Sunday, February 22, 2015

Religion or Reality?

". . .the immense majority of people in Christendom have holy places, where they recite a sacred ritual and go through sacred motions.  They receive holy food and submit to washings that cleanse from sin.  They have a priesthood with magic powers which offers a bloodless sacrifice.  This Christian ritual grew up, not as the appropriate and aesthetic expression of spiritual emotions, but as the indispensable means of pleasing and appeasing God, and of securing his favors, temporal and eternal, for those who put their heart into these processes.  This Christian ceremonial system does not differ essentially from that against which the prophets protested; with a few verbal changes their invectives would still apply.  But the point that here concerns us is that a very large part of the fervor of willing devotion which religion always generates in human hearts has spent itself on these religious acts.  The force that would have been competent to 'seek justice and relieve the oppressed' has been consumed in weaving the tinsel fringes for the garment of religion."

Walter Rauschenbusch
Christianity and the Social Crisis

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