Needing/Getting

I haven’t been able to shake Mike’s excellent post from Thursday. The identification of need with belief strikes me as an important one for our faith.

But I haven’t been able to shake it not just because of the insight it provides, but because I’m a step outside of the world Mike describes: frankly, I don’t need the church to be true.

That’s not to say I don’t believe, or that I don’t participate. I do both. But I don’t need the church to be true in a way that previous generations may have.

Partly, I live in a disenchanted world. I don’t need religion to explain the world I live in. Science can do that. I may not understand the intricacies of evolution or of the Big Bang, but I could if I’d focused on science rather than music and literature. The world around us is spectacular. It’s beautiful. And it’s explainable.

I don’t need religion to live a good life. I can act ethically without fear of hell or hope for heaven. Many people navigate life admirably without religious belief. Many people fail miserably in spite of religious belief. (Also, the reverse: many fail without religious belief, and many navigate life admirably with belief.)

I don’t need religion to get ahead. My Mormonism doesn’t open a whole lot of doors in Chicago, or in academia. (I’ll note that it also doesn’t really close any doors in either place.)

I don’t even need the community that religion provides. Most of my friends are the parents of kids my kids go to school with. Or people I work with, or people who live in the same building I live in, or people whose kids do the same activities my kids do.

None of that is to say religion doesn’t explain the world I live in, doesn’t aid my living a good life, doesn’t provide me with a community. It does all of those things. It’s simply that I don’t need religion to do any of those things.

And what does that mean? Maybe nothing. But more and more I believe it means that we need to think carefully about what we’re offering. To the extent that people don’t need religion in the same way they once did, our truth-claims may not be enough to capture their interest.

Does that mean we should give up our truth-claims? By no means. But we may have to recognize that they, standing alone, may not be enough; what does it matter if we’re the only true and living church upon the face of the earth if the people we’re engaging with aren’t choosing only among churches, but also among church and non-church?

Ultimately, a large part of the reason I attend church, a large part of the reason that I engage with the church, is because I’ve chosen to. But that choice can be a hard one, for all sorts of reasons. If we want to care for Jesus’ sheep, we need to engage them at the level they need. We need to be open to the idea that “One True Church” is answering a question many of our neighbors don’t have.  And we can’t take for granted that they want religion—if we want to be truly pastoral, we need to give them a reason to choose belief.

Comments

  1. Spot on. This is the problem I see the church needing to address. Where is the relevance if we don’t need the church for all the traditional reasons people attended? No body I know is really asking “Where do I go after death” or “Why am I here” any more. Nobody (outside of members defending their own faiths) cares which church is more true than all the other churches. And yet, those are the reasons we throw out for convincing people to listen to the missionaries.

    IMHO, the next generation (or their children) will return to wanting faith as part of their life. Spirituality is part of being human. This future generation is not going to go backwards though. So let’s start looking forward to how we build a church that satisfies the inner needs people actually have today and pushes them out of their comfort zones to be better members of the human race. And make it something that is so appealing, people crave what it offers.

  2. Because I have to look at everything by comparison with history: In about 1930 John A. Widtsoe realized that the old missionary tracts — the ones elders had been using for 50 years or more — were no longer having much if any effect in the field. Nobody had the same questions anymore, so they didn’t care how many ways the missionaries could prove through Biblical texts that the Restoration fulfilled ancient prophecy. Widtsoe wrote a series of “Centennial Tracts” that instead focused on what people *did* care about: How to live healthier, happier lives; how to raise their families; how to get along in a changing world. He wrote about how the Church could answer all those questions — and laid the groundwork for the world all of us grew up in, with the way we present ourselves at fairs and in the Reader’s Digest and on TV spots.

    So it doesn’t seem radical to me that the world may have moved on to a different set of questions, and that our outreach to nonmembers and our own next generation might need to emphasize a different subset of gospel benefits. Sam could be on to something here — at least there’s historical precedent.

