Control Freaks And Religion

The world is teaming with control freaks, and some of these characters use religion in their quest to tell others how to think. Some hardcore atheists might think people are lacking formal education center their life around a creator, and some hardcore Christians might think people are not devout enough if you are not a Sunday go to church Christian. Tonight reading the religion forum I realized that one can be very educated and secure without necessarily discussing faith by the prescribed terms others find necessary. Comments about faith do not have to be highly philosophical, religious, or any of the above. There is no selfishness or lack or erudition in those who follow a faith, according to their own terms. However, some that are not very keen to the introvert's point of view may accuse someone of selfishness just because they choose to worship God in their own way. When someone makes a simple comment about how they find organized religion filled with hypocrisy, why do some take offense to that? There is a need by some control freaks to exert hegemony over the thoughts and feelings of others. Some feel you are not completely liberated if you have faith, and others proclaim that you are an eternal sinner if you do not have a prescribed faith.

Getting Your Control Freak On

There are many forms of control freaks. Some people think their way of organizing might be better than yours, even though when you look at your organization and cannot help but feel it is beautiful. Some people think their views on religion are better than yours because they go to church every Sunday, and you are a heathen because you simply read the Bible once in a while. Well even if my views on religion are simplistic to some, this is what feels true to me. I do not aspire to be a religious scholar, and if I did perhaps I would make a more philosophical investigation into why I believe what I believe, but at the moment I do not feel compelled to do so.

If religion is not your profession and just a personal faith, then no one should be worried about how you think or discuss it. I feel secure in what I do believe, and even when I am highly criticized, it does not mean I will wither and swing that way. However, I often do not see the point of arguing on a forum, so I might as well write a hub about what I am thinking. After being teased in school I realized I will never live up to any one's ideals, so this lifetime is short and sweet, and it is imperative that I live life according to my own terms.

One reason I have not attended church in years was the hypocrisy found in religion. First there was my experience with the Jehovah's Witnesses that disenchanted me towards organized religion. Some believe saying they do not believe in organized religion is in essence saying God is disorganized, but how is that so? There are thousands of denominations within Christianity alone, so which one is correct? I am of the mind believe what you want to believe, and worship the way you want. Going to a church with defined doctrines will definitely not make you a better person.

In fifth grade I came farther into my way of thinking that organized religion can be bastion of hypocrisy. I was teased mercilessly by students who claimed to be good Christians that went to Mexico to build housing for the poor. One such girl called me every horrid name in the book, and did not exhibit any Christian behavior that I know of. If you are going to be a Christian practice what you preach, and treating others poorly is very little inducement for people to attend your church.

In high school I went to youth group at a non-denominational church and I actually liked this group. If I lived near that community I might actually go to church services because it is a welcoming place, but I would not feel the need to go every Sunday. At one point in high school I felt that I should be attending church to be a good person, but how does going to a service make someone so? There are so many inherently good people in this world, and they have never attended a religious service a day in their lives. On the other hand there are many devout Christians are hypocrites and tell others they should not do certain things, but often are guilty of committing the same "sins". Sorry, but I tend to be turned off by churches filled with such members, and if anyone is concerned that I feel this way then they are being too much of a control freak.

Just taking hikes up in the mountains makes me feel close to God. He created the beautiful trees and earth, and that is all the evidence I need of an existence of God. Really I do not care what other faiths people are, but I do not need a prescribed church service or a philosophical text to tell me what I believe. Faith comes from within and it is something that is distilled to me by listening to my own inter dialogue. To me this is the most erudite and religious experience possible is when you are free from what others feel you must express, and just think about God on your own terms.

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Comments 33 comments

Alex Caldon 7 years ago

Hi I'm usually thequestfortruth on here.

I love to see people thinking for themselves in this way, its a great way to get closer to the truth, or closer to God. One thing I come across frequently in discussions with skeptics is that they very often throw the baby out with the bathwater. Eg they see the virgin birth of Christ as crazy so dismiss the whole of Christianity. But looked at scientificually, what Christ said about loving our enemies really is found to bring peace and happiness (eg psychologists in the field of family therapy have found this to work).

Keep up with the free thinking, don't automatically subscribe to all the doctrines of any group, be they believers or atheists, tread your own path.....and yea verily the world would become as one in time.....

all the best

Alex


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Interesting topic. You ask a lot of important questions here; questions to which there are so many different answers. Thanks for being so honest.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Great Hub, Sweetiepie - I do like to read your thoughts. I am fully with you on that one - I am a very introspective person, too - and I also like to wander around the countryside.

