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?

Message From God?

Here we go again …

Poll: US believers see message of change from God in virus

The coronavirus has prompted almost two-thirds of American believers of all faiths to feel that God is telling humanity to change how it lives.

[…]

Kathryn Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale University, interpreted the high number of Americans perceiving the virus as a message from God about change as an expression of “fear that if we don’t change, this misery will continue.”

Oh dear, oh dear. We’ve become such baaad people! Poor God has had to step in –once again– to tell us to straighten up and fly right.

Gosh, people. When are we going to get the message?

Of course one can’t help but wonder why this almighty powerful entity messes around with a silly virus. Why doesn’t “he” just wipe out the human race as “he” did in Noah’s day and start over?

What? You say that didn’t work? You mean to tell me “his” all-perfect vision of things that were, are, and will be was out of whack that day? In other words, God goofed?

Well surely “he” would want to try again, right? I mean, practice does makes perfect, doesn’t it? (Or so they say.)

In any case, so long as we’re still here, maybe we should all consider doing our part to keep this virus from reaching out and touching someone we know and love by taking the recommended precautions. 

Hopefully, if we do what’s right God will reward our efforts and we’ll get to stick around a bit longer.

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Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay

Prayer or Science?

W Credit: CNS photo/Kham, Reuters

In our local newspaper, a recent article on the editorial page caught my attention. It was entitled, “Coronavirus is what you get when you ignore science.” A NY Times opinion columnist was the contributor.

Here are some of the first few lines:

Let us pray now, for science. Pray for empiricism, epidemiology and for vaccines. … Pray for flu shots, herd immunity and washing your hands. Pray for reason, rigor and expertise.  … Pray for the NIH and the CDC. Pray for the WHO.

And then this …

And pray not just for science, but for scientists too, as well as their colleagues in the application of science

From the context of the rest of the article, I don’t think the writer was being sarcastic (as I originally surmised). In fact, he made it clear later on that science is often “actively undermined, underfunded, ignored and suppressed.”

However, for me personally, those first few lines were dripping with irony.

As many of us know, the tendency to berate and discount science is prevalent among a large percentage of Christian believers. This isn’t to say they point to all facets of science as being morally deficient, but they DO contend that -GOD- is above, beyond, and superior to anything science can offer. (In fact, some cults faiths refuse to even acknowledge medical science, in particular, and rely instead on the power of prayer to heal themselves and loved ones.)

So one can’t help but ask … why aren’t the churches filled to the brim with -GOD- believers who are PRAYING for the virus to cease and desist? Could it be because the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) takes no prisoners … has no concerns about one’s faith (or lack thereof) … and hears no prayers?

Perhaps, in this instance, when Christians feel an overwhelming need to pray, it should be (as the columnist wrote) for (gasp!) Science and all that entails since -GOD- doesn’t seem to be making much headway in curtailing the spread of Covid-19 among the various inhabitants of this planet.

Man of God

In a moving speech on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney split with his party and voted to convict President Donald Trump on abuse of power in the recent Senate impeachment trial. He was the only Republican to take this stand. The balance of the Senate voted to acquit the President on both articles of impeachment.

At the very beginning of his speech, Sen. Romney made the following statement:

I am a profoundly religious person. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential.

There are many in the Christian community who would scoff and shake their heads at this statement. Why? Because Romney follows the Mormon version of Christianity and to the True Christians,™ Mormonism is not an acceptable faith before God.

Instead, adhering to their more authentic faith, the True Christians™ in Congress demonstrated their brand of piety by ignoring the blatant and glaring evidence that the President of the United States had lied. Both to them and to the people he was elected to represent.

What makes this even more astounding is how many of these True Christians™ knew Trump had done what he had been accused of — some even admitted they knew. And yet, unlike Sen. Romney, they put their personal political and monetary desires ahead of their faith.

Pointing out that he recognized his decision would very likely be “vehemently denounced,” Sen. Romney further declared that his vote to convict was based on “the inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it.”

Ahhh yes. That “oath.”

It’s more than apparent the individuals who voted against impeachment forgot the moment when they were inaugurated into their current positions. Yes, it must have slipped their mind that they placed their hand on a Bible and swore to their God to uphold the Constitution.

Further, one can’t help but wonder if they “forgot” … or (heaven forbid!) were not aware of the following scripture:

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24 (ESV)

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I’m aware that most of my blog readers harbor no convictions that a supernatural being exists or has anything to do with the activities of human beings. However, one can’t help but admire Sen. Mitt Romney for putting his faith ahead of politics and demonstrating to the world that he truly is a “Man of God.”

Do You Believe in God?

The following is an excerpt from Scott Adams’ God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment that someone shared on another blog. It was in response to an ongoing discussion, but I felt it could stand on its own and decided to share it here as well.

If you’re interested, the book is FREE in pdf format (use the above link) and I urge you to read it if you haven’t already.

One person offered this description about the book: “You may not find the final answer to the big question, but God’s Debris might provide the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read.”

The old man leaned toward me, resting a blanketed elbow on the arm of his rocker.

“Four billion people say they believe in God, but few genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would live every minute of their lives in support of that belief. Rich people would give their wealth to the needy. Everyone would be frantic to determine which religion was the true one. No one could be comfortable in the thought that they might have picked the wrong religion and blundered into eternal damnation, or bad reincarnation, or some other unthinkable consequence. People would dedicate their lives to converting others to their religions.

“A belief in God would demand one hundred percent obsessive devotion, influencing every waking moment of this brief life on earth. But your four billion so-called believers do not live their lives in that fashion, except for a few. The majority believe in the usefulness of their beliefs—an earthly and practical utility—but they do not believe in the underlying reality.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “If you asked them, they’d say they believe.”

“They say that they believe because pretending to believe is necessary to get the benefits of religion. They tell other people that they believe and they do believer-like things, like praying and reading holy books. But they don’t do the things that a true believer would do, the things a true believer would have to do.

“If you believe a truck is coming toward you, you will jump out of the way. That is belief in the reality of the truck. If you tell people you fear the truck but do nothing to get out of the way, that is not belief in the truck. Likewise, it is not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starvation. When belief does not control your most important decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief in the usefulness of believing.”

“Are you saying God doesn’t exist?” I asked, trying to get to the point.

“I’m saying that people claim to believe in God, but most don’t literally believe. They only act as though they believe because there are earthly benefits in doing so. They create a delusion for themselves because it makes them happy.”