Falling Revenues and the Church.

A couple of quite big changes is church rituals and practice have come up recently.  Others may not agree as to why these changes are taking place but my own thinking is they have been driven by the need for membership revenue.

One is the cross approve of baptisms.  It will now the possible to go from being an Catholic to, say, a Presbyterian without being “rebaptised”.  The Catholic baptism will suffice for Presbyternians and visa versa.

I would guess this came about because of complaints from both ordinary people and clergy.  A reasonable reaction of learning one needs an “updated baptism” would be, “What, I’m already baptised. I don’t want be rebaptised in front of other adults.”

Better marketing of the faith in general would be seamless transfers.  Any theological problems are overridden.

An even more innovative change apparently is under way in the Catholic Church.  There has always been this problem when people divorce.  The Catholic Church requires an annulment.  Instead of just stamping “ANNULMENT” on a paper and moving on, the Church made up a long complex process.  The applicants have to pay for the bureaucratic steps involved.

This annulment requirement must be a big revenue loser.  If a couple with children split up and remarry without annulment, they often are gone from the church.  Their children are gone plus children from the second marriages.

The Pope is now suggesting the annulment process be speeded up by determining there was not adequate faith prior to the unsuccessful marriage.  Faster annulment and faster remarriage will keep more in the Church:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/29/pope-benedict-lack-of-faith-marriage-annulment_n_2577676.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

 

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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40 Responses to Falling Revenues and the Church.

  1. entech says:

    Always a source of amazement to me. How could the inerrant writings of the infallible creator of the universe give rise to such diversity of opinion. How could more than one church be possible.

    Unless, of course, …
    But surely that would not be possible :lol:

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 1:33 “Unless, of course…”

      Please, PLEASE, don’t suggest there is something abitrary about it all. : )

    • Jinx says:

      We’ve all heard of “the revealings of god’s word” to various church figureheads, I would guess this is the foundation of these changes…… unless money really is the issue!!!

      While were talking about religion and money, I believe the church and other religions have made a strong case for revoking their tax exempt status due to their heavy political involvment RE: preaching who to vote for, what to vote for, what they will or won’t cover in hospitals, social work and health services even though they accept taxpayer money through grants and Medicare/Medicaid.

      Sorry Jon! I may have provoked some of the believers!

  2. Stanta says:

    Two things, my baptism in the Lutheran faith was more the adequate when I entered the Catholic Church. In fact most Christian faiths have already decided the same, except for those who require baptism after reaching a certain age. In fact baptism has nothing to do with the person doing the baptism, it could be a willing atheist in an emergency if they are the only other person there. It is the baptized who is the important and significant person here.

    Jon paints with broad brush, is wrong again.

    Thanks for the tip on the annulment thing.

    • Stanta says:

      Actually, the article reads that at one time the Pope felt lack of faith alone was a sufficient reason for annulment. Now he feels it should be a consideration in cunjuction with other reasons. So he is not changing the rules so much as clarifying them.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Stan 2:00 Re: Your Lutheran Baptism

      If I’m wrong I stand corrected. The denominations are named in the article, I assumed there were others not named. The aricle says they have been working on this for 10 years.

      http://www.christianpost.com/news/catholic-protestant-churches-sign-historic-baptism-agreement-89172/

    • entech says:

      Come on Stan, your falling back to your old ways, I think you are just searching for a reason for an attack in your post on this topic.

      Even more you are falling back on your worn out broad brush attack stratagem, almost to the point of hypocrisy. This certainly looks as if you are equating paedophilia and homosexuality again, a very broad brush.
      Stanta says: January 29, 2013 at 1:34 am
      When the first gay man is accused of sexual abuse it will be the fault of BSA for not screening him well enough. (sarcasm off)

      “lack of faith”? interesting when David Hume was trying to get work at Glasgow University the local church ensured he was banned from any possible employment, further they wanted to bring charges against him because they thought he did not believe, that he had a lack of faith the actual charge was named as “infidelity”.
      There was a time when infidelity was the only basis for divorce in Australia, now mutual consent is sufficient. Infidelity by mutual consent was a de facto reason, quite often you would find a man (had to be the man, preserve the honour of the lady) would be sitting partially dressed in conversation with a lady, the lady also partially dressed, actually usually paid to be partially dressed and conversational and nothing more; the conversation would be fairly short because the private detective with camera was waiting outside of the room ready to get the “evidence”. There seems to be to be a religious influence even then, many things like this only require “proof of opportunity”.

