I am almost ready to just declare my own religion!

@sharone74 (4839)
United States
January 12, 2007 1:42pm CST
I am a lapsed baptist from the midwest. When I was young my father became a holy-roller Pentecost, I went back to Baptist church from 11-14. Here's my deal. As God truly has no use for any of the money in the collection plate and ministers often do not stand the courage of their convictions and end up in a sense, "putting on a good show" or selling God to people with the affectations and active outreach to bring more people into the church. So in my mind people go to church to gather in the name of the lord. They religiously (pardon the pun) give money to their church so they are obviously buying what the minister is selling. What I want to know is since ministers are in the business of gathering a congregation for money and religious people feel the need to "support the church" with their tithes aren't they gathered in the name of money, commerce, and not really for the uplifting of God. The Bible basically has not changed in at least a few hundred years and since God has no need of my money, He has power and with that kind of power he doesn't need money. And as I feel that the way things are in this day and age church is more about pageantry and socializing with ones "fellows" (some of whom you or your wife hate like poison but are nice as you can be to them). What I'm driving at is religion a matter of "performance" to bring in the audience and fleece them of their money while they are there? Is the pastor with the most popular act the recipient of more money. Why of course. Turn on network television on an early Sunday morning and there is church brought right to your home like some type of entertainment. I've noticed that most churches that are affluent and popular seem to have needs for repairs to this or that, bake sales for this or that need, they get services donated to them on repairs from people in their congregation, they take up collection every Sunday and though all of the services are nice and the worship teams sing and provide the backup act. But who is driving the nicest, biggest,sedan that is parked out in the parking lot? Normally the pastor. He also has quite the nice house and wants for nothing while he ministers to his flock. So if their his flock is he just shearing the sheep for God or for himself.
9 people like this
51 responses
• Canada
12 Jan 07
Excellent discussion! I tend to agree with you. I find the wealth of "the Church" rather disgusting, myself. Churches are not able to operate with zero cash-flow, but some of them sure seem bent on sucking every penny they can get out of people. And, unfortuneately, it is often the people who can least afford it, and who struggle to make ends meet as it is, that give the most to the church. That does not sit well with me at all. The church should be helping those in need, not the other way around.
13 Jan 07
This is so true. My sister used to give a certain amount of her wages to her church. All the leaders had big houses and comfortable life's. The catholic church to me are a business before a religion and many of their followers are poor. I have seen these religious tv programmes from America and its more like Hollywood. The ministers are multi-millionaires and seem very detatched from what believing is all about. A well written discussion that is not out to offend but ask questions in an intellectual manner!!. +
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
13 Jan 07
There are churches that do good things and give help to those in need. There are some very poor perishes out there where the ministers, the priests, and the church are on the very edge of dissolution. But these churches are often the places where you find that faith is strong, and he scent and feel of God's wonder and symetry, and that his work is truly being done here is often strong. I am not saying that if a churches members are middle class as are the shepherds that fleece that flock. When faith is strong in a ministry you see different things evolve. You do not see a minister sittting on his or her can getting big and fat and self-righteous. When you see strong faith, the reason that you see it and recognize it for what it is is that those of strong faith are out there applying it as a balm to their little parts of the Universe. Those with faith go out and use it! They minister to the poor, the hungry, to families that have nothing, as well as to their congregation and usually their ministry is not based on it's efforts to have a huge congregation that gives but to give it back to the community that they serve. My fiancee' was a minister for over 15 years. Now he is not quite sure what he believes. As far as I can tell anyway. He rarely speaks of the church that he was a part of but that may be because his wife still owns it and still pastors there.
@soadnot (1606)
• Canada
12 Jan 07
actually, jesus is a copy of "mithra". the story of his birth, son of god, baptisim all that is copied from mithraism. research it!
1 person likes this
@nuffsed (1274)
12 Jan 07
It might be useful to say why we should research it. Is one lot of hocum any more reliable than another? As I've said before.. If there's a judge, that judge will know how we lived and judge accordingly. That is the point isn't it? You want a church? It's your church. 'T'aint no judges church!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jan 07
Nah, just shared memories... handed down in all lands..
• United States
13 Jan 07
...memories of the promise made in eden... the flood, etc..
