I heard a CNN reporter over the weekend speak about diminishing interest in organized religion for individuals in highly developed nations; that the more educated the people of a nation are, the more likely they are to reject organized religion. This is not necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, rejecting organized religion for the sake of embracing an authentic, personal relationship with God is revolutionary.
History paints a bleak picture of organized religion and its influence upon humanity. Wars, genocide, oppression, intolerance, and plain old meanness can all be linked to organized religion.
Wikipedia defines Religion as a cultural system that creates powerful and long-lasting meaning, by establishing symbols that relate humanity to beliefs and values. Are you interested in a cultural system that creates meaning? Aren’t you more interested in knowing your Creator; establishing a powerful and long-lasting, meaningful relationship with Divinity? I am skeptical of religious leaders who impose their dogma on the weak-minded, dripping in false motives, twisted truth, and a lust for power. How can that change lives?
Enter Jesus Christ. He was so outspoken against the organized religion of his day that the religious leaders plotted to take his life! He used adjectives like, hypocrites, vipers, sons of hell, and blind guides to describe them. He said they concerned themselves with appearances but neglected inward character. (Matthew 23) If you’ve ever thought the Bible had no relevance in this post-modern era – think again!
I attend church regularly. I place a high value on gathering with like-minded people and intentionally setting aside time to worship. There is power in individual worship and prayer that increases exponentially when hundreds of people join together with the singular focus of bringing glory to God. If you’ve never been in an environent with a bunch of people worshiping the Almighty God, you are missing out on something really juicy!
I sit under excellent teaching. It is pure and untainted with weird passive-aggressive undertones intended to guilt or shame people into action. It is truth presented in a way that is consistent with Gods word and consonant with Gods character. I love going to church; but I certainly don’t shut my brain off when I walk through the doors. I think that would be a travesty and not at all what God expects from magnificently created children.
Christianity, my chosen faith, can most certainly fall into the category of organized religion. There are those who attend church as a ritual, or use this beautiful faith as a superstition with no intention of honestly seeking God. If that is your approach, you will never know the life-changing, hope-giving, joy-inducing power that comes from an authentic relationship with the Giver of Life.
I believe rejecting organized religion means that people are thinking for themselves, and that is a good thing. Relationship with the Divine is deeply personal, and if you’re trying to achieve a vital, powerful, meaningful, authentic relationship with your Creator by riding on the wave of another person or organization who seems to have achieved it, you will be disappointed. You have to be the seeker. You must be the one searching with your whole heart. Only then will you find what you are looking for.
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
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