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Old 03-26-2011, 06:20 AM   #1
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Default Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

REPORTS OF RELIGION’S EXTINCTION EXAGGERATED

Skepticism should greet a recent scientific study by three science professors presented at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, Texas. The paper, entitled “A mathematical model of social group competition with application to the growth of religious non-affiliation,” might seem dull. Yet, unlike most scientific papers, this one generated news headlines around the globe, including “Researchers predict the End of Religion” (Forbes), “Physics predicts end of religion” (BBC) and “Canadians losing faith as religion faces extinction” (Montreal Gazette). Canada was among the nations where religion’s extinction was predicted, so this study is relevant to us. Is this bold prediction justified? Is religion really dying out in Canada?

Casual observation seems to support this study. We see small groups of communicants huddled together for warmth in the vestries of cavernous Catholic and Anglican cathedrals. German Lutheran and Greek Orthodox churches are predominantly grey-haired and elderly. The United Church of Canada continues to down-size and combine congregations. Yet a wider glance uncovers counter-veiling trends—Chinese and Korean churches have sprung up like weeds in industrial units around Toronto. Diverse ethnic groups often time-share church facilities; English Calvinists share with Korean Presbyterians or Tamal Pentecostals. A $40M Hindu temple recently opened in Brampton. The minarets of Muslim mosques now piece the skyline in Markham and Mississauga. The “Toronto Blessing” was a Pentecostal phenomenon drawing visitors from around the globe. All these signs seem indicative of religion’s growth, rather than its demise. Meanwhile synagogues remain; the Jewish minority is growing in step with the population, showing no signs of assimilation or extinction.

This study focuses on the rising trend of no religious affiliation in the countries studied. This pattern holds in Canada. Census data shows the percentage of Canadians reporting “no religion” grew from 4% in 1971 to 16% in 2001. The science professors pooled data from nine western countries and then fit curves displaying exponential growth of the “no religion” category. Extrapolating these curves forward yields the prediction of inevitable extinction—decades from now, if current trends continue, 100% of Canadians will report “no religion.” The obvious Achilles' heel is the statement, “if current trends continue.” Moreover, the study’s focus on population percentages in never justified. When accessing the risk of animal extinction we look at the number of breeding pairs, not the percentage. Canada’s Jewish community represents 1% of the population. If this community grows slower than the overall population, does this imply extinction? Not at all; it’s still growing. 4,000 years of Jewish history have proven many extinction prophecies and projects wrong. This shows a religious minority (even a shrinking minority in percentage terms) can survive and thrive. The percentage of Canadians identified as “Christian” declined from 83% in 1991 to 77% in 2001. Does that imply extinction? No, the absolute number increased from 22.5 Million to 22.9M.

These scientists’ predictions conflict with other projections. Statistics Canada expects “the share with no religion would rise from about 17% to 21%,” by 2031. [Stats Can: The Daily, Tues, March 9, 2010] Their data shows Canada’s “no religion” category has been increasing, but at a decreasing rate. In the 1970s Canadians with no religious affiliation grew at 7% per year (doubling from 0.9M in 1971 to 1.8M in 1981). In the 1990s they grew at only 3.7% per year (from 3.4M in 1991 to 4.9M in 2001). Over the past 30 years each decade shows a slowing growth rate. Slowing growth suggests the “no religion” category will peak at some future date below 100%. Religion’s extinction is not on the cards.

A Jewish proverb says “prophecy is for fools and children.” Statistics can be coaxed to tell contradictory tales. Take for example the growth of Islam in Canada. The 1971 Census found 33,000 Muslims in Canada, only 0.15% of the population. This number grew by 11% during the 1970s to 100,000 by 1981. By 2006 Canada’s Muslim population numbered 784,000 (2.4% of the population). The growth of Muslims has exceeded the overall population. Statistics Canada forecasts that by 2031 the number of Muslims will reach 3M (7% of Canada’s population). Naïve forward projections imply a majority of Canadians will be Muslim at some future date. Clearly we have a contradiction. Both the “no religion” and the “Muslim” categories have been growing faster than Canada’s overall population. Projecting one trend forwards implies the extinction of religion; extrapolating the other predicts a Muslim majority! Both these forecasts cannot come true; I expect neither prediction to be fulfilled. Perhaps the science professors’ next research topic should be the growth of Islam in western countries! That should generate some sensational headlines!

Nigel Tomes
The author taught economics at the UWO from 1977 to 1986, where he researched in religion and earnings in Canada. Since 1986 he has ministered at the Church in Toronto.
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

I am all for the extinctinction of religion ! The Word of God will then have Free Flow, Free range. The grass withers, the flowers fade but His WORD endureth forever. His Word is Living. It is Active. It is Powerful and it is Operating in us. How Blessed we are. Thank You Lord.
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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No matter how much of the mindset against the term "religion" was gained from the LRC and possibly still retained to this day, religion is not simply some evil that keeps man from God and from the Word of God. The only thing that will come from the extinction of religion will be the anarchy of every man with his own Bible doing what is right in his own eyes. We won't even be able to agree enough to have small groups in homes together.

All because each of us threw off the shackles of reason, logic, language, and truth in the name of "no religion" and became a seminary of one. Millions of them. Each with a slightly different set of "distinctives" that sets them apart from all others. Once we group back together under common thought, we will once again have religion.

And religion is not bad. Only one definition of several is in any way something to avoid. Yes. Avoid that. But not everything that has the label of religion.

And stop saying things like "I am all for the extinction of religion" because in that statement we declare to almost all listeners that we despise God, despise the community of believers, and don't think that anyone should engage in Christian thought. Instead, speak the language of the people you are talking to. They do not mean something evil when they say "religion." They mean the collections of actions, practices, thoughts, doctrines, teachings, etc., that comprise the truth and practice of obedience to Christ. When we say we want religion to be extinct, we are telling them that we want those things to be eliminated. In this case we are the ones using the term "religion" incorrectly. Not them.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

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And religion is not bad. Only one definition of several is in any way something to avoid. Yes. Avoid that. But not everything that has the label of religion.

