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This is a question Churches, temples and holy places

Tell us about the times you've been to a place of worship, and - this being b3ta - how you are now consigned to the everlasting fires of Hell.

(, Thu 1 Sep 2011, 13:50)
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This question is now closed.

Holy places?
There's four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. Though they are rather small.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 13:48, 9 replies)
The Doug
(pronounced 'The Doog', his name was actually John Douglas)

He was essentially a tramp. Quite a sad story behind this man, as a child I would be scared of him. Often drunk, always homeless, always getting up to mischief in and around the church. Including in Masses.

I remember one day in church with my mum, when there was a loud bang at the back of the church. Shouting, then in the middle of one of the readings, the doug appeared in the main ailse. This was a packed Sunday morning mass. Everyone cranked their heads to see who it was, and quickly realising.

He then proceeded to run down the ailse, culminating in a 10 pin bowling ball action in front of the ailse down onto one knee. Then swivveled stood up , raised his hands in the air and shouted, howzat!

The old men who run the church quickly lept out of their seats and ushered him outside with hands under his armpits.

He wasnt allowed back.

On a slightly nicer note though, the church goers would always keep an eye out to help John. and would often get a notice read out if he was in bad health... until one day. He died.

There was even a mass in his name.

Then... 2 years later...

he was alive again. he then lived for a further 2 years, before again, word got around that he had died.

And another notice was read out in mass, they all prayed.

Until 18 months later. He was spotted in town drunk, and with a hunch on his back.

Im not sure where he is now, I remember seeing him in the pub a few years back someone had bought him a half.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 13:36, 8 replies)
Yesterday, on my street corner, I saw...
an angry shouty man causing some commotion in the doorway of a church. Not a proper church mind, one of those happy clappy, talking in tongues, merkin Assemblies of God places (which are pentecostal, I think). It was the start of mass (I assume) and all the faithful were arriving and having to push past the guy.

I couldn't tell if they were dragging him back in or pushing him out, but they were properly manhandling him. He was yelling about how they were all bigots and how he was going to report them "to the NHS". I don't know whether that indicates he was a loon or that he'd stumbled on to some massive conspiracy - but when one of the parishioners tried to put his hand over the guys mouth, other people in the street stepped in and the guy broke free. "You people are evil" he yelled. "Everyone's going to know about this!". Then he scarpered.

As I say, I'm not sure what was happening there. The weirdest thing was that all the church goers were so unfazed by it, pushing straight past and walking into the church. So without jumping to conclusions, I'd have to say that they were definitely conducting some sort of weird occult medical experiment on, erm, blind children.

Off topic, but just thought I'd share. If I'm right, you heard it here first.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 13:27, Reply)
Circa 1999

Ive got loads of stories from here. One that sticks out, was when we were helping out carrying boxes of candles vases and other church things down to the Basilica (one of the many gathering places for masses etc. The grounds around the Basillica (I forget the name for this area) is quite sacred, and noise is kept to a minimum, infact the police and security guards have microphones which link up to the PA., so if it gets too noisy you hear a massive "SHSSSSSHHHHH!!!..." over the tannoy


Two lads were heavy carrying boxes. A mate of mine, John ran over and pulled one of the lads shorts (including Boxer shorts) down to his ankles.

Queue screams of "hold the box for me, hold he box for me!!!"

He was unable to walk forward and put the box down, unable to drop the box because it contained expensive breakables, and unable to cover himself because his hands were underneath the box.

It was quite embarrassing for everyone as we standing amongst nuns and priests along with people of various disabilities who seemed to blush at the sight of this lad holding a box with his shorts round his ankles., standing out in the middle of what was essentially the main grounds outside the church.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 13:26, 1 reply)
His cuppeth overfloweth
As a good Catholic boy from a good Catholic family and sent to a good Catholic school it was inevitable I became an alter server. The Baptismal font in the church was quite ornate with a flowing stream and small fountain surrounding the font. The priest would turn on the water pumps only just before the family got there to save the electric bill. What he didn't know was that I'd turned up early and emptied a bottle of bubble bath into the stream. It took about 30 seconds for the foam to start flowing over the fountain edge and turned the marble floor into an Ambulance chasing lawyer’s dream. The livid priest turned off the pumps and delivered the ceremony through a clenched jaw and a face of pure rage. The poor baby screamed all the way through as it could possibly sense the fury.
It was mentioned at mass that Sunday as the whole fountain needed emptying and cleaning at a cost of hundreds. He still looked furious and didn't turn the fountain on during Baptisms unless the family specifically asked for it and he’d watch it for a good minute before continuing.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 13:20, Reply)
As it contanins a Hymm
Bridgend in the mid 80's (Thats 1980's not 1880's but in Bridgend its hard to tell).
Assembly full of schoolchildred all warbing away at Onward Christians Soilders. Where it comes to a lull before the chorus.
One child calls out "Altogether now."
"Onward chrisitan soilders......"
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 13:20, 9 replies)
Hands together and eyes closed...
If you remember the "Come and Praise" hymn books that we had at school, you'll likely remember at least some of the songs therein. Such classics as "Morning has broken", "He's got the whole world (in his hands)" and "Lord of the Dance" were regulars in our morning assemblies.

