Lie #3: ‘You are not smart enough or good enough to think for yourself. We will do your thinking for you.’

Do you know what the most important invention in the history of the world was?

It wasn’t the computer. And it sure wasn’t the light bulb or the telephone. (Or even the electronic voting machine.)

It was the printing press.

In 1445, Johannes Gutenberg invented the world’s first movable type printing press. He didn’t know it, but he was unleashing a revolution that continues to this day. Even the mighty Internet in the 21st century is just an extension of Gutenberg’s original, revolutionary machine.

The first book he printed was the Bible. And that led to controversy, too, because Luther translated it into German, the people’s language, instead of Latin, the lingo of the religious elite.

Suddenly, ordinary folks could not only afford a copy, but they could read it for themselves instead of getting some guy’s self-serving interpretation. Soon the cat was out of the bag–there were copies scattered all over Europe.

When people started to read it, they were alarmed at what they saw, because between the covers of this book was an amazing story that had seemingly little to do with the politics and shell games they saw in some corners the church.

Luther wrote a list of 95 accusations against the church — priests taking bribes and granting ‘indulgences’, an institution setting itself up as a ‘middleman’ between man and God.

He argued that God didn’t need a middleman, or a distributor, or an agent, or a bureaucracy. People could go direct to the source.

This little ‘schism’ in Worms Germany unleashed a firestorm of protest and permanently changed the way people approached education. No longer was a big, faceless institution responsible for your spiritual progress — YOU were. Now that you had the knowledge in your hands, you were accountable before God to do something about it.

I’m not trying to attack the Catholic church, by the way. The problem is not institutions per se; it’s just that it’s always easier for us to mindlessly follow someone else than to listen to God and use the minds He gave us.

It’s no coincidence that the scientific enlightenment and industrial revolution began in earnest within 50 years of this. Not that it wasn’t already underway (it had already gathered considerable momentum) but now that ordinary folks had access to knowledge and the freedom to pursue it, the possiblities were limitless.

The printing press took the handcuffs off of knowledge and spirituality, and the world has never been the same. Equal access to knowledge empowered people everywhere, and it was only natural that the Renaissance, and in time, democracy too would follow.

What’s troubling now is that most people still don’t do anything with the knowledge that’s available to them. Why would you accept a ‘canned’ answer or empty platitude when you can open the book and read about it for yourself?

People have debates about Jesus, but most have never read the real story–they just believe what they’re told. How sad.

If you want a ‘Just the facts ma’am’ version of what really happened, grab a Bible (please — a modern English version that’s easy to read, not something from the 1600’s) and read the book of Luke. A truly fascinating story will unfold.

I dare you to read for one hour and then stop!

And you know what? Nobody will need to tell you what it means. You’ll be quite able to figure it out for yourself.

You can get the book of Luke free online by clicking here:

Print it out and take it with you. (I like this NLT translation a lot, btw.)

Or, you can listen in MP3 by clicking this link:

You might like to burn the MP3 onto a CD and listen to it in your car, or listen on your ipod.

Tomorrow I’m going to attack Lie #4:

‘Women are spiritually inferior and must submit to the authority of men.’

Talk to you tomorrow!

Respectfully Submitted,

Perry Marshall

P.S.: Speaking of scientific revolutions, you may enjoy my
other 5-day email course, “Where Did The Universe Come From?”
I explore the Big Bang, the wonders of DNA, and the
relationship between science and spirituality:
CosmicFingerprints.com

45 Responses to “Lie #3: ‘You are not smart enough or good enough to think for yourself. We will do your thinking for you.’”

  1. Stefan says:

    I am really interested in this site. Im 17 and have very strong views on religion—–to be honest i want to vandalise every church i see, i havent done it yet, and never will… but the point is I’m glad that some people out there perhaps feel the same. I have come to the conclusion that ‘religion is the cause of all evil’ and would like to argue with anyone who tihnks otherwise. However I live in England and can’t make ur meetings so would be very thankfull if u could send me minutes of your meetings or keep me updated. I know this is alot to ask

    Thankyou for reading this and if its not to mutch trouble i look forward to hearing from you thanks

    • perrymarshall says:

      Stefan,

      Thanks for your note. Sometimes I myself have been so mad that I was ready to put my fist through the ceiling. I might have some idea how you feel.