And stop saying things like "I am all for the extinction of religion" because in that statement we declare to almost all listeners that we despise God, despise the community of believers, and don't think that anyone should engage in Christian thought.
OBW. You know VERY WELL this forum is mainly read by former LCrs and current LCRS who UNDERSTAND the difference between being "religious" and being Spirit FILLED.

Religion teaches people how to live upright lives, how to live a disciplined life which we could ALL use but only through the guidance and teachings of the Holy Spirit! Religion can come from the teachings of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduuism, even Islam. But being RELIGIOUS does not open the eyes of your understanding to the WORD OF GOD. It can make you think about God, why we are here on earth and decide if we should believe in God.

But Religion does not usher you into having an intimate relationship with the WORD of GOD, with His FATHER, OUR Father Who art in heaven and His Holy Spirit.

So Sorry brother..... I've been around the block of the Religious mindset. First as a 'controlled' Catholic. Then as a 'controlled' LCr. Then around the Charasmatics and WoF people. You cannot tell me what to say or what not to say. You may disagree with my views but I am still at liberty to say what I believe. If you think me saying "I am all for the extinction of religion" is a statement we declare to almost all listeners that we despise God, that is YOUR problem !!! I know exactly what I am saying and who I am saying it to! And so do YOU ! Yeah... I am totally aware, we were taught the 'evils of religion' in the LC only to become religious ourselves ! But that was not GOD'S doing. That was man's doing.

Today. Even big time Christians who never were in the LC or heard of it have condemned the religious !!

So please. Just because you, me and most of us became 'intelligent' after leaving the LC doesn't mean we are that much smarter. If we were really SMART, we Christians would be living in spirit by the SPIRIT and the WORD of God.

The most living and Spirit Filled fellowship I've encountered is when the Fellowship is Spontaneous, be it in the street, the store, or at somebody's house. This comes about when we are spending a whole lot of one on One time with Our Father & the LORD JESUS in prayer by HIS SPIRIT & the Word of God.

Just today, as I was working on my front lawn, my neighbor a very devout RELIGIOUS Catholic came over to chit chat. He's one of the nicest men I have ever met and has a BIG, BIG Heart! I am soo blessed to have him as a neighbor!
He told me he was studying diligently preparing a homily (an explanation of an epistle or gospel at a mass) for he is soon going to be an ordained deacon, that is an assistant to a priest. He told me he was nervous. I told him I was very confident he would give a very good homily. I added to my comment that before he gives it to ask the Holy Spirit to anoint his message so when he speaks, it would be GOD speaking through him.

He lit up like a light bulb thanking him for that Word I gave him.

That said, a planned fellowship/prayer get together can most certainly be filled with the Presence of the LORD.

Down with Religion I say and UP with the LIVING WORD WHO is ACTIVE, POWERFUL, LIVING and OPERATING in us ! To GOD be all the GLORY and Praise forevermore.

Carol
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:13 AM   #5
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OBW. You know VERY WELL this forum is mainly read by former LCrs and current LCRS who UNDERSTAND the difference between being "religious" and being Spirit FILLED.
And this will be discussed in a post that I am preparing for our blog.

We come here to point out the gross errors of the LRC and yet stand as if virtually everything the LRC stands for is correct. It would seem that the only thing wrong with the LRC for many of us is its leadership while everything else about it is actually right, all the way down to its sanctimonious, self-righteous "our way is blessed and yours is not" position.

It is evident from reading your reply that you think that the only thing about religion and even being religious is that one definition that is about man trying to get to God in his own way. That is not the only definition. And every time anyone comes to this forum or the other and says the LRC is all wrong then points to a better way to do the LRC while basically saying that the rest of Christianity still really has it all wrong, I see another version of Steve Isitt hoping that the LRC of the 60s (or whatever era that member thinks was the perfect time) will return and Camelot, that bastion of Christian perfection will once again rise from the mists of Scotland and the age can end because Christ has once again found the apple of his eye. (Yeah. I mixed a few metaphors together here.)

Argue with me all day long about how far from the LRC you have come. When you return to this kind of put down of everyone else while pointing out how everyone who is or was in the LRC knows that being religious rather than being Spirit-led is wrong, and you prove how near you are to rejoining that group or trying to create its twin sister.

I know that there are some people who do not think that I should speak this way to a sister. But when you come to speak so boldly about how wrong everyone else is, then you get a bold response. Too many here — and this includes you on many occasions — are not as much removed from the LRC as you think. Too many think that they really had it right. All the way down to the discernment about what was wrong with the rest of Christianity. Just quit saying "mooing cows" and it would all be good.

But even if we can point to certain problems with Christianity back in the days that we left — the 60s, the 70s, even the 80s and beyond — Christianity was never what it was said to be by Lee and his minions. And whatever it actually was then, it generally is not now. Like the rest of the world, it does change over time. But it is not just those changes that make Christianity "OK" to me. The real problem is that too much of the "they have it wrong" rhetoric that we learned from Lee and the LRC we have retained. We also retained the idea that the core "distinctives" of the LRC are right and that the rest of Christianity is wrong. I'm convinced that it is the other way around. And that means that there is no "this is the way" way. It means that all of the "exclusively correct" positions of the LRC that we still cling to are just as incorrect as the garbage that we fight against here.

In other words, we are mostly still in this desperate hold onto what we liked about the LRC as if it was exclusively correct and everyone else was wrong. I don't buy it any more. If you can't find the teaching moving forward in a strong and open way in Christianity as a whole, I have reason to be suspicious about its validity. Especially the kind of thing that demeans willful, systematic, even almost ritualistic efforts to be obedient to the teachings of Christ. It seems so funny that people who have concluded that Lee was wrong to just be waiting for dispensing chastise anyone who is not just waiting for something else just like dispensing. Jesus said to teach them to obey, not to teach them to wait on dispensing, or even the Spirit. But the LRC despises that part of Jesus' teachings. They only like the kind of teachings that require no actual obedience, just spiritual mumbo jumbo.

