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Author Topic: Organized religion and money  (Read 1543 times) Average Rating: 0
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Rosehip
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« on: May 10, 2008, 01:26:47 PM »

So many people say they want nothing to do with organized religion,stating  that it's all about money. In short, the church is just one big business.  I must admit, I've had similar doubts, and often don't know how to respond to such accusations. I know it's just an excuse, but still, I see a grain of truth to it as well...  Also that religion is bad because it divides people.

Thoughts, anyone?
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+ Our dear sister Martha (Rosehip) passed away on Dec 20, 2010.  May her memory be eternal! +
Tamara
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2008, 01:47:28 PM »

Anything can divide people: political affiliations, language, culture, social and economic status, education level, race, ethnicity, philosophies, hobbies, sports allegiances, taste in music or fashions, etc. And many of those divisions mentioned require money in order to pursue them.
In its ideal form, the church is actually the one place to bring together folks from a variety of divergent backgrounds listed above.

Usually, the reason folks use the excuse that organized religion is all about money is because having faith is not a priority in their life. Anway, on a worldwide scale, the Orthodox Church is probably the least wealthy among the various faiths.
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2008, 01:51:32 PM »

So many people say they want nothing to do with organized religion,stating  that it's all about money. In short, the church is just one big business.  I must admit, I've had similar doubts, and often don't know how to respond to such accusations. I know it's just an excuse, but still, I see a grain of truth to it as well...  Also that religion is bad because it divides people.

Thoughts, anyone?

Let's say you look at two political systems.  One is a tyranny and one is a democracy.  Because you see the truth and greatness of democracy you choose that as the truth and reject tyranny.  However that requires you to separate yourself from tyranny.  Do politics divide?  Yes, but you are convinced for good reason.

If you believe you are in the truth when it comes to religion, then the question of whether religion divides or not should not weaken your faith.  In fact, it is expected from Christians and it's part of the Christian faith that we are "separate" from the world, but we also should love the world as our own flesh.

As for "one big business," I can only think of something ideal about this, that people want to give to the Church to help the Church, while the priest should not seek money (I hear that in dire circumstances, a priest can keep his job to provide for the Church).  In some parishes, you can feel this spirit, where the priest thanks God for provision and where the people freely give without a feeling of business.  Will you find some "business churches?"  Yes, but we know that churches sometimes are never perfect.  The congregation can be snobbish, but does that change the Truth?  No, it changes them, but not the Truth.
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jnorm888
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2008, 04:00:22 PM »

So many people say they want nothing to do with organized religion,stating  that it's all about money. In short, the church is just one big business.  I must admit, I've had similar doubts, and often don't know how to respond to such accusations. I know it's just an excuse, but still, I see a grain of truth to it as well...  Also that religion is bad because it divides people.

Thoughts, anyone?

These are things an Agnostic will most likely say. My Dad use to say stuff like this.


And I always respond back with:

1.) Churches have bills to pay.
     a) light bills
     b) building insurance
     c) gas bill
     d) they gotta pay church staff
     e) mortgage
     f) retirement fund
     g) building fund
     h) mission fund
     i) education fund
     j) seminary fund



2.) Everything divides people
     a) TV shows divide people
     b) politics divide people
     c) Atheism divides people
     d) Agnosticism divides people
     e) any idea under the sun will divide people


but guess what?

3.) Everything also unites people
     a) TV shows will unite people
     b)  Politics will unite people
     c) any idea under the sun will unite people


The samething that divides will also unite. There is no such thing as 100% uniformity, for you will always find at least one person on the planet that will disagree.



He doesn't say this to me anymore, but the truth is, some people don't like being told what to do, and what is right and what is wrong. They feel that "religion" is trying to control their life, and stop them from being happy. ....stop them from having fun.

This is what it comes down to for some people.


They want to do what ever they want without anyone telling them it's wrong.







JNORM888
« Last Edit: May 10, 2008, 04:07:25 PM by jnorm888 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2008, 04:14:48 PM »

^Bingo.  Post of the month nomination!
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2008, 04:43:33 PM »

^Bingo.  Post of the month nomination!

I agree! All replies were excellent and appreciated, of course, but jnorm, yours was especially  pertinent and practical. I deeply appreciate the thought and time you put into this post! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  You've been a great help!
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2008, 06:34:30 PM »

Allow me to play Devil's Advocate.   Smiley

There are 2 GOA churches and one OCA church.  One GOA church has a stewardship goal of $1,000,000 and a handful of influential behind the scenes millionaires.  GOA church sends letter asking to increase stewardship by 30% over previous year.

The OCA church has been recently sued for millions over discrimination and betrayal of confessional integrity (which will probably get thrown out of court due to religious doctrine).

Another GOA church is 4 years old, growing and a spiritually more satisfying place for worship.

All 3 churches have bills to pay.
All 3 churches have some division issues - albeit not as bad at the newest GOA church.
All 3 churches also have the potential to unite people under Christ; After all, the Church is supposed to be a hospital for the healing of sick sinners.  Let's use the Hospital analogy.

For GOA church #1, they ask for a 30% increase from the previous annual "donation" for the Hospital.
For OCA church, faith in the spiritual doctor may have been comprised.  Hopefully, the spiritual malpractice insurance is paid up.
For GOA church #2, they are a growing community which needs the financial help every step of the way.

