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The Greatest Threat to Traditional Churches Isn't Liberalism -- It's the Men Who Run Them

Society & Culture  (tags: religion, religious insttitutions, the church, scandals, politics, news, freedoms, culture, society, religion, law, ethics )

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In a hyper-connected era when it's hard to hide anything, the churches' scandals will out

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David F (14)
Friday July 18, 2014, 3:31 am
" The religious institutions of this world are at the bottom of the dirt. " -- Maxwell Jordan in with animation from Zeitgeist (2007)

" [O]ne might venture to regard obsessional neurosis as a pathological counterpart of the formation of a religion, and to describe that neurosis as an individual religiostity and religion as a universal obsessional neurosis. " -- Freud, "Obsessive Actions and Religious Practises" (S.E., vol.9, pp.126-7)

David F (14)
Friday July 18, 2014, 3:31 am
" Mockery of religion is one of the most essential things... one of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at [irrational (as oppsed to rational) sensu E.Fromm] authority. "
-- Christpher Hitchens (BBC Newsnight Special 2010-11-20)

Past Member (0)
Friday July 18, 2014, 3:47 am
David F, you never fail to offend, do you? I am religious and I am also a person. Have some respect. Thanks Cal.

Past Member (0)
Friday July 18, 2014, 4:32 am
I'm not certain that the basic premise here ("Stated simply, the problem is this: Traditionalist churches preach a moral outlook that diverges sharply (especially in sexual matters) from the latitudinarian and egalitarian ethic of liberalism that increasingly dominates the lives of 21st-century Americans..") is correct, otherwise everyone is a hypocrite. It's pretty common for all of us to want others to do as we say, not as we do.I just wonder how much "better" the world would be today if society had always been taught that everything is okay, and no matter what you do all will be forgiven, even if you have no plans to change."

Past Member (0)
Friday July 18, 2014, 5:55 am
All sociopaths.

pam w (139)
Friday July 18, 2014, 6:32 am
The article makes an excellent point. Religion is unnecessary.

Winn A (179)
Friday July 18, 2014, 7:18 am
If practicing a "religion" helps you be a more compassionate and accepting person then go for it. I think religions separate us from each other and allow us to discriminate against each other. Being spiritual is vastly different than following a religion that someone has decided is the "right" one to follow.

Past Member (0)
Friday July 18, 2014, 7:50 am
Glad to be pagan

Friday July 18, 2014, 8:11 am
Touchy touchy subject! I am not religious. I consider myself to be open minded to great possibilities after death. I believe in energy and intent. My family is Christian (mom, dad, sis, etc.), they have NO idea! Sadly, they would suffer greatly if they believed that I would not go to "heaven" when I die, so I keep my secret. I have to say, I used to think religion was a good thing. It taught people to be kind, gave them something to believe in. And I DO believe prayer works, if the people praying truly believe. Like I said, intent! Anyways, I have since changed my mind. I have come to believe that religion does far more harm than good. And there are the hypocrites. The anti-gay preacher who is in the closet, etc. And many church goers are also hypocrites! It is like it is okay to sin, because you can go to church to make up for it, and be forgiven. I am in NO WAY saying religious people are bad. Many very kind and wonderful people are religious, some of them my c2 friends. But religion itself is a very dangerous thing, holding far too many people in an old mindset, holding them back from moving forward on this planet. Creating and spreading hate, causing wars, endless wars. Is it any wonder some people wish for the day religion will lose it's control over the people of earth? Whoooo I've rambled! Thank you Cal very much!

Lady Suki (446)
Friday July 18, 2014, 10:06 am
I wouldn't disagree that the leaders of some religions, do drive people away.

However, I think it is mostly because of young people and science/technology. Back in the Middle Ages for example, barely anyone could read. No one could read the Bible to see if the Priest wasn't just them about what was in it.

Today, in the United States anyway, most people can read. A good chunk of us have access to the Internet. So kids start asking, "WHY," very early.

For example, let's just take the dominant religion by the numbers in the United States today. Some basic questions, I have about my own religion.

A) God is all knowing. He created everything. So why did he create an angel, Lucifer, who he knew was going to betray him and later become the Devil?

B) He presumably knew that Eve was going to eat that apple and punished Adam and Eve anyway.