And this point will eventually be the reason that I abandon any efforts to suggest that moving beyond the doors of the LRC is not the only step. It is only the first step. I am more convinced than ever that what is actually needed is a very ritualistic house-cleaning of everything learned in the LRC. Even the good teachings were mixed with aspects of error. Learn to see the difference.

But almost everybody thinks that the LRC was mostly right. (And if the LRC is mostly right, then the rest of Christianity is mostly wrong. And I find too much right about Christianity to buy that this assessment is true.) Or they go off the deep end and are borderline-to-actual agnostics. There is another answer. But I'm not sure that anyone is listening.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:27 AM   #6
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Look OBW.........

If you're happy in the church 'body' you attend, GOOD for you ! I would not go back to the LC, nor do I long for the good days we had, or I had in the 70s. Hey and right back at ya on the boldness ! You're pretty outspoken yourself on your opinions too.

Since leaving, I have been involved 3 times for long periods of times to home groups, and church settings. One of them was even a Messianic church, a church that retains the Jewish flavor complete with Torah readings in Hebrew. We sang in both Hebrew and English, danced in the Jewish tradition, and worshipped Yeshua.

I love some of John Hagee's teachings, Perry Stone's teachings, Jerry Sevelle (who taught me about the FAVOR of GOD) Joyce Meyers' teachings (Oh..and btw I ushered at a 3 day conference she held.) I love Benny Hinn's teachings not necessarily the way he conducts himself or his business. I have some of Copeland's teachings but I'm not a big fan of his. Same with Jesse Duplantis'. These are 'big named' people who have TV and radio programs, which is why I mention them but I have gone to many services and conferences that don't have 'famous' preachers / teachers and have gotten a lot of Spiritual insight that have brought me closer to God and His WORD, Jesus. I already know you don't like some of these people so please spare me your criticizm's of them. I have been meeting with the same fellowship/prayer group every Thursday evening since 2005. They go to the same church, I went to for 3 years.

But there is a whole lot more than the same ole' - same ole' for crying out loud! You don't bring anything uplifting and FRESH to the forum either! For years, You bring a lot of intellectual knowledge and criticizm to the forum.

If you're happy where you are, so be it !

I am not telling anyone not to go to 'church' or not to get involved in a 'church'. WE are ALL the CHURCH ! Even preacher/teachers speak this and are NOT referring to their flock only ! We believers and followers of the Lord Jesus KNOW every believer is a member of the Body of CHRIST and all believers make up the CHURCH !

I'm simply letting people know there IS LIFE after the LC/LSM. And if people are happy and comfortable in the LSM, so be it. Stay there ! They may be just where GOD wants them to be !

I know we used that word a lot: Life...until we ran it to the ground. I also know people who are truly happy and filled with the Spirit under their pastor's ministries. Many have been loyal to their 'church' for over 20 years. GOOD for them. 2 weeks ago, a couple of people in the prayer group began to cry, literally thanking the Lord for the pastor. They were sooo thankful for a man of GOD who 'knows' and speaks 'the Word.' They went on and on and on about how much time he spends in the Word and how much time he spends in prayer....

I wanted to puke. This couple are retired and I wondered why they don't more time in the Word and prayer themselves. I didn't say anything because they believe pastors are 'ordained' or have a special 'calling' on their lives and thus have special gifts to preach or teach.

I Every person I've fellowshipped with who is under a particular ministry, well known or not, always sings the praises of the pastor. I've been there too ! I'm learning to appreciate people who truly have a deeper understanding of the Word of God and can enlighten me. I'm thankful for them but I have become super careful not to put them on a pedestal. I've been caught in that trap too.

For me, PERSONALLY SPEAKING, I am happiest being spontaneous and not being under a 'ministry' where I eventually become suffocated. As I read and study the scriptures, I believe it teaches we ought to build up one another in the Love of Christ, encouraging one another, feeding one another that we may be filled with the Spirit and Wisdom of God so we may know how to answer every man and bring the Living Word of God to every believer.

This will be my last post on this topic of 'religion'. May the Holy Spirit lead us ALL in the Path of Righteousness.

Peace and Shalom in Christ Jesus to you OBW.

Carol
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:19 AM   #7
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If you're happy in the church 'body' you attend, GOOD for you !
I actually am. But that is not what I said or what I was talking about. So don't change the subject. I was responding to the following statement:
Quote:
You know VERY WELL this forum is mainly read by former and current LRCers who UNDERSTAND the difference between being "religious" and being Spirit FILLED.
Yes, this forum is mainly read by current and former LRCers. But I beg to differ at their "UNDERSTANDing" of the difference between man's self-effort and acting according to the Spirit (which is a more commonly understood version of the term "Spirit filled"). It seems quite evident that there is a general disdain for anything that seems like tradition, ritual, liturgy, etc., as simply being "religious" and therefore cannot be Spirit filled." I am looking well beyond the group that I meet with. I am even looking into the deeply liturgical groups like Lutheran, Anglican, and (gasp) even the RCC.

I do not deny that there is much to say about certain aspects of the RCC. But the call to its members was not to move to another city, but to overcome.

So, how do you define "Spirit filled"? Does the appearance of a history of common practice deny the Spirit filling the participants and bringing their tradition, liturgy, and ritual to life? We are still so quick to throw out so much because it is not our preference. Yes, you can say that you take in teachings from several sources other than LRC. Yet, are the acceptable sources, and even parts that you accept, based on your preference and that is what colors what is "religious" and therefore not "Spirit filled"?

