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12/13/2009                                                                                       View Comments

Idolatry in Christendom

by exfundy

I'm exfundy, the guy that wrote "Removing the Veneer". In one of the comments I made reference to feeling many of my friends and extended family would be better people if they left their faith behind. Allow me to explain what I mean by giving a few examples.

Example #1


For my first example I start with my friend Jim. Jim has a neighbor, Sam, that runs a local homeless shelter/soup kitchen. Sam asked Jim one day recently if he would help him out at the shelter that weekend giving out free school supplies to families who couldn't afford them. Sam explained that they were going to be extremely shorthanded as the response had been much more than expected.

Jim told him he couldn't help. Why? Because the 'Men's Group' at his church was getting together that day to paint some of the Sunday School classrooms at their church. Now don't misunderstand me, there is nothing inherently wrong with painting the Sunday school classrooms in his church. However, my question would be this. Is it really more important than helping those in need? Obviously the answer to that question for him was yes. I contend that is a case of priorities being gravely misplaced.

Example #2

This example involves my Uncle John. John is a retired superhandyman. It seems he can build and fix just about anything.

I have a friend who is a single mom working full time, and taking a full load of classes at the local community college trying to make a better life for her family. One day she told me that her washing machine quit working and the handrail on the stairs leading to her kids room was very loose. She didn't have the money to fix either.

I called Uncle John. I explained my friends situation and asked him if he could help her with those things. What was his response? He didn't mind helping, but wasn't sure if he could make the time. I couldn't understand why considering I knew he was retired. I asked him about it. It seems his pastor gave him a list of things that needed built and fixed around the church and he couldn't help my friend until he got those done. He told me he would call when he could fit her into his schedule. That was several months ago and I still haven't heard from him.

Here again is another case of priorities gone so askew it would be funny if weren't so sad.

Example #3

At my place of employment a co-worker's newborn daughter had been diagnosed with a rare medical condition. The prognosis was heartbreaking. There was nothing that could be done. The child would not live more than a few months. One of their doctors told them of a experimental procedure that might be able to fix her condition.

Unfortunately the word experimental meant insurance would not cover it. Business was booming meaning the standard work week at that time was Monday through Saturday. So management planned a fund raiser/support on a Sunday morning.

The overwhelming majority of Christians employed there made it known they could not attend because they had to be at church. So, management made provisions for the churchgoers to give money prior to the event. Many stated they wouldn't be able to give because they would already be out a lot of money that morning giving tithes and offering to their church.

Example #4

I met a kindred spirit a while back that I'll call Ray. Ray used to be a fundy like me. Ray told me a story that he said ended up being the first step towards a new outlook for him.

It seems he walked out of his house one day and was about to get in his car when the little old lady that lives next door called out to him. She explained that she had been waiting on her daughter to pick her up and take her to the grocery. Due to a minor car accident earlier in the day her daughter was unable to drive. She asked Ray if he could take her by the grocery store just down the road. It would have only taken a half hour or so, but Ray told her he had somewhere he had to be. He got in his car and left.

Ray arrived home that night at about 10:30. Shortly after arriving home a knock at his door revealed his elderly neighbor. Ray took her to the grocery and even helped her carry her bags in to the house. As he began to help put the food away he realized much to his surprise that there had literally been nothing to eat in the house before he took her to the grocery.


What is being practiced in the 'sacred' buildings across this country should be called 'churchianity'. Ray said the guilt he felt was enormous when he realized where he had been all night. He met a group from his church in front of the local theater to protest some 'anti-Christian' movie. After they got done they went to some buffet restaurant and pigged out. He did this all while his neighbor sat at home with nothing to eat.

These are only four examples of many that I could have brought up. I have a theory as to why those who call themselves Christians do these things. But before I do, I want to make clear that none of the people mentioned in the above examples are bad people. My friend Jim is the type of guy that would give you the clothes off his back. My Uncle John is the perhaps the most kind and loving person I have ever met. The Christians I mentioned at my place of employment would have been happy to help someone under any other circumstances. I didn't know Ray when he was still a Christian but I think he was probably a great guy. So why is it that Christianity makes good people do things that are so bad?