@Shar11 (419)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Out of respect for a close friend I attended a Sunday morning church service at her church while visiting her for the weekend... The minister began to talk about the crucifixtion of Jesus in great gory detail...He went on about the suffering, the pain, and the torture..Even as a non Christian person I found this very painful to listen to..It was very sad...And the whole room fell silent with sadness and pain with his account of Jesus's last moments...He began shouting out that "Jesus did this for you" and then began shouting "Now what will you do for Jesus?" Like a well orchestrated ballet, at that very moment, the ushers came walking down the isles with those long armed collection cups...I watched people with tears in thier eyes giving whatever they had.. To me it felt like this man was using guilt... What bothered me most was this church was in a very poor part of town and I know a lot of these people probably needed anything and everything they had..Yet this minster owns a huge house near the beach...I don't know..it just didnt sit right with me...The church got a new make-over this past summer..they also have an organ that is the most outrageous thing I have ever seen and pay someone $50,000 a year to play it once a week...grrrr...I know they do things for the poor like pot luck suppers but most of the members bring the food...so where does that money go??
@iloveit (316)
• Canada
12 Jan 07
people use and play with religion and others emotions. They dont care if the neighborhood they are collecting money in the name of religion is poor. All they care about is money so I am not surprised. Its happening everywhere.
1 person likes this
• Ghana
13 Jan 07
Hi PLS CALL ME ON BY NO 233244074586 THANKS AMA TERRY
@iloveit (316)
• Canada
14 Jan 07
Whats with the calling? Why should anyone call you in Ghana?
@aiguy01 (589)
• United States
12 Jan 07
First off I am not a practicing Christian so I have nothing to defend here but in the interest of common sense and fair play. Everyone knows the money is not for God but for the Church to grow and to be able to do more good works. It may be building another church sending missionaries to some other part of the world to preach the word. It may be to pay for the broadcast time for that expensive TV show. Their goal or what should be their goal is to use the money to maximize the power of good and reach as many people as they can. Sometimes an auto dealer instead of donating money donates a demo car to the church and maybe that's why the preacher is driving a new car. A certain percent of the take does get send up to the next level and they do keep a war chest of money for emergencies like priest man/boy lawsuits, etc... A poor person could walk into any church in this country and ask for help and in a most cases the church would have some program to help that person or their family even if that person had no affiliation with the church. Try to do that in a government office and see what happens. I know people who were so down and out that they had to sign themselves into a mental facility for observation to keep from sleeping on the street,
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Jan 07
Everyone wants to know "what's being done with my money/tithes"; well as you said; look at the list or ask your churches secretary to see a report on finances. It's your right as a member to see how it's doled out. And NO God does not need our money....just our obedience in paying tithes, and trusting Him."
1 person likes this
@forfein (2508)
12 Jan 07
WOW! Interesting discussion!! I am going to be interested to read some of your responses!! The sad, but true, part of your post, is the fact that the Church is indeed NOT poor!! I dont know about the US but here in the UK the Church OWNES a vast amount of England!!! Always has!! And it is DEFINATELY not poor! I have had a similar thought about this myself on more than one occassion!! Like.......... If I want to "Worship God" do I HAVE to go to Church to do so?? Like I said..... Interesting post!
@iloveit (316)
• Canada
12 Jan 07
I really suggest you do your study about religion and instead of discovering your own try and study the ones which are already there, create by God for us humans. I really love how some people have discovered religion that they were far away from and never though existed. Read about Cat Stevens (the famous singer), I am sure you will like what he says... http://www.mountainoflight.co.uk/ quote: "I found a religion that blended scientific reason with spiritual reality in a unifying faith far removed from the headlines of violence, destruction and terrorism."
1 person likes this
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I have studied and I have read. I have faith in God and the beauty of his works, I just know that there is any organized religion out there that encompasses nor addresses all of what I believe about God and heaven and earth nor addresses the issues I have with what I do not choose to believe. When several of their core beliefs are challenged they fail to sally forth and answer the challenge they just call the question heresy or blasphemy but they do not use either the bible or the strength of their experience and faith to explain anything. And year after year the priests and the pastors set about dogmatically repeating the same "traditional" thing every year.
