Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Religion - essential qualities

There are two essential ingredients that any religion must have for me to take it all seriously or to consider it a "true faith"

1) Must reject the concept of the Trinity

2) Can not consider the Church the source of Truth and/or Salvation - Truth must come from God directly, from some source other then man or his creations (the Church being such a man-made creation), and personal prayer and reflection.

A third nice to have - not too much reliance on ritual. Ritual is not the path to a relationship with God (Eternal Life). Or at least not the only only one, and certainly not for me. But I recognize that for some people, ritual is valuable. For instance, I do have an appreciation for the power of Communion. Even though I don't really agree with the doctrine, I do feel the connectedness with God that it provides.

One other thing that is seen in some Christian religions (Catholics and Lutherans for instance) that bothers me is the believe that you can not enter heaven unless you have been baptized. Which is why they practice infant baptism. That belief is ludicrous and undermines the power of baptism. Baptism is a declaration to the world - I have accepted God into my heart. It has to be based on an intentional choice. Certainly, a baby is incapable of making that choice. Frankly, I am skeptical of even teen baptisms - a teenager doesn't know themselves well enough to make a decision like that. I always just roll my eyes when someone says they were saved at the age of six or something ridiculous like that. To me, that clearly indicates that they became a member of that religion because of social expectations, not a personal revelation.


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