My theory is simple. The most important thing in Christianity is not God or Jesus. God and Jesus are merely smokescreens for the real object of worship. The object held in highest esteem is the institution itself. Everything is centered around the buildings they meet in on Sunday morning. There are a few exceptions, but the examples above show exactly what I'm saying. For Jim what was more important than people in need? Making sure his church building looked good. For John what was more important than helping a struggling single mother? Making sure every little thing in his church was in perfect working order. For the Christians at my workplace what was more important than trying to help a young couple save the life of their child? It was Sunday morning church attendance and giving money to their church. For Ray what was more important than helping his neighbor? Attending a church sponsored event and hanging out with his church friends.

Do you see a pattern? Supporting the institution and all its various functions in every possible way is the most important part of Christianity. Before I walked away from Christianity I tried to be a Christian without going to church. I was told in no uncertain terms that as a Christian I had to be in church. I was told as a Christian I had to give my ten percent to my church. It didn't take long before I realized that Christianity is not what is being practiced by those attending church every Sunday morning. What is being practiced in the 'sacred' buildings across this country should be called 'churchianity'.

As I look back over all the time I spent as a Christian I can see that nothing was ever more important than support of the institution itself. You don't have to look very far to see that the building with the steeple on top took precedence over everything, and that included helping those in need. It's the accepted version of idolatry in Christianity.

49 comments:

webmdave said...

Funny and sad. The irony is amazing. If the Jesus christianity believes in were to appear on earth today I'm confident the first thing he would do would be to renounce having anything to do with those claiming to follow him.

webmdave said...

Such irony. According to the gospel story, Jesus came to earth and had plenty to say to the pharessies concerning your examples.
I had oftin wonderd as a chrisitan if today is not the same kind of day. Or if something god mistranslated in 2000 years. I thought Jesus' old message was still quite clear though.
Then one day as i was reading something in the OT i thought, oh my gawd.... we havent changed in 2000 years. We are still idolators.

In one form or another we are still the haughty Romans, and the Pagan Idolators, and the Pharasiees, only we have cell phones.

funny thing humanity is.

webmdave said...

I looked at it. I don't even want to think of how many out of work sincere people are "giving until it hurts" in order to break the "curse" of unemployment over their heads.

Yep, sick bastards!!

webmdave said...

True, but does their presence not inspire you to think about the wonder that is god?

Do you not see just how good their god is to them for providing such a wonderful beacon?

All right, I'll take my tongue out of my cheek now!

webmdave said...

Not all of us were comfortable. At one time, I was so thin, I had to bring a pillow for my back because my spine smarted from the wooden back of the pew. Thus it was not so comfortable, but I guarantee you, I was still fasting from food during times of fasting. So, I didn't see much comfort sitting there. I was glad for the up, down, and kneeling.

webmdave said...

I actually heard it taught that the verse you referred to was meant only for 'God's people'. It wasn't meant for 'God's house' or 'those leading the saints'.

If your a pastor how convenient is that? Pastors and their churches are allowed to store up all the treasure they want, but the folks sitting in the pew are a different story. The pastor has the right to plead and beg for as much of their money as they are willing to fork over. What a gig!

webmdave said...

Not very practical either. He builds these huge buildings costing astronomical sums of money that only truly get used a few hours each week.

webmdave said...

Bruno, Thanks. I have enjoyed conversing with all of you. I plan to stick around.

webmdave said...

Hi exfundy! I for one have certainly enjoyed your writings and feedback. You certainly have the ability to share your perspectives and experiences well. Please keep it up.

webmdave said...

Bible Jesus spoke out against storing up treasures on this earth. Funny, that message seems to get buried when it is time for a new building program.

webmdave said...

I believe you hit the nail squarely on the head.

That pastor did claim that God personally told him he would one day become the pastor of that church.

I imagine they will have some wealthy folks who will want their names on a wing of a building... or a whole building.

webmdave said...

He might own them, but he expect the rest of us to pay for their fodder!

He never has been good with money.

webmdave said...

