Friday, 6 July 2012

Quick thought on Christian behaviour.

Very often my quick thoughts flesh out into full blown posts. I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing.

Well, here goes for another quick thought. Let's see if it incites the feedback I so desperately want to encourage here on

What is the purpose of a church, if the basis of Christianity was set in sending people out in to the world to evangelise to the unconverted?

It strikes me as strange that the religious make great weight out of attendance, when perhaps the precepts of Christianity should suggest that an empty church is preferable.

Surely, preaching to the already converted could be construed as an avoidance of one's Christian responsibility, only serving to give the theist a sense of community as opposed to a sense of 'being one with God'?

Your thoughts?


  1. Forming a community is a big part of it, as is reinforcing certain beliefs and behaviors (which is part of group identity). That's why a lot of kids who go to college and leave a particular community behind suddenly find themselves adrift and leave the church.

    But I don't think you can eliminate the religious "being with god" thing entirely. The people at a megachurch can be in a religious ecstasy just as well as a nun genuflecting in her cell; it just manifests differently. Sometimes by crying and speaking in tongues, sometimes by that suffusion of well-being, sometimes in self-righteous hatred.

    1. I certainly understand that from a community perspective, but what I don't understand is the theological perspective.

      The 'church' is often touted by Christians as a living body of Christ that is nothing to do with congregations. Indeed, Jesus was clearly not impressed with temple proceedings and promptly got crucified for his actions.

      By this reckoning, the church the building is irrelevant to Christianity. Quote;

      John 2:13. And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
      14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated.
      15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables;
      16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise."
      17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Thy house will consume me."
      18 The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?"
      19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
      20 The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"
      21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
      22 When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken.

      I think it is clear that Jesus had no intention of establishing a physical church/temple, and that he intended to embody its structure in his resurrection into the hearts and minds of his followers.

      The church as a building is a Paulan subversion of Jesus' teachings. I am not sure if I have ever encountered a 'true' Christian; they are all disciples of Paul.

      Whether people at their megachurches feel good about spouting gibberish and getting killed by snakes is irrelevant. None of it is Christian in nature.

  2. I would rather they be in their church than knocking on my door.

    1. I have had the Mormons round a couple of times. I quite enjoy their discomfort. It unnerves them when an atheist knows more about their own faith than they do themselves. Besides, their always seem to be nice lads that do at least try to listen and understand.

      Never had the JWs at my door, but should they ever deign it appropriate to do so, I should imagine they will put me on a list of people to avoid.

  3. I'd say the purpose of a church is to maintain the belief system of those who attend it. Given that so much of what they are expected to believe conflicts with reality, the indoctrination must be ongoing.

    1. I would have thought that was more the purpose of the religion; the church as a building is nothing more than a shop-front.

      I can certainly see how people would come to the same conclusion that you have, I just remain unconvinced by it.

      It is not scripturally based. It serves no evangelical purpose. And whilst I agree that the church building does act as a system of confirmation and indoctrination, I fail to see how this is in any way Christian in nature.

  4. Thanks for all your thoughts, guys, but I don't know if I have really expressed myself in clear enough terms here.

    Yes, I see the value people place in community and affirmation, and I don't doubt that it works for theistic leaning people (and maybe a small number that are not), but I simply do not see the connect between the teachings of Jesus and that which is established as Christianity today.


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