Pam Answers McLaren 1

This is one of a series of blogs in which I respond to some of the questions asked by Brian McLaren in his book Faith After Doubt. The book spoke to me deeply since I am living through a dark night. Heads up: my answers are personal and unfiltered. They may make you mad or disappointed with me. If you are not up for it, press delete. Here goes.

Chapter 1, question 1:

I am currently struggling with doubt that organized religion is good. I see most of what the church and Bible teach as manipulation of a gullible population. Every appeal to fear, duty, loyalty is just to get people to obey and cough up their money to support the clergy and the institution which relies on the people’s support. If the gatekeepers offer to share power with followers, it is only to profit the gatekeepers in some way: monetarily, reputation-wise, or increasing power/easing their labor. For example, followers are tricked into thinking being on the Bishop’s Committee is a privilege when it is just unpaid work (and dead boring at that). The so-called “great commission” is a ploy to increase the power and wealth of the church. God can speak for herself in the hearts of people if she wants. She doesn’t need a bunch of greedy, pushy, threatening evangelists to give her a boost. It is all to benefit the church and the gatekeepers. I also have doubts about prayer. I don’t think our feeble prayers can manipulate God into doing our will. I have benefited from CP [centering prayer], but I would have gotten the same from meditation. Intercessory prayer is useless. Praise is unnecessary; God knows God’s value. She doesn’t need to be patted on the back. Now, the existence of God I have always doubted. I do Hope that God exists, still, and I sometimes feel God’s presence. So, I am not ready to throw God out with the bathwater, but the toxic bathwater stinks, so out it goes!

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