C) Assuming one takes Adam and Eve literally, that means that somehow, despite all odds, all that inbreeding that HAD to go on if there were only two people, the human race survived. Scientists today worry about animals with tiny populations because inbreeding makes a species more vulnerable to disease and mental problems.

D) The ark. Explain how the lions and other predators wouldn't eat the prey. Further explain how they would all fit.

Just a few off the top of my head.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday July 18, 2014, 11:03 am
It is absolutely the most WONDERFUL THING that the complete and total HYPOCRISY of Church Leaders - and that is ALL denominations of the STRICT AND AUTHORITARIAN CHURCHES WITH NONSENSICAL, NON-SCIENTIFIC DOCTRINES - wonderful that the HYPOCRISY, because of the Internet and other Media, CAN'T BE HIDDEN any more as it used to be!!!
The BEST thing to do, is to RIDICULE ENDLESSLY these Church "leaders", Roman Catholic or Evangelical Protestant, or, for that matter, GOP Legislators! Of course, in the case of the CHILDREN that these Church "leaders" have abused and RAPED, that is no laughing matter. But, in those cases where these Preachers of rigid Moral "Virtue" are literally CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN,with other adults, it is fine and LIBERATING to LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH...
These Rigid, Dogmatic, Homophobic and Misogynistic and Authoritarian Churches, SIMPLY CANNOT SURVIVE BEING LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AT, and all the RIDICULE we can pile on them.... they will go DOWN. And that's a GREAT THING for Humanity.
They CANNOT SURVIVE. They are LOSING members as we speak now. The Young People especially, are LEAVING - and not "changing their Religion", as used to be the case, but becoming "nones", "none of the above" when it comes to marking Religious Preference on forms.
Yeah, the person writing this article regrets "that the Church leaders are only human".
Yeah, and GOD IS ENTIRELY A HUMAN MADE-UP CONCEPT. And the silly, ridiculous beliefs and practices that we're told "God" ordains ARE HUMAN AND STUPID AND MADE-UP ALSO.
I am happily an ATHEIST, but I also consider myself SPIRITUAL {which some Atheists object to, but never mind. We can differ.}.
RELIGION DIVIDES PEOPLE - all Religions are TRIBAL. All Gods whether Thor, Jehovah or Allah, started as TRIBAL GODS. People who identify with one {or more} Tribal Gods, have no problems with killing people who identify with different Tribal Gods.
SPIRITUALITY has the Potential to UNITE PEOPLE. Also, to come up with a REASONABLE ETHICAL COURSE for the ENTIRE PLANET, including Animals, Plants and the Earth itself.
None of this "Morality is how long or how short a Woman's skirt is, or if you refuse to Divorce or use Birth Control."
It's amazing that Religion has even survived as long as it has, since the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.
Spirituality complements Scientific Knowledge and is inherent, I believe, in the Earth, the Universe, and in Human Evolution...
I think people who say "Religion gives comfort and guidance", REALLY are talking about SPIRITUALITY, rather than some IMPOSSIBLE beliefs about a cruel and illogical "deity"...

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday July 18, 2014, 11:21 am
A "God" can't be Omniscient - Knowing EVERYthing {including the Future};
Omnipotent - All-Powerful, with NO limits; and, at the same time, Benevolent or "Good".
He can be, logically speaking, any TWO of those things - but NOT all three!
It's been TRIED, for Centuries!
If you say "God" is the first two things, "he" CAN'T BE "GOOD" BY ANY HUMAN STANDARDS WE HAVE.
It makes the word "GOOD", MEANINGLESS.
It means there is a "special kind of Good" where that word ONLY APPLIES TO WHAT GOD DOES.
To say this is "just beyond our understanding" means, WE ARE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND OUR OWN LANGUAGE. This may have INTIMIDATED peasants in the Middle Ages... when questioning led directly to the Stake, anyway.
{A god with limited powers, like Thor, MIGHT exist. Altho there's no EVIDENCE of it. And an Evil God, like Satan, might exist. PLENTY of Evidence there! And an IGNORANT god... well, wouldn't be a God then, would he? Altho the Gods in the Iliad and Odyssey, were always tricking and fooling each other... }

Catrin Schuetz (50)
Friday July 18, 2014, 11:47 am
I am an Atheist and do not believe in these religious fairy tales .With every scandal the church is digging themselves in a bigger and bigger hole , wonder how much longer it will take believers for the brainwashed fog to dissipate in their brain.

