The trouble with Christianity is not that it doesn’t have good intentions. It attracts wounded people and it intends to help them get better, but systemically it is not able. Here is why.
1. Most of the money, energy and time is spent maintaining and preserving the organization. Attracting new members, keeping them happy, and pursuing their goals leave little room for anything else.
2. It produces faux community. The Sunday morning worship hour is segregated and homogenous. It is called family and a body, but it doesn’t really resemble that in function.
3. It’s an organization and the organization’s needs always come first. This poses challenges to healing, growth, and genuine community. An organization cannot love you.
4. It generally is not good at addressing our trauma, because there’s little time left in the schedule for what is necessary to heal from the trauma that it sometimes produces itself.
5. Organizations like the churches are good at covering up and dismissing abuse. The assumption that they’re right and that they are good, gives people a false sense of assurance, and when the organization comes under fire, the organization comes first.
6. All of the traditions, practices and rituals of the church are man-made. But they are promoted as necessary to have them administered by professional clergy which comes at a cost.
7. The church creates a codependency because it feels good to come to church and we develop a low grade addiction to it. However, in the 21st century, all of the services the church provides could be accessed somewhere else for free.
8. The church promotes group think and certainty which stifles growth and healing. Mystery and exploration and questions are not encouraged.
9. Hierarchy and authority in the church are not conducive to growth and healing and promote cult-like behavior. This is not how Jesus modeled the kingdom.
10. The church consistently resists review and assessment, so that every one of the tens of thousands of denominations believe they are right and God is on their side. This is what makes them dangerous and harmful.
11. Indoctrination of children before their brains fully develop is abusive. Modeling how to love your neighbor and treat people correctly is easy and can be done in the home. But “confirming” them by only exposing them to one option is not a healthy practice.
12. Anytime we form an “us” then we automatically create an “other ” that we must compete against.
The widespread abuse in churches is common knowledge. But another almost universal fact is that church success is built on everyone thinking/acting the same way, which stifles growth, creativity and progress. It’s also produces shame and controlling behavior and doesn’t allow for questions and exploration of new ideas.
The decline of organized religion will continue because it can’t be fixed from the inside and those on the inside tend to resist counsel from those that aren’t of their inner circle.
My idea would be that we should pursue a path of exploration and quest for the truth, temporarily giving up religion, then as we grow, it will eventually become apparent whether we need religion at all or not.
Mark your calendars now. Our new book, Out into the Desert, released August 15th.
Be where you are, be who you are,
Photo by Francesco Ungaro: https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-cathedral-under-blue-sky-449015/