• Melbourne, Florida
12 Jan 07
I went from S. Baptist to Catholic. That was enough to make my young mind spin. After that a friend and I hired a Rabbi to teach us Hebrew so we could study the bible in it's original language. Now the bible makes sense to me. When things are translated to other languages meanings get confused, and much is left to the perception of the translator. Since then I have studied many religions and found that in all of them there are certain truths that repeat themselves over and over. I consider these to be God's truths, and the rest is just doctrine and traditions. The number one truth that I have come to know is the God is Love, and God is WAY TOO BIG for any one religion.
1 person likes this
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
16 Jan 07
i will agree with that!
• Australia
12 Jan 07
One of the saddest things in today's society is the hypocrisy and corruption which has entered the Church. One reminder: A counterfeiter does not copy a one dollar note. He copies the best. Just because there are counterfeit $50 and $100 notes around, you don't throw out the good with bad. Please don't throw out the good with the bad when it comes to Churches. There are genuine Churches and genuine Christians. Since there is emphasis on the money side, I would state that many Churches I have attended do NOT have a collection. The one I regularly attend does have a collection, but visitors are asked to let it pass by, because it is for those members who choose to help support the Church. They is no pressure and no compulsion or even persuasion. Having said that, I have also been sickened by some of the "big name" so-called televangelists who DO put such an emphasis on money, so I know where you are coming from. I merely repeat my plea: Don't judge ALL Churches by those. There ARE genuine.
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I know there are, but often they are a smaller version of the same thing. There are those congregations that are led by and peopled by people of faith. then there are those that are not. I have seen many poor churches that are fed and fueled by faith and I have also seen many churches full of not the righteous but the self righteous that are putting on a show for the neighbors or even because they think that they are fooling God maybe. In the end we will see who is righteous and who is not.
• United States
12 Jan 07
Wow! Sharone we have the exact same story. My dad was a baptist minister, and was kicked out of his church when he became "Spirit Filled"/Pentecostal. We most definitely could share some stories. Check out my blog at ironsharpensiron.blogspot.com. Love to here more, Doug
1 person likes this
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
16 Jan 07
my mom was pissed i was glad when they divorced and i didn'thave to go to church anymore.
@nuffsed (1274)
12 Jan 07
Well performance aint sommat you can accuse dem Christian folks of. But they're just as likely to be taking money out of the pouch when it goes around! But we envy the black folks churches 'cos they know how to lay on a sing song and they get on down when they do !!! Why wouldn't that encourage a bigger crowd? Yes Sharon, you get a pretty line up of deep-throated girls and call on them big old boys to dig deep into their wallets for the salvation of the community, I'm sure you'll get off to a flying start. A blatant appeal to wealthy young studs wouldn't go amiss. There would be those that don't approve but a pretty pastor with a talent for verse, is going to out dollar some swarthy smooth-talker with a leaky roof!! lol.
1 person likes this
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I have rearely seen an attractive pastor. But yes I would make a great pastor and I would definitely appeal to men with moeny. However I couldn't sell them a bill of goods. Just the belief that God is good and that he truly cares. I wouldn't be wealthy or even well to do. As I am the owner of faith I would spend it as fast as I got it building schools, helping the needy, and feeding the hungry.
@pizzoli (3368)
• Italy
12 Jan 07
i have no religion at the moment i am becoming agnostic
1 person likes this
@sharone74 (4839)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Becoming agnostic is not soething you can do as agnostisism is the absence of a network of spiritual beliefs. If you have ever believed in God and seen the spirit of God in yourself and those around you I think it is almost impossible to unsee. But agnostics do not gather and they do not pe=reach or teach. So to be an agnostic is one thing, to become agnostic really quite another.
• Sri Lanka
13 Jan 07
New religions are cropping up all the time. For instance I can remember Jehova's Witnesses begining and condemning a collection box going round the church. But they get lump sum donations from their followers. So many people started new religions. Jesus, Mohamed, Sai Baba were among them. After sometime it changes into a fad or a business. This is the same in a revlution. Someone takes up arms with a good intention. Later it becomes a way of life and a means of income.
• Australia
13 Jan 07
s5talk the flock. heaven and hell is just to scare kids. do what thou wilt that is the law. ive been talking to the spirits latley the cops shot my mate few days ago. noone has seen or met or heard some big brother like voice yet. stalk the flock do what thou want that is the law
1 person likes this
@ambuvs (100)
• India
13 Jan 07
we cant individually declare a religion. all the religions are formed long time back. god is a true thing and we have to trust it .
