Does God Need a Church?

In my part of the world, “churches” (read: pastors) are clamoring for the right to open their doors as CV-19 (supposedly) winds down. They are complaining that their congregations need a place to gather and console one another, and without it they are “suffering irreparable harm.”

According to them, “The public interest is furthered by allowing people to fully exercise their right to worship and conduct their business.” (Emphasis mine)

Since our State Governor disagrees, they have filed lawsuits.

An attorney who represents two of the local churches claims the coronavirus restrictions made sense in the beginning, but continuing to extend a ban that prevents churchgoers from “assembling at their places of worship is too great an infringement on their constitutional rights.”

By the way, as a reminder, the First Amendment to the Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, and it may not prohibit the free exercise of religion.

From my perspective, neither of these “rights” come into play here. Especially the second one since no one is being prohibited from exercising their religion … they’re just not being allowed to do it within a designated building.

This attorney further claims the Governor’s orders imply that church services, weddings, and youth group meetings are not essential — and then he goes on to compare them with places like Costco or Home Depot (that have been allowed to stay open).

(I’m not sure I get the connection … ??)  

He goes on to say that “churches do a lot for people’s spiritual and emotional and mental health.” Hmmm. Does the “church” do this … or does their God?

Considering all this, the question that comes to my mind is … why do God-Lovers (or at least their leaders) insist they need a place to pray and worship their imaginary being? Didn’t Jesus say “I am with you always?” Or did I miss that part where he added … so long as you’re in a church building?

Of course the bottom line to all this isn’t that people need a place to worship. It’s that  Church Leaders are suffering –just like the many other “non-essential” workers– and they’re trying to use religion to get around the Governor’s restrictions.

So what else is new in the world of Christianity?

63 thoughts on “Does God Need a Church?

  1. Apparently that god is not omnipresent. You have to go somewhere so he can hear you. So, we wander around asking “Can you hear me now?” “How about now?” And his service is so lousy we can’t really hear him anywhere. He must have struck a deal with ATT Cellular.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I don’t believe that churches and churchgoers have any more rights than anyone else. However, the coronavirus experience has shown and studies have proved that lockdowns aren’t effective. Besides, many governors don’t have the constitutional right to lockdown their states over something like the coronavirus. As it turns out, lockdowns were never instituted in South Dakota, Sweden and many other parts of the world, without adverse effects. So, it seems like we’re debating the wrong issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your comment/viewpoint doesn’t surprise me. You’ve written similarly on your blog. I happen to disagree … but I will leave it at that.

      In any case, thank you for stopping by and sharing your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nan, have you mentioned to chicagoja your ADDENDUM below? It’s quite obvious what reality is showing…

        Lockdown = fewer infections versus Open churches = more infections.

        If that doesn’t drive home reality, as opposed to news a person WANTS to find/read, then maybe nothing will work for blind Faithers™ and their biases. Oh well, maybe someone will pray for the praying. 😉 😈

        Liked by 3 people

    • For the last week the country has recorded more deaths per capita than any other European nation. It has 6.25 deaths per million inhabitants, higher than even the United Kingdom, which records 5.75 deaths per million, according to Reuters.

      There. Fixed at least that much of your comment. Funny how what’s true keeps doing that.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Constitutional right? Why do you think that trumps the law of the land, especially when it is for saving lives? Americans are wound up in constitutions, religion and guns making them the most…..I will be nice….commented country on the planet. Of course Trump also adds a huge amount of flavour.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings from the next door to Sweden. Here in Finland we have had an almost total lock down from early stages of the pandemic. We have a very similar society to that of Sweden, and no wonder our country was a part of the Swedish kingdom for several hundred years. As it happens we compear ourselves all the time and in every aspect to the Swedes. Typically the general sentiment is, that they make everything just a little bit better than we do. However our death rate is completely opposite to that of Sweden. We have about 300 dead, while the Swedes have over ten times that, so I would say there has been “adverse effects” at least to them. The lockdown has literally saved lives here.