This 'you must go to church' idea is something completely alien to me - I have had many good philosophical discussions with local priests, and they have no problem with non-attendance at church. It is, as you say, the 'Holier than Thou' attitude, and it stinks.


Pete Maida profile image

Pete Maida 7 years ago

This is the kind of hub I like to read. There is truth and feeling in these words. People must be free to believe from their heart. I have always said if you believe that God is almighty then you must realize that he doesn't need your help to win friends and influence people. God is perfectly capabable and he/she doesn't need or want anyone pushing their brand of faith on anyone else.


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India

Religion is a personal choice. Coming from a mixed marriage I had the choice to pick whatever rituals I liked doing and was never forced to do anything I did not want to. God is my creator and I have a hot line to him. No third person is needed on earth to make the connection.


Glenn Frank profile image

Glenn Frank 7 years ago from Southern California

Enjoyed your article. Sounds a lot like what I have read here: http://thegodjourney.com This is a podcast where they talk about seeking God outside the boxes that organized religion puts us in. Great to listen to anyway. Much of religion is more about putting people in boxes than helping them listen more closely to God.


Montana Farm Girl profile image

Montana Farm Girl 7 years ago from Northwestern Montana

Great hub... makes you stop and think! I am right there with you too...


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA

One thing for sure, in our society, hypocrisy and double standards is alive and well. I have a very deep faith but I do not believe in organized religion. Long ago, I realized that organized religions exercise control.

Many years ago, a wise man delivered “10 guidelines” on how one should live life. If everyone lived according to those guidelines, our world would be a paradise compared to what we have now.  


Nolimits Nana profile image

Nolimits Nana 7 years ago from British Columbia

A really thoughful hub, Sweetiepie. Like you, I find my most spiritual moments when I meditate (or even just 'be') in a natural setting. Whether you call it God, the Universe, or whatever, the presence is within us all, and we just have to connect with it there. No third party necessary.


bean counter guy 7 years ago

SP:

A good read. Well thought out. Many points I agree with, some I don't. I won't go into which are which. I hearya' when you discussed the arguing in forums. It seems pointless - no one wins, because no one will be convinced to change by anyone else!

One point to consider, however, as a "Sunday-go-to-church guy": I concede the churches are full of sinners! Many are even hypocrites. However, if there were no sinners, we wouldn't need churches, would we? I hate the notion that the churches are supposed to be full of "good" people. When in fact, the churches are for sinners! And hopefully these sinners are seeking to worship God.

I also hate it that many people dress in their "Sunday best" and act as if everything's just hunky-dory, when nothing could be farther from the truth. (These would be some of the hypocrites). In my opinion (just opinion here) the church should be full of real broken people with real problems who are honest enough to admit it. Unfortunately that's not the case, and to many outside the church, that causes the church to become a big turn-off.

Again, great read. Really enjoyed. Really glad you're contemplating such deep subjects.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

Good for you SweetiePie!

You are so right with what you point out in this hub. I personally feel that religion and belief in God are two different things and you can always have one without the other. Hypocrisy drives me up a tree....and in the tree...... I find myself closest to God.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

Good thoughts, Sweetie Pie. It seems nuts for people to claim to be Christian and love Jesus then turn around and give you a lot of crap because you don't have the same approach.

Oh, well, many paths in the same direction. I like your path, the one through the woods.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Alex,

Thanks for sharing, but using a hub to promote a site outside of hubpages is not appreciated.  

alekhouse,

I am glad you stopped by.  I ask these questions of myself to help guide my thoughts.  I enjoy sometimes asking myself questions to actually find the answers for me.

Hi Sufi,

I think I fell into that feel compelled to go to church thing when a friend asked if I could fill out a survey about what it was like to be a non-Christian.  She thought I was not a Christian just because I was not going to church.  I assured her I was a Christian by my own personal faith, although not devout as many people she knew at her church.

I soon learned that here with some US Christians there seems to be a score board tallying who attends services most often, and who is not.  I once joined a Christian youth group in college, and I started having classmates ask me why I stopped attending.  Mostly I just did not want to spend three hours going to a meeting every Tuesday, but some thought I had forgotten them. I thought they were nice people, but I was not up for another retreat where we were encouraged to write in a journal all night and asked God for forgiveness.

It is good to hear Greek priests are more open about whether people come to church, which makes sense because I always felt Catholic masses to be more welcoming.  There seemed to be less arguing as with some of the Protestant groups.  Thanks for sharing.