      • Stanta says:

        I said “accused” for a reason. You can be straight, gay or asexual and be accused. It ruins lives either way if it is false. But currently the organization seems to be blamed less the individual

        • entech says:

          Maybe I reacted to strongly. But your past posts do not reflect a tolerant attitude and I believe you have painted paedophiles and homosexuals with the same broad brush.

          • Jinx says:

            Entech, Unfortunately a number of people confuse pedophilia and homosexuality. Actually, the avg pedophile is a WASP male in his 30′s, married with 2 children. Also, about 15 years ago (not aware of current stats) about 1 out of 4 or 5 priests were child molesters.

  3. Jeffrey Eide says:

    The once merciless, power-laden parties who find themselves in hard times reflect on the stinky cologne of desperation. Doubt has that on it going for it, at least. Humility at it’s finest.

    Love to get the updates every day, keep them coming Mr. Lindgren!

  4. Mark says:

    Your hate for God and those that love him are quite apparent, and your grammar isn’t very good either. You’ve shown your lack of self esteem, your ignorance of church law, and lack of knowledge in the English language, all in one article. Bravo!!

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Mark 3:24 Thank you for the first time post. You are welcome here anytime.

      Yes, I’m sure my grammer needs some improvement. If you want to point out the errors it would be most appreciated.

      It would be most difficult for me to “hate God” when I have never seen evidence there is a god. If someone would come up with evidence, then I could decide the like or dislike. Certianly, I don’t hate religious people.

      • entech says:

        Using the spell check as well as checking the “grammar” should be required.

        1. If you don’t do these things correctly any statement you make or argument you present is automatically wrong.

        2. Your failure to attend to these points clearly demonstrates your contempt for that part of your audience that does not agree with such points, clearly you hate them.

        1. This is a brilliant example of the “ad Hominem” fallacy.
        2. Not so sure about this, probably just a case of being supercilious fuzzy thinker.

  5. Mark says:

    Dear Thomas,

    I’ve never seen an atom or a living breathing dinosaur, but I am told that they have or do exist. I’ve been told that the planet Jupiter exists ( we even have satellite photos of it, (are they real?:) but I’ve never been there.

    I’ve never met the flu, but I’ve seen the affects of the flu. I’ve never met love, but I’ve seen the influence of it. I’ve never met hate, but I’ve looked it in the eye, and I know it when I see it.

    Some people will never see the forest, because all those trees keep getting in the way.

    • entech says:

      You may well be correct with the analogy of the word for the trees, often thought of as not seeing the “big picture” because you are to tied down in detail. On the other hand there is another old saying about the devil being in the detail.

      If you put the two together you may appreciate my doubts and dilemmas when I try to find the meaning in scripture (purely rhetorical I am sure you have no such doubts and cannot understand why I may)

  6. Mark says:

    Dear Jon,

    Thank you for the kind welcome. Good luck and God bless.

    Sincerely,

    supercilious fuzzy thinker
    (well done…etnech)

    P.S.

    I’ve met many agnostics, but I’ve never met an atheist. ( I don’t think they exist;)

    • entech says:

      A frequent request of mine is for a definition of atheist, no one seems to want to commit themselves.
      If you define it as a person that does not believe in your Christian God, then that is me.
      If you define it as someone who believes that there is no God/Gods/ supernatural entities in existence then I would be coming close.
      If you define it as someone that “states categorically” that there is no God/etc. then that is not me, in fact I don’t think that you will ever meet anyone that fits that definition, at least not anyone that has thought it through – the only one I know of is Victor Stenger in his book the failed hypothesis, not even Christopher Hitchens would make that claim.

