You can tell I was still trying to keep up the politically correct style all the way through the first two paragraphs of the following post, but... guess I just don't have it in me...
Maybe it's because I watched too much Mark Gungor last week, and compared to that guy's cynicism, I'm only a bloody beginner...
Now I know what some of those stars must feel like when they announce their umpteenth retirement from the public eye, only to celebrate a glorious comeback little later...
Well, at least, I got a half-way politically correct blog out of it, that folks will be referred to from my website without my having to worry about their getting the shock of their lives.
This blog will remain my dirty little secret between me and the "insiders" from now on...
Long live political correctness and conformity! -- Perhaps some other time.)
One of the factors that causes an increasing amount of people to shun organized religion of all shapes and sizes is the same reason that causes some people to run away from relationships: Certain kinds of people (and religiously organized folks have a strong tendency to fall into that category) seem to be driven by an incessant urge to improve their fellow humans. No matter how happy you may be in your present situation, if your life-style differs too strongly from theirs, they simply can't live with it, but will endlessly persuade you to join them in the way they're doing things.
Their tolerance level towards people who do things differently than they is very low.
While on one hand their strong conviction about their beliefs and methods is commendable, on the other one would wish for the moment that it might dawn on them that some people might actually be called to do things differently.
It has been my observation that God is into awesome variety. - A variety that would probably strike some people as outrageous. Yet, as Christians, it's something we need to learn, if we plan to follow the Man Who didn't care what the established members of society said or thought about Him when He associated with fallen women, the outcasts of society and constantly availed Himself of methods that had never ever been heard of before.
Most of us act as if Jesus, when He said, "I will build My church (ecclesia)," was talking about a box, and everyone who belonged in that box was supposed to act and look exactly the same. Probably we do that because of the "boxiness" of our own finite minds. But let's expand our horizons a little bit: What if He wasn't talking about identical cubicles when He said, "In My Father's House there are many mansions"?
What if Jesus' intention was to set His believers free, instead of locking them all up in one and the same sheep pen? What if He would much rather have us delight in those green pastures beside the still waters where He would lead us, instead of amassed together in a squashy fold, just waiting to be stripped of our wool?
We all look down upon - and rightly so, perhaps - drug dealers, who sell their drugs to people, even children, that get them addicted and dependent on their merchandise.
But isn't that in some ways exactly what a lot of religious people do who get people dependent on their system?
Instead of just being concerned about their flocks' welfare and proving this by equipping them with the right tools and weapons that will make them fit for the battle of life, they purposely seem to keep them as weak as possible and dependent on their system, eternally insecure even about basic faith issues such as salvation, which they might easily lose anytime they might stay away from their congregation for too long, or commit comparable atrocious crimes...
Some people's concept of love seems to be: "To love you love you means to try to make you just like me."
But perhaps it's supposed to be a lot more the way God - the One Who is Love, after all - did it: show that He accepted and loved us by having His Own Son become One of us. The sheer act of such love made us all - those of us who are into love at all, that is - flip so completely over Him, that we don't have to be persuaded to become like Him. We gladly will strive to do all we can to achieve that, anyway. No persuasion needed. No constant, "Hey, Why don't you do it this here way, the way we do it?" or "You really should join our church and become more like us!"
If whatever you do is the Real Thing, people will automatically copy you, you won't even have to tell them much.
Otherwise it's like the arrogant attitude of some high ranking US Navy Officer's article I read on the Homepage of the Council on Foreign Relations about two years before the Iraq war began, way before the Bush administration ever invented the magic phrase "Weapons of Mass Destruction" that got the rest of the Western World into the "Kill Saddam" frenzy.
The CFR members explained how it was the enlightened world's duty to bring the "gap nations" such a Iraq "in" to the great big corporate family of Coca Cola and McDonalds' fast food consuming better part of the World. Or the way Michael Moore put it in "Stupid White Men:" "We need to usher them into the New World Order" gently.
Well, "gently" remaining entirely a matter of definition, of course... (Since reducing a country's population by 1.5 million might easily be questioned as, "Couldn't we have done it a little more gently???"). But the gist of the attitude of arrogance is the same.
We think we made the Iraqis infinitely happier with our gifts of radio-active shrapnel and raping their daughters, but how do they see it?
Well, and that's probably the same way a lot of people feel about organized religion... Especially since the vast majority of that organized "opium of the people" couldn't jump on the Muslim killing band wagon fast enough. After all, the faster we get rid of those who are different, the quicker the job will be done to make everyone exactly like ourselves, and isn't that the goal?
We've seen it before: with the American Natives, or virtually any distinct ethnic group that Christianity has sent their missionaries out to, often not so much to show them the love of Christ, but to assimilate and absorb them into our belief system at gun point.
"Well, if we hadn't done it, they would have eaten us!" is the response of some.
True. We wouldn't have wanted to wind up like martyrs, like Jesus, His apostles and the Early Church for 3 centuries before we moved from the arenas into the grandstands...
We wanted to follow Him our own way. After all, haven't we always known better than Him?