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Evongelo

Why I hate organized religion and the church

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I'd love to start a good discussion here.

I hate organized religion and the official church for so many many reasons.  One of my greatest issues lies with the church leaders.  Pastors and their equivalents tend often to exhibit the exact opposite traits looked for in church leaders as outlined in the Bible.  They are often arrogant and cock sure, completely closed to other opinions.  They will tell you that the Bible says something that it simply does not, and when you challenge them to show you the scripture they will use a cop out like "It is in the spirit of the Bible".  Bull, you either show it to me, or shut your mouth.  Don't tell me I'm wrong, be completely incapable of backing up your argument, and then tell me "I studied Greek" or "I went to seminary".  NEVER let your pastor pull this crap on you.  HE.  IS.  JUST.  A.  MAN.  If he cannot back up his opinion with scripture then his argument is invalid. 

Another thing that bothers me is the people's infatuation with the word of the pastor.  Read the Bible for yourself, don't just get spoon fed.  So many times I hear people say "Pastor says...."  What does the Bible say?  You don't know?  Then go read it.  You don't need mister seminary greekman telling you what the Bible says and what to believe.  You have the same one at home, you can buy a concordance, a bible dictionary, and be just as set as he is on resources.  Be your own teacher.

The organized church came about during the 1st generation church wen practicing Christianity was frowned upon, ostracized, or out right illegal.  Churches were often under ground and held in secret, and a lot of impostors and snake oil salesmen were going around with "The latest gospel of Jesus never before seen".  To counter this, the Twelve and Paul and other apostles took to appointing trusted teachers to positions of leadership.  If you weren't baptized and approved by an apostle then you weren't legitimate.  Unfortunately the long term effect was negative.  These positions were taken up by lesser men.  Positions of power, be it government, corporate, or religious attract sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, and megalomaniacs into their offices who over time corrupts what was once a good thing.  Now we take their word without backing like its gold.

Of course not all church leaders are like this.  I would hope that the opposite is true and that charlatans like these are few in number.  However, it doesn't change the fact that we are all entrusted with the Word of God.  We are all presbyters, and no one is above another in our faith or our ability to understand the Bible.  DO NOT TAKE YOUR PASTORS WORD FOR SOMETHING MERELY BECAUSE HE SAID IT.  He is not an authority from God.  He is just a man, like you, capable of the same mistakes and misinterpretations. 

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How this is in theme with the website is that if you find yourself shot down concerning feelings towards your cousin by a pastor or church leader, don't just believe what he says.  If you have love enough, you will do the research yourself. 

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Pastors, in the spirit of their calling, are shephards.  They are there to guide you in your walk.  The canon is a collection of teachings that are there as a guide..it is in those principles that ministry us found.  While I agree there is opportunity to question for further enlightenment, the message doesn't end with a collection formed 2000 years ago.  The search for answers isn't always found in the black and white.

Something to also be aware is that the holy bible does not contain all texts of the time..

Sharing my experience...My mother became a minister about 15 years ago, and she would be the first to tell you that all churches, organized or not, fit people a certain way....meaning it's not one-size-fits-all. She prefers a more traditional service, where I prefer contemporary. 

I loved my last church and miss it very much.  Searching about 18 months, I haven't landed uts replacement.  The right church not only includes not only the right pastor, but also people that make me feel welcome, and the church needs to fit in with the way I worship.

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evongelo, you bring up some interesting points... and i'd like to put some of my own thoughts to each of your points. not sure this is the right time since i need to mow the lawn before it rains today since i'm going out of town for a week.... but i'll at least start.

One of my greatest issues lies with the church leaders.  Pastors and their equivalents tend often to exhibit the exact opposite traits looked for in church leaders as outlined in the Bible.

yes... but.... remember the pharisees and sadducees? i think many, many preachers and evangelists today are very similar to those religious leaders of the past. so while i hear what you're saying, it happened back then, too. a LOT.

you're absolutely right though. a preacher (or anybody for that matter) is just human and their theological word should never be taken as truth by anyone else, just because they think the preacher is more knowledgable and has degrees and what-not. the best preachers will even tell you that straight up! they'll tell you that scripture says we must be as the bereans, studying the word of God to see if what is being preached is God's word or man's word.