1 person likes this
@BDnLacy (324)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I so agree with you. It is one thing for the members of a church to give offers to support the church but when the preachers comes to church and he's driving a brand new catilac, and has no other means of income. I see a big problem.. I have heard preachers say that it is God's will that the congregation supports him as he spends his time saving souls. But um wasn't Jesus a carpenter? Then you see these churches that are just ouragously hugh. I don't mean the ones that have been around for hundreds of years and got they way because of its place in the community. I mean the ones that jsut spring up out of no where. I personal do go to a big church. The church we go to is only 3 rooms and the preacher has been the same for 20 years. I'm not bashing or saying people that attend large churches are bad people by no means.
1 person likes this
@manong05 (5029)
• Philippines
13 Jan 07
It's very sad to hear comments like these about churches and I hear the same words many times. I agree with all that you guys said, some churches are really making money. It's also true though that there are many people who find their lives in the church. They found purpose and meaning and are very much comfortable in the church and are willing to give to help the church in the expenses. Bitter experiences like the ones you mentioned are common but it will not make me leave a church where I consider my family where the members put God first in their lives. If ever there are undesirable things that happen within the church, we should seek ways to change it for we are all human beings trying to seek means to meet our spiritual needs. There are good churches, there are not good ones. Anyway, we must be extra careful we don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
1 person likes this
@sigma77 (5385)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Interesting topic. I think you are right in some instances. I beleive that the Catholic church is one of the richest organizations on the planet. They own tons of real estate around the world. I think most of the network minister's are out to get all they can by presenting the fear-of-God factor. Pepole get scared and respond by sending in the $$, in a way hoping to buy salvation. You could certainly start your own religion. That is why there are thousands of them now. Preach anything you want and you will find someone to follow. That is the problem. Anyone can use the fear factor(like going to hell) and get people scared to be without religion...lest they burn in the fires of hell. I would like to tithe to a church in the future. I think it is one way of creating more prosperity for one's self. Giving to a good cause is a way to get even more in return. However, I certainly wouldn't want to pay for the minister's Caddy and vacation home in Hawaii. Religion, by its very nature, provides an easy way for a minister or preacher to use fear to get a following of brainwashed patrons. I sometimes think that God is laughing at all this religious nonsense. That is because God is all there is and everything in the universe is connected to God. There is no need to live in fear of punishment, those are human qualities. Spirit is pure energy...it can't be created or destroyed. It is love, it is already all it ever needs to be.
• United States
13 Jan 07
I tithe and give to my Church in offerings because they are biblical principles set forth in the word of God -- but no one is twisting my arm to do it or telling me I can't go to Church if I don't tithe or give. It is true that God doesn't need money, but He knew we would and he asks for 10% of the blessings that He provides, that 10% is to be used for the upkeep of the Church etc. Once I put my money in offering plate I have given it back to God for His use and the furthurment of His Kingdom. Those who are taking advantages will be revealed. Trust me God is in control, sees all things, knows all things, and has numbered the very hairs on your head and mine. I find myself wondering Why intelligent people, with a choice, in this wonderful country of ours choose to stay in this places that you are describing -- If you are in a Churcn and feel your are a sheep being sheared for the Leader of that Church get out, or better yet ask God to reveal the issues and remove that man from the pulpit. One question what is a holy roller Pentecostal? I'm curious :)
@meme0907 (3481)
• United States
13 Jan 07
That is precisely why I don't follow "organized" religon-I love the Lord,pray & read but as far as going to church I watch the shepherds chapel online to get my knowledge-he's not one of those jack leg preachers who begs for money he just does pure bible teaching line by line verse by verse
1 person likes this
@rein2410 (809)
• Australia
13 Jan 07
well. it is true that God Himself does not need the money. But the money that we give to the church, if we intending to give all that money for God, then we will be blessed. Well, whats the money for, its for God's work. Well, God will work in this world with money and that is why money is one of the thing that u can give to God, but the most important thing is not how much money u give to GOD. But whats ur feeling when u give away the money, were u happily giving it? if not, then it would be in vain.
1 person likes this
@emisle (3823)
• Ireland
13 Jan 07
I'm Catholic but don't necessarily follow the religion. I believe in God and treating others like I would like to be treated. And apart from that I don't go out of my way to 'worship' as such. I think religion has caused so much tension between certain people and it's quite tragic that something that is supposed to enhance people's lives can also destroy others.
1 person likes this