For a little background, read Nathan's original post (as found in my previous blog entry) and then read the blog entry itself. (Nathan has since responded in the comments and on his blog, too.).
- Nathan's actions and attempts need to be supported and commended. He is trying to right a great number of the actions/methods of a system that he is part of (church/churches).
- I really do respect Nathan. He is bright, witty and intelligent and, from what I can gather, actually cares.
- He is not a cafeteria Christian and he doesn't attend church to ensure he meets the cut-off for "heaven". I don't believe he attends church on the 7th (or 1st) day of the week to make up for the ills of his ways the other 6 days of that week (yes, I'm accusing others of such).
- His letter to the editor was/is necessary. He pointed out, to the religious, some harsh realities and admitted, to the non-believer, that those problems are recognized.
Having said all of that, let me explain my position.
- I don't believe in an afterlife, the historicity of a divine Jesus Christ or that the bible is the inspired word of god.
- I do not believe in god and, likely, would go much further to say that there is no evidence to justify belief in a god.
- Religion does not deserve the respect that it is given. It is harmful and anything that is truly as good as they claim it to be should not be afraid of criticism. (It's like claiming that someone who is perfect and all-knowing would be jealous. What? They do claim that?)
- Not all religion is bad but I take issue with supporting or encouraging it because it always wishes to go the next step to interfere with rational thought of its followers. Think for yourself. Question everything.
From this, my point in the original post was to say, basically, that "Yes, Nathan is right." The solution (though not implied or inferred in his post - but the reality that needs to be considered) that Nathan has chosen is to be a part of a "new" type of church - "The Story". It is that part that I take issue with. His church is different - it is a step in the right direction but if you are going to take a step, take a few steps.
As different as Nathan's church is, it can only be so different. There will be the continued expense of pastors, buildings, upkeep, etc., and that money could be used to do so many other things. (If only the needless waste of money were its only and greatest fault.) If Jesus had ever existed and lived the life that Christians wish he did, he would be ashamed of the waste of money and the encouragement of non-thought.
So, Nathan, thank you for speaking out. I respect that. I don't understand the need/desire to be a part of a church, however.
(Note: Money is only one small issue that I, and others, have with organized religion. I have posted other blog entries on the harms/troubles of religion - do not attack me for simply addressing one, seemingly pointless, issue. Religions seek donations with many people believing that most of the money goes to supporting the poor/homeless/helpless when that is blatantly false. Most of the money goes to supporting the institution. The fact that people are being lied to, abused and herded is a much more important issue to tackle and I have and will continue to do so.)