  3. Thanks, ReTx and Ardis! (I especially love to learn about the historical precedent.)

    I want to emphasize, I don’t see any need for the church to back down on its truth claims. We’re a restorationist religion that appeals to scripture, to revelation, and to an authority structure. All of that can still be true while, at the same time, we look for how the church (in its current structure, with its current doctrines) can better serve the society we’re in. And I think there’s at least value in exploring the idea.

  4. Sam,

    This resonates so deeply with me. Thank you.

  5. D Christian Harrison says:

    Lovely post, per usual, Sam… but I must disagree with your point that you don’t need religion in order to live an ethical life. My full response may end-up taking a proper post, but the short of it is this: your ethical framework is borrowed from a religious heritage. So while you may or may not “need” such a framework, you cannot extricate yourself from having already availed yourself of one. Moreover, sans a religious framework, the mechanisms needed to promulgate a secular moral framework would—in very short order—look (and behave) like a religion.

    That’s the short version.

  6. Thanks, Christian. I think that’s a good point, but I would respond that, even if I needed a religious foundation to build a non-religious ethical system on, that religious system is an already-existing infrastructure. It doesn’t demand my current or future participation in religion for me to build on the foundation that’s already there.

    Again, I’m not trying to argue that religion has no value, merely that the place of religion has shifted, and that we need to deal with that shift in our pastoral roles.

    And also, I look forward to your post!

  7. Sam, what I think you’re saying makes sense to me and I think it is important. It does feel like many people’s wants and needs, and what the Church teaches in outreach, have diverged.
    I think the emphasis on family (that I casually peg to the last two decades) is a genuine attempt to bridge that gap. My personal opinion is that the family emphasis is turning out to be more divisive than bridging (but that’s a controversial view, and not the point of this comment).
    Some of your phrases suggest that what anybody needs out of religion is all wrapped up in truth claims. But your examples say otherwise. Mormon practice of my generation put a lot of emphasis on truth claims, but it doesn’t have to be so. I think truth is only a small part of the whole menu of benefits religion can offer.

  8. D Christian Harrison says:

    But in making your argument, you are making use of a line of thinking used elsewhere—though to somewhat different ends—namely, that religion isn’t necessary to live a moral life. My point—raised in part to your comment and in part to this larger conversation—is that you’ve used the framework in the past… rely on it today… moreover, your children (and their peers) will use it or something that looks very much like it in the future. So making the argument that you don’t need something that you’re benefiting from, strikes me as unfortunate.

    We must, I agree, adjust our pastoral and evangelical messaging to account for such a perception—but I do not think the perception is well-grounded.

    When conservatives of a certain stripe extoll the virtues of “making it on our own”, progressives of a certain stripe rightly pillory them for ignoring the enormous role that the collective played and continues to play in their success (roads, police, fire, communications infrastructure, ad nauseam). This feels not a little like the line of thinking that you’re tapping into.

  9. I think that’s a totally fair criticism, Christian. At the same time, though, I don’t think saying, You’re living your life on an infrastructure established by the church! is going to put a ton of butts in the pew (though there is something I personally find attractive about the argument).

    Moreover, that argument doesn’t militate in favor of Mormonism (or any other particular religion), since we have deep foundations in Protestantism and Catholicism, which in turn have foundations in Judaism, which in turn has foundations in other ancient Babylonian religions, which in turn probably find their roots in something else.

  10. D Christian Harrison says:

    I think each religion will have to make its own argument in favor of its brand of the framework. ;-)

  11. nothing assumed about your food allergy says:

    Sam, if religion is unnecessary to respond to the needs you’ve listed, why do we care about putting butts in the pew? What are these other needs or questions that our religion might have a unique answer to?

  12. Clayton Christensen deals with this effectively in his book the Power of Everyday Missionaries. He talks about the missionary message being too invite people to join us in service projects in our wards, serving in our communities. I think it’s a timely approach and one much more geared to retention in our current age. Continuing to answer questions fewer and fewer people are asking is not a good strategy. Now people are asking “How can I find meaningful service opportunities?” It’s also behind the launch of justserve. It’s a soft sell obviously in that it’s kind of not selling at all. People will have experiences that in turn open their minds to new questions. Or so the thinking goes.