      My father was a minister and he suffered humiliating, unjust disgraces at the hand of some very “over-principled,” hypocritical religious people. (Suffice it to say this was some very ugly ‘church politics.’) It was a horrible time in his life. I remember him coming home from work every day, sitting on the couch and sobbing over an impossible predicament he was put in. And to be completely truthful, I believe the trauma of the situation had something to do with him getting cancer one year later, when I was 14. He died from the disease when I was 17.

      But I would like to suggest to you that you must be very careful not to label all spirituality, or all religious people, as evil or deluded. Nobody is perfect, as they say, but still there are some good and genuine people and groups who really do practice what they preach. To assume that all of them are scumbags would also be to believe yet a different lie.

      Jesus and other great teachers were absolutely right when they say that the only way to work through these feelings is to pursue forgiveness. If you are angry at someone who has abused you in the name of God, forgiveness is the only path that will bring you peace.

      My whole 7-lies email series is really about discerning the difference between religion run amok. vs. genuine spirituality. I hope you’ll be sensitive to the difference.

      Sincerely,

      Perry Marshall

  2. neL... says:

    Perry,

    Is it true that if we put god first in everything we do,..

    everything follows..?

    I really like how you people believe in the existence of GOD, because I, myself, believe it to… Im thankful that somehow their are people like you,, that in everything we act have a purpose…

    By the way, there are some blog that i don’t understand, I’m a filipino, and proudly saying that majority of people here is a believer too, depend their life to GOD as their savior..

    Wish you to visit our country someday… ^_^

    • perrymarshall says:

      I guess it depends on what you mean by “everything follows”. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”

    • Bethea Weinberg says:

      The meaning here is that you shouldn’t be demanding or begging things from God/the spiritual world as though you were a spoiled child. The reason to be a good and spiritual person is not so that you can “get cool stuff.” But if you put God/your spiritual life first, you will be happy with whatever happens, and “whatever happens” just might include a great new job, better marriage, a nicer car, etc…when I pray or meditate, I say, “Let me want what is good and right, let me have only what I need and should have.”

  3. Brilliant says:

    ear Bro Perry,
    I am a believer of Jesus Christ and happy to say that God has revealed some things through you. I am in India and used to read Bible in Tamil Version. so could you explain in which sense the following verse should be perceived.
    Psalm ; 19.
    The sun is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber. And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.

    Could you please explain this for me.
    thanks and regards,
    Lovingly yours,
    D.Brilliant.
    Tuticorin.
    Tamilnadu – 628002
    South India.
    Mobile Ph. 09962495566

    • perrymarshall says:

      It’s a poetic, artistic description of the strength and goodness of the sun. It does its job, it is able and capable. It has its task set before it, just as a young husband being married has his task set before him. It has work to do and it does it as reliably and with as much joy as a young married man getting up in the morning after he has gotten married.

  4. daniel zuniga says:

    dear bro or pastor perry gd day how are there..I am really interested in this site. Im a pastor to be honest i want to teach endtimer in my church I’m glad that some pastor out there perhaps feel the same. However I live in philippines and can’t go there ur meetings so would be very thanks if u could send me of your meetings or keep me updated. any time
    Thank you for reading this and god bless all of us in more power..ur web site
    Reply pls asap….

  5. Fajardo Osc says:

    my reply to lie 3:
    the church as an institution tries to preserved that institution with its conservatism but as it is, there are also new voices that are proclaimed ( progressives) and they have an interplay. that is why in the world organizations the Catholic Church is the most successful organization because of the interplay.
    and if you look deeply in the history of the catholic church you can find that in every age there are new voices ( like the 95 theses of Luther) that wakes the church in its abuses and misunderstanding. many saints did the same and the church continued on transforming itself. it is an ecclesia semper reformanda.

  6. Lilly Rabarbara says:

    I read the first page of the book of Luke. I read that Zechariah thought for himself and thus doubted the Angel’s words. He was immediately punished. He shouldn’t question, doubt, think. Eva made a mistake like children make mistakes. But would a parent severely punish and abandon a child because it made a mistake thinking it can do without/better than the parent? Of course not. I don’t think God punished Eva. I think her suffering was a consequence of her actions, one that God couldn’t prevent.