Pete,

Very good points.  Oddly I just never felt the need to convert anyone, but I think this has to do with the fact I have spent a great deal of time outside of churches.  There is nothing wrong with people who feel conversion are important, but I always wonder how sincere they are.  We knew of one boy in college that was sort of goaded into converting to Christianity by his friends, and my roommate was also being pressured.  I finally had to tell her to stop attending those meeting because I could tell she was getting flustered, but was too gracious to tell her new friends what she really thought.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Cashmere,

Very well said!

Montana Farm Girl,

I think there are quite a few of us out there who have this or similar viewpoints. I appreciate your comments.

Glenn,

I will take a look at your site.

Nancy,

I would be interested in reading about those ten guidelines. Perhaps you should write a hub about it.

Nolimits,

Yes we have enough middlemen in every other facet of our lives, so why the need to have it in matters of faith too?

Bean Counter Guy,

You are welcome to disagree with me, but really that would not change my opinions anyway :). You did miss my point about the sinners in church because my issue is with their hypocrisy, and some people just seem to go from that type of behavior more than others. I would never want to attend a church every Sunday, so if others do that is fine. Interesting people always say they agree and disagree with certain points, but will not go into the points. This is so humorous, and sometimes I wonder if people say that to seem a little bit more strong in their debates. Do not be offended I thought this, but it crossed my mind :).

C.S.,

I believe climbing a tree is a wonderful way to feel a connection to God. Who needs the hyprocrisy, as it is so much for the bird, and not the type of birds that we see in nature :).

Dolores,

The wooded path just seems much more comfortable to me these days :).


lindagoffigan profile image

lindagoffigan 7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great revelation of your personal beliefs and your unintrusive set up however of a forum on the subject outside of the forum. 

I think that religion and politics should not be discussed except as an informational exchange.  Maturity brings with it the sense that you no longer have to try to fit into a particular group but the church thing comes into play during those years because of thoughts about mortality. 

As a mother, you have the responsibility of giving your kids somewhere to go and learn instead of the nearest street corner.  You have the choice of home schooling your kids or letting them attend a religious oriented school.  I choose the latter as I have two sons and do not want them to rely on outside peer pressure even though I hope my efforts are not fruitless. 

Still, it is my responsibilty to let them know that regardless of whether hypocrisy is found in the church, hypocrisy is not taught in the church.  I want my sons to know about all of the right behavior when it concerns loving another person and having self control.  These two casual doctrines are taught in the church so I am satisfied in giving my sons another institution of which to learn than daily school attendance. 

Studies have been shown that Christianity being taught to soldiers distraught after war experiences have thwarted tendencies towards suicide.  Such a study put a nice stamp on the decision that I had already made to have my sons well grounded not only in school discipline of texted subject but a guide on how to live their lives harmoniously from teachings received from another institution, the church.

  I am satisfied with my decision and is in awe when my sons' behavior around others shows that school education supplemented with  the good teachings of the church was well worth it.  It does not matter whether a person is introverted or extroverted, there will be times that they will have to be alone with themselves.  If they know and have been taught that God is Love then they will love themselves and treat others with respect and kindness. I dare not withhold something that good from my sons.

The only control that I want my sons to learn is self-control.  Control freaks are found in the church but it is up to the parents to teach the kids that they are to listen to the  good message and give respect to the messager.

The only personality I want them to take a look at is their own.  My sons must realize that they can not control others but the ability to have self control is a trait that will keep them out of harm's way.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

You must have had some terrible experiences to have used the words hypocrisy and hypocrites so many times in one Hub. 

I agree with you it is not required to go to church and I know very few people who care who goes and who doesn't.  A fair number of people invite me to church, I think for a somewhat similar reason as why some people invite others they know to a cool nightclub they have discovered and a good restaurant where they've eaten.  They want to share the good experience they have had with others.  It seems as if church is singled out as the only activity it is an imposition to mention to some folks.

There is the mistaken notion that one goes to church for one's own benefit.  While there are benefits—churchgoers live longer, happier lives—one goes to church to worship God.  It is for Him not you.  And it is for community.  Christians are called to form a community of believers to care for one another.  Not that being a hermit is wrong.  I am not saying anything or anybody is wrong. 

Of course the people in church are sinners.  They are no better than anyone else.  The difference is in their attitude toward sin.  Rather than say, having a parade to celebrate their favorite sin, they recognize it for what it is, they are contrite, they repent for doing it, and they are not afraid to stand up for the Truth—even if it makes them unpopular.  This does not mean they stop sinning—all people sin.  A hypocrite is a person more critical of others than himself. Just because one is a sinner should not mean that they refuse to stand up for the Truth. I can teach kids how to hit a baseball even though I made outs 67% of the time back when I played.  Just because I miss the mark does not make me a hypocrite—in and of itself—if I speak the Truth the others.

