Today I attended a Catholic Church for the first time.
As a Bahai, the first thing that stuck out was the presence of youth. In the Bahai religion there are quite literally no young people. At Bahai gatherings there are typically 7 or 8 elderly people over 70, with no young adults, no children, and no middle aged people even; just elderly people. Of course, some days are exceptions, but on a given day usually only Bahais over 70 show up. The Catholic Church on the other hand had elderly people, middle aged people, young adults, and children. The person in front of me was a young mother with her young son, and the person to the left of me was a father about my age with his wife and children. This is something you almost never see at a Bahai gathering.
There were quite a few young couples in their early 20s as well, and the men were generally less attractive than their girlfriends.
I have heard Christians complain before about the aging demographics of Christianity, so I was shocked to see such young demographics. Perhaps there were less young people than old people by some slight margin, I don't know, but given that I am used to the nursing-home-level demographics of the Bahai community, the Catholic Church demographics looked very young to me.
As for the service, in the sermon the priest talked about the oneness of God, and prayed that we would be free from sin, which I found to be a very wholesome message. Even though it is a message Bahais would agree with, they are not things Bahais focus on.
The other thing I will mention is this church was in the middle of downtown, but to my surprise the congregation was nearly 100% white. I did not however feel uncomfortable for being non white or feel like people were staring at me like I was out of place.
Attending a Catholic Church has made me as a Bahai feel culturally inferior to Catholics. But what doesn't make sense to me is I and everyone in my family is more successful than the average American who is Christian. I have an uncle for example with a net worth in the hundreds of millions which he developed by honest means. And everyone in my family is successful and intelligent. I always attributed our success to the Bahai religion, that it was the source behind our success. But how can this be the case when the Bahais are so clearly culturally inferior to Catholics? I think I will not leave the Bahai religion until I understand the answer to this question, because until I understand this, it is possible that there is a special potency in the Bahai writings which is the cause of our success, but which I just don't yet recognize.
Going forward, instead of going to the Bahai Center every Sunday, I will alternate between the Bahai Center and church.
These are ethnic churches. I don't think I would be comfortable attending a church or a narrow ethnicity I am not part of. I considered attending a Coptic church because I may not be visually too different from them, but even in that case after getting to know them it would quickly become clear I am not one of them, and I would be seen as a creepy imposter.
I went to mosque twice and I agree it's not ethnic. But the issue with me was too great of a proportion of the service involved dancing, which I am not a fan of. And also each of the dances for the various worship times is different, so you have to learn all these dances. And the most important service (Juma) takes place at a very inconvenient time, being during work hours.
There is an Orthodox church called St Anne in my area too. But looking at the pictures they look too white/blonde, I would stick out. They don't even look Greek, they must be some kind of Russian or maybe they are WASP converts. And everyone is dressed in a particular way, which creates distance between them and outsiders. I must say though that I am impressed by how the women in that church dress.