  7. I would never say to my child, “Well, if you eat that piece of fruit, I’ll let you die and suffer in a horrible world for the rest of your life, and then go to Hell.” And why did God give us a mind and then tell us not to use it? And according to the Bible, Hell is a real place, not just a state of mind. And besides, it was not Eve who could kill herself indirectly, it is Jesus who holds the keys of Death in the Book of Revelation. No one dies unless Jesus decides it. He murders every last person who ever lived or will live, and doesn’t even seem to feel guilty about it. Why was what seems so trivial and adolescent on the part of Eve so bad, and why should she have suffered so much from it? Yes, God did make her suffering: he created everything, including diseases and even Death itself. I wonder about Christians and how final their judgments on Wiccans are. Yes, they think about God and they make judgments all the time about pagans. And obviously their god was totally intolerant of what was probably no big deal for Eve or Adam, because they couldn’t have know about death anyway. If they had, they probably would have tossed all that fruit over the garden walls, and stayed inside. Because of silly things like this, I gave up Christianity to become Wiccan. The Bible can be so improbable.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Victoria,

      Thanks for your note.

      Clearly we live in a world where there is death and suffering. Where knowledge is tempting but it becomes a snare. There is disease and suffering in the world. Those are facts.

      Genesis says how it got this way. Denying people fruit, isn’t that such a trivial test of obedience? Why should a fruit be so special you would risk dying for it?

      But they did anyway.

      And we all know, this story DOES describe human nature. People really are like this.

      God warned them, but they ate it anyway. And in so doing lost their paradise.

      Clearly it was God’s intention to give us a choice. And, apparently, to redeem us from it.

      I think they did know about death, because animals died. They had some notion of it. But it was from a standpoint of innocence.

      I think the Bible describes the world quite exactly as it is.

      Are you really sure that Wicca rescues you from any of these realities?

    • Richard Vidrine says:

      Victoria, I have answers to all of your concerns. Yet, not I really, but the word of God.

      “I would never say to my child, ‘Well, if you eat that piece of fruit, I’ll let you die and suffer in a horrible world for the rest of your life, and then go to Hell.’”

      Sex and drugs are two types of ‘forbidden fruit’ that look desirable as food. I doubt that you would lock up your children to prevent them from experiencing either. Instead, just like God, you would warn them of the dire consequences of sticking needles in their arm or of having unprotected sex. Eve deciding for herself what to do is the same as a child not listening to her parent warning her of a danger.

      “And why did God give us a mind and then tell us not to use it?”

      God says, “Come now, and let us reason together…” (Isa.1:18) and (2Ti 1:7} “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God very much wants you to use your mind.

      “And according to the Bible, Hell is a real place, not just a state of mind. And besides, it was not Eve who could kill herself indirectly, it is Jesus who holds the keys of Death in the Book of Revelation. No one dies unless Jesus decides it. He murders every last person who ever lived or will live, and doesn’t even seem to feel guilty about it. Why was what seems so trivial and adolescent on the part of Eve so bad, and why should she have suffered so much from it? Yes, God did make her suffering: he created everything, including diseases and even Death itself.”

      Hell is simply the grave (Sheol or Hades) except in the few places where it is translated from the word Gehenna, which is a lake of fire. Amazingly, this hellfire was prepared for the devil and his (fallen) angels, who have immortality (Mat. 25:41). Sinners WILL NOT be tormented eternally in hellfire (how can a mortal do anything other than die?) They will DIE (the Second Death) “leaving them neither root nor branch” and they will be “ashes”.

      Mal 4:1 “Certainly the day is coming! It will burn like a furnace. All arrogant people and all evildoers will be like straw. The day that is coming will burn them up completely,” says the LORD of Armies. “It won’t leave a single root or branch.
      Mal 4:2 “The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings for you people who fear my name. You will go out and leap like calves let out of a stall.
      Mal 4:3 You will trample on wicked people, because on the day I act they will be ashes under the soles of your feet,” says the LORD of Armies.

