Ok kids, put your thinking caps on!
I was a Christianity major in college. I was also a Sociology major. Considering I attended and graduated from a Southern Baptist college probably sheds light on my very limited knowledge on both those subjects, however, I did keep some of the books and have turned to browsing through them. It’s amazing how they are much more interesting now than they were then.
Fortunately, not every textbook we purchased came from the Southern Baptist Press. We were provided with mainstream texts, but they were filtered through the Southern Baptist lens of our professors. Reading them now in my un(church)filtered state, I am sometimes amazed at what these books were trying to tell me, and I am saddened that we weren’t allowed to have honest discussions regarding the subjects they raised.
Here’s some passages from an introductory text entitled “The Sociology of Religion” that I found interesting.
“The role religion plays in maturation is highly problematic. While it is difficult to assess religious dysfunction in maturation, we can see that there is the possibility that religion institutionalizes immaturity by encouraging believers to be dependent upon the religious institution and its leaders.
Religion can provide the necessary elements of security and definition at certain stages of life, to enable the individual to meet crises successfully and to develop a mature personality. Paradoxically, even in its dysfunctional promotion of dependence and immaturity, it can become a focus for the development of independence and maturity by becoming the object of conflict and rejection. From this process the development of a more mature attitude and point of view, either religious or irreligious, can take place.”
This passage makes me feel smart. It says what I’ve been saying for the past three years: CHURCH PEOPLE NEED TO GROW UP!! As I have said before (most eloquently I might add)… the church is just a big nipple that people love to suck.
The church is a complete and total paradox. The church says that Christianity is about freedom and then in seeking to set you free it enslaves you. It tells you it wants to make you a “mature disciple and follower of Jesus”, but to do so you have to stop thinking, stop questioning, get in line and be a stupid sheep follower of our version of Jesus.
The church says it offers you the “meat of the scripture” and that anything the world offers you is “milk”. What you don’t realize is that the church is offering you processed meat devoid of any real food value and that the milk of the world might be much more valuable to your overall balance and health.
No doubt, like the passage above states, the church can provide certain functions in a persons life to provide security and a level of stability. It can even assist in the maturation of a person… to a point.
I just think it’s time that most church people grow up.