God makes His word accessible to anyone who seeks it. no pastor, theologian, evangelist, or blow-hard on a christian message board has any more of a direct line to God than the hooker on the street corner. a fancy education and elocution lessons don't make a person "right". anyone who seeks God's truth can find it. the Bible is His word revealed to us... some of it is confusing, of course, but that which is a mystery is JUST as big a mystery to the learned as to the unlearned. those are the issues that churches kinda get divided on, and why there is so much doctrinal debate.

but the core gospel, what God wants us to understand here and now, is indisputable. that's not to say a lot of people won't TRY to dispute us. God says there will be a great falling away. the church will become apostate. this really isn't anything new, though. history is always repeating itself and we can see examples of this apostacy all through scripture.

and we can certainly see it in today's "church". i use that term collectively.

the church i attend is one that teaches line by line, verse by verse, chapter by chapter. i like that method of teaching a lot. but i'm not afraid to question my pastor if i think what he says is incorrect. that hasn't happened with my current pastor, but i've only been at this church for a few months. my last church though, i had many discussions with the pastor there on things i didn't think were right. the discussions were really great ones! and sometimes i'd have to concede that he was right. other times, he conceded he was wrong. but he was the kind of preacher that encouraged us to come to him if we thought he was in error.

i will never go to a church where i feel i am not welcome to do that.

i've seen people here say they couldn't get married because their pastor was un-budging on the subject. that's really sad. no pastor is above the word of God.

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While I do not follow the Christian religion, as a child I attended (attended/forced to attend, whatevs..) church(es) with my family. Since I was never overly concerned about listening to the pastor's sermon, I spent my time watching the goings on around me instead (& hating the dresses I was put in, again..whatevs).

While I can't say going to church helped save me from the damnation I was threatened with, I did learn a few things about organized religion.

1) People with a sour taste towards organized religion have most likely attended a bad church. This was the eventual downfall of my parents church attendance - Which to me seems a shame for them, if you have one bad experience at a grocery store do you stop going to all grocery stores?

2) People who end up at the 'wrong' church usually don't try to fix it, instead they end up frustrated & stop going. Even though my parents' beliefs were strongly Methodist they attended a Baptist church because that's what they had 'always been'. Instead of trying to find what worked for them they stuck with what they knew until their 'comfortable rut' got too uncomfortable & they quit going altogether.

3) Most (not all!) people do actually expect the pastor to have all the answers. The Bad Church we attended towards the end was like this & even the good churches we attended had some level of unhealthy ideology towards their pastor. I often times wonder which came first? Does the pastor think he is a holy being because the congregation treats him as such? Or has the congregation been groomed to do so by an egotistical pastor?

Either situation is leading to a never ending loop that in my opinion is toxic & unhelpful to both sides of the pulpit - the congregation is not invited to entertain their own thoughts & feelings (which leads to no personal/spiritual growth beyond the limits given) & the pastor is led to believe he is above his congregation & anyone who questions him is either not a true believer or a nuisance that needs to be 'shut up'.

I personally have no answer for this problem, LadyCs description of how a pastor's personality should be is IMO a healthy one, but IME not a common one.

All that said I'm still not a Christian. And this has nothing to do with a bad church or bad blood over mistreatment. Almost all the churches we attended were very welcoming & a great source of social interactions, but for me that was all it was - a place to socialize, I just don't believe in the bible or the religion as a whole.

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for someone who doesn't believe in God, you have a pretty good perspective on the problems in the church. much more so than most unbelievers i've heard describe it!

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Positions of power, be it government, corporate, or religious attract sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists, and megalomaniacs into their offices

OMG that is rich, and has some truth to it. I am currently in seminary and honestly don't think I have any of these traits. I do suffer from misanthropy from time to time but I'm trying to overcome it  :cheesy: . I am only a servant. I don't think the majority is like what you described. One bad pastor can really mess you up, huh? You are really wound up.

Hey I figure that Christ put me in the church and no man or devil is big and bad enough to take me out.

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Yeah, I'll admit that I've not gone to church too much as an adult, because I don't like being told what to think.  And I grew up in a church that believed in the New Testament, with no particular dogma that they promoted.  So it was a pretty easy-going church to grow up in.

However, when I was 11 I asked my Minister why we go to church on Sunday, when the Sabbath is on Saturday, and he mumbled some dismissive answer and shoed me away ... probably thinking just some dumb kid asking stuff they wouldn't understand anyway.  But I read the Bible a lot when I was 11, and I understood it, just fine.