      As far as suffering, we bring suffering upon ourselves when we make wrong choices. There is so much more to know, Victoria, but know this: the Bible doesn’t say what most people think it does. It does say this, however:

      Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    • June Dewar says:

      Hi Victoria,

      Can I please explain this accusation where you are blaming God of being unjust? I would be afraid I could, or would ever consider rebelling against Almighty God. It was not the eating fruit that was the issue in Eden. If your child was continually going towards an open fire, or causing danger to his/herself with the prospect of harming many others would you just permit them to do as they determine or would you restrain them?

      If you would read Romans 5:12-14 the apostle Paul makes clear the issue. For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law. This scripture makes clear that Adam and/or Eve were deviating or about to deviate from the perfect standards needed to allow them and their children to partake of the fruit of the tree that would have given them eternal life.

      God could see the perfect angel Satan was rebelling against his authority and choosing to become deviant and evil with the intention of depriving them from inheriting eternal life. God had told Adam and Eve if they obey and recognise his authority and do as they were told regards the tree of knowledge they would be safe with his guidance and would have defeated Satan’s plan. God being holy and pure created heavenly and earthly life in perfection. They had to stay perfect through obedience.

      That is why Jesus came to earth and showed by example how to be obedient and trust in God to save and make perfect through suffering. Romans 5:8. Suffering helps us to become strong and work towards perfection and if we although imperfect follow the example of Christ choosing Good (God’s rulership) instead of evil (Satan’s rulership)we can inherit the promise of everlasting life put before Adam and Eve if they had chosen obedience to God instead of obedience to Satan.

      If we really think out the meaning of Genesis 3:22 “Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take also from the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite… if they had eaten from the tree by which they would have lived forever after their transgression they would still be on earth today.

      That is why we should follow the example Jesus gave and give Glory to God by doing good and not be pleasing Satan by contributing to badness, pain and suffering.

  8. Victoria A. Howard, Wiccan Priestess says:

    I suggest a website I am now working on about my struggle with Roman Catholicism and Wicca as riptide of faith I am going through:

    http://mysite.verizon.net/vzezunbp/

    I am a mess, but I know I would rather worship a Goddess to a God, or Satan, for that matter. I don’t really believe in absolute evil, and if he exists, I care about him just as I care about everyone and everything else.

    I don’t want to have someone else deciding what I believe. So, I turned to Wicca for the freedom and it is intoxicating!

    • perrymarshall says:

      Suppose a gunman walks into a daycare and shoots 13 children dead.

      Is that absolutely wrong, or just relatively wrong?

    • June Dewar says:

      Dr Victoria Howard

      Hi I have now come to your comment and would agree with you being in the upmost spiritual mess.

      Wanting to worship “The Evil God Satan!” who rules this world filled with conflict, pain and suffering due to his influence is perhaps your choice. But I would prefer to suffer under duress and keep committing myself to the True God who created this earth and his son Christ Jesus who showed us the way, than with that evil one who by influence puts pain and hardship on a countless number of poor innocent children (perhaps you have been one at one time)?and those trusting in God than succumb to worshipping or becoming lured by evil.

      I pray that soon God’s Kingdom will come to power as promised and all suffering by ALL evil will end. Amen!!!

  9. Saint Dom says:

    Well if some people does not belief in God they are like Animals that has brain of thinking, has anyone asked him or herself who made or created the air we breath in, who made or created the big oceans and seas, am sure this time any reasonable human been will agree with me that the fresh air is better than Oxygen made by human been, lol no body worship God and in truth and faith suffers long, and remember if the world or Satan or any Goddess makes your rich, there will be a sacrifice you will offer and it does not last long, but if God who created Heaven and Earth bless you with riches you live long in good health..Think about this, God does not ask for blood or any horrible sacrifice but the devil does. anyone have questions or comment…

    • Bethea Weinberg says:

      “God does not ask for blood or any horrible sacrifice…the Devil does”
      ROFLOL! Have you read the Bible??? Old Testament – constant sacrifice, lots of blood.
      New Testament: One big sacrifice, lots of blood (and pain!). Then, even though Jesus Christ was supposed to be the Great Once-and-for-All Sacrifice, more torture and slow, painful death came for the original disciples and many saints.

      • Brian Golz says:

        Regarding your statements about the New Testament, no, Jesus was not the end-all sacrifice, rather, His was the only sacrifice that had any true significance, although no more sacrifices were to be made after His. The sacrifices prior to His were merely representative of what was to come, like redeeming their sin on credit.
        Pain, suffering, and death are irrelevant to Jesus’ sacrifice, or any sacrifice for that matter. Being forgiven for sins is completely different from being relieved of suffering.

