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Featured For Christians: A Feel-Good Religious Culture

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Deeje, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    A Feel-Good Religious Culture

    Commenting on the situation in the United States, Newsweek magazine candidly stated: “Many clergy, who are competing in a buyer’s market, feel they cannot afford to alienate.” They fear that if they make great moral demands on their hearers, they will lose them as parishioners. People do not want to hear that they should cultivate humility, self-discipline, and virtue or that they should heed their nagging conscience and repent of their sins. Hence, many churches are adopting what the Chicago Sun-Times called “a therapeutic, utilitarian, even narcissistic ‘all about me’ Christian message [and] leaving the gospel behind.”

    The outgrowth of this type of thinking is a religious culture that defines God in its own terms, churches whose focus is, not on God and what he requires of us, but on man and what will increase his self-esteem. The sole aim is to cater to the needs of the congregation. The fruit is religion emptied of doctrine. “What fills the hole at the center, where the Christian moral code used to be?” asks The Wall Street Journal. “An ethic of conspicuous compassion, where ‘being a nice person’ excuses everything.”

    Logically, the harvest from all of this is the attitude that any religion with a feel-good effect is just fine. Anyone adopting such a view, observes The Wall Street Journal, “can embrace any faith, so long as it makes no real moral demands—consoles but does not judge.” And the churches, in turn, are willing to accept people “exactly for who they are,” without making any moral demands on them.

    The foregoing may remind Bible readers of a prophecy penned by the apostle Paul in the first century C.E. He said: “There will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; and they will turn their ears away from the truth.”—2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

    When religious leaders excuse sin, deny its existence, and ‘tickle’ the ears of their congregants by telling them what they want to hear instead of what the Bible says, they are doing people a grave disservice. Such a message is false and dangerous. It represents a travesty of one of the fundamental teachings of Christianity. Sin and forgiveness occupy a central position in the good news taught by Jesus and his apostles.

    Excerpt from Sin—What Has Changed? — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY

    So has the definition of sin morphed into a definition of permissiveness? Will the churches answer for their failure to uphold the teachings of the one they claim to worship?
     
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  2. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I would hope that many of the teachings of the Bible will never come to pass. If there's anybody truer to the word of their holy books , it would be the Muslims and look at what many of those societies are like.

    I don't think religion is as simple as some words in a book.
     
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  3. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Its a continual and an ancient concern not a new one, that ministers tend to become corrupt.
    • This is what the LORD says: "As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim 'peace' if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them. (Mic 3:5 NIV)
    • My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (Eze 13:9 NIV)
    • "But you made the Nazirites drink wine and commanded the prophets not to prophesy. (Amo 2:12 NIV)
    • Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, "This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!" (Jer 26:11 NIV)
    • You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you. So I will destroy your mother-- (Hos 4:5 NIV)
    • "Truly I tell you," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. (Luk 4:24 NIV)
    • Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. (Eze 22:27 NIV)
    • Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. (Zep 3:3 NIV)
    • "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Mat 7:15 NIV)
    • Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. (Luk 10:3 NIV)
    • The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. (Jhn 10:13 NIV)
    My opinion is: ignore anyone employed as a preacher. Be nice, but retire them kindly and don't hire any more of them. Help them get other jobs. Why tempt them to lie? You need an administrator for your church, but you don't need a paid speaker. Churches should be inviting places where the community is served, not competitive, not places that belong to the speaker, not walled gardens. Listening to sermons is not a special action, does not accomplish anything.

    As for feel good I am all for it. Let people feel good. They have consciences and don't need someone barking at them.
     
  4. David T

    David T Well-Known Member
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    I have a novel idea for a new marketing scheme in religion authenticity. Its very dificult lots of work starting with the minister.

    Authentic interesring probem!
     
  5. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Deeje, this is meant as constructive criticism:

    You've quoted well-respected media but the authors of the articles were obviously offering their own opinions of what Christian clergy of sects other than their own, had in mind. Not surprisingly, they question the motives and Christian character of the clergy who don't agree with them.

    In my opinion, your argument would be found persuasive only by people who already agree with you (preaching to the choir). I don't see the point in making arguments like this.
     
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  6. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Deeje, There's nothing wrong with a "feel good" culture, if you like. Not everyone wants to be a slave to his religion. Religion or Spiritual Practice should uplift you rather than poke holes in other people's religion-whether anyone believe it's true or not is irrelevant. To each his own.
     
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  7. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    Good points @Deeje , but don't forget the ridiculous ultra weird behaviour like in the video below that some people give the Holy Spirit credit or blame for.

     
  8. Father Heathen

    Father Heathen Veteran Member

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    Better on modern terms; which are more sensible, refined, and fleshed out - than on ancient terms, which are primitive, irrational, and completely arbitrary. As culture, society, civilization and such develops and evolves, so too must religion if it's to avoid the garbage pail of history.
     
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  9. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    That was the accusation against Vat II by traditionalists, the Church no longer presented the 'meat' but 'warm fuzzies'.
     
  10. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    It's all too easy to get lost amongst the "trees" and not take a step back to take a look at the "forest".

    As organizations evolve, they tend to move from being simplex to more complex, and religions and denominations are definitely amongst them. Jesus' message was actually quite simple, "love one another as I have loved you", which also goes along with his response to "Which is the greatest Commandment"? and to also what's found in John 3[14].

    Pretty much all churches teach this, but some insist on adding more to "A", so as if you don't also do "B", "C", "D", ..., then you're not gonna be "saved". And then we get into "deep" theological arguments such as "How many angels can dance of the head of a pin?". This is what the JW's regularly do, but they ain't the only ones.

    So, I strongly feel that if we go with the "law of love*", we're not likely to go wrong.