Birgit W (160)
Friday July 18, 2014, 2:05 pm
Noted, thanks.

Sheri Schongold (7)
Friday July 18, 2014, 2:21 pm
I am not a Christian as I belong to the Jewish faith, but I have found it interesting that the Catholic Church can not seem to catch up with the times as they are now. They seem to be clinging to prehistoric principles and beliefs and not capable or willing to catch up, although the new Pope seems to be more willing to come into at least the 20th century if not the 21st. This is a religion that is male oriented and run and the men don't want to lose their power. Even the nuns are secondary. Perhaps, someday, the religions will all catch up with one another and will coordinate their being. Believe me, I am not holding my breath till that happens. The men are still too powerful and therefore, can get their own way. It is a do as I say, not as I do society that is threatening to bring the religion down and that won't be pretty.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday July 18, 2014, 3:20 pm

"Homophobic Minnesota Archbishop Investigated for being Homosexual, himself"

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Friday July 18, 2014, 3:37 pm
Sheri: The Holy Roman Catholic Church CAN'T change. Even if it desperately wanted to. What the current Pope Francis is doing - and is doing quite well, considering - is a PR, Public Relations effort. To DISTRACT from the Roman Catholic Church's multiple problems.
The REASON that the Holy {hah!} Roman Catholic Church CAN'T change, is because of the PERNICIOUS DOCTRINE OF THE "INFALLIBILITY OF THE POPE".
That MEANS, that what ANY POPE says or does ex cathedra, "on matters of Faith and Morals", is THE WORD OF GOD HIMSELF - and therefore, to use Catholic Theologians' OWN wording, quote, "It is IMPOSSIBLE that there should be even the Possibility of an Error!!!!!!!!!" That's the express, written-down DOCTRINE of the Catholic Church. Can look it up.
If the Pope were to say or to do anything CONTRADICTING what his Predecessors [in a previous Century!] said and did, then THE POPE WOULD BE A HERETIC. And that's IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!!!

So, the Pope, unlike the Head of most Corporations, can't just DO ANYTHING HE LIKES, what seems best under the present circumstances. THE POPE'S HANDS ARE COMPLETELY TIED. This on Birth Control, Women serving as Priests, all sorts of issues.
ALL THAT POPE FRANCIS, OR ANY POPE NOW OR LATER, CAN DO, IS PUBLIC RELATIONS. Window-dressing. Glossing-over. "Don't look behind the curtain."
People who want Reforms, HAVE to leave the Catholic Church. Thousands upon thousands, have, and the Church is losing very many members EVERY DAY. They don't talk about it much, tho - they don't want you to know...

Julie W (32)
Friday July 18, 2014, 4:11 pm
ashley, I doubt anyone takes those stories literally these days - do they? They are old metaphors that can be interpreted in different ways, but not as literal truth.

I don't understand how anyone who clings to the Old Testament can all themselves Christian, as it predates Christianity.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Friday July 18, 2014, 5:42 pm
I personally am a Christian, but I do not want to get into details of exactly what I believe in this post. I will say I am a great admirer of C.S. Lewis, and with some exceptions I consider his approach to doctrine sound. Part of his approach to doctrine is to say that if you are framing your beliefs on any other basis but truth, you are in trouble. Not, you understand, that I or anyone else has a direct line to absolute truth; that would be outrageous. But if you adopt a faith because you think it will make you a better person, but you don't actually believe what it teaches, you are already in trouble and it will eventually become evident even to you. That said, if one believes that the Jesus of the Gospels said what he is quoted as saying, and did what he is said to have done, then you simply cannot practice what most Americans today call Christianity. instead, you need to e on Wall Street driving CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, etc., out with horsewhips. You need to be in the streets getting to know street people. Because that is what Jesus did, and what he praised.

You don't need to dump the entire Old Testament (as Christians call it), because Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. (Personally I like the idea of King David dancing before the Lord, though not everyone agreed even then.) But since fulfilling the law doesn't mean much if it doesn't mean getting into the real spirit of the law, then if Jesus contradicted something, you need to contradict It too. If you are going to be a Christian.