  10. bryan tan says:

    Good day Sir,

    If people has to rely solely on the scripture, would that mean that those who cannot read has less chance of salvation?

    Thanks,
    Bryan

    • perrymarshall says:

      Yes I think so. Being illiterate is a disadvantage in innumerable ways. There’s a reason why the Torah instructs parents to teach their children the scriptures. You have to be able to READ in order to do that :^>

    • June Dewar says:

      Dear bryan

      Reading scripture helps us to develop love for God and provides knowledge and understanding. However God does not expect more of us than what we are able to give or achieve. If it is possible for those who are illiterate to learn to read it would be good for their spiritual well being to do so.

      God reads hearts and judges accordingly. Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is upright in his own eyes, but God is making an estimation of hearts. To carry on righteousness and judgement is more preferable to God than sacrifice.

      So if we have a good heart and know right from wrong and act accordingly we will please God.

  11. Tony Francis says:

    Dear Perry,

    There must be a reason why God had to send his “SON” to die for saving us. and a “Holy Spirit” to guide us in our way to our eternal destination; instead of Him coming down Himself – though as God, I don’t think it would have been impossible.
    There must be a reason why we have ears to do hearing, and eyes to do seeing instead of a 2 in 1 eyears which can do both.
    There must be a reason why there are 3 persons in One God
    There must be a reason why every family member is not the head of a family,
    There must be a reason why there is only one captain in a ship, or in a football team, and one Chairman or President in a company, though all may be competent to be one.
    And we can have discipline in an organisation only if the the rest of the organisation follows the dictates of one leader.
    Imagine a body with 2 heads giving opposing instructions.
    Imagine the hands or stomach, or heart of a person refusing to obey instruction from the brain of a mad man, or a drunk man – such a body would not function for even a little while.

    God in His wisdom is asking us to subdue to one of his elect (even if he is not perfect).
    just as we have to abide by instructions from a corrupt police-man, or follow rules passed in a Congress full of corrupt senators.. Otherwise, there will be anarchy, and chaos, which is the opposite of what God wants.

    There must be a reason why God is not talking to us directly, or wants us to interpret the Bible ourselves.

    Just a thought. I appreciate your good work.

    Tony

  12. Balwinder Minhas says:

    Hello Sir/ madame,
    The fundamentalist approach in making room inmy religion too but still it says that God is within you and you can find it yourself. Sikh religion also accords equal status to women but in practice, old practices still continue.there is female infanticide and male:female ratio is higher than average.
    The religion preaches tolerance but intolerant view have always been there.
    All have faults. Question is to find less sinful. Am I right? Or one has to find a path/ religion more aligned to his/her thoughts? After all my brain must accept what my religion ask me to do or follow.

    • June Dewar says:

      Dear Balwinder Minhas

      You write “After all my brain must accept what my religion ask me to do or follow”. I would disagree because your brain belongs to you and if you want to please God your worship must be pleasing to Him and not to the dictates of religious leaders. No man has been given authority to dictate to others. It is my belief that if I want to please God I must discern for myself what is right and if I go against God’s love, justice and mercy I will be disobeying His laws.

      You highlight a problem existing within practically all religions who preach one thing and practice the opposite. It is because humans like the Sribes and Pharisees of the 1st century go beyond what is written and often oppress those who are submissive to the teachings.

      In Romans 3:23 Paul writes “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God”.

      • joseph e. says:

        @ June Dever: Yet, June, you will submit yourself to the writings of Paul and the other writers of the content of scripture. Again by using the Bible as scripture you are relying on the witness of religious leaders who were responsible for the definitive canon of the Bible (which books to include and which not). What I am driving at here is that there is always a time we need guidance and that is where the church comes in. First with the witness of the first disciples which have been established by the witness of the Church Fathers who were leaders of the church at some point. The church continues to bear witness to the truth of Christ even if its members may fail. We would be wise to follow the counsel of Jesus in Matthew 23:2-3 about listening to authority and not having your faith falter on the false witness of its leaders.

  13. Mafo Chinyemba says:

    If any modern translation is good, why do they differ?