  13. A Happy Hubby says:

    Sam – Very interesting and much of it resonates with me and OH how I wish we could have such a conversation even in my local ward (a very good ward).

    One separate thought came to my mind. You mention several things you don’t NEED the church to be: true, explain the world, provide you moral framework, membership in a club to help open doors, a community, etc.
    But there is a flip side that drives away many people also. They DON’T WANT a church that: is heavy on patriarchy, look down upon LGBQT+, degenerate other religions/beliefs, shame sexuality, preach rigid gender roles, etc.

  14. In choosing the aspects of the church that we emphasize in our missionary work, we shape the next generation’s living view of the church—the teachings that the common member sees as most important and the practices that the common member experiences as being most central. I am thrilled at the thought that devoting increasing attention to service among full-time missionaries could, over time, open our wards to more engagement with the larger community.

    On the other hand, we have a strong institutional bias in favor of emphasizing doctrine in our teachings. In other words, we have a tendency to cast beliefs and practices in doctrinal terms rather than practical terms. I’m struck by the example of our emphasis on the family, which might have begun as an effort to stress a positive aspect of Mormon life, but then mutated into a new doctrinal rigidity over sex and gender issues. By boiling The Family down to a doctrinal essence, we’ve taken most of the juice out of it.

  15. great post Sam and loved that comment Loursat!

  16. Hawkgrrrl says:

    Loursat: Exactly! I’ve been lamenting the same thing since the church pivoted hard in that direction in the 1980s after we got so much positive press about our families. Church leaders, missionary dept, and curriculum writers all got the memo that this was the important thing, what made us attractive to other people, and what would bring people into the church. But boy have we gone down the rabbit hole! We’re now at the point that we are losing people because they don’t have an “ideal” family (or may never have one), and we forgot that the gospel isn’t just for families.

  17. “I don’t need the church to be true.” I had the exact same reaction to Mike’s post. And that need is perhaps even less acute for me since I do not have the foggiest idea how an organization can be “true.” This, combined with the fact that so many of the church’s truth claims have been discredited or abandoned by the institution itself, makes the “truthfulness” of the church seem inconsequential.

    So, why do I stay?

    Much of what I have learned in the church about the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the scriptures peculiar to church (in addition to the Bible) has the ring of truth. Further, by and large its members strive to live that gospel, and they make me a better person by encouraging me to do likewise. Though I have found important truths in other faith traditions that appear to be absent from Mormonism, the LDS church has facilitated my gaining a testimony of Christ, His teachings and His atonement. In addition, by expecting not much more than this from the church, I am less likely to become disenchanted when, on occasion, its leaders appear to act contrary to the Savior’s teachings. The only thing that is hard, at times, is getting some of my saints to accept me on these terms.

  18. Brother Sky says:

    Nice post, Sam. I think I’m with you on most of it. I wonder, too, if the notion of need is less individually driven and more of an institutional thing that we imbibe and then mistake it for our own need. What I mean is that the church, because it needs to put “butts in the seats”, as nothing assumed puts it, feels the need to manufacture need: The eternal family, the plan of happiness, the (just flat wrong) implications that anyone who isn’t a Mormon is living an incomplete life, etc. That message, obviously, isn’t as effective as it once was because people don’t respond to the needs that the church assumes they have. That is perhaps what gets us to your original post’s last comment about the “ONE TRUE CHURCH” answering questions most people don’t need the answers to. So the way I’d frame this issue is that the church responded to/created a need that at one time existed (or the church assumed it did) but now, that need no longer exists (in part because of a far less homogeneous culture than existed even thirty years ago) and therefore the church is losing traction because the need it’s trying to create isn’t one that people are buying into.

    If that’s the case, then the other thing that happens is that the church’s truth claims become de-legitimized, not because non-believers push back and assert that those claims are untrue (though there is solid evidence that pushes back against many of those claims), but because those truth claims are no longer relevant. So in essence, the church is failing because it is failing to manufacture need in the minds of non-members (and plenty of members, judging by declining attendance). Is that about right?