      To me, it seems the sole reason why Sweden chose this fatal method of dealing with the pandemic, is because they never had any choise. Sweden survived WWII without having to fight and as a result, they are not a very crisis conscious society. Maybe this is the same for the US, because there has not been wars on US soil in such a long time. The Swedish army today has been reduced to exist to support Swedish military industry a transfer of public funds to the owners of the military industry. (Much like the US military they have a lot of expensive tecnology, but lacking real punch.) This is due, to them not expecting to end up in any sort of crisis. Same applies to their ability to face a pandemic. They simply did not have any spare emergency hospital units. They are a two times bigger nation in comparrison to us, but they only had a capacity for some third of emergency places for the seriously ill. As other nations, like Finland, have been struggling from the onset to limit the spread of the disease so, that our national healthcare could take care of all the sick people not surpassing our capacity, the Swedes never had that option. Their capacity would never have been enough anyway. Their elderly people have really paid the price and are continuing to pay it.

      Of course I have to admit, that there is one or two cultural differences between Sweden and Finland that affect the situation. One is, that the Swedes are open and social people who like to give and recieve hugs, while the Finns have a traditional cultural expectation for social distancing. Another is, that the Swedes are highly critical people, who prefer to discuss any suggestions and do not take anything merely on authority, while the Finns are preset to rely on our authorities. But these differences are more of a cause to why the two countries chose a different approach, and it is due to the approach that the result of how much people per capita have died, not due to the cultural differences themselves as such.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Remember, chicagoja assures us that the pandemic is a myth, that it isn’t even a virus, that the CDC peddles nothing but lies, that the death rate is no different than what we would expect from any flu, that any kind of stay at home order doesn’t work, and so on. His use of Sweden as an example demonstrates this, which is why I corrected him. He just peddles lies and disinformation under the guise of being an ethical warrior seeking out the truth – exactly what he isn’t – and uses quote mining and other misrepresentations from legitimate sources to shape a narrative that align’s with Trump’s. When corrected with facts, like a good little rapturous automaton, he ignores them and carries on with peddling his reality denying beliefs.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Lockdowns have Shown to be effective and that’s all we have until hopefully we get a vaccine. The call to open churches is based on greed. Would they have us think that we can only worship in buildings designated as houses of worship. It’s as plain as the nose on any reasoning persons face . It’s all about money. Those inclined can pray and worship anytime and anyplace.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. There are a few churches nationwide that are outspoken and drawing attention to the Christian faith as a whole. Most of the churches around this nation are within compliance. Whether they like it or not, is another story. There are MANY churches that have rose up and are truly being the hands and feet of Jesus during this time. The problem with the outspoken ones is what they are saying is not even biblical. Jesus never spoke of building a church building. The word church was put into the bible when it was being translated into the 1st King James Version. Jesus spoke to Peter and said, “On this rock, I will be my ecclesia”. Which means called out ones. Jesus never took root inside of any church. Churches were formed because people were escaping persecution. They could not worship openly. So they went to a secret place where they all could gather and worship. are rebelling against this lockdown. God did not make a building 1st and say “Let me make a building in my image.” In fact, God hates most structured idols. He said, “let me make man in my image.” The “church” was always the people. The building is where you go to hide and pretend in front of others that you got it all together.

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  5. God doesn’t need a church. A truly omnipotent being wouldn’t need anything. But the pastors and other “shepherds” need it, and the panoply of ritual and scolding which can only proceed effectively within it, to keep their human flocks obedient and believing and willing to donate money.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. I would like to amend my last remark.

    In the interest of scientific research what better control group could you ask for. This could provide much needed data points on the efficacy of claims of protection/immunity from communicable diseases or any other medical related malady.

    Liked by 2 people

    • and it will prove that prayer and fervent ministers and fervent believers are just as dead at the end, and no prayer is going to prevent that from happening. And I am sure that more than one mourner/minister/whatEVER has said, at the end, “at least he went to his maker in joy”. yep. oh, GOOD, Im dead…

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Ah, if only those crowding into re-open churches were the ONLY ones to become infected and enter the pearly gates of Heaven to live in eternal bliss with their Lord’nSavior, Jeebus Christ! Unfortunately, the buggers will become infected and spread the virus to those not interested in hangin’ wit da’ Lord’nSavior in Heaven for all eternity. Having witnessed a person die from Covid-19, there’s nothing I can wish more on those who think it’s “fake” news or “just da’ flu”. I find it deeply unfortunate said people are not the ONLY ones suffering and dying from this virus. A damn shame, really, as the human gene pool would greatly benefit from their swift and timely demise. $Amen$

    Liked by 7 people

  8. ADDENDUM (from The Washington Post):

    Two churches in Georgia and Texas, states that have been at the forefront of reopening, have now closed their doors again. Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga., resumed in-person services and later decided to suspend them after several families became infected despite the church’s social-distancing and cleaning precautions. Houston-based Holy Ghost Parish has canceled services indefinitely after one of its priests died and five other members tested positive for the virus.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I heard about this. The Houston church is Catholic, which makes it an unusual exception. The Catholic hierarchy has actually closed most of its churches during he pandemic.