In other words, if a young person goes to church every Sunday but fornicates every Friday, I am sure some would say, "What a hypocrite!"  I wouldn't.  I would say, "At least this person is worshipping, repenting, reaching out to God.  And there lie the seeds of change." 

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this controversial subject.  You have a lot of good ideas and you express them very well.  I enjoyed reading your Hub.  Thanks.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

James,

I did not use the word hypocrite or hypocrisy all that much in this hub, and other people use certain words more than once too. Thanks for your comments, but maybe try and leave the over analyzation at the door before commenting on hubs. Just a hint: most people do not like to be told how to

write, and in essence you were doing just that. I am sure you were not aware of this, but I just let others know when something is coming across that way.

One point you have missed though was most realize the Christian religion claims all are sinners, but the reality is many people claim to have been cleansed of sin through their acceptance of Christ. However, some of these same individuals can still be very mean, judgmental, and still partake in the sins they tell others not too. One thing to unknowingly sin, but if you have decided to become a faithful Christian, one would only think you should be endeavoring to practice what you preach. Just as with indulgences in years past, even many Christians use belief in Christ and church attendance as a get out of free hell card. That is what hypocrisy is, and some of us just have no need to be around that sort of behavior.

Jesus and his followers even worshiped in a wheat field one day when chagrined for not being in temple, which just goes to so a church building is not needed to be close to God. Many of us feel connection to God in nature, or in talking with like minded souls.

Linda,

Thanks for sharing your views on this subject.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Gosh, ummm . . . I'm sorry. I never meant to convey that I wanted to tell you how to write. I enjoyed reading what you wrote just the way you wrote it. And I forgot to add, yes outside in nature—God is surely there. That's a good point, too.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

James,

That first line just struck me that way. It did make me laugh though because I never count how many words are used by a person in a hub, so I was laughing quite a bit after I read it. I am not upset, but at the moment it just struck me as being told I should have substituted the word for something else. Maybe I was wrong, but I always say what I think when something strikes me that way. I am not upset, but thanks for your comments.


inhimi 7 years ago

 

Sweetiepie,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  Your experiences from attending youth group could be duplicated time and again.  The truth is every local church is filled people who do the wrong things…and yes you could even say “hypocrites.”  That is undeniable.  However, that is no excuse for personal non participation.  The need for attending the local church derives out of fact that we are instructed to attend as believers in Christ.  You like so many will say I can worship God at the lake, on the trail, or wherever, and that is true.  However if that is the extent of your worship your are missing out on so much as to what God has for you own life.  The reason for attending the local church,(even when surrounded by hypocrites), is for corporate worship.  When that is missed or neglected you miss the opportunity for hearing the Word of God proclaimed (which is needed for your heart and growth), fellowship with other believers, as-well-as the opportunity to use your God given gifts to encourage and edify others, etc…

 

I do not write this to bring confrontation; it is just there is another side to the story which had not been commented on.      


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

inhimi,

Actually to be honest I think your entire post is preachy and lacks some knowledge of the Bible.  Even Jesus taught in the wheat fields, and to the masses out in nature.  If it is good enough for your Lord and Savior, why is it not good enough for others?

Besides, your points are absolutely invalid because you have not read this hub.  You just want to preach to me and others who are not fitting into your little box of "I must attend church every Sunday". 

There are many good people who do not attend church, and some are not even Christians.  Another big turn off of church attendance for me was the need for more pushy Christians to convert as many people as possible.  I really do not think this takes well with some people, and many do not feel they are missing out on anything.

Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about corporate worship, and this sounds like something you are worried about.  It is your choice to attend church, but I feel you must understand that your life choices do not suit everyone in the crowd. Many people have heard the word of God without being around others. What is the Bible? It was meant for people to be able to read, and surprisingly that can be done without a crowd.


J.S. Brooks profile image

J.S. Brooks 7 years ago

This is a useful and thought provoking post. Thank you. As a part time seminary student it gives me some things to reflect upon. I've been in situations where people who should have know better and whose faith should have guided them better were all too hurtful.

However, one wise pastor I know (a church historian) states he is never surprised at the number of things the Church (all Christian churches meant here) get wrong. Churches are run by humans after all and humans mess up a lot. What he feels is miraculous and a sign of divine guidance is the number of things the Church gets right over the centuries.

If you go to Acts and Paul's letters you'll find a lot of references to the early churches and the struggles they had. Humanity doesn't change and God loves us anyway. That's a point well worth holding onto. God bless you in your sojourn.

