Frequently, I'm on YouTube and like to watch the videos about God, the Rapture, or items concerning current events. The subject was concerning the lord of this earth, Satan and I commented on the fact (and I mean fact) that his rule is just about over. Normally, I try and be upbeat and being the state of current affairs, I thought I was being such. One gentlemen countered my comment with "There is no Satan, there is no Heaven and there is no Hell." He also made mention that organized religion scares and confuses people for their own selfish purposes.
As Marge Schott used to say, "We'll there you go."
As with any word in the English language, there are connotations and denotations. The connotations are the perceived meanings and the denotations are the real or "dictionary" meanings.
The two words "organized religion" mean one thing to most of us and it's not looked upon too favorably by atheists and true Christians alike. However, the true meaning for these two words can be looked at in any dictionary.
Organized is as follows:
1. Functioning within a formal structure, as in the coordination and direction of activities.
2. Affiliated in an organization, especially a union.
3. Efficient and methodical.
Religion is as follows:
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
(both of these were from the free dictionary online)
In truth, religion is not a denomination in a church and actually deals with the beliefs of an individual, or a group of individuals and not a group as a whole. Organized is being within a formal structure, affiliated with an entity such as a union or denomination, or being efficient. Organized religion is not even in the ballpark, is not even in left field or the parking lot for that matter. It is merely two words concocted together which doesn't even jibe in the English Language. It would be more accurate to call this organized church. Religion is a thought process, plain and simple. Religions can be one's beliefs in a higher power, but it can just as easily be Communism, Ecumenism, even secular humanism and atheism are religion.
Christianity is not in and of itself, a religion. We make it one by believing in it, but it what the Lord and His Son Jesus did for us, rather than our belief structure (organized or not) which gets us to be with Him for eternity. I don't blame my respondent one bit, as he sounded just as confused as I was in a couple stages of my life. For too long, denominations have tried to improve on the original model for the organized church in the Bible. The result is that there many denominations which teach something more or less than the truth. There is so much confusion even among believers as what to believe anymore. One former girlfriend of mine, purposefully denied the Trinity of the Lord, even though her church taught it.
People, if it's confusing, it's not of the Lord. He puts the cookies on the bottom shelf for people such as this handyman. Christianity is so simple that anyone can be one and yet we all get tied up in the formalities. If I was trying to save a man overboard, the last thing I want to have to do is read complicated instructions for use of the life ring. The person in the water could be drowned before I got to the end. All you have to do is throw the ring within reach of the victim and hope he has a firm enough grip on it. If not, then you jump in.
Jesus has done more than that with us. He's not only made handles on the life ring, but it even has a ladder and is barrier free. Not to mention the Holy Spirit is more than willing to help you get in. All we have to do is accept the gift of eternal life, there is nothing we can do to earn it. Jesus paid for your sins on the cross. While we're called to repentance, Jesus has the Holy Spirit to help us out in that department. See, this is easier than falling off a log. Maranatha!
(in other word, Jesus come quick).