What are your thoughts?  In what ways is the church the devil's playground?  In my former career as a pastor, I had quietly come to this realization because of the injustices I often saw Christians commit against other Christians within the church, as well as to others outside the church.  It was often disheartening to see Christians talk so high and mighty about how worthy they were to "the Lord,"  and yet all the while be exactly the opposite.  It was even more damning and disgusting when I became the target of such ill will, when it came to putting child safety over church politics.  So I wonder what any of your thoughts were - particularly those who are former Christians.  What say you?

Please note, that I use the term "devil" not in it's generally accepted theological sense of an actual anthropomorphic being, but as a more loosely personification of the concept of evil and the injustices human beings often commit against each other.

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He is no mere professor, he is not even THE professor. He is Dr. Bob, the one true Catholic who knows all there is to know about Catholicism. The man whose mere words speak volumes of truth that no evidence to the contrary could disprove..

He is, dare I say, Dr. Jesus! Master of deflection, misdirection and condescension!

Mo, Mo, Mo - where have you been? Professor Robert, Dr. Bob, has been the centerpin of much discussion and debate here over the last two months. You should drop by more often!

I have been away.  On crusade, fighting dragons, witches, infidels, and other assorted heathen.

Well, then, there, now, that certainly explains it - can somebody get Mo a link to Bob's main discussion, so Mo can scan it and get a feel for our last couple of months?

Never mind, here it is, all 47 pages of it --

BTW, don't mean to alarm you, Mo, but you've just landed in a whole nest of infidels.

witches??????????

Did I write "witches"?  Sorry, I meant "wiches", which (no pun intended) was, of course, a reference to my ongoing crusade against sandwich shops.

(whispers) Nice save, think she bought it --?

These?  Oh, that's alright then :)

Barry wrote:

"What I have come to understand is that the church often provides a haven and a reason for people to feel perfect about themselves.  Notice I did not say good, because being good and being perfect are two totally separate things.  A great deal of folks come to church not to really worship God, but themselves because they put on heirs of greatness in exchange for denying the truth about the human condition - that they are personally responsible and accountable for the human condition of which they are a part.  They all wear smiles, and act as perfect examples of God's standard, when in fact they are anything but that, and what's worse is that the church directly and indirectly encourages this behavior through it's shame, guilt, and fear based tactics of "keeping people in line."  Forget about really tackling the tough questions about being human and individual experience.  Forget about empathy and compassion and truth and justice - 'we're all saints here and don't need that stuff.'"

Oh my no-god!  Barry, what a wonderful, succinct explanation of the true role of religion in society!  And from an insider!  Congratulations, Barry!  You are a humanist!

May I have permission to use this paragraph in my own writings?  With attribution, of course.

Yes, you may do so.

@Barry Adamson - My mistake - I just assumed you were an Atheist - it is so very rare for a christian to talk about injustice in their particular church. That in itself is refreshing. I also feel that most christians started off as honest reasonalby good people, then with just a modicum of power or trying to create a percepton of that particular congregation, covered up wrong doing or just shite.

Do you still belong to this particular parish?

If there, and there would have to be millions more, of christians with a sense of Justice, I wouldn't have such a problem with christianity. If more christians themselves uncovered the wrong being done in their name, I would have more respect.

I am still ordained as a Baptist minister, but I don't attend a Baptist church - that and I recently presided over a same sex union back in January, which is a big Southern Baptist no no.  The church that I was ordained in was a former Southern Baptist church that became Cooperative Baptist.  The church where I ran into problems was Southern Baptist.

There are Christians with a sense of Justice, but I would assume not as many as you would like.  I currently attend a UCC church, which is staunchly social justice oriented, and an open and affirming congregation, with a very good friend.  Most of the members there are anything but what you'd normally expect (the group I associate with there go to lunch after service at a local brewery and restaurant - some are gay, some are tattooed bikers, and others are your local public school teachers), and they are good people.  Even so, though, I am sure there may very well be the seedy underbelly of politics at play in that church as well.

Oh, and yes, I go for my friends and stay for the beer!

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