He might own them, but he expect the rest of us to pay for their fodder!

He never has been good with money.

webmdave said...

I can't think of a more extreme example myself. I don't know how many wealthy they have either. What I do know is how the religious mind receives the plea for money from a pastor.

The really good pastors make it seem like they really hate having to ask for money. Of course they tell their congregations (while supposedly choking back tears) they have no choice because "God told them" they had to accomplish this project or that one.

To the good Christian sitting in the pews that means they have to give because if they don't their leader cant accomplish his "God-given" goals.

webmdave said...

You are absolutely correct. The minute that a 'Christian' starts to put anything ahead of their church, even the welfare of others, they are immediately considered less of a Christian by their peers.

As for your question. Rhetorical or not I'm not sure there is a difference.

webmdave said...

Thanks summerbreeze. I hope to be able to keep contributing here.

webmdave said...

My complaints too. As I look back I am amazed at the amount of money the churches I attended spent on items designed solely for the comfort of the congregation.

We were so comfortable sitting in our cushy pews every Sunday morning that it was easy to forget about the people outside the church in need.

webmdave said...

I wish that was a rare thing, but unfortunately it is not. It breaks my heart to read that. Half a million for a frickin steeple is outrageous.

webmdave said...

My complaints too. As I look back I am amazed at the amount of money the churches I attended spent on items designed solely for the comfort of the congregation.

We were so comfortable sitting in our cushy pews every Sunday morning that it was easy to forget about the people outside the church in need.

webmdave said...

And there you have stumbled onto some of my biggest complaints about the Council of Churches and individual churches in general- like the A of G.

webmdave said...

Now there's a SIN for you!

Their current $400,000 could supply 100,000 meals to the homeless, or subsidise the heating bills for 100s of struggling families, or restore sight to 10,000 people in africa.

The whole misuse of money from people who couldn't afford it in the first place has been a sore point for me for a long time.

webmdave said...

Exfundy, Thanks for this right-on post ! You nailed it. Keep posting,
I like your writing style & how you can see the truth in fundy-land !

webmdave said...

I think it is the most extreme example I ever heard. I don't know how many wealthy members they have down there, but that is a lot of money to ask for from a congregation. It is a lot of money to spend on buildings.

webmdave said...

Me too. I have gone on many a rant concerning the behaviours of some church groups.

webmdave said...

'churchianity,' I love it, too true!!

webmdave said...

Exfundy, you are definitely on to something. The Baptist church in my town is replacing its steeple. It has raised $400,000 so far but still needs another $100,000. This is for a steeple. I live in Maine and right now there are many, many families struggling to heat their homes and put food on the table. But the church will have a half-million dollar steeple anyway.

webmdave said...

It makes me downright angry at times.

webmdave said...

Wow christ insanity. I love it. There it is. The 80% plus population in this country that is the cause of so much trauma.

webmdave said...

I borrowed the phrase, but it definitely fits.

webmdave said...

I agree with Yalta. I sincerely wish there were more Christians like you out there. You have a great attitude. If there were more like you people would at least respect Christians even when their views don't match.

webmdave said...

Yeah. But it's scriptural, the bible says "God owns a chapel on a thousand hills" ... or was that "cattle"? Looks the same in the Hebrew to me - damn interpolations!

webmdave said...

Yep. Every one of those buildings are God's houses. No wonder God has to ask Christians for more and more money. He's the ultimate real estate tycoon. Just the upkeep on all his properties must be outrageously expensive.

webmdave said...

That doesn't surprise me at all. It seems no matter how much you do for your church it's never enough.

webmdave said...

Ironic, huh? The very group that claims to follow Jesus have become the very people their sacred book says Jesus disliked the most. They are totally blind to it.

webmdave said...

Perfect example. Exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. Just imagine what that $130 million could do for those in need in Dallas. Of course the needy don't even come close to being important as having a plush, state of the art new building to meet in for a few hours on Sunday morning.

webmdave said...

It was always my experience that something as mundane as classroom color in a church is usually fought tooth and nail. Usually the fight participant with the most money wins.

webmdave said...