  14. qkey says:

    i aint really understand about it…
    but maybe i can give u info about Quran my holy book
    in Quran…it is all written about 4 holly book that God gave them as an instruction how to live a life..
    First book named Zabur was given to David or Daud Allaihissalam the prophet
    Second book named Taurat was given to Moses or Musa Allaihisalam
    Third book named bible was given to Yesoa or Isa Allaihisalam
    Last book named Qur’an was given to Mohammed Sallalahualaihisalam the last prophet

    All of these book teaches people to believe monotheisme, teaches us all the good thing
    but Qur’an is the miracle that can be seen until now,because it’s the only holy book that cant be changed or rewrite
    because it’s all written in arabic language with the same contents (u can read in english translation and compare it with other translation)…Qur’an is the latest holy book and it appears to complete those three other holly books
    Everythin is written in Qur’an…from the way how evil come down to earth and affected people mind n heart
    why God creates human as the most perfect creatures besides angel and evil, animal, or plants
    why Isa or Yesoa is being cruisied why Mohammad has 9 wifes
    and why woman has to obey man’s order
    u can read all these answer in Qur’an
    woman obey man’s order is not being inferior but, u can imagine if u have a wife…then your wife never obey ur order n cheat with other guy, what will u feel?…
    woman is beauty, and as a treasure of a world….
    Men will lost half of their mind with three things :
    1. Treasury
    2. Title
    3. Woman
    Adam himselfe was being punished because of Eve
    that’s why moslem women must wear hijab is to protect her self from passion, being so much precious, and appriciate man, because it’s only his husband who can only see her without hijab
    what do u feel when other men are seeing ur wife’s breast, and touching her soft skin…would u be proud n let her go?
    or protect her because u love her?
    i believe that u want her to be special just for u….

    I’m really sorry i cant answer all of your questions here
    but i just give u info that Qur’an will answer all of your questions completely..

    thanx perry
    peace n love

    Nb: whatever it is i belive all religion is good, because it’s our control of life…so that we can life better and happy….we dont have to think about somebody else will be good or bad…
    but we ourselves must be better…musnt it? ^_^v

  15. emmanuel ebhota says:

    Hmmm… I am new to this website and yet to really understand your disposition on the matters at hand. one quick question though…wht is your definition of GOD?

  16. I will like to testify about my experience to back up the idea that we are not surposed to sit and fold our arms to gulp down everything we are given in the name of God’s Word or allow some one to do our religion for us. When i bought my first Bible and bent down on reading it from book to book,chapter to chapter, I was scandalised with what I was seeing and what the Bible was teaching. To me it was like night and day. I decided not to go to church anymore but the fire kept burning in my heart because I knew there is God and truth preached somewhere. This is how one night at about two am, I heared a voice quoting a Bible passage,Job 8:12. When i read the passge I did not understand until i asked one elder in one meeting that was grouping christians from various denominations who told me to look for a place of fellowship. I then joined a group that helped me a lot in my christian walk. This does not mean that when you are studying the Bible for yourself you shouldn’t have to listen to a leader. We need them but let the Lord confirms to your that he is a real servant because there are many self-proclaimed-men-of-God with no calling who will only want to impose their will, not God’s on people. Josue had to be with Moses, Elisha with Elija etc. Our God still speaks to those who are willing to listen.
    God’s blessings.

  17. Chris M. Gutierrez says:

    Dear Perry,

    Thank for your sites, they are great!

    First of all excuse me if my ENglish is not perfect–it is not my mother tongue. I also hope I’m posting this in the right place.

    I was raised Catholic in Europe, and have been away from religion or God for a while. Tried to live without Him–didn’t work 🙂 I did not realise until now that this was the cause for the ongoing lack of meaning and mild depression I’ve been dealing with these last few years. I’ve finally come back home to God after some struggles, but I have trouble going to Church on Sundays. I find the message of the Church so unappealing and superficial some times… As Christians, do we really have to go to Church once a week? Where is this established? Wouldn’t my time be better spent reading the Bible and trying to think for myself?

    I hope you can shed light on this matter and help me, it is really bothering me lately and I certainly do not want to displease God. Thank you again for all the good work. You are so bright!