  19. I mostly agree with the sentiment of the OP, but I think it underestimates the comfort of doctrines about the eternities for those who have suffered profound loss. I imagine the drastic reduction of pain and suffering related to death, along with less premature death in Western cultures, particularly among the more wealthy, is part of what the OP is describing. Certainly people without God find ways to cope with loss, but it sure helps that people experience so much less loss now. As for me, I will choose to keep believing that I’ll see my son again no matter what any evidence might demonstrate to the contrary. I choose not to live in that world. It offers no light for my soul, only a universe full of cruel entropy. I’ll go mad before I’ll give up my hope of holding my son again. If no one were to preach this doctrine to me, I would make it up myself.

  20. A Happy Hubby says:

    Nice recap Brother Sky. A hearty AMEN.

  21. I think that the basic source of the church’s vitality is the ineffable Spirit. Missionary work and all other kinds of ministry always involve our somewhat fumbling efforts to explain what can only be felt. We are constantly looking for ways to get the Spirit into people’s lives, and the messages that help make that connection must change as the world changes. So I don’t think it’s quite right to say that the church manufactures need. Instead, we are always trying to discover how the divine can manifest itself in a constantly evolving culture.

  22. nothing assumed about your food allergy says:

    Owen, thank you for your comment. This is very similar to my position right now. Anything not directly related to the question of death and resurrection is for me utterly beside the point. I don’t need the church to be “true,” but man do I need Christ’s resurrection to be true.

  23. Chadwick says:

    My experience with our Church’s position on eternal families has been very interesting. I remember as a missionary always getting excited for the fourth discussion, thinking it would blow people away. It never did. Their opinion on the fourth discussion was that they already believed in eternal families, even if their current church didn’t teach it. I think people believe what they will in order to survive hardship, and don’t need a church’s rubber stamp to make it so. Which unfortunately can render our beliefs somewhat moot, unless people really want to understand the logistics of eternal families, which we can provide.

    If family is no longer the message to share with the world (and I agree it’s not since we are defining family too narrowly now for the masses), then what is our message to the world? The only thing I can think of is peace. The gospel brings me peace. Anything else, I do agree, can be found elsewhere, though for some of us wandering introverts, the instant community is also a huge blessing.

  24. Loursat’s comment on the universal importance of the Spirit reflects the reality of what each of us, believer or nonbeliever needs whether or not we realize it. As Elder Holland stated:

    Most people don’t come to church looking merely for a few new gospel facts or to see old friends, though all of that is important. They come seeking a spiritual experience. They want peace. They want their faith fortified and their hope renewed. They want, in short, to be nourished by the good word of God, to be strengthened by the powers of heaven.

    Which echoes Moroni’s own description of purpose for the community of Christ and what it can offer the adherents:

    And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith. And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.

    Whether or not we personally need the Church, as a member of the body much as the head needs the heart and the foot, the Church needs us. Today I may not need anyone to serve my needs but I can be certain then that someone probably needs me to serve them.

  25. This makes me think of the losses of mainline Protestant churches for the past half-century, and the losses evangelical churches are more recently reporting. The need for religion just isn’t there like it used to be, and Mormons aren’t exempt. Their clergy struggle plenty with how to stay relevant to their flocks, and how to make adjustments to meet their needs. I hope our leadership struggles similarly, though more often than not it looks to me that our leadership has an attitude of what can you do for US, not what can we do to help YOU. Like they’re compliance officers, not shepherds.

    Also, Loursat, I’m loving your comments.

  26. BlueRidgeMormon says:

    Owen and Nothing Assumed:

    I don’t disagree… yet I think your comments illustrate the OP’s point precisely, but sort of inverted. That is, if we’ve experienced profound loss, the doctrine of eternal families is phenomenally appealing. As Owen puts it, “If no one were to preach this doctrine to me, I would make it up myself.”

    But in a way, that’s the point of the OP: not everyone feels that way, nor are an increasing number of people centered on the doctrine as a motivator in any event. As you yourself put it, one doesn’t really need the church to provide such doctrine, because in the absence of some institutionally promulgated doctrine of eternal families we’d simply assume it’s true anyway, in some form or another.

