The Church as Institution, Day Nine

  "One man’s death is a tragedy. A thousand deaths is a statistic."

                          ——Joseph Stalin

   Large numbers numb the mind. Statistics beyond our nose, certainly beyond our social setting, freeze emotional reactions, themselves the catalyst for altruistic actions.

   "Religious idealists have usually emphasized selfishness rather than ignorance as the root of social injustice, and have given themselves to the hope, that a purer religion would increase the benevolence and decrease the egoism of the human spirit."

         —–Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society, p. 23.

   Despite human statements of preference for pure religion, we seem to remain mostly what we want as individuals rather than work toward what we need as a race. The Institutional Church might have as its greatest asset in this age the ability to meld the ancient doctrine of individual sin with its 21st century partner, the global sin impact of burdened humanity.

   At least, that is the essay topic for today.

   Do not think that mankind is going to get so much purer he will obviate occurrences of social injustice. Do not waste too much time in the belief mankind will someday educate his way to proper socialization. Purity and education, in tandem, might best emanate from a social institution able to both educate and impart meaningful moral-health benefits.

  By "educate," I do not mean "to impart doctrine." The Institutional Church, no less than the House Congregation aligned with no one but God and those with familial DNA, will teach doctrine, by its presence or by its absence. No, by "educate," I mean to show the moral/spiritual/philosophical underpinning of human life together under God, a task despised by the educational elite and forsaken by government except to promote voting blocs in key electoral states.

   Let me put it another way. Why do you care what happens in Darfur? Do you know a Darfurian?

   What is your concern with a hungry child in Brownwood, Texas, unless that child is your child? Who told you to care about this little fellow?

   Why can you not accept the sneering Dickensian thought on poverty and hunger, that they help to eliminate the excess population?

   Why is life, other than your own, or those of your loved ones, sacred to you?

   "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world."

           —-Contemporary Praise Chorus

   Do you know of any actual altruism apart from expressed religious thought? No, I don’t either.

   We should note the first response to reconciliation is often self-defense.

   More tomorrow.



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