      PS. I have never met a god, I don’t believe they exist. I may one day but you are more likely to meet an atheist.

  7. Ed says:

    Mark….I will beat Jon to the punch and say ” good points and thanks for taking the time to post.” One would almost interpret you as freely thinking? And yet choosing to believe……gosh is that possible?

    Until Jon, entrench, Jinx, and their gay team of anti-Christian, self- righteous bloggers have proof, it is difficult to engage in mature dialogue. You will only be another conservative Christian gay hater whom they will ridicule and insult with blogs such as today’s. Instead of Jon recognizing that churches are striving to be more understanding and tolerant on each other’s views, he spins it as simply churches just wanting more money….those evil church goers.

    • Jinx says:

      Ed, I cannot and will not hate my gay son and his partner nor anyone like them. I cannot hate anyone different than me: men, native americans, black, hispanic, lutheran’s, disabled, poor. Besides, you forgot Mac and Anne and several others with your discriminatory label! Our thoughts are not chained by belief in an unproven existence of a god but reserve space for a god once scientifically proven she exists.

      Judge not, least thee be judged ten times over….. Good words to remember on such a FreeThinkers blog welcome to all.

      Ed. Thou does not escape from the label of self righteous no matter how thy doth protest!

      • Jeffrey Eide says:

        Amen!

        Although blogs like these are (I imagine) designed to encourage thought and discourse, and all conservatives are listened to in these matters, I have to paraphrase physicist Steven Weinberg who said if you want to get good and decent people to say and do horrible things, you need religion!

        What he means is the intolerance, the violence, the hatred, the bigotry, and so many other things which come about as a result of people’s faith. This is why doubt should be utilized.

        I am not gay, but why would I want to judge someone for how they were born? I do not judge based on place of birth, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or the way people were raised. These were not choices.

        I must say, as much as you wish to demonize these wonderful people, by labeling them as incapable to “engage in mature dialog”, and certainly I know this is not the best medium for such a discussion, try not to draw battle lines so quickly and instead, I beg you, try to imagine why we think these things

        I do not hate Christians, I think religions are incredibly harmful, and I do not choose one religion to mock over the others. But you know, I might be wrong. Convince me.

  8. Ed says:

    Sorry…Jon beat me to the punch with his recognition of your post Mark.

  9. buzz marick says:

    All religion ever did was subject me to condemnation,confusion and changing rules. Until I got to a group of admitted charactor defected drunks, Liars, cheaters, sordid people who wanted to be understood, loved, accepted I was angry lonely tired and hungry for truth and peace of mind. I am sure part of my delemma was caused by me so when I atone for any of it i may be liable for,I get relief. If it’s a mind screw, so be it. My Higher power, who I choose to call God is AMAZING.

  10. Mark says:

    Dear etnech,

    Even you aren’t an atheist. You’ve said it yourself, although your “coming close”:)
    I’m a hard line conservative christian, who believes God shows himself to each of us in his own way.
    The native Americans call him The Great Mysterious or Great Spirit, (I won’t go in to the specific tribal translations, it would take to long)
    The Jews call him Yaweh, Christians…the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Muslims…Allah.

    Shall I go on…

    There isn’t enough time and space in this blog to show you how many millions of people, believe in or have seen God, in various forms. God does not live by our rules, we live by his.

    The realativists/agnostics may not call themselves god, but that is the way they live their lives. They believe they are the god of their little world.

    P.S.
    I assure you, you will meet God, long before I meet an atheist.

    • entech says:

      OK still depends on which definition you use.
      I cannot be a “real” atheist because I cannot convince myself I know the absolute truth, your god actually doesn’t show himself to me in any way. … no need to go on, I can do it for if you like the Hindus have Brahman, the Zoroastrians Mazda – my question is very often “how do you know that yours is the one and only true version”, you seem to want to preempt that by saying “I’m a hard line conservative christian, who believes God shows himself to each of us in his own way.” The question then must become, if according to the Bible God cannot lie, why does he permit so many interpretations of himself, some of which are inimical poly or mono or pan, is your god so great he can be all of these things – could we even have an atheist god, one who is so great that he does not even need to exist to be the creator of everything?