    By needing the doctrine (of eternal families) to be true so desperately, you effectively articulate why one doesn’t need an organized religion to assert it in order to believe it.

    This is a fascinating OP and thread! And it does tap into something I’ve increasingly suspected: that the traditional missionary “appeals” are appealing to an increasingly narrow segment of society: those who already want organized religion and are simply searching/ready for the “right” one.

  27. A few years ago I worked with a German PhD in the hard sciences in his early 30s. Getting to know him was a revelation for this lifelong Mormon RM. I was so used to the religious/anti religious narrative, where there are enemies to religion that must be either refuted or won over, that I was unprepared for a third alternative. He was far from religious but he wasn’t anti religious either, he was areligious. And I realized that to him, an educated, young European, religion was kind of like witchcraft might be to me. I’m not pro witchcraft nor am I anti witchcraft, because, as they say, I have no dog in that hunt, and any passionate arguments pro or con about it are both irrelevant to me as a 21st century American.

  28. Glenn Thigpen says:

    There is a difference between not needing something and not feeling the need for something. Wisdom is knowing the difference.

  29. Thank you for putting the debate on the table. We need to shine Christ’s light in the dark places to love his people and creation not to hussle them into church but make His love relevant in the world we find ourself. People will turn their faces to the light when they are in darkness, they will turn to love when they are hurt and rejected by mainstream churches, no we dont need the church but we are needed to shine the light and the love.

  30. I enjoyed reading this, thank you.

  31. I think I understand what you’re implying here op. I do wonder about that myself often. I mean a lot of people troop to church on Sundays, listen to lengthy sermons. But does it actually affect how they’d react to a situation out there? There are those that’ve never set foot in a Church in their lives yet have great moral standards.

    In a church or within a church group you still see people that lack ethical values. Those that wouldn’t do the right thing given the opportunity, yet they are active members. I think- you are saying though the church teaches about moral standards, ethical values. It doesn’t change much unless the person being thought is already principled and understands the needs to be fair and of good conduct always. Likewise someone who is taught by parents or at school moral instructions. Those that would choose to be ethical, would be because they see the need to be so not necessarily because of fear of damnation in the pit of hell.

  32. This was a thoughtful piece; thank you for sharing. However, I think the idea of not “needing” church is the very idea Christians try so hard to correct. Everyone who lives by faith has recognized that they do indeed need church, and that their lives are empty of true substance without it. A lot of non-believers would not understand the difference, but we should never mask the idea that church is necessary when discussing the topic with them.

  33. I enjoyed reading this and agree with you to a point. that is in no way to say that what you think is not right. I think that religion can hold a place for some and not for others. about 10 years ago i experienced Buddhism for the first time. now in no way am i trying to promote any belief. What i want to say is that i found to a larger degree that its more a way of life. A set of ideals to “try” and live by, so i guess that this could be thought of for most faiths. To have faith or not is not wrong nor beneficial. I believe that by having or not is a choice that we need to make and even choosing to not believe if it works for you that and that alone is the important part. I am trying to become a Buddhist and some days i have stronger belief than others, but it is a choice. enjoy the freedom you have to make choices and be as happy as you can be.

  34. anandvaghasiya says:

    Awesome

  35. This struck a very serious chord with me. I’ve spent the past eight years of my life outside of the church and I’ve never been able to put into words as well as you have as to why I’m okay with my current religious path. It opened my eyes to my own feelings. Thank you for writing.

  36. My hopes are raised everytime I come across someone of ‘A religious’ group talking with objective honesty about the future validity of their own faith. I agree that Religion must be valid for the times; if the needs are met through other modern systems, then religion must evolve to guide people to the next higher level of human evolution, which cannot be in the realm of competition.

