Church Activity IS NOT About Religion!by jason on Jan. 13, 2012, under Abortion, Arizona Families, Art & Culture, Biblical Inerrancy, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Clarity, Creationism, Gay Marriage, God & Bible, History, Language, Religion, Sanity, Separation of Church & State, That's Life!, Willful Ignorance
Here’s the latest from Richard Johnson:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, gathering at church – indeed at any “place of worship” – has never been primarily about practicing religion; rather such activity reflects our social nature. We strive to be with others under all sorts of banners. Church happens to be a common gathering place because historically it is central to most communities. Our nature is to wonder about our existence but this is hardly the reason we congregate at church. Much more pressing is how our town or neighborhood is faring in, say, a time of economic depression or in a period of drought. We look forward not so much to hearing sermons as to being with our fellows when we celebrate the birth of a child and when we seek consolation in the death of a family member; we connect with our neighbors because we want to know how they are getting on. Religion is a sub-theme. If you are a churchgoer, really ask yourself: why do you want to be there?
Unfortunately, gathering under the banner of religion is a divisive practice that harkens back to our tribal origins. For thousands of years, humankind survived in part because groups banded together in solidarity according to birth heritage. Civilization has advanced rendering our existence less dependent on family and ethnicity. There are thirty-four thousand distinct flavors of Christianity (let alone the thousands of non-Christian beliefs). The distinctions are often nothing more than a delineation of specific scriptural foundations. In the current day, many fundamentalist sects cloister under endorsement of social prohibitions which would ban gay marriage and limit a woman’s reproductive rights. Think about it. Does it really make sense to find support in ancient texts (which condoned slavery and abuse of women) for condemnation of same sex relationships and denying women autonomy over their own bodies? Isn’t it grasping at straws to justify bigoted and repressive views?
The notion that churches are the wellspring of charity is a myth. Charity is a human trait. Most of us, whoever we are and wherever we live, want to aid our fellows when they are in crisis. The charitable work of churches is to be commended but it is because of their humanity not divine commandment that it is so.
Religion is a distraction and distortion at church gatherings. A religious service is much like a commercial during television programming. Now a word from our sponsor, clergy seems to intone. And we suffer though some wrecking of our psyche by a minister or priest reminding us of our “sinful nature” and our absolute dependence on illusory agents.
We need to do better than this. Fire the sponsor and decommission the spokespeople for archaic fictional gods. Promote and enhance our humanity.