Do you presume that I like and prefer those liturgies and rituals? They are not my preference. But that does not make them simply "religious." I might find that in my disdain for some of those practices that I am resisting God who would rather that I be open and participate. To actually consider the words and the purpose in the ritual and liturgy. Make it mine, and not just some words that I repeat while making peculiar gestures. I have not had that experience. But I am struggling right now with the notion that I might be resisting in a couple of areas just because I still think it is "religious" and therefore not "in the Spirit."

You have mostly avoided what I actually said. And this is anything but an intellectual pursuit. It is orthopraxy — right practice — at its core. Are we still practicing exclusionary thoughts when our knee-jerk reaction is to say "religion should be extinct because it is not Spirit filled"? That is not just intellect. It is the core of unity and acceptance.

Do you simply stand by your claim that current and former LRCers "UNDERSTAND the difference between being "religious" and being Spirit FILLED"? And do you stand by the statement that you are "all for the extinction of religion"?

If so, then my objection to the statements remains. You have not addressed what seems, to me, to be a very exclusionary kind of statement.

And this will probably be the reason that I ultimately leave you all to your own devices in these forums. We rant about the exclusivism of the LRC then return with a modified form of it as we reject the ability to be more than theoretically one with any other Christians. Why? Because they are "too worldly." They are too "religious." They are part of a denomination. They have a name. They have anything that seems even just a little like a hierarchy. For some, even that they have elders. Or a building. Or support missionaries.

Yes. I was probably a little strong in my response. But I was responding to a rather strongly-worded complaint against your brethren. A claim that they are simply religious and not Spirit filled. Do you honestly see the practices of so many of the Christians that surround you as so "religious" that it must be that they do not understand that they must not be spirit filled because they engage in such practices? Are the practices ever "Spirit filled"? Or is it simply about the participants who are actually Spirit filled even if they don't buy a word of the charismatic kind of teaching? When were they filled? At salvation. I guaranty that your wonderful Christ did not teach you to speak in such a manner about your brethren.
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated--Part 1 response

OBW,
I am for the extinction of Religion. But I am NOT for the Extinction of the Word of God.

To your comment:

Quote:
It seems quite evident that there is a general disdain for anything that seems like tradition, ritual, liturgy, etc., as simply being "religious" and therefore cannot be Spirit filled."
Not completely true. For example, I had more of a disdain for the RCC when I was in the LC than I have now. My parents had Catholic funerals in 1977. I remember calling "O Lord Jesus", through most of the mass, to myself of course. I would not stand or kneel. I simply sat there. Was I convicted by the Spirit to do so ? Noooo. I was 'convicted' by the LC teachings.

Since then, I have attended more Catholic masses because most people I know have Catholic backgrounds. My friends are saved but their parents or family members are still involved to some extent in the RCC. So if there's a wedding or funeral, we attend the mass. I don't 'freak out' at the notion of being in a Catholic church. And I participate in parts of the mass. For example when the priest says "The Lord be with you", the congregants reply "And with your spirit." I know what it means and thus I reply with my heart. I do pray the LORD will be with the man's spirit ! Do most attendants understand what they are saying ? Of course not. But they say it every time they go to mass. When the priest says " Let us pray: Our Father who art in heaven etc", I pray along because I AM addressing our Heavenly Father from my heart, from my spirit. Do most congregants while praying the "Our Father" understand what they are saying ? NO ! How do I know ? Because I was a Catholic for 20 years and at different seasons, went to mass DAILY. I went to a Catholic shool for 12 years !

My childhood friends who also went to Catholic shool with me are now SAVED. They never were in the LC and guess what ? The Holy Spirit revealed to them the Presence of God is not in mass. I never told them that ! And neither has anyone else!

So, the fact we were told in the LC "Christ vs Religion" has nothing to do with how I feel about religion. Btw, I could never get through that book. I've been to a couple of Lutheran, Episcopal Methodist, and Prebysterian services. The Lutheran & Episcopal services are virtually the same as the Catholic mass w/o the statues and veneration of Mary. And why shouldn't they be? They are direct off shoots of the RCC.

One thing I will say about the RCC: They acknowledge very much the Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I don't ever recall hearing a teaching but I was brought up to believe there are 3 Persons in ONE GOD. And that is a TRUE FACT. I GET it but I am not going to go round and round about that subject either.

The other observation that is sort of a credit to the RCC is, their mass consists of an altar and a tabernacle. Through the RCC, I got a little understanding of the OT elements.
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:49 PM   #9
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But the call to its members was not to move to another city, but to overcome.
While I understand what the scriptures say and mean about overcoming, I don't understand your statement about moving or not moving to another city. I am not sure why you made that statement. I knew the LC 'raised' churches in different cities but they got that from the RCC !! The RCC has parishes all over the world, as do the Baptists, Mormons, JWs, and even charismatics.
Quote:
So, how do you define "Spirit filled"? Does the appearance of a history of common practice deny the Spirit filling the participants and bringing their tradition, liturgy, and ritual to life?
Mike. Defining "Spirit filled" is not something set in black and white. I've been around "Noisy" Christians, and "Quiet" Christians..Loud services and quiet services. Some are truly Spirit filled and some simply have the appearance. I think you have enough discernment in you to understand exactly what I am talking about. Sometimes we run into someone we don't know, strike up a conversation and realize that person truly KNOWS, that is, has a real relationship with GOD. You just feel blessed by being around them. Other times, you might strike up a conversation with another Christian who acknowledges God, talks about His Goodness but there is something lacking. You can't exactly pin it down but you just know in your spirit something is not right.

Something else I've learned about being "Spirit filled", a person's spirit can run dry. So a person might be "Spirit filled" one day and the next day, they got no oil in their lamp.

