The Religious Divide

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Reading Matthew

Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 12
Location: Here, and On the Rare Occasion, There

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:45 am    Post subject: The Religious Divide Reply with quote

I present a question here: Does it matter about what denomination people are of? Personally, I think not, I think the difference between faith and religion is so vast that it's ridiculous. Nothing about religion offers any hope for people with faith. Real faith.

It's Satan's world, after all, and I personally think that if he really wanted to strike at the heart of our hope he would do what has been done in the world, mainly create a whole bunch of people who believe in the same thing, and fight amongst each other because of the way they decide to express themselves. Give them two different names under the same banner and you have the makings of a "Holy War".

I think that if we were to make this world a better place, we would do away with the denomination gap and remember that in the end, be we Catholic, Witnesses, Baptists, etc..., we are all Christians.

At a retreat I went to once they sang a song that really touched me, it went:

"We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored,
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, yes our love,
They will know we are Christians by our love..."

I think we've forgotten the love in the divide, and though we pray for Unity and peace, by even speaking of the denominational gap, we are supporting it in ways that will only lead us down the path of hate. Sad
God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest. -J. G. Holland
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Reading Luke

Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 291
Location: Doubtful, Wyoming

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent thread topic, Cleareyed.

I agree with you. I believe that people have a social need to associate with the "like-minded," but even that has some inherent dangers, spiritual inbreeding being not the least.

About 18 years ago I came to the conclusion that, amongst JWs, the costs of association outweighed the benefits of association...for me. I don't have enough experience with other denominations to do that math. Unfortunately, with JWs, the more you commit, the more is taken from you and the more impossible it becomes to gracefully back out (even for your own spiritual, physical and mental health).

Religions are institutions and as much a part of the world where the spirit of the world rules as any other institution. The harmony within is enforced rather than disharmony is repressed waiting to manifest itself at some inopportune time. Such is the nature of religion. The other side of the coin is that, if a person is open to it, they will tell him a lot about himself!

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veritas re
Reading Mark

Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 162
Location: a place of diaphanous vicissitude

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, what counts is a person’s stand before God - and not what denomination they are in. When talking to the Samaritan woman Jesus identified qualities that the true worshippers would possess by describing not “where” they would be, but in what “state” they would be – that of worshipping the Father in spirit and truth.

I believe that Jesus meant that the true worshippers were not going to be in some physical location (denomination…) - such as a “Jerusalem” or “in this mountain” (Samaria) – until after the harvest occurred. Per the parable the field of the world is occupied by real and imitation Christians, and that only during the actual harvest would the real “wheat” be identified and be gathered together “into the storehouse” – if that even means a central denomination. Since the harvest is done by angels it must be a future event, thus the true worshippers could not now be centrally located in some particular denomination.

Persons are led to identify membership in a name-brand denomination with real spirituality, especially when the denomination insists that it and only it has “the truth”. Such thinking is a trap because persons defer to denomination “leaders” the details of “what is truth” and fail to do their own spiritual math. Jesus said one is our Leader, the Christ, and all the rest of us are brothers and sisters and are not empowered to lord it over one another - which is what occurs in most denominations. The natural mechanics of group dynamics creates polarization into the leaders and the leadees. This syndrome can be seen over and over throughout history - the tendency of individuals to either want to lead or to themselves be led. This is akin to the blind leading the blind and must be avoided.

Being “religious” and being “spiritual” are not always the same and this is how it’s possible for persons to have a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power. Denominational thinking promotes not true spirituality but “religiosity” - and caution must be taken to understand there is a difference. Being in a denomination of itself is not always a bad thing, but assuming that membership in one is all that matters - is a trap. Jesus said that the truth would set persons free. “Free” from what? I believe Jesus meant “free” from the domination of manmade religious organizations and the denominational “leaders” that run them.

v r
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
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Reading Corinthians

Joined: 30 Oct 2007
Posts: 892
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,

In the small town near where I live all five Christian groups, apart from the sixth (JW's) meet together once a year. They cooperate with each other at other times in a spirit of mutual help.

Many of us participated when a production of the Christian musical: "From Pharaoh to Freedom", was put on last year. The cast including myself...I was a narrator...was drawn from those associated with Catholic, Methodist, Evangelical, Church of England and Congregational Churches.

Once a year there is a Christian gathering with Christians from most Christian denominations throughout the UK and some from overseas meeting over three weeks at Keswick in the English Lakes.

There is not this separation between Christian groups here that JW's pretend exists.

Christian worshippers are few in number in the UK, numbering only c.6% or so going to a place of worship. From the majority of those I speak to it is love for Christ that is their unifying force and not organisational directive.
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Reading Matthew

Joined: 09 Aug 2008
Posts: 66
Location: Northern California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it really matters which denomination one chooses to affiliate with. After leaving the Witnesses I became Anglo Catholic (Episcopalian). That is my Church Family. Others may chose to belong to another Church Family, or perhaps they don't feel the need to belong to a group of like minded worshipers. Each has to walk their own spiritual path.

But I don't believe my Church is superior to all the others. Every Church, like human families, has its faults.
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