Why do people leave the Church
by Carole McDonnell
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Spirit and Truth
“They that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in Truth.”
The largest religion among blacks in the US is Islam.
The second largest growing religion in the US among blacks is Mormon.
How black folks can believe that Islam was our "original" African religion is beyond me! How can Islam be the "original" religion when Christianity came before it?
How can black folks believe in Mormonism when up to 1974 the Mormon church considered us the children of Lucifer?
I think there are many reasons:
Many Black Christians have been told that Islam was their "original" religion which was taken away from them by evil Christian slaveholders. This is untrue because anyone who knows history knows that slavery started with thh Islamic slavetraders and still exists. But many Black Christians don't know how to understand education and research...and the anger at slavery/Christianity/racism in the US doesn't help.
Secondly, many people like external shows of religion. The holiness in Christianity is in the spirit. We worship God in spirit and in truth. There is no law that tells us how to pray, where to pray, when to pray. There is no hierarchy of believers because all are equal in Christ, for all have sinned. But religions such as Islam, Mormonism, gets people into all the externals and "will-worship" and "wisdom" that the human spirit loves. Not that there's nothing wrong with externals. Christianity has its sacraments. Two people may love each other but the externals of a marriage vow is required and recommended. But many people like having the veil, the praying at certain times, the "mysteries" of wisdom, and all those external rites that people's egos love because they can say they do holy things and other people do not. Again, am not against rites, mysteries, etc. I'm an episcopalian by birth and longing. But it is the nature of the human ego to substitute rituals, rules, wisdom falsely so-called, for a relationship with God. Even saved Christians can fall into the trap. The annoying thing is that the people who get pulled into loving wisdom are so in love with how deep they think they are or how holy they think they are that they don't want to return to a Christianity where holiness is harder but not so easily seen.
Thirdly, regular Christians don't really go door-to-door like Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. Maybe we need to have regular Christians who do that. There is a hunger out there. And if people are hungry, as Proverbs 27:7 says, "the full soul loathes a honeycomb but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." People will eat what is offered to them. Plainly, Christians are so often taking care of their little church matters -- coffee and cake or a full church dinner?-- that they have forgotten how to talk to non-Christians or to new Christians.
Fourthly, American white Christians don't talk enough about racism in Christianity. In fact, they behave as if Christianity is a white religion. Most Christians nowadays are dark people...Africans, etc. Many of the early Church fathers were Christians. Augustine's mom was Nubian. Athanasius was black. Even in the Bible, Simeon and Rufus were black. It's not a western religion although the west has co-opted it. Many Black people -- especially guys who go into prisons-- see Islam as a way of exploring the anger they have with what they consider a racist Christianity.
Fifthly, many Christians have this "I am of Paul, I am of Appollo" thing going on. We don't call people to Christ...we call people to our denomination. We say "being Baptist is better" or "Being Catholic is the right thing" or "don't hang out with those crazy charismatics." That kind or infighting doesn't show the love which Jesus said would mark His disciples.
Sixthly, it is all to clear to me that religion and worldview affects a culture. Many American Blacks wrongly assume that a world without Christianity would be much better. They have not, however, lived in a world which is ruled by the idea of reincarnation for instance. In such a world, for instance, there is little mercy for the sufferer or the poor beggars on the street because the culture assumes the sufferer brought such matters on themselves in a past life. In a world of witchcraft – which many Americans Christians are always turning to– the fear of the evil eye and the general maliciousness is unbelievable. People are always thinking other people are out to put a spell on them. In a religion where everyone is a potential God –as in Mormonism– the societal differences may be subtle but it’s still there. The extreme properness of Mormons can be stifling. Future gods after all have their righteousness to attend to. And yet, when I last looked, the Center of Disease control showed that the state of Utah had the largest incident of wife abuse and other ills. It is very hard to tell a human on his way to godhood that he is wrong.
Lastly –although I am sure there are more reasons I cannot think of at this moment-- there is the judgmental factor. Many Christians don't live the gospel and their behavior turn people off.
Moral: The Bible warns: Be careful you who think you stand, lest you fall. Many Christians are convinced that their countries will remain Christian. I am not so sure. Let us teach our children. We should not make oppressive laws that forbid other religions, because no one ever came to God by being compelled to come to Him. But we must realize that it is quite possible that in the next fifty years we might be living in a country where the predominant religion is Mormonism or Islam and where Christianity will be relocated to relatively few Bible believers and an apostate Christian church.
Prayer: Lord, help us to bring people to you. Give us wisdom and insight that we may be able to give the right answer to those who do – or do not– want to know about you.
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