Growing descent towards organized religion

William T. Robinson, Jr.

For those rooted in their faith, no smokescreens or distractions can deter them in their relationship with their Higher Power. One’s religious preference is personal and should not be subjected to being coerced or forced on outsiders, thus giving those considering a faith, the freedom of choice.

Most people adopt their religion or denomination of faith based upon their family upbringing. It is only natural and expected for one’s children to adhere to the religion of their immediate family or relatives. As a young child, we become acclimated and comfortable with our practiced religion, sometimes becoming leery or skeptical of other denominations that are basically practicing the same concepts we were taught to belief and uphold.

All too often, as we grow older and become young adults, some former faithful followers of an organized religion will rebel and cease to attend religious services. They refuse to adhere to doctrines they feel they were forced to accept as children. Many times this is a temporary or fleeting period that is eventually resolved. But this is an awakening that is prevalent among many young adults.

This hiatus or departure from organized religion is more apparent among students graduating from high school and going away from home to college. You have more young adults questioning the legitimacy of religion and what they consider the total hypocrisy manifested by so many claiming to adhere to the beliefs and precepts of religion.

The main religion being scrutinized and questioned seems to be Christianity since that is the main religion practiced in this country. The current Trump era has only precipitated this exodus, especially by young adults of color. The mere fact that so many so-called Christians blindly follow a president devoid of the morals and values taught in religion speaks volumes.

Technology and the availability of the Internet has enabled the current generation to individually explore and research religion globally—acquiring information not previously available to the public. This accessibility allows skeptics or those wavering in their faith to be in a better position to formulate their own view of their practiced religion—minus a myopic view shared by a designated group or individual. Young people are no longer afraid to ask questions. In years gone by, they were often discouraged and told to refrain from such questions—and told that true faith voids such questions.

No one can question that most religions adhere to an omnipotent and omnipresent Higher Power—a Higher Power that commands us to love one another and engage in humanitarian efforts. Unfortunately, you have fanatical, extremist factions in some religions literally devoid of real divine, spiritual grace. They advocate or even force people to adhere to their strict beliefs—even to the extent of practicing terroristic methods involving the killing of innocent people, many times women and children.

Many people have come to the conclusion that our major religions in this country are flawed because of spiritual leaders flagrantly misusing and abusing their positions for selfish motives involving power, control, and greed. There are those using their position of authority who have taken something so divine and spiritually pure and recklessly defiling and soiling it. History reeks of heinous and treacherous human abuses ignored and even at times sanctioned by the church. But it doesn’t take away from the truth of the word. Those guilty of manipulating it will dearly pay in the end.

Let’s not be naïve. There are some ministers using their authority to ‘pimp’ the church, literally boasting and laughing at their ability to dupe their congregations. They are beneath decency and righteousness, adhering to the morals of a snake. They are demagogues. They are peddling snake oil to pained audiences suffering from the mental, emotional, and crippling baggage of a sometimes-unmerciful world. Because of their actions outside the pulpit, one might conclude that some ministers don’t believe the Gospel they are feeding their own congregations.

But one of the biggest abuses young people are questioning is the flagrant display of some ministers who flaunt their materialistic wealth with expensive homes and cars, while their congregations of elderly or downtrodden people tithe and give all they can to the church. However, everybody is not buying this ‘prosperity ministry,’ although it seems to be the new mantra of so many churches. Can you understand why so many people are questioning the legitimacy of how Christianity is perceived and practiced?

I cannot question others skepticism about organized religion, but I do find consolation in my own personal and growing relationship with God and my accepted religion, which is Christianity. My unwavering belief and faith in God comes from my personal experiences: Daily praying to and seeking divine wisdom and truth from God is my shield from the unadulterated sin I see from my fellow man opening himself up to practices of sins of the flesh and other overt sins. I unapologetically know my God is real and Christianity is the way for me.

I realize and understand that man has used and exploited religion for his own selfish reasons through wars, discrimination, greed, and the fight for power and control over others. But man’s exploitation and manipulation of Christianity (although wrong) cannot take away from the divinity and spirituality of the truth of God’s word. God’s benevolence, goodness, and truth are beyond man’s power to truly manipulate or change.

This quest to find the truth sought by so many young people will only be fulfilled from building their own personal relationship with God through praying and seeking God’s wisdom, not man’s. Follow what you know is right and be the example you seek, for man is forever deceiving and failing us.

Do not judge Christianity because of the misuse and manipulation of the hierarchy within the religion. Question the flagrant abusers and the hypocrites making a mockery of Christianity.