How Religious is Church?

I had the opportunity to attend a church service yesterday. First time in well over a year. It’s funny how Christians claim that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God, but yet this does not seem to be supported by the bible. In fact is seems pretty clear that it says it IS a religion:

 

James 1:26 & 27 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

 

If you look at a typical church service you will see that it is chocka-block full of religious rituals that most Christians engage in on a regular basis. In fact the attendance of church services every week is a religious ritual in itself.

 

As soon as you step into the door, the religious rituals start:

 

·         Being greeted at the door with a handshake
·         Entering an auditorium where a band is playing gentle music to enhance the atmosphere and create a hypnotic state.
·         Often sitting in the same area each week.

 

Then the service religiously progresses in this typical order:

 

  • The ritual of the opening prayer. Just about everyone bows their heads and closes their eyes in this religious ritual. There will often be mutterings of “amen” and “hallelujah” by members of the congregation. (Some churches even have the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer where everybody chants it together.)
  • Praise songs to Jesus, in the form of musical mantras, often repeating the same words over and over, eg “God is great”, “we are victorious”, “He is the King of Kings”.

 

The praise session usually involves the entire congregation standing and singing together. Often Christians will raise their hands into the air and/or close their eyes. Ritualistic clapping usually goes along with the musical mantras.

 

Once the praise session is done, usually comes the worship session. This usually involves the raising of hands and closing of eyes as people stand together. If you are in a Pentecostal church then there may be the ritual of speaking in tongues.

 

Usually somewhere during this time you get the following:

 

  • The cannibalistic ritual of Communion which is a religious ritual that all true Christians are expected to indulge in.
  • A period where people are free to pray, read out bible verses or give so-called words from God (If in a Pentecostal church there will of course be lots of speaking in tongues)
  • The ritualistic “Laying on of hands” in prayer over people or holding out your hand towards someone.

 

You may also have baptisms take place, another religious ritual, which many Christians believe is a must if you wish to consider yourself a “true Christian”.

 

Once all the standard religious rituals are done, then comes the ritual of the Sermon where someone stands up front and preaches. Due to the praise and worship, the congregation are in a hypnotic state and are open to suggestion. You will normally find that as the speaker winds up his sermon, music is being played to help enhance his words and to enable that hypnotic atmosphere to return so that the speaker can plant suggestions into the minds of the congregation.

 

This is often followed by the ritualistic “Altar call” where people can come up for prayer or blessings.  Once again you will see many more religious rituals observed:

 

  • The  laying on of hands in prayer
  • People raising their hands, closing their eyes, speaking in tongues.
  • “Spiritual warfare”. The act of binding or casting out of evil spirits
  • The ritual of the “sinner’s prayer” which must be conducted when one converts to Christianity.
  • People being “Slain in the spirit”. (A type of hypnotic state where people believe the Holy Spirit has come upon them and they fall backwards – usually encouraged by a sudden push to the head by the person praying.)

 

Music will usually be playing in the back ground to enhance the hypnotic atmosphere and make people more susceptible to suggestion.

 

Finally comes the ritual of closing the service in prayer before everyone goes out to yet another ritual, that of the tea and coffee and fellowship.

 

 

Yep, all you have to do to see that Christianity is most definitely a religion is to attend a Sunday church service. 

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