This post is about how religious institutions stubbornly cling to their doctrine. Religion ABSOLUTELY hate admitting they got it wrong. This post will look deeper into that and try to understand why they do that.
But let’s start out with a more basic question, just where did most current day religious beliefs come from? I don’t think there are many church members who realize where their teachings originated, but then again I don’t think most really care. (More on that subject in next Sunday’s post.)
One thing I have discovered from my study of religious history is that they move at the speed of frozen molasses when it comes to admitting they got it wrong. It took more than three-hundred years for the Catholic Church to official acknowledge that the earth is not the center of the universe. In the news article shown below Pope John Paul said that the 17th-century theologians were just working with the knowledge available to them “at the time”. Those words were probably as close as we will ever get to a religious establishment leader admitting that much of church doctrine was established by men, not God.
Let’s look at some examples of things that can, even today, get you kicked out of a church:
- Having Vitro Fertilization
- Practicing Birth Control
- Believing the earth is more than 6,000 years old
- Praying with others who are not members of your praticular church
- Being a homosexual
- Doubting that every word in the Bible is absolutely true
- Not believing the universe was created in seven 24-hour days.
- Listening to music
- Doubting that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages (Jesus’ first miracle was to create an alcoholic beverage)
- Committing suicide
- Helping someone commit suicide. (Euthanasia)
- Having sex outside of marriage
- (the list could go on to almost infinity…)
In fact, Jesus was kicked out of his church and was even crucified because he said things against church doctrine.
Thomas Aquinas who lived in the 11th century was the author of much of current Christian doctrine and tenets. But that fact is little known by most church members. Another little known fact is that he had serious doubts in his final years about what he had spent his life writing. See more about that in the box below.
“Straw” is a term theologian often used to say something is of little value. Martin Luther proclaimed that the Epistles of James in the Christian Bible were epistles of straw and not to be believed because it contradicted his self-proclaimed beliefs. It seems strange that the Lutheran church now contradicts their founder and proclaims ALL the bible, including the Books of James, was written by God.
To close out this post, the point of all that has proceeded here is that, yes, there are certain beliefs that are critical to Christian faith but there are also far to many beliefs that are “straw’.
I like Gandhi’s words from last Sunday’s post that says there are fundamental beliefs that must be upheld but everything else is, to one degree or another, superfluous. So, I stick to the title of last weeks post.
We don’t need less religion, we need better religion
We need religion that sticks to the fundamentals and quits alienating people with stuff that really doesn’t matter that much. We don’t need a long list of things you MUST believe. In fact, Jesus made it clear that the list was very short. To me, that is a simple path to making a better religion.