This is a complex subject, but the bottom line is that the values of Jesus ARE Christian values, and any Church leaders who don't espouse these values, which are the same values liberals treasure - well, they are doing it wrong.

SusanAWAY Allen (219)
Friday July 18, 2014, 6:06 pm
I'm totally 100% atheist and anything that destroys these fantasies I think is a very good thing. Religion is responsible for more suffering and more wars and more horrors than can be imagined. I say yay!

Mitchell D (87)
Friday July 18, 2014, 6:41 pm
Winn, you make a great point,
Julie, sadly, yes, there are many people, today, who view these stories as literal truth, handed down by their god, from where we get the word Gospel: God Speak.
From politicians who "know" that the "Rapture" is about to happen any moment (former speaker of the house, Tom DeLay, for one), to the minister from the mid-west, who "knew" that the world was going to end on May21,2011, to the minister, in Dover, Pa., who told Ted Koppel, of "Nightline," that he resented people who said that he could not think -in the midst of the school board/creationist struggle- but would not accept anything as valid information, if it did not cleave to the literal "truth" of the bible.

These bible thumping, modern day Elmer Gantrys are just like J.Edgar Hoover, screaming about Christian, traditional values, while getting their rocks off any way they can!

So, we have hypocrites and "Fairy Tales: may the synergy of the two be their own downfall!

Freya H (357)
Friday July 18, 2014, 7:44 pm
What's the old saw? "We have met the enemy, and he is us." These church "leaders" with minds as narrow as razor blades are just one reason why so many people of all ages are turning their backs on religion. They are getting desperate, which is why they use strong-arm tactics to keep control of their flocks. They oppose birth control and abortion for fear of losing potential sheep to shear.

Maria Teresa Schollhorn (42)
Saturday July 19, 2014, 1:02 am
Noted. Thanks for the article Carrie.

Past Member (0)
Saturday July 19, 2014, 1:30 am
It's the outrageous hypocrisy of the preachers in the churches who are driving people away.At the top of the pile is the Roman Catholic church and it's abundance of pedophiles and homo sexual 's and the appalling abuse of children in it's care homes.Witness the mass grave containing the bodies of 84 children in a former catholic home in Ireland.Even the Pope himself has said that one if fifty of the catholic churches clergy are pedophiles.Until they put their own house in order they have no right to preach their sanctimonious drivel to the rest of us.

Marija M (29)
Saturday July 19, 2014, 7:52 am
Susan A. said it. Ty for posting Cal.

Kathleen Mireault (225)
Saturday July 19, 2014, 8:23 am
Noted. Thanks for sharing the article, Carrie. Agree with those suggesting that (organized) religions do far more harm than good. Like Debbie, i'm proud to be pagan. No hypocritical clerics, no pompous and tawdry rituals, and no ossified, authoritarian structures. No hellfire and brimstone. No mind-twisting adherance to ridiculous, anti-scientific nonsense. Just Nature, and an entire Universe of wonders and mystery. Works forme.

Lady Suki (446)
Saturday July 19, 2014, 10:43 am
I agree with you Julie. But believe me, there are people who take it literally.

Ben O (170)
Saturday July 19, 2014, 1:37 pm
"...Wait....I'm getting a message from God..."
(George Wacko Bush)

Pamela Tracy (5)
Saturday July 19, 2014, 3:55 pm
Wait...I: was raised to have faith and my grandmother raised me in the church. I am tired of being made to kya to church groups to be wanted. AND IT IS ALLL OF MY FORMER WOMEN FRIENDS WHO WERE CHURCH BIGOTS AND VERY CRUEL AND MEAN, MORE SO THAN I HAVE EVER BEEN.

Jim Phillips (3257)
Sunday July 20, 2014, 9:43 am
Simply stated and put forth: "ALL RELIGIONS ARE FLAWED AS ARE MEN"...

ty, cal.

TOM T (246)
Sunday July 20, 2014, 10:18 am


Athena F (131)
Sunday July 20, 2014, 4:47 pm
Thank you for the article

Patricia Cunningham (134)
Sunday July 20, 2014, 10:59 pm
No Religion for me ATHEIST!! All wars are mainly caused through Religion, too much happening in this world for me to believe in God gave up years ago!! lost all Faith i had in GOD but i do believe in Angels might sound silly but true Angels do exist and do not belong to so called God!!
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