I was from destinctly non-religious stock, but I did enjoy a good sing-song so I usually enjoyed this part of the day. However for some reason (perhaps the stupid lyrics) I hated the hymn "If I had a hammer". In fact, I hated it with such a passion that when a girl in the year below me requested it one day I altered the lyrics and sang:

"If I had a hammer
I'd hammer Margaret's head in
I'd hammer Margarets head in
all over this land"

On reflection I was probably not the most saintly of children...
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 13:08, Reply)
I don't go in the places myself as they tend to be full of smug, self-righteous cunts
...but I did once break down outside a church.

I was driving an old VW MkII Polo and it had a tendency to fuck up sometimes when trying to start - the starter motor would lock in the "open" position and the only way I knew to reset it was to slip the thing into first and physically push the car through one turn of the gears, resetting the starter motor. This is a tricky manoeuvre when there are two people in the car; by yourself it's physically knackering, particularly when it doesn't work the first time and you have to rinse and repeat the whole procedure.

So, as luck would have it, this church was just finishing their evening service and all the Jebus-worshippers were duly filing out, with the vicarpriest standing at the door shaking hands and thanking them for attending. "Aha," I thought. "Surely one of the congregation will take pity on me and give me a hand getting my car started. Surely to fuck." But no - even though every single one of them looked over and saw me in difficulties, they then turned away, got into their own cars and drove off. Finally there was just me and the man in the dress, who looked at me, shook his head and closed the door.

Speaking as an atheist who has helped push more strangers' cars than I care to remember, never have I witnessed such an excellent display of Christian charity. Smug, self-righteous cunts, the lot of them.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 12:35, 26 replies)
One for the Dr Who fans
I was asked to do a bit of photoshopping as a homer by one of the elder members of staff. Turns out her church had some photos taken but one lady missed the photo shoot.

Spent a bit of time 'shopping her into the photo, the background of which was the stained glass window of the church.

She never did notice the little blue tardis I photoshopped into it.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 12:19, 8 replies)
Avoided the places at all costs
To the point where on Ash Wednesday as a teenager when my Mum would send us off to the evening mass we skived round the back of the shops and used fag ash and spit to create badly daubed crosses on our foreheads.

Rejoice, rejoice, I'm going to Hull.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 11:44, Reply)
That'll stand out in the wedding album.
In a little village near where I grew up, there was a church with grounds that backed on to a field. In the field lived a horse. A beautiful grey horse*, with a long, shiny, sunlight catching...cock...I swear it was always horny. It's cock seemed to be out all the time, waving around like a broken flag pole. As us scouts were marched past for Rememberence Sunday services, or three seperate occassions for funerals of 'beloved' villagers it was always there, making us giggle at even the most solemn of occassions. I still imagine to this day that there must be wedding photos where people sit around saying 'Aw, you look gorgeous, and there's Auntie May and Uncle Peter with little Tommy and...oh...I say...'

*I'm saying that for effect, there is no such thing as a 'beautiful horse', the evil metal footed kicking death machines.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 11:35, 9 replies)
A mate of mine was an organist in church.

Though that's not what they called him in court!
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 11:15, 7 replies)
my parents weren't very religious people
but we still got dragged to church once a week as kids. i think it was most likely because my parents always went when they were kids, because their parents always went when- you get the picture. plus we're catholic, so i guess we're hedging our bets.

as i got older, i developed many ways to skive church. usually i would say that i would go on sunday morning, then pop in to pick up an order of service to prove that i'd been before carrying on to do something sinful like meet friends or eat chocolate and stare moodily into the river bollin mooning over the latest crush.

but when i was very young, there were no such saving graces. two things stick out in my memory. the first was when i was about 4. i was watching the priest with interest in his long shiny robes. he was doing something that looked awfully familiar. something i had seen my dad do. yes, yes - he was brewing his own booze! i leaned forward and then sat back in shock as the greedy priest hooned off the lot.

