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The Lottery Church

October 11, 2010

Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;

What is truth?

For me, the answer to that question has become: Truth is the knowledge of reality. Of course, we could deconstruct those words. What is “knowledge”? What is “reality”? But for the sake of communicating something let’s just say that the knowledge of reality is something along the lines of how things actually work. If I drop something, gravity takes it to the ground. If I bleed too much, I die. If I continually overeat, I get fat.

The quest for “truth” is a thirst that many human beings have. How do things work? Why did this happen? Why? Who? What? Where?

As an aspiring academic, as someone who values rationality, who recognizes the tendency of humans to get a great deal of things wrong, (i.e. make mistakes) but also, have a great capacity to get things right, (e.g., formulate scientific theories that work, engineer complicated structures, and produce drugs and cures for diseases) I am inclined to search for truth and the knowledge of reality, i.e., how things actually work.

Very often, this quest for the knowledge of reality plays a role in my evaluation of theological theories. Asking question such as, “Is that how things really work?” “What about this situation?” have been valuable traits in my academic endeavors. However, unfortunately, in churches, questioning the ‘Lord’s anointed’ and the ‘Word of the Lord’ that comes through them is often not encouraged. Good(?) examples of my questioning pastors, and results that should demonstrate to you why it’s important!: here (Hybels), here (Driscoll).

While pastors may want you to believe that they have formulaic principles that are ‘true’ and should not be questioned, the opposite is unfortunately ‘true’ (and often easily demonstrated!). Which brings us to today’s dilettante pastor who has little connection with reality, and how things actually work.

A church in Chicago has begun to give money to its parishioners every week, and with all of the wolves involved in Christianity right now this is not a practice I am against per se, however, very likely the theology behind this church’s ‘gift’ is something along the lines of “if you give you will receive.” Pretty simple math: 900 more attendees, much larger offering, and only a small investment for such a large payoff.

Perhaps, one of the statements I have heard recently that is the most disconnected from reality is from the pastor in this video when he says, “Debt is not a financial condition; debt is a spiritual condition.”

Wow. Let that one sink in for a minute.

“Debt is not a financial condition; debt is a spiritual condition.”

Let me give you a small piece of advice that is connected to reality and truth: debt is a financial condition! Do not spend more than you earn. Save. Invest. And above all, don’t give away your money, especially if you are in the financial condition of debt, to a charlatan. You will merely find yourself in more debt.

We live in the scientific age; you cannot turn lead into gold with the power of your mind, or with seed money. Stop.

(Video via)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 8:03 am

    We started playing some friendly poker around our community, we love the way games can form community. But it soon became evident that the ones not satisfied playing for imaginary money were the ones least able to afford playing for money at all. We decided that the best way forward was to play where the money all went to a charity of the winner’s choice (chosen before we started playing). Not only does it create a church of selfishness, it also fosters that notion that God is capricious and blesses only the lucky few. Whatever happened to the community that rallies around the needs of all?

  2. October 11, 2010 8:53 am

    That’s one of the most disturbing videos I’ve seen you post. And you have a propensity for finding disturbing videos.

  3. C. Alan Loewen permalink
    October 11, 2010 3:05 pm

    “Debt is not a financial condition; debt is a spiritual condition.”

    If true, please explain the following:

    Bill Gates – atheist
    Warren Buffett – agnostic
    Mukesh Ambani – hindu

    In fact, a list of the world’s most wealthy does not turn up a lot of Christians at all.

    • October 11, 2010 4:49 pm

      Not that it matters, but is Gates really and atheist? I didn’t know that. Not that I think it isn’t plausible I just wonder if he’s actually on record as an atheist.

      The whole idea that wealth equals God’s blessing is way too Calvinistic to be correct.😉

      • Headless Unicorn Guy permalink
        October 14, 2010 11:54 am

        Gates comes from a Jewish background; I don’t know whether he or his family is practicing.

  4. October 14, 2010 8:55 pm

    I, from the bottom of my heart, want to thank you for this gem…

    “Let me give you a small piece of advice that is connected to reality and truth: debt is a financial condition! Do not spend more than you earn. Save. Invest. And above all, don’t give away your money, especially if you are in the financial condition of debt, to a charlatan.”

    During my ignorant days as an evangelical Christian, I wrote a number of checks to visiting theologians, to my financial detriment. I remember being at the point of bankruptcy and debating over whether or not to write a check to Joyce Meyer or fend off the collections agency. I truly believed, in my desperation that god would deliver me if I would just plant the seed.

    Well, I eventually did go bankrupt. I lost everything. And when I began to recover, I still questioned whether or not I should tithe and give offerings. My big fear was god’s punishment if I didn’t give.

    I haven’t given money or time to a church or ministry since… and I’m only marginally better off than I was then. Joyce Meyer has an airplane.

    I think god owes me.

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