      I suspect that’s because the virus is especially dangerous to older and immuno-compromised people. The Catholic clergy is mostly elderly and their HIV-positive rate is almost ten times that of the general population. Apparently they’re not all that eager to meet their maker.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Based on the word from medical professionals, you’re absolutely correct about the older (and unhealthy) folks being more susceptible to the virus. Which is unfortunate. Not so much for the older folk, but because the “younger” generation takes it as a sign of their potential immunity.

        And this is why we’re experiencing all this hullabaloo about “opening up.”

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Risking that someone above/below has already mentioned this and my time for the long, long list of catching up on Followed blogs is daunting tonight… The very first thing I thought on this Nan was…

    But isn’t the Almighty multi-omni-ed Christian God/Father/Son in COMPLETE control of all things, people, animals, Earth, etc, etc, and even bacteria and complex molecular systems like viruses, LETHAL viruses!? Therefore, it follows that their God does NOT want them to gather, cluster, ignore required social-distancing in order to—wait… here it comes—SAVE lives!?

    Riddle me this please?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Some of them believe the God who controls viruses will protect them if they believe in him hard enough (and with the correct theological nit-picks). Some of them still believe the whole thing is a hoax and there’s nothing to worry about. Some of them believe he wants them to worship him in the prescribed traditional way, danger be damned — as if the creator of a universe of a hundred billion galaxies each containing hundreds of billions of solar systems would be so concerned about the adoration offered by a few of the inhabitants of our relatively tiny planet. In short, they’re a lot better at believing than thinking.

      Liked by 7 people

    • My thought: their god has decided it is time to get rid of all his false worshippers by destroying the churches and religions that are more interested in collecting money from their congregants than giving them any true spiritual guidance. This especially includes all those TV evangelists who own their own jets and live in mansions while those they bilk live in squaplor, desperate for food and clothing.
      Sounds like a good idea to me.

      Like

      • What I find very entertaining—bordering on clinical psychosis—is that during a major crisis/catastrophe such as this most every Christian calls another Christian a “false worshiper” and both Christians are using the same ammo/source (their Bible) to back it up. 😄

        Reminds me of that scene in the 2005 film V for Vendetta when after V made his recorded speech across the entire nation’s emergency channel, when the police broke into the broadcast studio, smoke everywhere, suddenly all hostages have capes on with Guy Fawkes masks on!!!! 🤣 HOLY EFFIN HELL! They’re all Christians! 😉

        Yeah rawgod, sounds like Natural Selection working wonderfully! 😈🤭

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  10. I think the pastors are more afraid the parishioners will realize they do fine without them, which they are. It’s hard to maintain control of the flock and income stream without meeting oft

    Liked by 3 people

  11. If I substitute either a bomb threat call, or a real bomb for the virus in any house of worship (the one closest to me has a sign on the door that armed guards are present for your safety), would they still object to precautions to keep them (and the rest of us) safe? Maybe some would. Maybe they would feel their god would protect them. I think (hope) most would be happy to allow the bomb squad to make things safe.
    Is it such a leap of logic to say ‘we have this highly contagious and deadly virus we need to protect you from?’
    I am an advocate for physician assisted suicide (PAS), but not for preacher assisted.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Nan, all the judgmental comments made against churches and pastors aside here, you’re right that the church is not the building, it’s the people. So, the comments that we don’t need to gather in a certain place are technically correct. But the church is relational, like a family, so we should come together to encourage one another, worship, etc. That said, the somewhat unique danger a gathering congregation presents is when everyone is singing (probably without masks on), which would make the virus more airborne (if present) than, say, going to a store (where people presumably aren’t singing enmasse). Another challenge is the kids playing together (probably not going to following social distancing). All of this makes it very difficult to keep a safe environment in a church setting.