      The realativists/agnostics may not call themselves god I hope that was not a misspell, I quite like realativists, I hope you meant reality-ists, otherwise you are projecting your own position onto the non-believers, assumptions made are stated first:
      Assume you meant relativist. Very few would hold to the view that you and yours always put out as the natural corollary, that is without God anything goes, there is nothing that can be said to be good or bad etc. This came up in a recent topic – I can state, without reference to outside conditions, social mores and what else you may have, that to torture an infant simply for personal pleasure gained from the suffering is under all and any circumstances wrong, I think this is so with or without and giver of moral laws. I would, however, point out that many ranking theologians (Aquinas, Tertulian et. al) would have it that one of the pleasures of heaven would be to look over the wall and observe the torments of hell.
      Assumption agnostic is used in an encompassing sense, any one not accepting the rules of your God, whether they be given as Christian teachings, or one of the others you mentioned, that they fail to live according to any of the contradictory modes that are implied by a universal god that exposes himself to each individual in his own idiosyncratic way. The implication of this, you say, is that each considers himself the god of his own little world – wrong. The position that is taken is that each human is part of the universe, not particularly special – but special enough to the only entity that we know of that can look out and ask the questions, if you take a pantheistic god (Spinoza’s God)
      perhaps a part of God as god is all. I would, however,again, make a point, the point is Your God made man in his/their? own image and gave man dominance over everything, what kind of egomaniac thought this up.

      I assure you, that if you consider it you will find that it is all projection:
      Relativist: is you, whatever your God says is moral is moral, genocide etc. hating fellow humans for being different (Jeremiah 18:4) although I prefer Omar Khayyam’s words :
      After a momentary silence spake
      Some Vessel of a more ungainly Make;
      “They sneer at me for leaning all awry:
      What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?”

      As for meeting God, more Khayyam:
      Myself when young did eagerly frequent
      Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
      About it and about: but evermore
      Came out by the same door where in I went.

      • Jeffrey Eide says:

        I, Mark, am a proud atheist, as well as an agnostic, as well as an anti-theist. These are all addressing different questions, and we should all know them. An Atheist is someone who believes the burden of proof for the existence of a god or deity has not been fulfilled. An agnostic is someone who doesn’t know. I Don’t know, and I contend you do not either. In this we are both agnostic. My belief comes from evidence or lack thereof.

        I am an anti-theist because I sincerely believe faith and organized religion are harmful for society and should be publicly questioned.

        What you are looking for is someone who absolutely believes in no god, and although I am sure there must be some out there, I too have not many any. That is because those who use doubt and skepticism as a method of learning, those who understand that our own perceptions may be skewed, distorted, or simply wrong at times, they also understand that we should not be sure of anything. Please understand that those without faith will not have faith in there lack of it.

        Doubt is your friend. The most poignantly arrogant position anyone can have is to believe in something without reason, based on faith, and to believe in it absolutely. I am willing to change my position on this topic if for verifiable and falsifiable reasons. Can you say the same for your position?

      • entech says:

        Jeffrey, doubt is more than friend to the religious, it is the original sin. It was the serpent creating doubt in Eve’s mind that made her even consider the fruit. Doubting the word when it has been revealed is, in the religious mind, the original and ultimate sin. The ‘one unforgivable sin’, blaspheming the holy spirit is essentially doubting the existence of said spirit.

        We have the expression “love the sinner, hate the sin” usually a bit of flim flam to excuse homophobia, but it also says a lot more.
        Love the doubt, hate the doubter – this is not possible, this is being asked to forgive the unforgivable, something not even God can do.