I still remember a lot of the Bible that I read, and the stuff I do believe about life is all adequately addressed in the Bible, so I am happy with that.

My other excuse for not going to church much as an adult, is that I suffer from osteoarthritis, and I've never had the same energy level as the average person, so getting up early on a Sunday morning to go out, is just too hard on me.  Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest anyway, not a big day for hustle and bustle.

Anyway, I pray to God all the time, and I get good to really good results too.  So I think God and Jesus and I have a good relationship.

I've personally known a few men who had their full Bible degrees ... and were poor examples of Christians ... so if I did ever go to a church on a more regular basis, I would be watching the character of the Pastor like a hawk.  Fortunately, both the men I knew, lost their clergy-posts, which is good ... cause they didn't have the character for their positions.

Ambra

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for someone who doesn't believe in God, you have a pretty good perspective on the problems in the church. much more so than most unbelievers i've heard describe it!

Thanks  :smiley:

I think it's because most (not all) nonbelievers have a chip on their shoulders involving the churches & don't want anything to do with them. I have no misgivings towards the church or religion, I just don't believe in it.

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It's important not to let one or even a few bad experiences turn you away from the faith.  For myself my doctrine keeps me out of most churches who are by and large dispensational and Armenian and millennialists while I am some what reformed cal anise and preterist. 

My ultimate point is remember that NO ONE has inherent insight to scripture and often reading it for yourself is the best approach rather than seeking the opinion of an authority figure. 

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You guys put way too much emphasis in man and little doctrines that don't add up to anything. "Organized religion," as corrupt as it can be, has served Christians well. I mean, I can't think of an alternative. Disorganized religion?  :laugh: The early church was loosely organized which may have given it a dimension that we are missing today, but organized nevertheless.

Ambra, the Sunday vs Sabbath debate is endless. Christians serve God everyday, so it's not a factor. The early church was having church everyday initially. Wonder why nobody wants to advocate this? lol

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Disorganized religion isn't for everyone, but for those of us who practice it, it works very well thanks  :smiley:

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There's really no such thing as "disorganized religion". The very notion is contrary to human nature. We are social beings by nature so we naturally find someone we trust and gravitate in that direction. Alternatively, a few of us become leaders, for better or worse, and lead people in a certain direction.  That can be political or religious.  Can anarchy truly exist?  No, not for more than about half a second.  In that brief time, someone will decide to put their own spin on how anarchy should work and convince others of the same... thus ending anarchy and replacing it with some other political form, be it democratic, dictatorship, or some other form. 

Churches are no different.  They are bodies of people.  They are led, sometimes by great and humble people and sometimes by abusive egomaniacs. In some churches, there is backstabbing, nearly open adultery in the pews, gossip, slander, and all of those things the Bible cautions against.  In others, there is great community, family, and rich faith founded in the Bible.  In some, you're taught only what to think and in others, you're taught more about how to think.  Some are Catholic, some are Baptist, some are Lutheran, and so on.

What really matters most is whether YOU are willing to explore what you believe, why you believe it, and whether you're willing to live out those beliefs.  If I walk into a church that is full of liars, adulterers, and gossips, that doesn't tell me that Christianity must be a bad thing or even that religion or organized religion is a bad thing.  It tells me that people are people, whether they're in a church, a bridge club, or a knitting club.  But in the church, it tells me that God must be incredibly merciful, forgiving, and faithful to allow such to have the opportunity of forgiveness and love for such an unmerciful, unforgiving, and unfaithful bunch.  It also reminds me that it isn't about me or those people... it's about God.  Salvation is not a gift for the believer, but rather believers are a gift from the father to the son... it's about Him.

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The problem is actually in the first statement about "organized religion" It's never been about "Religion" but all about a relationship with our savior Jesus.

Yes the church is not perfect remember we are in a fallen world full of imperfect people. Will a pastor or leader make mistakes? More than likely. It's all in how we handle one another . Jesus commanded us to love one another. Until the return of our Lord there will be division as long as we obey his word and surrender to him daily we will be fine. When we walk away because our feelings were hurt by imperfect people we hurt only ourselves.

Find a church the preaches the FULL word of God and does not water it down or twist it to meet their own needs and you will have found a home.  

If my pastor where to ever deviate form the preaching the full gospel I would be finding a new home.

Never let a person or group of people stand between you and the blessing of a church family or a personal relationship with Jesus.  In the end that is all that will count. Eternity is a very long time.

May the Lord bless you

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