“Organized Religion” – Does It Actually Mean Anything?
This is another term that may be used by someone who’s had some sort of run in with a bad religious group, or “religious” people who have behaved in disappointing ways. Like being “spiritual, but not religious”, it is often cited as a reason for not attending worship services.
In a way, the term “organized religion” is a bit redundant. Religious systems by nature have some type of organization centered around common beliefs. In the Book of Acts a group organized around living out Jesus’ teachings was forming, that was the earliest version of the Christian faith.
Though some modern groups have tried to make Acts look like it’s all about displaying charismatic gifts, there is so much more to it than that. These Christians witnessed without fear of death, they made prayer and worship the focus of their lives, and they took care of those in need. Perhaps there would be far fewer people burned out on Christianity if these types of things were more well-known to those who have been hurt.
When AOL still had thriving religion boards, I encountered someone who had been burned out on hypocrisy, and found what ended up being an ironic solution. He founded a group of people who identified as Christians, but did not go to worship services. By setting up an organized group, he ultimately ended up doing the thing he was arguing against!
In my final post, I’ll tackle the heart of the issue, and what those actively in the Church or not can do about it.