        Doubt, then, is what is used as a threat, if you doubt what I say you will surely burn for eternity. At the same time if you doubt my beliefs surely this means you doubt me? How dare you? how can I love the sinner when he is trying to make me doubt, trying to turn me into a sinner? It is this “cognitive dissonance’ that makes them project it all back. If you question the beliefs, if you question the validity of the books, if you question how there can be so many denomination, and so on, it is clear that HATE Christianity and all Christians (me in particular, even though have never met)

        • Jeffrey Eide says:

          Thanks entech,
          Yes, I have read the bible, try to once a year, and erm… enjoyed a few sermons in my day, but I try to keep it universal, rather then entrenching into the mythologies predominant in this region of the planet. I am used to having very multiethnic discussions, in which it seems futile to address each persons perspective on their own religion.

          The universality of standards is what I appeal to. By pointing out obvious hypocrisies society tends to blindly repeat, I find this is where independent thought forms.

          Ask someone who hates homosexuals if they love to have sex or bond with the opposite gender, then imagine living in a society in which they were expected to get married to and have sex with the same gender. How would it make them feel? Then tell them that expressing their feelings might get them bullied, beaten, or killed. Shoe doesn’t fit on the other foot? Hypocrisy…

          Appeal to the Bible they say? Appeal to the rejection of the clearly revolting violent parts, those that even believers deny. I am sure you are way ahead of me though…

  11. Mark says:

    Gentleman,

    I’ve rather enjoyed this. Watching you flaunt you superior intelligence in long winded, long worded replies, as if the longer the reply you make, the more correct you must be.

    I leave you with a couple requests, continue on your journey through this life by actually searching for the possibility that a higher being may exist and that this being brings true love and freedom to those that seek it. Open your minds and hearts to the possibility that millions and millions of people around the world may be right in the simple belief that a higher power exists and that the belief in this higher being can actually be good for this world.

    I’ve been where your at now, wandering in the darkness, really not believing in anything, but thinking that I knew everything.

    Lastly, I like poetry as well, but my simple mind can’t understand a lot of big words from authors whose names I can’t even pronounce….

    I leave you with this little diddy,

    “If I’m wrong, I guess I’ll never know,
    If your wrong, may God have mercy on my soul”

    Good luck and may God bless you in your journey through this life and into the next.

    • entech says:

      Interesting, when you try to take someone seriously and try to explain your position you get a supercilious sarcasm in return ” … flaunt you superior intelligence in long winded, long worded replies, as if the longer the reply you make, the more correct you must be”, if this is the reward for trying one might as well revert to the response that more than one will often get (and here I quote others, in no way do I actually believe these words, although it is certain someone will do a little quote mining and take them out of context) “It is all BS and anyone one who believes it is a moron”

      Your request:- I have no choice, something inside makes me question and search for answers, even the possibility of a “higher being”. Although why this superior entity should necessarily bring “true love and freedom” is beyond me. This purveyor of true love and freedom seems to me to be a different entity from the one described in your scriptures, what kind of freedom is defined by “lest ye perish”? and what true love would demand the total annihilation of a whole tribe of his Creatures, Man, woman, child and even their livestock (oh, but you can keep the pretty young girls for yourself)? Open YOUR mind to the possibility that they could all be wrong, the variety of their beliefs is wide and in many instances inimical and mutually contradictory, my question here is as they can’t all be right, isn’t it possible, even likely that they are all wrong?

      I doubt that you have been where I am now, very recently I was on life support for a few hours, I was at the edge looking over and found, as you suggest, I was wandering in the darkness – no bright lights, no evangelists in shiny white suits telling me I had things to do. All I had and found was that my “faith” in modern medicine and surgical techniques was justified, the possibility of “faith” in your terms was diminished. Mind you I could still be wrong, so I am not thinking I know everything, your statement in this regard demonstrates an appalling arrogance on your part as in effect you say that once you had doubts but now you know everything.

      Which poetry are you talking about, book of psalms? some great stuff there. Or, were you alluding to Omar the Astronomer and scientist, the Sufi Mystic and metaphysical poet:
      Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
      And those that after some To-morrow stare,
      A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
      “Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.”

      Only difficult word there is Muezzin, simply the person chosen to call the faithful to prayer. The rest is another way of saying keep looking.

