Buildings of Worship

Milan Cathedral, Italy

Milan Cathedral, Italy

SPLENDOUR IN WORSHIP. To the ancient simplicity there now succeeded a taste for religious pageantry, the natural associate of ease and opulence in a superstitious age. The notion began to prevail that in order to captivate the multitude, Christianity needed to be surrounded with pomp and presented under images of sense. The example of Constantine gave a powerful impulse to this movement. In his new capital on the Bosphorus, in Antioch, Jerusalem and other places, he erected churches which emulated in their magnificence the grandest of the heathen temples. . . Did it never occur to the good bishops of the age of Constantine that all this outward glory, however it might harmonise with the character and purpose of the Old Dispensation, is foreign, if not wholly repugnant, to the spirit of the New? So far from being able to serve God better in their glittering temples than did the early Christians in their simple unconsecrated buildings, the allurements of sense which they took so much pains to accumulate, were the very means to obstruct and render more difficult that worship in spirit and in truth which is alone acceptable unto Him. — Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pgs 237-238.

Even today, magnificent churches span the globe. Unparalleled in opulence and splendor, these churches have become not just a testament to the immense wealth the church has amassed, but they have become normative for every religious sect. Many today still believe that they can worship God better in bigger buildings decorated in costly materials and crafted with the most intricate and ostentatious architecture. What they fail to realize is that church buildings have become the biggest idol in the hearts of religious leadership and their followers. Just as these elaborate buildings interfered with the purity of worship in Constantine’s day, so it is today. Churches have become places of religious showmanship, rooted in elaborate orations and music aimed at getting religion’s followers to let loose of their pocketbooks.

We must understand that church buildings have nothing to do with God. They are a mutation of paganism with early Christianity; an invention of Constantine’s own theological devices.  Early Christians had no designated “churches” of worship. Pagan temples were converted to “churches” in order to bring the masses together to congregate into one place so that they could be monitored and controlled by clergy. This is exactly what many churches of all denominations do today. They monitor and control those that enter through their doors and use the tactics I elaborate on in my book, Religion’s Cell, to bring about thought reform to the specific institution’s ideals and dogmas.

There is nothing wrong with meeting in a building in this day and age to worship. There is everything wrong with the way in which organized religion wield’s it’s power and control over people in order to control and manipulate them once they enter into the “church building.” Real Christianity is missing in many of today’s religions due to corruption. . . it has turned into a system of showmanship and of amassing wealth instead of a system of purity rooted in helping the poor, the fatherless and the widow in need.

6 thoughts on “Buildings of Worship

  1. Jerry D. Kaifetz, Ph.D.

    “Silver and gold have we none . . . . ” uh . . . wait . . . can’t say that any more can we, church . . . ? (My last church, Victory Baptist Church of Weatherford, Texas has spent over 8 million dollars on pastoral salaries and church properties in the last ten years!)

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    1. Religion's Cell Post author

      Jerry, God forbid this money go to help the many unemployed and homeless (sarcasm intended). I know of two victims of abuse right this moment that are homeless and the churches that abused them don’t care. What a sad testimony for any church..:(

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  2. Jcm Manuel

    Well, it is a matter of looking at things from different sides I guess. Our Christian-Western cultures is to a great extend formed by the Middle class (or Bourgeois) and it was also mostly through Christians in the middle class segment of Rome that Christianity spread (as argued by Rodney Stark and others). And most if not all middle class people love the arts – be it in paint, buildings or whatever. The impact of great buildings is undeniable. You are right that the support of it was through wealth, and wealth is in itself a temptation. This is of course a mixed bag: many of the great arts (including the paintings and the music that brought so many hearts into a state of contemplation and changing lives) have this double side: wealth has supported it – the result though was not necessarily bad, the wealth does not corrupt the arts, it does however (often) corrupts those who support art – and this happens regardless how they spend their wealth.

    I’m not denying you have a point. I’m just looking at it from some distance and I discover a broader picture here.

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  3. Religion's Cell Post author

    Jcm, while there were many religious leaders during the early centuries that tried to stay humble and pure in their religion, history shows us vividly the fruit of this corruption. Most religious leaders weren’t willing to give up the money, prestige and power they were given by the Church of Rome. Religious leaders in the Church of Rome had no choice in this matter. They either complied or lost their church, their property and their families due to excommunication. It was all about control. History is fraught with martyrs who did their best to fight against this manipulation and control. All this said, it would be nice to believe in such higher thoughts regarding the church if only history didn’t record all the atrocities done by it in the ‘name of God,’ that dispel such higher notions.

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  4. Jcm Manuel

    St Francis of Assisi chose to live in poverty, together with his Fratres Minores – but he did not judge the other Catholics (priests, bishops etc) – this is another way to approach it. No doubt Francis would have loved to sell these churches and give the money to the poor – but he didn’t, because in some way he thought all or most things may fulfill some purpose. People like Dostoevsky and some other influential believers were impressed by a magnificent (and very expensive) painting in an expensive beautiful church. It seems like these buildings communicate something about the greatness of god to those who are receptive of it. Just a thought.

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