Quote:
We are still so quick to throw out so much because it is not our preference.
Apparently, you didn't quite understand why I explained in detail my time with all the different 'church' settings I've been in. I wasn't just a 'visitor', or one who sat in the 'back pew' for a couple of years. Initially, especially when I first began attending the church here, I had to fight with everything in me not to be judgmental and critical. For someone who was out of the LC for umpteen years, that critical spirit sure rose up in me the first few months. Sometimes, my spirit was correct in seeing the shortcomings. Other times, I simply wanted to dismiss what was said or done because it was not my preference.
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
you can say that you take in teachings from several sources other than LRC. Yet, are the acceptable sources, and even parts that you accept, based on your preference and that is what colors what is "religious" and therefore not "Spirit filled"?
Mike, I do a LOT of digging in the Scriptures, in prayer and in books including the internet for answers to questions. Some people have experienced 'going to heaven' OR 'going to hell'. I've heard and read many testimonies. Do I believe their accounts ? Some YES and some I question because I doubt their stories. But I don't lump them all in the same category !!! Do I believe some people truly pray in tongues from their S/spirit ? Yes. But NOT everyone ! One of the things that bothers me at the church I attended and this might be an example of "preference" as you put it, was their corporate prayer meetings. While the pastor does not oblige everyone to pray in tongues, it is HIGHLY encouraged. So all at once, EVERYONE is praying in tongues !! No one interprets though. Funny how it is strongly encouraged in that church to pray/speak in tongues but no one can interpret !

That said, I can't explain this but I have heard some people pray in tongues and something in me "knows" they really have a heavenly language. The Presence of God is sooo strong on them. I'll stop and pay close attention.

Others just mumble-jumble. In that particular corporate prayer setting and btw, that is what they call it "Corporate Prayer", everyone is free to walk around, or sit or kneel as they pray. It is in that setting I have experienced the Presence of God strongly on some people praying in tongues but in others, it was not.

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Do you presume that I like and prefer those liturgies and rituals? They are not my preference.
I don't presume what you like Mike. I don't know what your church is like. I'm guessing it is something similar to a Community church. We have a few around here. I've been to one. It seemed like a pretty good church. They don't take up offerings either or talk about tithing to my knowledge but wow..it sure didn't have a whole lot of juice !

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But that does not make them simply "religious." I might find that in my disdain for some of those practices that I am resisting God who would rather that I be open and participate.
Simply put, Mike you come across as very intellectual. Nothing wrong with being intellectual. Hey. I'm all for being super intelligent. Paul had true revelation from GOD when he wrote we have the MIND of Christ. WOW... by Faith I believe we are as intelligent as Christ and He is THE 'super' Genius of the Universe ! He made it after all !!! And we have the MIND of CHRIST ? How blessed we ARE !!!

But there is a difference between man's intelligence and GOD'S intelligence. Bill Gates is pretty darn smart. Yet he doesn't know if God exists! WHAT ???!!

Rob Bell is pretty intelligent too, is a "Christian" but he tries to 'intellectualize' the Word and ends up twisting the scriptures to suit his interpretation.
He doesn't get it is the HOLY SPIRIT Who enlightens us !! And many times, that's how you come across, very intellectual and very analytical.

And please Mike. I KNOW my shortcomings. I know I am very enthusiastic. I also know I love to share what I have discovered and learned yet might come across overbearing. I don't do it on purpose nor do I think I am closer to God than anyone here. If that is the perception I have given, my apologies for coming across in that manner.
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated-Part 4 [THE END!]

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I am struggling right now with the notion that I might be resisting in a couple of areas just because I still think it is "religious" and therefore not "in the Spirit."
Why don't you share them with us ? That's what true fellowship is about ! We can help each other. Learn from each other. You might have Insight, Wisdom and Revelation, Experience I and others don't have.

Think about how much freedom LCrs and former LCrs receive from coming to this forum and the other if for nothing more than being set free from the mindset we were once enslaved to.

Now that many of us have been out for so long, experienced different church settings or NOT, we should be able to share what is working or not working for us. I thought the 'church' I was attending was really great the first couple of years. I even talked about it on the other forum. But I don't like what I see there now. It was probably ALWAYS there, I simply did not want to be 'judgmental' and 'critical' right off the bat.

After all, I learned a thing or two from being there. I learned to speak 'FAITH' for starters. But little by little I saw a whole lot of things wrong...mixed with the Truth. For example. One day, after a weekend conference that filled the building with standing room only, the pastor got up and told the congregants he was going to pray and ask the Lord to bless everyone financially. BUT he added, the blessing was only going to apply to those who tithed to his church ! THOSE WERE HIS EXACT WORDS !!! He said "If you go to another church and you tithe there, then you should get your blessings from there because that is where you tithed." I kid you not !!! Those were his exact words.

He lost a lot of his own members after saying that ! But the diehard followers saw nothing wrong what he said. I couldn't agree with those comments and there have been other things about that church that I simply did not like. So I don't go there anymore but still fellowship with people that love that church.

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Are we still practicing exclusionary thoughts when our knee-jerk reaction is to say "religion should be extinct because it is not Spirit filled"?
I hope I have answered this question already, through long winded explanations.

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Do you simply stand by your claim that current and former LRCers "UNDERSTAND the difference between being "religious" and being Spirit FILLED"?
Perhaps I jumped the gun on that statement I made. But I still stand on the belief there is a big difference between being religious and knowing the Word of God intimately as in a Relationship. It is when we are intimately related to HIM, we are Spirit Filled. Quoting scriptures, regurgitating 'messages', even teaching and explaining the scriptures does not necessarily mean we, individually have an intimate relationship with GOD. But consentratring and carefully, slowly 'chewing' the Word, asking the Lord to give us REVELATION of His Word is how I've come to differentiate the difference between being 'religious' and being "Spirit filled."

Permit me to tell you another "little" story. Last year, one of my friends said to me "Carol. I got Revelation from the Lord." I asked her what it was. She told me "We are S/spirit." I almost fell off my chair !!! She didn't know where the scriptures were but I showed them to her and she was "WOWED" by them.

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do you stand by the statement that you are "all for the extinction of religion"?
Yep. Sure do.