"oh," i announced to the whole church in my (then) broad yorkshire accent. "daddy's wine all gone now."

on a louder but somewhat less cute note(i dispute this story. i blame my dad. but nobody believes me.), when i was about 2, i was in church with the family. apparently. and apparently even cute 2 year old girls with dark ringlets in bunches with bows on them and new sunday dresses sometimes fart. and apparently when they do that, the fact that their tiny bottoms are on hard wooden benches magnifies the sound very loudly so that it echoes and rings around the entire silent stone church.

and apparently the parping perp then turns to their family with round shocked eyes and a round shocked mouth and says sternly:


start the deceit as you mean to go on.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 10:53, 5 replies)
When I was very young...
...I wet myself in school chapel because the teacher had told off someone else for asking to go to the loo. I sneaked out quietly at the end and told no-one.

On a related note, the feeling of awe and wonder one is supposed to feel in church fails utterly in an actual church, but instead comes upon me when I walk into the main entrance of the Natural History Museum. A truly inspirational place.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 9:08, 5 replies)
Not me, but someone out there's got some 'splaining to do
So I go to a funeral about a week ago for a colleague and the service kicks off.
"Let us pray..." the bloke in the suit started, so I obligingly lower my eyes.
And notice someone has carved "I (heart) cock" into the back of the pew in front of me.
Cue 30 minutes of barely supressed giggles...
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 0:49, Reply)
Turns out
between me and three mates we have managed to relive ourselves against every church in the city center. It's not a proud achievement.
(, Mon 5 Sep 2011, 0:15, 4 replies)
Hitting Lourdes for six
Ok, Lourdes isn't quite a place of worship per se, but it's a pretty religious place (as in "there's lots of religion going on there" not "it's set amid lovely countryside and there are some quaint buildings - and it's also religious"...although the latter is true as well)


So there I was in Lourdes with a couple of mates. We weren't there to do the holy thing, but to watch others do it. Like dogging, but spiritual.


Lourdes is quite a small town with lots of very narrow streets. And being a place of pilgrimage, there are lots of very large coaches taking believers to the shrine where they can buy bottles of local tap water for about 100 euros as "it's from Lourdes".

Very narrow streets and very large coaches do not mix.

I was walking along the narrow pavement, nearest to the kerb, when I decided to step into the street briefly....just as a coach was trundling past, which then proceeded to knock me with its wing-mirror.

Oblivious to the fact of where I was, and that I was surrounded by lots of catholics, and nuns and believers and priests etc etc etc, my natural reaction on nearly being creamed by said coach was to say at the top of my voice "JESUS MOTHERFUCKING CHRIST THAT WAS CLOSE"

I remember vividly about a dozen people stopping and staring at me, open-mouthed. From those who spoke English, I heard things like "you ought to be ashamed of yourself". Those who didn't speak English still worked out that I had said a_bad_thing.

Me and my mates cracked up and walked on.

I'm still here, I've not been condemned to eternal hell as far as I am aware. Yet.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 22:43, 3 replies)
High Holy Day
Yom Kippur 1969, several months after the death of my father, the undisputed disciplinarian of the house. Thus having no fear of retribution, my brother (who is now a rabbi BTW) cut out of services with his friend Charlie and returned reeking of weed. I was furious, not because he'd desecrated a holy day, but because I hadn't been included!
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 22:43, Reply)
Welsh Christening
Fairly normal service, both me and my dad are atheists, so sitting in a catholic church was quite amusing for us. Eventually it came to the part where all in attendance have to renounce their sins.
"Do you wish to forgive your sins, and let the Lord's light shine upon you"
-under breath- "nope" *snigger snigger*
"Do you reject the devil and all his temptations"
-under breath but giggling" "no..." *pfft chh"
At this point we can both no longer hold a straight face, and realise that those around us are giving us both serious evils, which only adds to the mirth of the situation, luckily for us neither the priest or the parents of the child involved noticed, which is good because the father is an awesome bloke and amazingly hospitable, we spent the rest of that night polishing off as much booze as possible.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 19:34, 16 replies)
the christening tree
a couple of years ago, i went to the christening of my mate ste's niece. i'd never been to that particular church before. he said he wanted me to go just to see if i actually burst into flame when i walked into a holy building.
standing in the churchyard, i saw a tree. it was a fantastic old tree, the kind you wish to find when you're a kid, great for tree houses and swings. looking up at it, i said "i'd love to climb that thing, i bet it'd be great!"
ste's mum, who i'd never met before, walked past me at that moment and said "you must be stephen's friend."
i don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but his family now all think i'm mental.

