Recently I had the opportunity to talk to a friend of mine who I don’t get to talk to or see much due to his wife having a severe hatred for me. I was lucky enough to bump into him when I was downtown with 2 of my kids and my wife. He expressed to me that he no longer believes in the church and does not trust religion because he feels that it is used to control and manipulate him. He told me that supposedly the church had become corrupted by satanic influence in the church leadership and such rituals of satanic influence were being practiced under the salt lake temple and church leadership were living double lives deceiving the members of the church. All of which makes no sense to me whatsoever.
I knew that he had been inactive for years and had always been concerned about him and his wife. I told him how I felt about such accusations and it saddens me that he has come to such a conclusion. I told him that it simply would not be possible for the church leadership to worship the devil and God at the same time, nor would it be possible for them to hide such a double life from the membership of the church. It is not in the program and simply would not and could not work. I told him that this is God’s church and he would not permit the leadership of the church to do such a thing. Those who worship the devil could not provide such prophetic council to the members every 6 months.
I could not deny however that religion has been used as a method of control over large populations for thousands of years. Religion has been a tool of the devil to control populations and to limit knowledge. That is the beauty of the modern-day church however. It does not control us but frees us to pursue knowledge and question our faith if need be so that we might come out of it stronger than before. It is through that agency to question what we are taught and told that we can come to know of the truth whether those truths be found in scripture or other sources. The evil and devilish influence in this word is rapidly destroying all that is good and wholesome serves to support and solidify my faith in the gospel, as all these things were prophesied since early days. Men’s hearts would fail them for the calamities of the world.
I have seen the other side. I know what it is like to live outside the church. I struggled with drugs, sex, and alcohol for a time. It was a miserable life and I was not happy. How could a church that is run by devil worshiping leaders possibly have brought such happiness and love to my life. It just does not make sense.
What then is religion all about. Why do I have the faith I do. Such a question to ponder is not one I can come up with an easy answer to. But There is one none the less. What has the church done for me? What has it done for my family?
Throughout my life I have searched for happiness from a variety of sources. All of which have failed to provide the happiness that we all seek until I embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church and the gospel is the foundation for happiness.
Sadly however religion has been used throughout history as a means of control, to wage war, to oppress good and honest people and it is still used in such ways today. Does that make the church false or untrue? I supposed it would to some people. The crusade was a terrible war waged on those who did not believe in the same religion. Religion was used as a tool to hunt, destroy and oppress those who did not agree with them or worshiped other gods and other forms of religion. 10’s of thousands died in the crusades. Hitler exterminated 100’s of thousands of those who opposed him in what could be considered the Nazi religion, (Nazi was a form of religion in that it had a belief system that “the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: as it could be defined) Much of the worlds reported terrorist activity are described as “extreme Islam” which is a religion of the world. It can be hard to deny that religion has been a tool to inflict and cause much suffering throughout the world.
Does that make religion wrong? does it make it a tool of evil as my friend seems to have come to believe? Has religion done any good given its bloody and war-torn history? I believe that it has. I have seen the fruits of my religious observance within my own life. I have been blessed to such a large extreme in my home, my family, my faith, I have overcome depression to a large extent because of my religious belief. I have been blessed with a strong and wonderful wife who because of her own religious convictions has not left me when I am sure all other women would.
There are countless examples of the good that religion has done. Mother Teresa for example spent her entire life serving others with no thought of reward for her efforts and she is I am sure reaping the blessings of a life of godly service. Islamic charities around the world have provided aid and relief to those suffering from natural disasters and the very small amount of Muslim involved in terrorism is nothing compared to the whole Islamic community as a whole whom I believe to be good people poorly presented on the world stage because it does not fit in the program of western political ideology. There are extremest on all sides, we only hear about the one side because it does not fit the script otherwise.
Religion has been the fundamental building block of society since the earliest days of recorded history. This is because it is truth and truth is the cornerstone of a stable society. Religion gives us guidance and direction on how to live better and more successful lives. It shows us how to be happy and how in serving others we can come to know the blessings of joy, peace and prosperity.
Religion used as a tool for control and means of war is the direct result of the agency of man. Not because God is bad, or evil or anything like that. God loves us and gave us the tools for survival and happiness. Religion applied properly will bring about the joy that awaits us in this life and the next. Sadly many who believe they are applying religion as it was meant to be, cause harm greater than the harm they claim to want to stop or prevent by forcing their ideals on another group of people, citing scripture as proof that what they are doing is right. However I do not recall ever reading anything in any scriptural text that says you must force your religion on others and this is acceptable to God and this is what he expects of you.
This is a gospel of peace not war, we are told to protect and defend our selves but we are not to be the aggressor, we are to preach, but we are not condemn, we are to hate the sin but love the sinner, we are to help without thought for the sins of those we are helping, we are to LOVE not hate and that is what religion is good for, that is what religion has taught me. What has your religion done for you?
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