    Kindly,
    Christine

    • perrymarshall says:

      I think you should find a church that works for you. Lots of different styles and communities – the right one is a truly uplifting place to go. Blessings, Perry

  18. I don’t think I am smarter than God, so, yes, I do let him do the thinking for me. The Church teaches what God teaches; if not, I do not obey. But inasmuch as the Church teaches what God says, then I do let the Church think for me. I realize that there are indeed smarter and wiser people than I am and I could really use the wisdom they impart to me. I trust the communion of saints in the Catholic Church as being worthy of teaching the doctrine of Christ and I try to practice what I learn from them and from the Bible. Yes, God knows what I should do better than I do myself.

    • June Dewar says:

      Dear Reverend Doctor Victoria Howard,

      Like you I have no concept that I am more intelligent than anyone else. In fact I feel down right stupid most of the time and am fearful of saying something inaccurate. I believe it is of the upmost responsibility of anyone including and perhaps especially me if we speak in behalf of God’s word it must be from God’s direction not my or anyone elses personal opinion irrespective of how intelligent or educated they may be.

      I take pride in Our Heavenly Father who inspired Paul to write to the 1st century Galations 1:26 “For you behold his calling of YOU, brothers, that not many wise in a fleshly way were called, not many powerful, not many of noble birth; but God Chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put the wise men to shame; and God chose the ignoble things of the world and the things looked down upon, the things that are not that he might bring to nothing the things that are.”

      I cannot comment on the issue discussed before your reply as I have not come across it but I felt I would like to comment that it is for everyone who wishes to please God to speak his word with lowliness mind keeping the mental attitude that was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:3

      • robert taylor says:

        What kind of God would want to put wise men to shame?
        What kind of God would chose the company of fools?
        What kind of God would bring to nothing the things that are?
        Are these the actions of a God of Love?

  19. Chris M. Gutierrez says:

    Perry,

    Thanks for your reply, although it doesn’t clarify the issue. The whole point is I cannot find a church that works for me. I’m just not into the rituals and reciting of the Catholic services, but much more interested in discovering and living by the true word of God. In too many churches I’ve found they engage in simple, childish thinking more appropriate to a kindergarten Sunday School class (I’m sorry to say this, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it is the truth!) And basically that’s what I got as a kid too growing up Catholic. That, coupled with a total lack of love (in the most ample sense of the word) on the part of the Sisters running the school I was in, for instance. The result was I ended up with a “cognitive dissonance”, as it couldn’t be otherwise, and never understood a thing about that weird religion in which people preached one thing and did just the opposite, if they understood what God was about at all. It was life itself and few essential books that later brought me back to Him. So I’m sorry to say that in my case the church just drove me away or at least helped a lot in my distancing.

    As you may figure, in certain parts of Europe it is not easy to find many Protestant churches, and when I have, I’ve felt I was taking part in a Broadway musical, and I just don’t feel comfortable. I guess I’m a more sober person, more into quiet prayer, no showing off. En fin, I would be thrilled if I could find a church that tries to do nothing more than emulate Jesus; love, nurture, heal, teach and share the hope that Christ has given us, which seems to be the essence of the Gospels. But sadly, that is beginning to look like mission impossible.

    Having said all this, I often will enter an empty church (especially old ones) and just sit there in the quietness trying to experience the peace and presence of our God. And I certainly love that feeling. It makes my mind sharper and I can feel my heart expand.

    Since we have limited time on this earth and considering I cannot, unfortunately, find the right church as you say, wouldn’t it be more reasonable that I employ my hours trying to do something truly meaningful to me, such as deepening my knowledge of his word, rather than waste it on gestures that to me are empty? If God wanted us to attend church every Sunday, wouldn’t He have stated it clearly in the Bible? There are many ways to keep the Sabbath holy, no church required.

    I’m sorry to insist, and hope nothing of what I said sounds disrespectful, as it is not meant that way. I just can’t find the answer anywhere and thought you might be able to help. This is not a light nor obvious matter, and generates much controversy.

    Thank you so much for all your efforts and God bless.
    Chris

    • Pedro Cruz says:

      I know this is late but I feel like replying to this post.

      “No church required?” Yes and No.

      No because well, Jesus Christ certainly established a church (the mystical body of Jesus Christ where he is the head and his people are his body). It doesn’t make sense not to be part of this body right?