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If so, then my objection to the statements remains. You have not addressed what seems, to me, to be a very exclusionary kind of statement.
Sorry. Again I am hoping by now you have a better understanding of what I meant by that statement.


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We rant about the exclusivism of the LRC then return with a modified form of it as we reject the ability to be more than theoretically one with any other Christians. Why? Because they are "too worldly." They are too "religious."
Mike. It works both ways. By that I mean, we sometimes can be rejected by religious people. One of the people in my prayer group has been going to the church I used to attend regularly. She is not a member but goes to every service, every Sunday. The leaders know her and she is well rooted and grounded in the Word. But they won't let her 'lead' a bible study because she is not a member! Your church might be different. And you might fit in just right. Yet I'm sure there have been people who have left it. It happens everywhere.

Ok. 'nuff said. Hope you and everyone get my POINT !! Oh...and btw, sometimes I myself have tried to be very ritualistic by having Communion every day. I go through periods where I'll break bread and drink the cup every day for 2-3 months. And then stop. Then start again. The stop. But when I do have communion, I love the time I am spending with the Lord.

So call me Religious if you like.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:14 PM   #12
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....The fact that there is a difference between Spirit-filled worship, between letting Christ live His life out in you, and ritualistic and religious ceremonialism, is actually a revelation given by the Spirit to many, many Christians outside of LSM...

I've heard Dr. Charles Stanley say it, I've heard Perry F. Rockwood say it, I've even read it on Tee-shirts sold at our local "The Light" Christian bookstore. "Christianity is NOT a Religion!" they proudly proclaim; and the back of that tee-shirt then details exactly what Christianity, and being a Christian, really is. I remember I wanted to buy it for a brother who was convinced that there was nothing worth finding in Christianity at all... figured it would blow his socks off.

That said, I can understand how someone calling for the "death of religion" could be construed as a hostile attack on faith in general. I know it wasn't meant that way, but I agree that caution should be used, "but so that we may not offend them,".... It's better to have a millstone tied around your neck and to be cast into the sea than to stumble one of the little ones.

From "Christ in you ministries", here is an article to enjoy on this topic. http://www.christinyou.net/pages/Xnotism.html - Article: "Christianity is not an ...ism"
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

All Christians can fall into a ritualistic practice of faith, even if they are wearing a T shirt telling them not to. Likewise, even Christians that practice their faith in a way that appears very ritualistic can do so in a way that is fresh and alive. If you use the analogy of "fire" like Paul did when he urged Timothy to "fan into flames" then every Christians spirit can be likened to a coal in the fire. So, in this analogy Religion does not hinder me from fanning into flames my spirit. Likewise, regardless of how burning the place I am is, ultimately it will grow cold and ashen unless I fan my spirit into flames. So religion becomes an easy fall guy for our own laziness.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:28 AM   #14
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

This matter of "Babylon" is very similar to the dreaded "religion." Some are just spooked by the Biblical warning to "come out of her my people." Hence they see "Babylon" everywhere they look, and have no ability to fellowship with others because they have not completely left "Babylon."

Those caught up in such fanaticism become armed to judge all others, and eventually become a "church of only one."
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:57 AM   #15
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

Great post NFNL.

You put it in perspective just right. It took me years to understand what it is to live and walk in the Light and in the Spirit. I never quite got it while in the LC even though this was a big teaching point !

I finally got it through people like Charles Stanley and others explaining the scriptures.

And I will confess I don't always walk in Spirit or live in Spirit. But in the last few years I walk and live by the Spirit a whole lot more than I used to. I'm still growing and learning, as we all are.

Thanks again for putting things in perspective. Great Job !

Carol


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Originally Posted by NeitherFirstnorLast View Post
....The fact that there is a difference between Spirit-filled worship, between letting Christ live His life out in you, and ritualistic and religious ceremonialism, is actually a revelation given by the Spirit to many, many Christians outside of LSM...

I've heard Dr. Charles Stanley say it, I've heard Perry F. Rockwood say it, I've even read it on Tee-shirts sold at our local "The Light" Christian bookstore. "Christianity is NOT a Religion!" they proudly proclaim; and the back of that tee-shirt then details exactly what Christianity, and being a Christian, really is. I remember I wanted to buy it for a brother who was convinced that there was nothing worth finding in Christianity at all... figured it would blow his socks off.

That said, I can understand how someone calling for the "death of religion" could be construed as a hostile attack on faith in general. I know it wasn't meant that way, but I agree that caution should be used, "but so that we may not offend them,".... It's better to have a millstone tied around your neck and to be cast into the sea than to stumble one of the little ones.

From "Christ in you ministries", here is an article to enjoy on this topic. http://www.christinyou.net/pages/Xnotism.html - Article: "Christianity is not an ...ism"
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:17 AM   #16
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

Speaking of someone being religious in a demeaning way is a cop-out. It is itself worse than whatever kind of error “being religious” is thought to be. It is a dispersion upon a fellow believer because of an outward perception of their inward being. Something you cannot discern merely by the form of their worship.

And you can’t discern it by the amount of “juice” that is found in it. The Spirit is not “juice.” It is not upbeat nor is it sedate. It is not charismatic nor liturgical. It is not flamboyant nor mundane. The Spirit is God. God meets people where they are. He comes into their situation and reality. He does not stand afar and entice them to come away to somewhere else. He may ultimately take them somewhere they have not been, but He will start by coming to where they are.

Worship is not simply songs or prayers. Sermons or reading of the Word. And songs are not just praise choruses or deeply theological hymns. And prayers are not just about Kingdom matters, but also our daily bread, our needs, and our confession of sin coupled with the request for forgiveness. Sermons are not just lengthy and expository. And the reading of the Word is not always for a targeted need, but sometimes just for the Word.

And church is not just what appeals to us. Or what does not. It is not to meet my needs, yet through it God does meet our needs at times. It is not perfect in any instance. Yet at some level it is perfect in all instances.