    *"love" in Koine Greek is "agape", which is an active noun, namely that one doesn't just have agape-- they live and do agape.
     
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  11. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    I think this is the most important yet neglected of Jesus teachings.
     
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  12. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Wow David!!!!....that video was bizarre!!! Since when is anything that demented man, or any of the jumping fools, did in that video, to be considered "Christian"? It was a performance.....and a rehearsed one by the looks, to capture the emotions of gullible people (along with their money if I'm not mistaken). I couldn't watch it all. (Nauseating)

    We believe that the Christian faith should be based on knowledge, and love for God, not blind emotion.
    Emotion is the "sand" Jesus warned us about building our foundations on. Knowledge (accurate knowledge) is the "rock".
    With no foundation any person will have their faith washed away by the smallest storm.

    Anyone who thinks that weird stuff is "Christian" hasn't got a clue what Christianity is all about. Jesus went about his preaching and teaching in a quiet manner, but never once did he compromise on God's laws, or excuse immoral behavior....on the contrary, he focused on the heart of the sinner and showed the benefits of repentance and leaving a sinful past behind. Those who fail to uphold the moral principles that Jesus repeated in his teachings will not benefit from what is coming in the near future.....the rule of God's kingdom and what that will mean for this troubled earth.

    Humans like to have their cake and eat it too. They will find out that with God, that doesn't wash. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

    Watering down those laws and principles on the surface of it, might seem like a good thing to do in this permissive society, but we see it as a trap laid by God's enemy to lure as many away from God as he can. It's the proverbial "rule or ruin" technique. The devil knows he can't win, but his victory will be to take as many with him down into oblivion as he can.

    His tactics have never changed.....he always appeals to self-interest. Genuine love is not indulgent....it is willingly obedient.

    1 Corinthians 13:4-8....
    4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up, 5 does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. 6 It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    8 Love never fails...."

    This is the true definition of what love is....and what it isn't.
    So where does that leave those who want to bend the rules?
     
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  13. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    It's not a matter of being a slave to religion.....it's a choice between being a slave to God or being a slave to your own self interest. Being a slave to God is a willing service rendered out of love, not under fear or a whip. If we begrudge any of the rules or chafe under them, then we don't belong to Christ. It is a forced obedience and it will not survive the tests that inevitably come.

    The Christian faith is not for the weak....it requires sacrifice, (sometimes big ones) which is what is meant by the description of it being "cramped and narrow". The easy road is a dead end.....so when we choose the road, we choose the destination. (Matthew 7:13-14)

    True Christianity is founded on three essential principles that Jesus promoted...."faith, hope and love". If we lack in any of those things, we are are not living our faith.
     
  14. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    I agree with this sentiment in part. A religion that calls itself "Christian" but does not live up to Christ's teachings, has distanced itself from its own claims. It becomes what the apostle Paul said was like "a clashing symbol"....makes a lot of noise but is not much good for anything else.

    We have to practice what we preach. Yet what we preach has to come from the true God. In a world that is becoming more and more secular, it appears as if the more bizarre religions make the most noise. What is the appeal? Does anyone really know?
     
    #14 Deeje, Jul 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  15. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    I hope you understand that this is exactly why Jesus took his teachings to large crowds. He was looking for his words to reach receptive ears. Among those crowds were those who responded to his words. He wasn't going to appeal to everyone and he knew it, but he never chased after people or forced them to do as he said. He left it to them. So do we.

    The point of making any statements on an Internet forum is to have your say, state what you believe, and hope there may be others who see something of value in what you say. Like Jesus, we are not going to appeal to everyone, but we already know this. No matter what we believe, there will always be opposers.
     
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  16. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I don't see faith, hope, and love in the content and context of what you're saying.

    When you're given an choice of coercion and ultimatum, it's a form of slavery. I'll use slavery to god's laws/rules/scriptural traditions.

    Where is the love in the god you speak of?
     
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  17. The Reverend Bob

    The Reverend Bob Fart Machine and Beastmaster

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    They are often hedonistic, self-indulgent and the epitome of frivolity like many a civilization that are no more
     
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  18. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    That Hagin fellow was an abomination. He is credited by many as the main influence of con men the likes of Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland. People with no interest in knowledge of scripture past what they can twist into a money making scheme. I would be surprised if they even believe in God at all. Makes me sick.
     
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  19. The Reverend Bob

    The Reverend Bob Fart Machine and Beastmaster

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    I don't know where feel-good Christianity comes from but it certainly doesn't come from Jesus or Paul who taught that Christians are going to experience suffering, hardships and distress in this imperfect world and that they are to persevere in the face of these things by having faith and hope. Matthew 10:38 shows Christians what is really expected of them. Christianity is a challenging religion that puts a person through the fire in order to refine them not a feel-good religion
     
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  20. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    I am saying that if Christians want to indulge their flesh and kid themselves about God's moral standards, then faith, hope and love are completely missing. By their choices, people eliminate themselves from contention.

    God is choosing the citizens of his kingdom right now. Like when we decide to move to another country and we need to comply with the rules of citizenship there. If we fail to qualify, citizenship will be denied. Who is to blame? The person seeking the citizenship or the country that has its own rules?

    You completely miss the point.....no one has ultimatums or coercion to force them to be Christians. If you feel like that, you have automatically disqualified yourself. No genuine Christian ever feels coerced or forced to do anything against their will. If our will is the same as God's will, it is a willing and loving submission.....not slavery.

    His love is expressed in his creation,in his purpose for this earth and the quality of life that he intended for his human creation all along. His will is going to "be done on earth as it is in heaven"....and this will happen with us or without us.

    If we want to live in his world according to his rules then forever will be spent enjoying and exploring what God created....if not, then it will not be forced on anyone against their will. That to me, it totally fair. God owes us nothing...we owe him everything.
     
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