yes, it's a crap story, but it's all i've got and i've been travelling for 28 hours, so give me a break.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 18:47, 8 replies)
Sunday School bang
Went to Sunday School at age 8 with a lad called Johnny. From the first day I saw him, running through the primary school gates away from his mother and straight into the girls' loos to a crescendo of screams, I thought here was a kid who definitely needed the fear of God putting into him. Sadly, Johnny viewed the situation differently.
On the day in question, Johnny and I had done the obligatory colouring in of Jesus or the Good Samaritan or someone and then had to attend the service with the adults. Sat up at the front, he nudged me and pulled a small pile of white paper packages out of his pocket. These were bangers and the small paper wraps contained the same 'explosive' substance as cap gun strips, only in powder form. I watched in horror as he carefully unwrapped each tiny package into his open hymn book, one after the other. Then, on the last organ note of the final hymn, he slammed shut the hymn book with an almighty (no pun intended) boom and ran giggling out of the chapel, straight home, leaving the local village churchgoers terrified.
He still lives in the same village where we grew up and according to my dad, is still 'a wrong un' although these days his pyrotechnic misdemenours include buying the local pub and allegedly torching it for the insurance money.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 16:07, 2 replies)
Youth Group
Or should that be youth grope? was the only reason I went... I liked getting a feel of them boys.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 14:21, 11 replies)
I'd quite like to go here;
It looks like a good place of war ship.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 12:42, Reply)
There is no God
and Richard Dawkins is his prophet.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 12:09, 3 replies)
Buddhist temple in Cambridge
Having gone through a rather angry breakup after 17 years, I was allowed to.take my 14 year old daughter out. Still reeling from the denial of having any time with her, we set off for Cambridge to the Buddhist Temple there, to let her see how I got through it all.
We went in, and met with three other worshippers, and little lordly became enthralled with the paintings in the lobby.
I, as usual, started to feel immediately calmed and serene, she, was getting more and more into the images, and the architecture, its an old 1920's cinema/theater.
What was making me more and more mild and happy made her more excited, she was agog at the statue of Buddha and the round, stage and tiered auditorium.
After leaving I had been taken to the calm state I needed to be in, she was buzzing like a firefly.
Sitting down to a meal after, I asked her if she was at all moved by the tranquility of it all.
She said no, not in there, inside there it was electrifyng, but right now, she does feel sleepy.
And I don't think I have ever seen her so calm for a long long time.
Oh.. as for burning in Hell, I probably will, Mrs Lordy, and her family are devout Catholics, and I 'worship' a false god.
I will burn.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 9:30, 13 replies)
not quite in a church but will be sent to hell
i was raised without religion. i am not an atheist, i just don't have religion. worked with a very devout catholic guy who goes to church, twice a day, every day (but was the most bigoted, rude, intolerant person i have ever met).

i rocked into work one day, saw churchman in the corridor.

me:'hey paul, you have a smudge of stuff on your forehead.'
paul: 'don't you know what today is?'
me: 'yeah, wednesday'
paul: (with a belligerent shout) 'ash wednesday!!'
me: 'what's that?'
death stare, shake of head, disgusted sigh, he stalked off.

i had to ask one of the more nice catholics in the office what had offended him so much.
(, Sun 4 Sep 2011, 8:14, 9 replies)
...and I weren't really cut out for each other and, aged about eight, I decided to leave - burning my bridges on the way.
I had one of those wind-up hand buzzer things and, while everyone was distracted, standing up and singing a hymn, placed it on the chair of a girl in the row in front of me. She didn't half squeak when she sat on it.
(, Sat 3 Sep 2011, 23:26, 1 reply)
Drunk and in church.
About the age of 13 I had a bit of a reilgious crisis. Or to put it another way, I decided that since God clearly hated me I was going to start hating him right back.
Yeah, I know...
Anyway, five or six years later a group of motley teenagers was doing that thing where we hung around on a streetcorner, swigging cider from cans and believing we were cool. Up the road came more black people than we had ever seen before in our lives, led by several Black Mama types who asked us if we wanted to come to church with them.
Drunk as we were, this seemed like a good idea.
Now we were used to CofE - mumbled prayers, halfhearted hymns and a definite air that the whole thing was some sort of penance for existing. As it turns out, West Indians do things slightly differently. Have fun for a start. While they belted out the songs we sort of clapped along at the back and beamed at all and sundry and actually had a bloody good night out.
Somewhere there are some elderly black women who may possibly remember the night they invited along a bunch of drunks and if I ever got the chance I'd tell them. "Thank you for your hospitality. I'm still an athiest but now I try not to be a dick about it."
And if any vicar wants to know how to make his services more entertaining, simple; Recruit somebody who knows how to do slap-bass.
(, Sat 3 Sep 2011, 18:09, 4 replies)
I'd like to
install my church organ into your holy place...

(, Sat 3 Sep 2011, 14:40, 1 reply)

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