(Religious Addiction Part 1)
I’m sure that most of us have been involved in someones life or heard stories of others addicted to a substance (drugs, alcohol, sex, ect.). When I see situations such as these my heart breaks and I cant image the struggle these people are going through. But this isn’t the type of addiction I want to address. There are many types of addictions in this world that are not recognized or even discounted from the realm of addictions. The addiction that I feel effects our culture more than any other is Religious Addiciton.
Know let me explain what I mean by Religious Addiction. You might be asking yourself if that is even possible but I warn you that its more serious we can imagine. I even fear that it is one of the main reasons for turmoil that occurs in our Christian culture today and is pushing a younger generation away from local churches. Generation after generation, all the way back to the beginning of the church, we have looked at the teachings of our Lord to guide us in our everyday lives. From those teachings we came up with ideas, mindsets, and traditions to help us. Now don’t get me wrong Im not bashing any of the past ideas to live a life that pleases God but I am concerned that we wont recognize that these ideas, mindsets, and traditions will need to change with time.
Culture plays a huge role in our Christian lives and culture will always shift as time goes on. When reading the bible its widely known that its extremely important to look at the context of the passage. Part of that context is culture and we need to see how people back in the Bible days would have interpreted these teachings. Once we understand the culture and interpretation during there time, we can know bring that teaching into our time and culture for reevaluation. Not changing any doctrine but taking that doctrine and applying it to our everyday lives.
This process has been in use since the beginning of time and during times of a culture shift people hold on to the ways of past methods. Now this is when religious addiction starts to form. Most of the time when an addiction is forming in ones life its because of some event that is life altering. In the case of religious addiction there is a shift in church culture or culture in general. Let us use the simple example of drinking alcohol. The past few generations of the church have made the consumption of alcohol known as a way of rebellion against the church and against God. I do not believe this was the initial idea behind that fact that alcohol should not be used but it made sense to Christians that it may not be honoring to God to be involved in this act. Is this act wrong? NO! May I say this agian. HELL NO! For all those people out there that think Jesus turned water into grape juice, you are living in a fantasy world. The consumption of alcohol was a cultural custom in the days of the Bible. Drinking alcohol is not wrong but abusing alcohol and getting drunk is.
The mindset of the church todays still says that the consumption of alcohol is wrong whether people want to admit it or not. Pastors and leaders in the church are made to sign agreements that do not allow them to drink alcohol and Christian colleges make students over 21 years of age sign a contract that they will not consume alcohol during there time in college. This is the start of a religious addiction at its simplest form. The church says not to do something and people end up doing it anyway. Guilt and shame sink in, which leads to a state of depression. From this depression it leads to a recommitment to not drink at all and the individual will spend more time serving in the church to make up for what they did. Then it is obvious about what happens next, the cycle starts all over again. Now let me remind you that drinking is not a sin but by putting an unnessasary rule or method in place it creates a mindset that says if we break a rule made by the church we need to work off our wrong doing. This act of service then becomes ungenuine and the believers heart is not focusing on God but to please an unbiblical rule made by man. I believe that this leads to a dark place in a believers life and from this more sin will occur.
Let me leave you with one question: How many times have you felt judgement from the church because you did something wrong according to them?
~ K.R. Morris
Part 2 of Religious Addiction Coming Soon!