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March 6, 2012 / Dale Melchin

The Problem with Modern Organized Religion

No, I am not a Christian turned Atheist here.  I am however, focusing in during this episode on one of the primary problems in the modern age of Christianity and of religion in general:  The organizational aspects of religion.

The problem with organized religion is that it creates a dependence in certain individuals on the organization.  This isn’t necessarily a financial dependence, but it is often and intellectual or spiritual dependence upon the organization that is detrimental to the good of the individual, because they stop thinking for themselves, or governing their own spiritual growth.  The Protestant Reformation attempted to fix this issue, however because there was never a system created to account for it, even in the denominations that take a democratic approach to the governance of the organization this problem comes up.

It seems that there is a 50/50 split as to where this dependence is created intentionally or unintentionally.  When it is unintentional, the leadership involved generally means well and things still workout for the good of the people involved.  On the other half, which is generally more insidious, things do not workout so well.  There is generally rebellion and people either go and start a new denomination or leave the organization as well as the ideals of the church behind causing problems in family and other relationships that often last for the long term.

I have no easy solutions here.  I despise the Atheist take on it which says religion is the root of all evil and science is the ultimate good.  I despise it because it ultimately leads to Stalinism.  Science becomes a merciless god who has no compassion for others.  Science, more often than not is wrong.  Science is a process that combines logic and trial and error to get things right, not a good idea to make it supreme.  It is great for the laboratory, and it is useful for studying the universe and even some aspects of studying natural law, but not a good idea to be made supreme.

On the other hand, the organization of religion cannot reign supreme either, and here is why.  The organization is composed of imperfect people with varying ranges of loyalty to truth. This is why the Orthodox system of Church government is so beautiful, it takes forever to get anything done and while there is a hierarchy, where power is dispersed through many Bishops, the people ultimately do have a say in how their parishes on various level will be ran.

Authentic Tradition also gives us answers to existential questions that science cannot answer.  Science can tell us what it is and what it means in terms of x’s relationship with y.  But it cannot answer ultimate questions of existence.  Wheras authentic tradition does.  It tells us that the point of life is to align ourselves with natural law both in the spiritual realm and the physical realm.

My solution is an armistice between science and religion, and eventually partnership.  The traditions of religion, the good ones have a store house of answers to the human questions.  They are both scientific and spiritual.  Science on the other hand answers the physical questions that religion cannot answer, and humbly acknowledges that there are questions that it cannot answer.

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