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starsofeight's avatar

Believers complaints against church and religion?

Asked by starsofeight (2518 points ) September 2nd, 2012

I am curious about the attitudes of church-going believers. I, myself, am a believer, and yet I have a list of complaints against church and religion, but not against faith or living one’s faith. I would like to hear from other practicing believers who have complaints against any aspect of religion or the church.

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13 Answers

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noraasnave's avatar

I have been attending baptist church since I was very young. I go occasionally now, for the social interaction of my children with other kids their ages.

Most ‘Christians’ I run into appear to use religion as a way to overcompensate for other areas of their life where they are imbalanced or willfully choosing something other than health.

In my experience, the louder a Christian is; the more they have jacked up their personal life. My experience includes my personal experience. When in my 20’s I was the one that was at the church every time the doors were open: teaching Sunday School, leading the choir, singing solos, teaching Bible Studies, etc. I was doing all of this to try to balance out how terrible I felt about myself and to balance out the private ‘sins’ I was dealing with. So, yep, I was the loud one, whom I referred to earlier, back then.

Upon a short life time of examination (38 years). I have seen passages misused in the Bible in a myriad of ways to support one’s agenda, plan, motive, or financial need. For instance, my parents use the Bible to justify isolating themselves from their children and Grandchildren, and to also justify living in a place where they can barely pay their bills while busying themselves with 5 jobs.

I believe in God, and have an active relationship with Him. Conversely, I believe that God gave me a brain and a dream for a reason. If He wanted automatons then he would have made robots or something. More and more I find that God is leading me to balance of heart and mind. So I pursue healthy, purposeful relationships with my family and who ever else is open to them. This sounds peaceful and harmonious but the challenges of a blended family are daily.

I don’t generally share this information with others, but for fluthers I am always willing to make an exception. I find that good boundaries are the solution for any problems which one might run into in a given church, that and following one’s gut.

GracieT's avatar

I also am a practicing Christian. My main complaints are the mix of Christianity and the church in the US. I try to keep politics out of my faith, but there are times when, as an evangelical, I have to bite my tongue. Hard! I also think that people become too concerned with people within the church and leave God out of the equation entirely.

Judi's avatar

You should be with me right now! I am at The Wild Goose Festival.
It’s a place for people like us.

zenvelo's avatar

@starsofeight You’re describing why many people leave churches and religions: it becomes difficult to reconcile the beliefs with the behaviors and practices of the religion.

The Faith is the belief, the religion is a human construct that starts off as a means of expressing faith, but often deviates after it originates.

As a Roman Catholic, I have some strong disagreements with Vatican policy, especially around sexuality, but I view the rites and traditions of the Church as a means for me to express my beliefs. And I found a parish that feels the promotion in the sanctity of life includes being against the death penalty and feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, and housing the homeless. Our pastor stated one time that a politician who states he is anti abortion but refuses to support the other issues is not deserving of support by a conscientious Catholic.

GracieT's avatar

Road trip- I live in Ohio. I was a “WindChanger.”. Our main focus helping alleviate poverty. The group was created by Jim Wallace, from Sojourners magazine.

BosM's avatar

My only beef with the church and religion is that I’ve found for some religious zealots being a good Christian and claiming to be one are very different things. I wish these people would do more practicing than professing of their religion.

To me religion is a very personal thing. I don’t need religious values pushed on me, but there are those who feel as if they need to do so. These same people will stab you in the back in the workplace on Monday after spending Sunday in some form of religious service. All I ask is that you spare me the professing and instead practice what you preach.

starsofeight's avatar

@BosM Thanks. That is one of the complaints on my list, as well. I recall, some years ago in my hitch hiking days, I was walking along a street (fully a believing Christian) when a young man approaches me and offers me breakfast. I was all for that—until he added, ‘and while you’re eating, I’ll witness to you’. I thanked him, and explained that I had a destination in the next block and some personal business I needed to attend.

I’m all for sharing what I believe in, but I believe it is proper to wait until I am asked.

starsofeight's avatar

@zenvelo Thanks. I have been to a few Catholic services, and while I have never been a part of that faith (either for or against) I do have some issues with Catholicism in general. Fingering beads, or any other overtly physical act strikes me as spiritually insufficient. I also think the church should allow more elbow room in the personal decision making of priests and nuns.

Aside from that, it has been quite a while since I actually attended any kind of church service. I agree with what you say about faith and human constructs, but I have not found it difficult to reconcile the beliefs with certain behaviors and practices.

I sort of view the whole works as a grade school. I try not to speak ill of those still in the first grade—there is something there for them at that level. Others of us have graduated to the second grade. Our curriculum is nothing like that which we graduated from, but our level offers a whole new set of problems to be solved.

starsofeight's avatar

@GracieT Thanks. I consider myself to be devoutly apolitical—and that holds true for both politics and petty politics. I know it will always be that personal faith and politics get mixed up; that is our hope as individuals and a nation: that politics will address the issues most important to us. After all, our government and its original documents were born from faithful people in search of a political structure that addressed, protected, and defended the issues important to them.

Some churches do allow petty politics to occlude what people seek in such a social structure. Some churches seem to advocate a faith that is expressed through works, and I disagree with that as I think that works should be the expression of our faith.

starsofeight's avatar

@noraasnave Thanks. You know, I never included ‘overcompensation’ in my list of complaints. Guess it just never occurred to me. I have noted the misuse of scriptures as well as personal values, and am saddened that many people today lump true believers in with the past atrocities of the church. I think a true believer finds outward expression through the choice of such values and balance as you have mentioned, and there is always a challenge in making good choices.

As to the past atrocities of the church and the misuse of anything in the faith for personal advantage, leverage, or control of the populace, I prefer to see it as the church fallen into the hands of evil people—but I will not try to lay that at the feet of either the church or the genuinely faithful.

I like what you said about balance. In that regard, I appreciate the view that life is a value that strives for the perfect balance between man and God.

GracieT's avatar

Interestingly enough, I’m now in the main building of my church. These meetings are called CTs, or Central Teachings. The main focus is
a bible teaching, with people from many HomeGroups
attending. You don’t have to
go to both, CT and
HomeGroup even though I
(and many others) choose to. There are several CTs, different times and locations, which are taught be people, both male and female, all with extensive study and classes. I feel at home here, because I don’t have to “check my brain at the door.”

Nullo's avatar

It has been my experience that every single church has, if you look long enough, its armpit. I find it helpful to keep in mind that we are all works in progress, and that God has forgiven them like He has forgiven me of my shortcomings.

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