  37. Thank you for sharing.. Not the part that science explains everything that religion do though! I think religion in general deals with the irrational, science deals with the rational

  38. Thanks for the sharing

  39. “I do good, I feel good; I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”

  40. Thanks for a good read. I constantly explain to non member friends that I choose mormonism despite my personal differences with it, not because of fear, but out of lkve for an organisation that has given me so much

  41. Here is the key to the treasure of eternity:
    Bismillâh-ir-Rahmân-ir-Rahîm.

    ”man has three states: his states in the world, in the grave, and in the Hereafter. If man
    worships Allâhu ta’âlâ, He facilitates his works in the world, pities
    him in the grave, and forgives his sins in the Hereafter.”

    ”If any person thanks any other person in any manner, for anything, at any place, at any time, all this thanks belongs to Allâhu ta’âlâ. For, He is the One who always creates, trains and develops everything, who causes every favor to be done, and who sends every goodness. He alone is the owner of strength and power. Unless He gives us thought, nobody can will or desire to do good or evil. After man receives the thought, he can will to do something, but unless Allah wills and gives strength and opportunity to that thought, nobody can do one bit of kindness or evil to anybody. Everything that man wants, happens when He wills and decrees it. Only what He wills happens. He sends us the thoughts of doing good or evil for various reasons. When His born slaves (men) whom He pities wish to do evil, He does not will or create it. Goodness always arises from such people. He, too, wills to create the evil wills of His enemies, with whom He is angry. Since these evil people do not wish to do something virtuous, evils always arise from them. In other words, all people are a means, a tool. They are like the pen in the writer’s hand. Only, using their irâda-i juz’iyya (partial will) that has been bestowed upon them, those who will goodness earn blessings, while those willing evil to be created become sinful. Allâhu ta’âlâ willed in eternity to create the deeds of people through their will power. Creation of these deeds through people’s will power means that they are created by the eternal irâda-i ilâhî (Divine Will).”

    http://www.hakikatkitabevi.com/english/english.htm (start to read and find all the answers about afterlife AND TRUTH- you can’t be a defender of truth if you don’t know what is TRUTH..
    read!(it is the command of Allah almighty, in his holy book to his messenger and all the believers, start with this, you will see what i mean inşaAllah… (i saw your profile ‘by chance’ but there is no such thing (coincidence) in İSLAM…
    God helps you…

  42. You may not need religion, but you need God.

  43. People who are not strong enough to stand on their own legs need religious support. All tribal societies have their own form of worship – however primitive it might be. Those who follow religious practices need not be virtuous in the true sense of the word. We must remember that human sacrifices were followed by primitive societies to appease God.

  44. welcometowonderblog says:

    This is so true! Excellent writing.

  45. I shared this with my Facebook friend a because it had so many good points.

  46. This is an excellent article. Really thought-provoking and, I think, extremely accurate.

  47. You do not even need a religious foundation to build on.

  48. Awesome post… i must agree with your point that you do need religion to live an ethical life… lovely posted i enjoyed it…

  49. Eric Russell says:

    It appears we’ve had a visit from the famous Countdown champion turned psychotic stalker. Welcome, Richard. I hope you find the peace you’re looking for.

  50. My mom and grandmother grew up in a very Catholic way, on her death bed my grandmother decided she didn’t need a priest or God to acknowledge that she had lived a good life. I’ve never been very religious because of this, as my mom, shortly afterwards realised what my grandmother had meant.
    I don’t believe that people everywhere in the world are as lucky as us. To us, religion is a choice to either accept or reject. In certain countries, your religious beliefs are predetermined by your parents, surroundings and upbringing. I find this sad as it may not be the best choice for them and it’s something I often think about.
    However, I really enjoyed your post and I’m happy that you have found a way to be happy in your own life, combing science and religion. :)

  51. Annie Simms says:

    I am in agreeable with you, we taught, God is everywhere, I only go to Church when I am so slow I need somewhere to be! I talk to God 24/7, I laugh with God when I do something really stupid that causes me pain, Go is there right beside me. He doesn’t always give me the answer I need, I have to work for, God is everywhere! Great story, loved it!