    We have never stopped meeting online. We meet every week through Zoom and other social media. In some ways, we’ve gotten to know each other better through it all. Even though we legally can meet in our state right now (our state was never totally shut down), we don’t intend to do so. We may have some occasional outdoor gatherings in a park during the summer as things open up further and we can do so safely. All leaders that I know of are trying to the right thing in a safe way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mel. Appreciate your comment … and I’m hoping others that read it will be charitable and not berate your position.

      I don’t disagree that church gatherings are relational. And I do understand the desire (need?) to congregate together to share and commiserate. However, the primary point of my post was that millions of people are suffering from the shutdown due to being unable to work. Yet these pastors are using religion to justify THEIR need for income ahead of others who are suffering just as much and perhaps more.

      I do appreciate that you are using online meetings. It speaks to your concern for the health and well-being of your congregation.

      I hope you and yours stay well and safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nan, nice post and agree with what you say, however do not be so nice to this man Mel Wild, he bans every comment I make on his website and probably many other atheists who comment. He has two faces, does not like to be commented on what he writes on his own site but is keen to give his two bobs worth on a non-religious site that we all visit.

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        • I’m glad you liked my post.😀 Interestingly, there was a letter in our local newspaper yesterday that addressed this very topic. The difference being it was written by someone who supported the idea that churches are “essential” and should be allowed to open. (Bet you’ll never guess the person’s religious leanings!)

          Sidenote — I am well aware of Mel and his blog actions, and while I may not agree with them, when he or any believer visits my blog, remains polite, and doesn’t defy my blog rules, they are going to be granted space and civility.

          Liked by 2 people

  13. I look at this situation the same way that I now look at belief itself. If a god exists that wants us to do something, it would be done. If that god wanted us to believe in him/her, we would. Why? Because that god would make themselves known to all people and we would have no choice but to accept their existence. If that god wanted the churches to be open, those doors would never have closed in the first place. A powerful being such as a god would not need us to do all of the work or to fight on their behalf. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? If people stopped doing all of that work, then the gods of all religions would cease to exist. There is only evidence of people working, doing and helping. There is no evidence that a god has ever done one single thing. It is, and has always been, just us doing all of the work.

    If people want to pray, they are free to do so. That not an issue. The issue has always been the desire of the believers to make a public spectacle of it. Doing that in these times is not only unnecessary, but dangerous as well. All people, religious or not, need other people. It’s human nature. The desire to be around other like-minded people is not unique to religion. In these uncertain times, we are all suffering in that respect…just ask my teenage son who has been out of school and away from his friends for months now.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Nan, as a Christian, one of my biggest pet peeves is bigotry from the pulpit, when a minister uses his power to divide and condemn others. Flouting the law which is designed to protect people ranks as poor stewardship as well. One of the tenets of the Christian bible is to be law biding citizens. So, a minister who encourages breaking a law that puts people at risk, is doing a disservice to the congregation.

    In my home town, many ministers are supporting the ban. Yet, there are a few who are tearing up cease and desist orders. To be brutally frank, when ministers act in this way, it is time to find a new church. Again, a word I use often is “stewardship.” Our leaders must be good stewards, otherwise they are betraying a trust. The president would fall into this category, as his misinformation (which includes not wearing a mask) betrays the public trust.

    In my charity work and consulting work, I have met some of the very finest ministers who help people. They walk the talk. I have also met some who are more self-serving. And, for a couple I know, self-serving is kind.

    To your larger point, one need not belong to a church to be pious or practice one’s religion.

    Good post, Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Keith. I know I can get a bit snarky, but dang! There are people, times, and/or events that sometimes just bring it out of me. 😉

      I admit since leaving the faith, it’s often difficult for me to be charitable towards those who (say they) follow Christian tenets. Too many tend to follow their own version and leave out the parts that might inconvenience them.

      In any case, I appreciate your comments … and your honesty.

