender portions of themselves and their autonomy. The good news is people celebrating individuality recognize one another pretty readily. Healthy attraction works that way. The Internet sports quite a few ways, like this site, to screen and meet self-emancipating, interesting people. Yes, they are very rare but this is a dark age. Hey, its been worse.
You're trying to replace a crutch with another crutch. Want to sing, join a secular chorus, there are many all over just look online, you want a "sense of purpose" join and volunteer in an organization that protects the planet like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club or any other secular organization that actually does something of benefit for others.