Rethinking Church: From Public to Private Domain

Churches do not impress many these days.  Something has always seemed excessive and ostentatious about their ancient, and sometimes quite ritzy displays.  Justinian’s magnum opus — the famed Hagia Sophia — burnt to the ground (fell over and THEN sank into the swamp).  I wish to make a suggestion here.  The practice of religion should always have remained private.  It should never have gone public.

  1.  Early Christianity started off this way.  They met in houses and intimate “places of prayer.”
  2. The original situation of humanity had no church or clergy (no priesthood or sacrifice) to offer.  The light of nature would necessarily have rendered prayer and service a family, and a private, matter.
  3. Judaism’s chosen public place of temple service was a slaughterhouse of the poor (sacrificed) animals, but not the synagogues, and houses in which they sometimes met.  These were far more private than the places of holiday meeting.
  4. Holiday’s and holiday meetings in most religions involve public gatherings, and they almost always involve the killing of huge numbers of animals.  This makes holidays abominable to God.  Rather, “the righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, ” and again, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain.”  This means we must show kindness to animals, not kill them!!
  5. The rise of public religion has in fact given birth to crusades, inquisitions, witch-burnings, extreme animal abuse, and a host of other social ills we would have been much better without. And without the public formation of such religious “teams,” (armies sometimes) we could have obviated these ills and crimes. Private Jihads do not often result from household religious activities.
  6. Ockham’s Razor seems to render churches simply unnecessary.  People can meet in their own houses if they wish. If they want teaching made more generally available, technology makes convenient for this purposes radio and other electronic connectivity devices, or simply books, pamphlets or website publications — or courses audited at universities, online or brick-and-mortar.  Parks make good places of prayer for an intimate setting, as do campfires at the beach (or in a backyard) — the natural settings for praying and/ or singing.

For the Sophic, Ethical Monotheist, the LON rules the form of life that our Beloved Creator expects us to follow.  It had only two people originally, and for many generations could not have had prayer and sharing the goodness of God as anything but a family matter.  It is too intimate a kind of thing to bear one’s heart in public.  This appears quite indiscreet and unseemly (What in Solomon’s tongue we might call “inadvisable and unfitting,” perhaps even dangerous) to expose to others (strangers) what God and one’s family alone should be privy to — sins and problems for which one asks divine aid.

Religious councils have often — by claiming authority they should not bear — challenged the real and regular authority of both national and international governments, threatening the good order of society — when the KJV says — “He is God’s minister” to bear the sword on behalf of justice.  It is fine for people who wish it to hold councils (board meetings are even quite profitable — well, when they guide up); but it does no one any good when they start claiming RELIGIOUS authority that could later provide a competitive alternative against the state, as has often happened in the history of western civilization.

These, and other telling considerations, make the devotional attendance of divine concerns, a private matter, and not one suited for public consumption.  The wise (Sophic Ethical Monotheist) community will want to consider this matter well in forming its opinions on such matters, and in deciding, when and how they conduct any public meetings — perhaps only to pray for wisdom and to study together.  Setting wise limits on such meetings, in accordance with the LON, suits best the purposes of wisdom and profitability.

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