  52. I really love this- religion can be such a wonderful thing but sometimes it just feels like it’s stuck in the past and isn’t evolving along with us

  53. Bro I am muslim and I am studying medicine….in depth knowledge of science makes you the believer in, The One who created you, Created the big bang and provides all the mechanism and natural cycles…etc the complexity of design of human, insect etc …

  54. I agree… I do choose the church because of fellowship, our children, and to support the church and what it is doing. It also helps to keep me in check when my action at home is lax. I know God strengthens us, and he certainly strengthens me, but I am also human. Also our church has been our family ever since we moved here. I’m thankful for that too!

  55. Great article, and a very interesting perspective. I grew up in a very strict religious household, which I by no means believe is a bad thing, but my feelings towards religion and faith have changed now that I am older. As a child I did not have a choice but now I do. And now that I have that choice my faith has strengthened to a degree I never conceived, and my views on spirituality and religion have changed with it. I think the best thing to do in any case, is what you are doing. Be the person who is asking questions and evoking a discussion.

    Also, I enjoy your writing style. Thank you for sharing!

    Cheers,

    Rebecca

  56. Look at my blog and the campaign!!!

  57. shoshana143 says:

    Totally agree , I was a believer until a few years back , now I choose to have a mind open by wonder . After reading parts of the Bible and Koran I see it as different philosophers writing the same story in different languages . I focus on the good – to choose a side only separates and divide. Religion is meant for you to keep yourself in line not for you to criticize. I find everything about this topic very sad actually as we have been indoctrinated by the media (1percent) when in actual fact it’s not even about religion at all it’s about power and greed .

  58. Supports my action from all over the world.

  59. emalexilyxander says:

    My heart breaks as I read your post. I think your position is the cry of my generation, and, honestly, the Church has no one to blame but ourselves. We teach kiddos how to be “good people” from their earliest days. The fatal flaw in this teaching, though, is that following Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with being “a good person”. Following Jesus is about admitting that we canNOT be a good person, that we need a Savior. Even on my best days, I am impatient with the little people I spend my days with, I complain about my amazing husband, and I bitterly hold grudges against people. All of this falls short of being a good person; a good person would understand that my little people are just learning, and offer grace. A good person would lovingly communicate with my husband when I’m upset rather than venting to my friends when, in reality, most of the time I am upset I am being unfair. A good person would forgive people (even if they are Jesus followers saying mean things about refugees…). Not only that, even my attempts at being good are fueled by selfish motives. I am not a good person. I fall ridiculously short of being a good person. I do not follow Jesus as a self-help strategy to modify my behavior; I follow Jesus because I am infinitely fallible and broken. Sure, I can convince myself and others that I am good by pointing at other people, but when I start examining my motives, the only reason I am pointing at other people is because I know that I have fallen short of being loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. I would feel no need to justify myself if I did not know instinctively that I do not measure up to a perfect standard. I guess my deepest struggle with this article (and the responses) are that the Church has failed deeply to convey the heartbeat of the Gospel. I can totally understand that the Church may seem antiquated or irrelevant, and most of the people reading this will probably disagree. That’s ok. But it’s “my people”, fellow Jesus followers (or those who claim his name, at least) that upset me. They taught a false Gospel, and people are leaving the Church in droves because they’re rejecting the polished (and untrue) version without even hearing what Jesus actually taught.

  60. Annie Simms says:

    I like what you are saying, I have belief in one religion, it once told me I must attend Mass on Sunday, and has the years have rolled on in my life the Sabbath has changed to, Saturday or Sunday, therefore I still have my beliefs as a Christians, but I am open to most Churches to attend Mass, when I feel the need, I will attend the closest to my beliefs and in distance I need to travel. Thank you for your insight into your beliefs into Religion! I enjoyed reading your take on Religion. Cheers

  61. Perhaps a heaven in the sky doesn’t exist so we must make heaven on Earth…http://wp.me/p5IK2v-1F

  62. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Thank you and keep it up!!

  63. Check out my post!😁

  64. Very interesting. Thanks!

  65. This is very true and I entirely agree. Well written, easy to follow and easy to agree with. It’s nice to think and write about topics other people wouldn’t usually choose to write about. Well done!

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