And religion is not just man trying to get to God on his own terms. It is also the term used to describe the whole of the practice of the worship of God (or a god). And being religious is not just about going through motions because they are prescribed. It is also the very willful subjection to a course of action in response to your faith in the God to whom the “religious” activity is given. Liturgy is not just someone else’s words repeated because they are magic. It is also the realization that others before us have traveled the same road and had the same struggles, fears, heartaches, successes, joy, etc., and we take their prayers as ours, speaking them for ourselves to the God we serve.

No matter what form you do it, baptism and communion (the Lord’s table) is a ritual. Ritual is not bad in itself. It is the marking of a step in a journey, like the stones on the shore of the Jordan after the crossing into Canaan, and the constant remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ for our fallen condition. Are all others to be avoided because they are not mentioned? Is there no reason to use other outward acts as either milestones on our journey, or as reminders of the truth of our faith?

Yes. You will find people who participate in ritual who are simply following the example of others but who have nothing in them for the God that the ritual is about. And you will find participants in communion who have no true belief in the sacrifice that it remembers. If you simply say that it is religious and should be rejected, then you should reject communion.

Remember, the next time that someone says “Oh boy! We’re going to recite the Lord’s prayer again!” in a sarcastic tone that they are mocking the very God who said “This is how you should pray,” and followed it with those words.

And I would (and did) agree that there is much to be avoided in the RCC. But simply saying that the mass is nothing is too much. Do you think that no one is instructed toward God and Christ in the mass? Do none come to believe that Jesus is the savior — their savior? Do they have to have an evangelical Protestant conversion experience to be truly Christian?
When you speak disparagingly of those who are “religious” you can only claim to be correct with respect to those who are following a pattern but have no reality of that pattern either through no real thought for God, or a lack of knowledge of God (as in not “saved”). But do you presume that even the unsaved cannot learn from their participation in something that they do not yet believe? Is it really any different than the unsaved that comes among you because they are in the process of being lead toward Christ? To the extent that they engage in the singing, or the reading, or any other aspect of worship, they are just going through the motions because it is not yet their reality. And since they are going through the motions, then everyone else must just be going through the motions. Or because someone is there who has had a bad week and their thoughts are far from God and they still engage in the singing, etc., but with nothing of their faith engaged, should we assume that they are merely being religious and dismiss them? And since they engaged in something that you would otherwise do from what is within you, is your worship diminished or made into that negative “religious” thing that you want to exterminate?

But I return to one of your comments. It is two simple words — “no juice.” Define “juice.” Is it presumed that the rather old patterns of worship in, for example, a Lutheran congregation have no juice? And if so, why? Is it because they are not lively? Do we presume that having Christ living in us requires that we act lively in an outward way? If not, then what is “juice”?

Do all those places that you have attended over the years have the right kind of juice? Or did they just appear to? Can you commit yourself to a group of Christians, or is there no group worthy of your commitment? And do you think that committing to a group means that other groups are inferior? And just because there are some groups that are just not the kind that fit you, does that make them without juice? Or just without the juice you are looking for?

If “juice” is the Spirit of God, then do you think that the Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican, Bible, Baptist, Pentecostal, charismatic free group, emerging free group, or any variation of these is simply without juice? Are any of these, by definition, no longer actually churches? Or are they just not your type?

And before you start in on another “dissect every snippet and ignore the context” reply, I really don’t want you to answer. I want you to consider. To meditate. To take it to God in prayer. These are the questions that have been bothering me for some time. I have some clarity on a few of the questions I have raised. (Note I said “some clarity.”) But I am unclear on others. And probably where I think I am clear I am only deluded. I do not have the answers. I challenge you to join in rethinking.

But this group of former LRCers tends to either be pretty certain that they have it all figured out (and it looks a lot like the LRC that they rejected) or they are so bitter with the whole thing that they are bordering on (or have actually become) at least somewhat agnostic. I am not saying that they are stuck. But that is what comes out. (And this does not cover everyone.)

And while this particular forum is open to discussion beyond just LRC issues, the first response is too often a modified Lee kind of “this is it.” I think that discussions of the LRC are valuable. But there are fewer and fewer of them. And they are too quickly overrun by someone pushing something else.

While I have issues with the LRC, and will continue to because of my Dad, brother, sister, and their families, I’m not sure that these forums are helping any more. And the rest of the discussion is so certain about how right certain positions are and how wrong others are. And I know that you think that I am just doing the same thing on this one. But there is a difference. I am pushing a truly open position. A position that admits that it is not all figured out. One that is willing to recognize Christ working in the very demonstrably spiritual and the very willfully obedient. I see a general trend in Christianity toward something that is far superior to the lop-sided ‘inner-life” teachings that are the core of the LRC, the apologetics-based propositions of the evangelicals and fundamentalists (also including the LRC), or the simply obedience-based liturgy and ritual of what has been demeaned as “works-based” Christianity. And this trend is toward realizing that each of these silos has both truth and error, and finding a way to bring the truths together. It will not result (at least in the near future) in some homogenized group that could be a new version of the LRC. It is more likely to settle in, for now, as groups that look a lot like they did in the past, but with additions. Evangelicals that do liturgy, are dedicated to the needy, and who embrace the mystical aspects of the faith. Liturgical that more openly preach the gospel, engage in more than the old ways of worship, etc. Get the picture?

Will you run for the door if you enter what you thought was an evangelical place and find a bunch of candles randomly placed along the edge of the platform, obviously left there by members who were praying? Is the first thought that Catholicism has taken hold and must be exorcised?

I do not challenge you or anyone else for the purpose of being right, or proving you wrong, but to challenge you to think. When you hear/read the word leaven in scripture, do you automatically think it is something bad? Is the term “flesh” just our sin nature?