      Or perhaps you prefer something originally in English:
      “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
      (William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell ).

      Try reading some of the English metaphysical poets (and Khayyam) perhaps you will come to the realisation that your certainty, blind faith is ultimately self centred wishful thinking (doesn’t preclude the possibility that it is correct, merely one possible reason for thinking it).

      Thank you for your kind wishes, I do hope to continue this life’s journey, especially as I have found no sign of any other. A little Omar to end:
      Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
      Before we too into the Dust descend;

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Mark 6:25 “…enjoyed this. Watching you flaunt your superior intelligence in long winded, long worded replies…”

      As entech has pointed out, nonbelievers, at least most of them, do not presume to know everything with 100% certainty. It is only believers who have that kind of superior intelligence. Nonbelievers acknowledge there are questions about the origin of the universe we do not know. They may be discovered in the future, but today remain undiscovered. Believers suffer no such uncertainty.

      There is one thing nonbelievers know that you seem not to know. It is that the most universal fear humans have, and presumably have always had, is that of death. Consequently, when an individual or group wants to take control of or take money from another group, the most effective way to accomplish this is to promise they will not have to die. The nice, clean thing about this promise is they need not prove anything about their claim, just say it and people with fear will believe it and do whatever you tell them. It’s, “Give me your money and allegiance and you don’t have to die.”

      While I’ll admit there remains the ever so slightest possibility life after death could exist, I try to employ critical thinking. This would be to ask, “What evidence is there of such a thing?” and “What might be, or, might have been, the motives of those claiming such a thing?” Thinking of it in this way leads me to conclude this probability is too low to waste my time considering it. There are things I can do during my life to make things better for those who live now and those who follow that are more important than worrying about myself. Worrying about ones self is, after all, what the afterlife concept is all about.

    • Jinx says:

      All I can say is nothing because Entech and Jon have said it so well!

      Arrogance/pride isn’t it one of your seven deadly sins Mark?

      Entech, I joined this group a short while ago as well and did not know you were so ill! I sincerely hope you are on the mend and the future for your health is bright. I thoroughly enjoy your well thought additions and insight and hope there are many more to come.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Jinx 10:25 Yes, it was one of the low moments of our discussions back on these pages when entech dropped out after daily contributions for two and a half years. Some of us scambled, including Henry, to look at newspapers around Austrialia for news about him. Then, he reappeared, more fiesty than ever.

        He had taken a peek over to the other side and is our resident authority on what is there. Nothing. : )

  12. Mark says:

    Entech, I’m sorry for your illness. I hope your feeling better…and I hope you find your way out of the darkness.

    Hopefully you all can put your arrogance and pride aside someday, and try to entertain the possibilty that a higher being does exist. But I have a feeling, deep down inside, you all do, you just refuse to admit it.

    Remember, there is a forest behind all those trees.

    I wish you all well. (which seems to be more than you wish for me;)

    God bless!

    • entech says:

      Whatever you say, just think that darkness is a metaphor but your light is an illusion.
      Please reconsider the arrogance and pride remarks, you see I am only a small part of a great universe, made up of the bits and pieces of exploded stars, when I die I will return to that same universe giving back the bits and pieces for reuse. Nothing to be proud of just amazed and grateful that it is the way it is. The arrogance part is really just a projection of your own importance at being part of a special creation, created with you in mind.

      Please make no mistake I do wish you well. I simply do not agree with you, in my “superiority” I simple claim the right to be wrong you obviously deny the possibility that you are wrong.

      No response required, I give up, whatever you say.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        entech 5:16 “Please make no mistake I do wish you well. I simply do not agree with you, in my ‘superiority’ I simply claim the right to be wrong you obviously deny the possibility that you are wrong.”

        I good response to the reoccurring posts we get here. The posts are all the same, good people who are convinced they do us a favor by saying, “I think you should know, God does not like you and will get revenge when you die. I’m just passing it along for your benefit. I happen to know this for sure. You have a hardened heart and are not able to understand a humble person like me is superior, has superior knowledge of what God is and knows for certain what God is thinking about you.”

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