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Sunday
Aug262018

The Religious System that went so wrong

I was raised Catholic and I was raised to fear God. Fear was all I knew about God in those early years, and that came at the hands of stern nuns who taught in the Parochial school I attended. I didn’t have much interaction with any priests  (probably for the better). The Catholic system I was raised in taught me about the law of God and the law of the church, but I never understood Jesus as either Lord or Savior. What I got was religion and that is the bottom line to the problems that the Catholic Church is experiencing worldwide. The Pope was in Ireland over the weekend and tried to address the sex scandal that has plagued Ireland for over a decade. CBS news did a story that stated: 

Deeply Catholic Ireland has had one of the world's worst records of clergy sex abuse, crimes that were revealed to its 4.8 million people over the past decade by government-mandated inquiries. The reviews concluded that thousands of children were raped or molested by priests or physically abused in church-run schools — and Irish bishops worked for years to hide those crimes.

The Pope’s response:

The failure of ecclesiastical authorities — bishops, religious superiors, priests and others — to adequately address these repugnant crimes has rightly given rise to outrage, and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community," he told them. "I myself share these sentiments. 

The religious systems like the Catholic Church along with other Protestant denominations have all been guilty, in my opinion, to hijacking the truth of the gospel and remaking it into something the Bible does not support. It is my understanding that this kind of deviation from the scriptures is the basis for the aberrant behavior now being unearthed in the Catholic Church.  Whatever happened to the scripture that tells Priests and pastors to be examples of oversight to the people entrusted to their care?

1 Peter 5:2-3 "Be Shepherds of God's Flock that is among you watching over them not out of Compulson, but because it is God's will: Not out of Greed, but out of eagerness: not lording it over theose entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 

What is even worse is when these wolves came into the parishes in Ireland they were protected by the Bishops, which made the crime against the victims even worse. It is no wonder the Pope got just a warm reception.
Most religious systems have an appearance of a spiritual emphasis, but the reality comes down to what Jesus said about Israel in Matthew 15:8

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

Religion is a system that does not make you right before God. It doesn’t matter how much religious activity you do; it does not count as having a relationship with God. As a former pastor I have watched people be religious. They give their tithes, they sound really spiritual in their conversations, and they even quote scriptures as references as foundations of life. Yet when no one is looking they watch pornography, they are abusive to their family, they even kick the dog. They are no different in the nature of sinning before God as the Priests who were doing spiritual activities during the day and molesting children by night.
Religion is not a measuring stick as to how good or bad you are as a person. Religious activity is only an appearance that displays an outward attempt to know God, or be seen as knowing God. This was the Pharisees’ modus operandi and their form of religion was highly criticized by Jesus in Matthew 23. This chapter in Matthew is a great chapter to read and study if you really want to know what Jesus thought about religion. Religion worships tradition because tradition places everything in boxes of practice based upon an outline called doctrine. Every denomination or religious system has these boxes. Some of these boxes become so important that people begin to worship the boxes rather than God. Such is the case I believe in the Catholic system of religion. Their tradition is so important that it is on par with the scriptures, which in itself is so wrong.

Ancient Israel gives us such a good example of how to forget God in light of our religious beliefs (boxes). Jesus told us this when He addressed the practices of the Pharisees. 

Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are."

Making converts to our religion isn’t worth much because that will only produce more religion, not people who love God. As I have said in the past, I have purged my life of the religious things that are not based upon the truth of the Bible. The boxes of doctrine and practices of the Catholic Church could fill a warehouse of material based on tradition versus scripture. This only contributes to the sexual abuse epidemic that has overtaken that religious institution. The end result of any church that takes the liberty to create a system of religion that violates God’s word will suffer the separation from God like those churches in Revelation 2 and 3. God will remove His hand of blessing and protection because tradition has replaced Him as the center of their practice.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

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