      Yes because, you don’t need to be inside the church(the physical structure where the faithful converge during weekends) to be a Christian. In fact, Christians are encouraged to be Christians outside the church. Its hypocrisy to be a Christian only during Saturdays/Sundays but an anti-Christ the rest of the week. And you mentioned that you grew up Catholic, I hope you were made aware of the importance of the Holy Eucharist. Its the same ritual that Jesus Christ did before he died on the cross and he commanded his disciples to do it in memory of him. For all I know this was stated clearly in the Bible. I hope you didn’t treat the Holy Eucharist as just an empty gesture back then.

      And you say, you want to deepen your knowledge about the Bible. All I can say is that the Church is actually the perfect place to learn about Jesus Christ words. Isn’t it written in the Bible that “where there are two or more people converge in his name, that he will be there in the midst of them?”. Its not that when you read the Bible, the Holy Spirit will magically enlighten you with its meaning. You see, the Bible is not subject to “ones own personal interpretation”. Thats the reason why there are so many kinds of Christian churches with teachings subject to the founder’s own personal interpretation of the Bible.

      Thanks

    • June Dewar says:

      Dear Chris

      Your religious reasonings are relative to mine. A number of years back I had a sort of association with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I would not, could not, and should not recommend becoming involved as a cult member. If you look up ex Jehovah Witnesses site you will see the reason why. I can testify to the truthfulness of the plight of those poor people who find themselves in an evil, bullying and unrealistic, conspiritorial, entrapment devised and implimented by those who have taken up leadership. These people have excommunicated genuine Christians who speak up in defence of many thousands of seriously abused victims amounting to 23,720 in the year 2002.

      However I would recommend obtaining certain books from Jehovah’s Witnesses or from their internet site if still available. One excellent book is “Life–How did it get here? By evolution or by Creation”? There has been extensive research and the presentation makes this book enlightening and worthwhile obtaining. If you seek to gain a deeper understanding of scripture there are two volumes of “Insight on the Scriptures” I would recommend this for studying with your bible. I like their “New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures”. I also like “The Good News Bible”. Although they say and mean the same it looks different and helps me to think more clearly and gain a better understanding on the Word of GOD. Remember always to ask God to guide your thoughts when you study and to reveal to you what you need to know and understand. You will not be alone. “You will be communicating with the True Church because God, Jesus and the spirit helper are definately The One True Church”.

      I found associating with the J.W. organization helpful in supplying good material for enlightenment and understanding but this organisation does not permit freedom of thought. From my experience and observation I have came to the conclusion that although the organisation have produced good study material (sourced to some extent by those they have excommunicated), they have since become corrupt and apply scripture inappropriately.

      There is another organisation called “The United Church of God”, they produce excellent material and do not seem dictatorial. I think you will find this internet church
      helpful and worthwhile. I don’t accept any preaching as gospel because prophecy will prove true when God reveals it to us, but I consider all beliefs and look for elements truth from all I examine including Muslim beliefs.

      Best wishes in your quest and “God Bless”!

      June

    • joseph e. says:

      I know, Gutierrez, that this post may be belated but if you are still in your loss I would suggest that just as you “will enter an empty church (especially old ones) and just sit there in the quietness trying to experience the peace and presence of our God” go to a Catholic Church and there you will find Jesus in the tabernacle waiting for you. Enjoy the quiet with him and you will certainly find your way home.

  20. Bethea Weinberg says:

    The Bible says that “unsaved” dead people will “be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” it seems quite clear that these people are conscious after death and suffer greatly. This contradicts what has already been said: that the “bad” folks just die and are unconscious of pain. How can this ever be resolved? It’s a contradiction.

    Also, you do say that immortal beings will bethrown in a lake of fire, where THEY will presumably burn over and over, conscious, unable to die once and for all. That is horrible and unworthy of anyone with the slightest compassion to do such a thing (yes, even if these beings are “evil”. Who created evil, anyway? The Bible says, “God is the author of good AND evil.” So, God created Evil (He is all-knowing, so He knew Lucifer would become Satan, He put the devil/Serpent in the Garden of Eden, knowing what would happen, and ultimately unleashed evil on the world. So why should He judge or punish anyone other than Himself?

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