Thanks again.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

J.S.,

I really enjoyed your post. You sound like a very empathetic person and I am sure you will be a good minister.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

One of your points about "christians arguing" (I'm paraphrasing your words) is well taken. I think when humans feel strongly about something, in their urge to make their point or convert someone to their way of thinking, the discussion quickly gets intense and loses focus. I am a strong believer in my faith, but don't wish to shove anyone in that direction or roll over them. and what harm would be done if I argued or hurt someone in the name of my religion?

That is not what being a Christian is about, and neither is church attendance alone. I'm sure we know many people on the pews who could do with some softening up in their hearts. However, the Lord did ask those of faith to gather together to strengthen one another, yet even in many churches we find dissent.

We're just not that perfect yet.

I try to leave religious hubs alone, as well as the forums because it is a place of discontent or preaching to the choir and either one don't uplift too much.

I get my sermons from the scriptures and attend church for my do-better talks, etc. I leave the missionary work to those called and concentrate on being a good example which is a full time job for me. LOL

Christians "arguing" -- what a contrast in terms, yes?

Nice thought-provoking article, SweetiePie!! It is our actions, after all, that drive others to change, or not.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Marisue,

I am not totally against church attendance and I know that the Bible does encourage that, but I just have not felt drawn to a church in along time. Also I work on Sundays, so I really have not had time to think about it in awhile. You do make some good points though.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

Well, my main point is in agreement with yours, and that is why do Christians feel compelled to argue?  Provoking others to anger over differences that only continue to divide is the direct opposite of Christianity.

But, the Christians in the forums that end up arguing, would argue this point as well,   LOL   =)))  so, let's not tell 'em. 

Reminds me of a joke...  An angel was taking X brand of religion on a tour of Heaven.  As they passed rooms, the Angel introduced X to C religion in one room, and B religion in another and Came to another room and said "X, we must be careful and quiet...when we pass this room..."  and X said  "Why?"  and the Angel said  "because they think they're the only ones here." 

=)))  We just all might be surprised, eh? 


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

marisuewrites,

I knew your main point was in agreement, and I suppose what I was trying to say is there are certain churches I have enjoyed attending in the past, but not recently.

The Christians and atheists who argue in the forums just like to argue for arguments sake, which I think is boring after awhile. I thought it was funny how people complained about the last one to post thread, and the chicken thread, but what about the ad naseum thread of atheism vs. christianity. There is a new thread to discuss the same thing every single day, and some individuals never run out of steam on that one. I find it very amusing. I enjoyed your joke as well, but I think it will be missed by many :).


liminal 7 years ago

Very well said! Human beings invented religion and now seem uncertain what they are supposed to do with it; human nature being what is it, religious people seem to have decided to use their beliefs to beat other people over the head. Your observations on Christianity can be extended to any religion. At any rate, I hope that you continue to live life according to your own terms!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

liminal,

I recently heard one woman on eharmony was rejected by a man who did not like the salvation testimony paper he assigned to her like homework. Sorry Charlie, but if you are gung ho Christian or atheist I am not going to write a paper quantifying why my beliefs are up to par with your ideals of enlightenment. I notice people on both extremes of the scale state that you are just not good enough unless you do it exactly like them.


liminal 7 years ago

"The race of man, while sheep in credulity, are wolves for conformity.”

-Carl van Doren


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Liminal,

That is a good quote actually, and very true!


Joann 5 years ago

I totally agree with the writer of this Blog. I don't believe in organized religion much anymore, either, and lately I've been gradually trying to distance myself from my local Christian church as well, mostly to get away from the control freaks who think they're doing God's will by telling others what to think, what to believe, and what to do. I don't need anyone telling me how to get closer to God. I believe I can figure that one out for myself, and I really don't need or even want to be pressured into "staying in the Word," when I would rather read and study the Bible for myself online and listen to Scripture in church (when I do attend church, that is, which varies from most every Sunday to just a Sunday here and a Sunday there, depending on my mood). I don't believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible word of God, anyway, because of the many errors and contradictions I've discovered along the way while studying it online. (For an example, the sun does not revolve around the earth; the earth revolves around the sun. Also, which verse is true: The one where God says He does not change His mind, or the one where He actually does change His mind? They can't both be true, can they? And did God create evil, or does He hate evil?) Anyway, you get the idea. My dad is a control freak here at home, so the last thing I need is for a Christian church or for some of my Christian friends to boss me around also. I just want to be left alone to think and decide for myself what I believe is true and what I believe is false. Never accept anything as absolute truth unless you've seen or experienced it for yourself that it is.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Joann,

Good points! Some of the greatest thinkers like Thoreau, Emerson, and Gibron were advocates of thinking for yourself as a way to explore faith.

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