      Like

      • I personally don’t care if a person wants to believe in a higher power or not, I can get along with most anyone. But what really “ticks me off” is when believers define atheists in their own fashion, but never in the fashion any atheist would define themselves. They are quite content to lie about us, rather than get to know who we are. Anytime I read such tripe, I respond, even though it never seems to help.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Thanks Nan. Everyone is imperfect. Saying one believes something is different than walking the talk. I am reminded of going to midnight mass with my best friend. The priest would wish the packed house “happy Easter” as well, as he knew he would not see many of the folks in the audience until next December 24. My mother was as fine a person as I know, walking the talk. But, she was imperfect, too. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Keitlh,
      Didn’t Jesus say something like wherever two people gather in worship, there I will be? Churches are a convenience, a want rather than a need. The church leaders may “need” their congregants, but the congregants don’t really need the churches, or the leaders.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rawgod, all good points. What I find important is the huge role women played in keeping Christianity going when the Romans sought to crack down. They held secret little meetings in their homes all around the Mediterranean. These with the first church services. So, services need not be convened in a church. I think part of the reason some want to violate the ban is church membership continues to decline, so these ministers fear people may get used to not coming. I have said this before, when a church practices exclusivity, they become an agent in their own demise.

        As for the labeling stuff, that is a human failing all around. We label what we don’t know out of fear. The president does this in great frequency. I have worked with atheists, agnostics, and universalists who are more Christian in helping people than Christians. On the flip side, I see homeless mothers who are more devout than those Christians helping them. The only thing they have is their faith. The agency I have served with used to require volunteer mentors not to proselytize with those they are helping. We quickly found out there was no need, due to the relative piety of those being helped.
        Keith

        Liked by 1 person

    • @ Keith

      One of the tenets of the Christian bible is to be law biding citizens.

      Really?
      Well, Jesus did say not one jot or tittle,etc, did he not, Keith? So the law to stone gays and back-chatting kids to death immediately comes to mind.
      We should also burn witches (not allow to live) … providing some dry kindling is on hand, of course. Soggy wood makes witches smell just awful.
      And then there was JC hisself, of course, with this classic ….
      “But those enemies of mine who do not want me to be king over them – bring them here and kill them in front of me.”

      Now there’s a bloke you really want to work for, right? Well, no, actually. Not at all.
      What a dick he truly was….

      Like

  15. I am not a Christian, don’t claim to be. I do, however, have a number of friends who are, and I respect that, just as they respect my own beliefs, or lack thereof. But I find this funny … I thought god was in the heart of believers, that wherever they are, they can worship or communicate with god in whatever way they choose. Is it, then, the building and all the folderol that links them to god? Interesting … perhaps those who would expose their friends and families to danger just so they could walk into a certain building in search of their god, are not so religious after all? Sigh. All the trappings, but none of the heart, none of the compassion. In a word, they are hypocrites.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. This attorney further claims the Governor’s orders imply that church services, weddings, and youth group meetings are not essential — and then he goes on to compare them with places like Costco or Home Depot (that have been allowed to stay open).

    (I’m not sure I get the connection … ??)

    He goes on to say that “churches do a lot for people’s spiritual and emotional and mental health.”

    Aaah ….there is the connection to Home Depot and Costco. Staring you right on the face, Nan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just to be sure I’m clear … you’re saying that Home Depot and Costco are doing a lot for people’s spiritual and emotional and mental health?

      If so, then certainly I would agree! I’ve known several who get a real charge out of visiting those places (pun intended).

      Liked by 1 person

  17. We (South Africa) have shifted from a Lockdown stage 5 to stage 4 and may be moving toward stage 3.
    Our current death toll (23/5/20) is 407.
    Our health minister has stated that death toll projections could reach around 40,000 by November this year.

    From what I have witnessed during ”expeditions” to shop or the occasional delivery ( which we are legally allowed to do) one could be forgiven for thinking that social distancing and the wearing of masks was ”optional”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the way Gov. Cuomo keeps referring to mask-wearing: no matter what else you might think of masks, it’s simply a sign of respect. So just wear it when you’re going to be where people might not always be 2 meters apart.

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Off topic…but did you read Heather Cox Richardson today? The comments alone are worth the it. A tribute to those who sacrificed for our country and what disgrace we have fallen into. She is the best! She has a new book that sounds interesting. I have enormous respect for her..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read Heather FAITHFULLY! In fact, her analysis of the political world (and beyond) is one of the first things I read every morning. I totally agree … she is the best! I’m soooo glad I found her.

      Thank you for mentioning her in case others are still in the dark. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • The book is called How the South Won the Civil War. It has excellent reviews. Check it out on Amazon..
        I wish everyone read her daily posts. So much to learn everyday and she gets to the more obscure stories as well as to what trump is doing under the cloak of secrecy or more so he gets the media going for days on one single thing as he does his dirty work.

        Liked by 2 people

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