And when you see the word “religion” do you simply jump into “all religion is bad” mode like you learned it from Lee? Do you not realize that the elimination of “religion” as mentioned in this article will not make Christianity better? It will turn it into millions of sects-of-one. That is not a good thing. But it would be the first reaction from someone who has retained more than they thought from Lee.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:48 PM   #17
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This matter of "Babylon" is very similar to the dreaded "religion." Some are just spooked by the Biblical warning to "come out of her my people." Hence they see "Babylon" everywhere they look, and have no ability to fellowship with others because they have not completely left "Babylon."

Those caught up in such fanaticism become armed to judge all others, and eventually become a "church of only one."
Babylon refers as much to the material world filled with commer******m as it does to the religious world. Look at Rev 18. There are all kinds of idols, not just religious ones.
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:04 PM   #18
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Babylon refers as much to the material world filled with commer******m as it does to the religious world. Look at Rev 18. There are all kinds of idols, not just religious ones.
That may be true but does little to help the "fanatics."
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

Some people are religiously opposed to religion.

I think, again, it's all about our focus. Our focus should be to help people have a relationship with Christ. We are not charged to eradicate "religion." When helping people, in some cases we may feel led to let them know that they are set free from empty ritual in Christ. But we don't need to be on alert to shoot down any empty ritual we think we see.

So many of these discussions come down to semantics. I saw a film in college called "Meanings are in People." The point was that meanings are not in words but in what people think words mean and imply. It's a mistake to warn a person about religion when "religion" to that person means sincere devotion to God.

As Paul said, who are we to judge our brother? Yes, if someone is bound up in meaningless ritual that is taking the place of Christ we should help them to see that they have been set free. This is what Paul did for the Galatians. But for some people rituals are helpful. It is not our place to turn up our noses at them.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: Reports Of Religion's Extinction Exaggerated

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So many of these discussions come down to semantics. I saw a film in college called "Meanings are in People." The point was that meanings are not in words but in what people think words mean and imply. It's a mistake to warn a person about religion when "religion" to that person means sincere devotion to God.
That movie ought to be mandatory for all those departing from the ministry of WL.

Oh how LSM loved to use new words believing vainly that somehow the churches would be blessed. The words of the Bible just were not adequate for them ... they needed the spice of recovery to make them more edible.

We would never say ...
Today I went to church ...
Tomorrow morning I will have devotions ...
Pastor Bill's message convicted me ...
Last week we sat in the last pew ...
Instead we would say ...
The processed God now lives in me!
The consummated Spirit is operating in these days ...
We ate Jesus in the meeting last night.
Religion becomes extinct when religious folks become out of touch with their peers.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:56 PM   #21
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Default Definition of religion

Ok...since I seemed to have left a bad taste on some people's thoughts...may I ask what everyone thinks their definition of religion is ?

Just so everyone understands... I do not snub people who go to church. I do not look down on people who are Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans..etc...

When I pray quietly, I sometimes fold my hands and close my eyes. I would kneel if I could. To some, my actions would be considered religious. When my neighbor told me he was nervous about giving a homily, I told him I was sure he was going to deliver it just fine. He thanked me for having confidence in him because he didn't have it in himself. I told him to ask the Holy Spirit to anoint him so when he spoke, it would be the Lord speaking through him. He was soo pleasantly surprised at my answer.

So while I am against "religion", my definition is not what the LC or LSM taught us it was. Religion to me is the motions people go through without contacting the Lord or having a Relationship with God.

Growing up, I was very RELIGIOUS. I believed in God. I prayed. But I did not know HIM. My religion taught me about GOD but did not teach me to have a relationship with HIM. And my friends who were never in the LC, who were raised Catholic and now have a relationship with the Lord, reading and praying the Word of God, have said to me How is it were taught to pray and to believe in God but never explained to us that we needed to have a relationship with Him ?!?" I had never knocked the RCC to them. In fact, I am very thankful to the LORD I was raised as a CATHOLIC ! I have my reasons that I won't explain here. I am also very grateful to the Lord for having led me to the LC in the 70s. I am equally if not more HAPPY I am not in either of those instituations.

So would you all be so kind as to share with me YOUR definition of religion ?

Thanks.

Carol
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:37 AM   #22
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So would you all be so kind as to share with me YOUR definition of religion ?

Thanks.

Carol
I have no problem with your definition. It's just that we need to realize that people may have other definitions, and so we need to be careful when we start slamming "religion." Other people may not know what we are talking about.

On that subject, a Catholic friend of mine wrote the article this link points to. That's me with the long comment at the end of it:

http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Add...3-01-2011.html

What's my definition of religion? I have several, depending on context. I use it positively many times, because that's the context my audience may be working under.

My negative definition is it's anything we do independently of God but that's supposed to be "spiritual."
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:19 AM   #23
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I have no problem with your definition. It's just that we need to realize that people may have other definitions, and so we need to be careful when we start slamming "religion." Other people may not know what we are talking about.

On that subject, a Catholic friend of mine wrote the article this link points to. That's me with the long comment at the end of it:

http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Add...3-01-2011.html

What's my definition of religion? I have several, depending on context. I use it positively many times, because that's the context my audience may be working under.

My negative definition is it's anything we do independently of God but that's supposed to be "spiritual."
An excellent post by Patrick. Evidence that you can't just dismiss Catholicism.

And I liked your response.

I would suggest an alteration, or addition, on one point. It is not necessary that we agree on the definition of religion (or of any particular thing), but that we understand which definition is in use at a particular time in a particular discussion. When James makes reference to it in his epistle, for anyone to dismiss him because he is talking about religion is to equivocate and use a different definition. To simply say that the opening premise of this thread — that "religion should be extinguished" or that it will be by a point in time — is a good thing is not talking about the definition under which the term is used in that opening post.

It is an intellectually bankrupt position to insist on one definition when it is not the one intended. And it is one of the worst aspects of postmodernism to suggest that which definition is in play is up to the reader. If that is true, then there can never be meaningful discussion about anything.
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I once thought I was. . . . but I may have been mistaken — Edge (with apologies)
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