Check out the link at the end of this comment and scroll down to 'creative giving ideas'.
Fellowship church of Grapevine, TX pastored by Ed Young Jr. says if you don't have cash to give they have some other ideas for you. In other words if you are cash strapped they will be happy to take your car, house, land, or various other things. No, I'm not kidding. Real church. Real pastor. Really, really sick. Go read it.

http://www.fellowshipchurch.com/give?FCW=7phj9jats0a5k7tpl18k0kp7q2

webmdave said...

You hit the nail on the head. Churchianity ( disguised as Christianity ) is a selfish act. They do the things they do to gain status among their fellow churchians. It makes them feel better when their peers tell them what a wonderful Christian they are for doing them.

webmdave said...

Absolutely true. I found that the last 12 months before I finally left Xtianity, I constantly kept defining the church I was going to as "Institutionalised Christianity", because to be accepted within the ranks was ranked on how much of your "Time, Treasure, and Talent" you devoted to "the house".

webmdave said...

Thank you Yalta, that is very kind of you and I agree that so many good people out there would not be leaving Christianity if it were practiced differently, there are of course other reasons why people leave, considering all of the possible effects of religion and the scientific evidence which can take the place of faith, but it would be better for everyone whether of faith or not if christianity would more often draw the kind of people who know how to put their faith into practice and who put thier priorities in order.

webmdave said...

Institutions, religious or otherwise, are 100% self focused. When I was in the Army I learned quickly that the Army was about taking care of the Army. People are just fodder for institutional needs. Its a numbers game. Business is business. When I was a pastor it was so clear that the church was all about the church. Hey, look at the church budget and get a clue!

Isn't it funny that the Jesus the CHURCH promotes was so Goddamn anti-institutional and the very victim of the religious and political establishments. HOWEVER, that story is used for institutional gain. Hmmmmm.

webmdave said...

It doesn't show any breakdown in the budget spending of the churches they are discussing. Interesting though.

webmdave said...

Funny how there was not a single church building anywhere on the earth until it was mentioned in the NT over 2000 years ago and not a single church on American soil until CC brought the NT over here with him.

I think we don't need any churches around here on our precious soil in the 21st century, they are just an eye-sore. I've noticed the bible god does not step in and prevent any of them from being burned down by lightning or by vandals. The xtians never blink an eye, they just start plans on building another new church, without giving one consideration that their god may be trying to tell them it's a building of corruption of the mind.

I'm wondering where are the building plans for how a church is supposed to look and what color paint it must have in the class rooms?

webmdave said...

WOW! I can add so many more examples and lsit many broken families,

This is a great post and sadly very true.

webmdave said...

I agree. It seems that many Xians put their church first before they put people first. It makes no sense to me and I always found that frustrating myself.

webmdave said...

exfundy,

Thanks for your post. How interesting


<<< As I look back over all the time I spent as a Christian I can see that nothing was ever more important than support of the institution itself. >>>


I recently mentioned on this website what may be the most extreme case of "churchianity" in US history. The Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas believes he was called to lead a new building program. They has asked the membership to raise $130 MILLION. That is reportedly the largest church building program in modern US history. The plans are to redesign much of the entire church campus (not just the sanctuary). They apparently think their buildings should be as spectacular as anything Dallas, Texas has to offer.


http://ascendio.com/fbd/


Their Pastor has asked members to consider giving 10% of their entire net worth to their church.

How does this rank as "churchianity"?

webmdave said...

To exfundy: I agree wholeheartedly... "Churchianity" is what I shall call it from now on! I'm still Christian, but I'm not going to let those other people make me feel wrong by giving my money where there is the most need.

webmdave said...

Completely see your point. I see "churchianity" in the church I grew up in. I think this need to be in the church at every opportunity makes them feel like better Christians, because it's a place where other Christians will see them doing "christian" things

webmdave said...

Great article. Although they would never admit it, every single good christian I know puts their church as THE highest priority in their lives.

My somewhat rhetorical question is: Does 'churchianity' lead to 'christinsanity' or is it the other way around?

;-)