My personal inclination would be to support GOA church #2 because such a donation would be useful to them in the short term.
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2008, 09:35:58 PM »

Allow me to play Devil's Advocate.   Smiley

You haven't been?  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2008, 11:09:06 AM »

Allow me to play Devil's Advocate.   Smiley

There are 2 GOA churches and one OCA church.  One GOA church has a stewardship goal of $1,000,000 and a handful of influential behind the scenes millionaires.  GOA church sends letter asking to increase stewardship by 30% over previous year.

The OCA church has been recently sued for millions over discrimination and betrayal of confessional integrity (which will probably get thrown out of court due to religious doctrine).

Another GOA church is 4 years old, growing and a spiritually more satisfying place for worship.

All 3 churches have bills to pay.
All 3 churches have some division issues - albeit not as bad at the newest GOA church.
All 3 churches also have the potential to unite people under Christ; After all, the Church is supposed to be a hospital for the healing of sick sinners.  Let's use the Hospital analogy.

For GOA church #1, they ask for a 30% increase from the previous annual "donation" for the Hospital.
For OCA church, faith in the spiritual doctor may have been comprised.  Hopefully, the spiritual malpractice insurance is paid up.
For GOA church #2, they are a growing community which needs the financial help every step of the way.

My personal inclination would be to support GOA church #2 because such a donation would be useful to them in the short term.

I find this hard to determine for the following reasons:

1) You state that, "Another church is 4 years old, growing and a spiritually more satisfying place for worship. This seems to me to be a personal outlook of the church, not based on fact. There is no way that you can prove a church is a spiritually more satisfying place for worship because that determination needs to be made on an individual basis. What is spiritually satisfying to you is not necessarily spiritually satisfying to me.

2) In regard to Church 2, should the entire congregation suffer because the doctor commits a violation? That's tough to say in my opinion. Does the hospital suffer when a doctor commits malpractice? Not necessarily.

In my opinion it would seem that Church 2 needs the support because they have the biggest problem to face. Church 1 has more money than they need and Church 3 should see their income increase with the increase in membership unless they're taking on a large number of members for free although I'm sure that financial contributions are part of the membership requirement in just about any Orthodox Church. If Church 3 is facing a difficult time it may be because they are operating "beyond their means" If you have a congregation like the one described for Church 3, and they go out and buy a $5M chandelier for the church, that hardly qualifies as financially in need.

Just my opinion. I also removed the jurisdictional designations to make my answer cleaner.

-Nick
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2008, 02:43:20 PM »

I find this hard to determine for the following reasons:

1) You state that, "Another church is 4 years old, growing and a spiritually more satisfying place for worship. This seems to me to be a personal outlook of the church, not based on fact. There is no way that you can prove a church is a spiritually more satisfying place for worship because that determination needs to be made on an individual basis. What is spiritually satisfying to you is not necessarily spiritually satisfying to me.

You are absolutely correct in that my comment was merely a personal feeling and not a global reflection on that church.  I tend to be partial towards smaller communities where there are more opportunities for fellowship and friendship than in large communities where I perceive that most of the parish (including myself) is set in his/her ways.

In my opinion it would seem that Church 2 needs the support because they have the biggest problem to face. Church 1 has more money than they need and Church 3 should see their income increase with the increase in membership unless they're taking on a large number of members for free although I'm sure that financial contributions are part of the membership requirement in just about any Orthodox Church. If Church 3 is facing a difficult time it may be because they are operating "beyond their means" If you have a congregation like the one described for Church 3, and they go out and buy a $5M chandelier for the church, that hardly qualifies as financially in need.

I included jurisdictional references because these are churches that I've attended just in the last 6 months.  Using "Church 1", etc. evaded my mind.  While some Orthodox churches have a minimum annual contribution requirement, others are content with whatever one can contribute.

Church 1 is exploring fund raising options for renovating 2 buildings - one of them 25 years old and the other 50 years old.  They're throwing around $12-15M for renovation costs.

Church 3 is in no position to buy $5M chandelier - they use 4 room ACs to cool the entire structure.  The ACs were overwhelmed by the candles lit during Holy Week Services.  Most of Church 3's members belonged to another church in the same city as Church 1 who live closer to Church 3 than the city.
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2008, 04:18:28 PM »

You are absolutely correct in that my comment was merely a personal feeling and not a global reflection on that church.  I tend to be partial towards smaller communities where there are more opportunities for fellowship and friendship than in large communities where I perceive that most of the parish (including myself) is set in his/her ways.

I fall into that statement too, its a shame all churches aren't opportunistic in relation to fellowship and friendship

I included jurisdictional references because these are churches that I've attended just in the last 6 months.  Using "Church 1", etc. evaded my mind.  While some Orthodox churches have a minimum annual contribution requirement, others are content with whatever one can contribute.

Church 1 is exploring fund raising options for renovating 2 buildings - one of them 25 years old and the other 50 years old.  They're throwing around $12-15M for renovation costs.

Church 3 is in no position to buy $5M chandelier - they use 4 room ACs to cool the entire structure.  The ACs were overwhelmed by the candles lit during Holy Week Services.  Most of Church 3's members belonged to another church in the same city as Church 1 who live closer to Church 3 than the city.

I'm not too picky about references, but some on this board definitely will get bent out of shape when they see OCA, GOA, etc. and take something the wrong way. I've gotten the wrath before  Grin

Church 1 could always donate money to preserve my >100 year old Cathedral in Chicago which is a Louis Sullivan design and needs about $5M worth of restoration.  Grin

-Nick
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2008, 04:50:20 PM »

Was it ACs in 18th century Russia? IS OUTRAGE!





(No ACs in either my or my wife's parish)
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2008, 12:14:21 AM »

Anyone who thinks that a church is a money making "business" needs to serve on parish council.   Wink Grin
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