Since I was a little kid, I haven’t liked going to church. Since my teen years, I also haven’t believed much of what was preached to me there. For the time that I’ve been an active atheist, I’ve been disgusted about what’s taught at church and its effect on the world. But somehow it wasn’t until just recently that everything fell into place and I realized why church is the perfect formula to be a man-made money-making scheme. Church, to me, means traditional, doctrinally structured services within the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, but a lot of my apostate readers will relate, whether you were Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist, or probably any other denomination, even nondenominational.
Because of my extreme disdain for the Lutheran church, for reasons such as this and this and this and this, I was recently Googling how to officially revoke my membership. I became a member through being baptized against my will as an infant and through being forced to attend confirmation classes and partake in a confirmation ceremony against my will as a teen. I know I can just stop going, and I will, but I want it to be official. When I looked up how to terminate my membership, I found no instructions on how to do so; all I found were articles on the tragic decline in LCMS membership in recent years. Taking their decline into consideration made me want to personally make their numbers fall by at least one more person, but I also looked further at the articles I found.
I found this article, “Harrison Blames Women for Declining Membership“, particularly appalling. I know there are a lot of things I complain about on here, like creationism, and apologetics, and my college and family members, but this is legitimately disturbing. Most of it discusses the claims of the LCMS president Matthew Harrison that his salary of $252,573 is too small because the LCMS membership rate is declining. And Mr. Rev. Dr. Harrison believes that the decline in membership is due to women having fewer babies who will grow up and put their offering in the plate every week. He blames this on what could be considered any religious leader’s nightmare: women getting educations. He says,
“One may, without caricature, summarize the view of (LCMS) women and their education in these studies thus: The overeducated white women of the LCMS are responsible for the denomination’s numerical decline. Our women get too much education, which leads them to want to work professionally, raises their aspirations for material prosperity, burdens them with student debt, makes them too persnickety in their choice of husbands, and delays their proper Christian work of child-bearing.”
The problem is that this all makes sense. Women get educations, then they get jobs, then they lead fulfilling lives without religion and/or without children, and they stop coming to church. And this means that Matthew Harrison has less money in his pocket, so he’s mad.
But the president of the denomination isn’t the only one that benefits from preaching lies to as many people, from infants to elders, as possible. In my own church (I say “my own” loosely), the salaries aren’t divided very fairly. My mother is the organist, and she works under the music director—except she does far more work than he does. But he gets paid more than she does, and the pastor far more than either, I’m sure, and although my mom knows it’s unfair, she continues to tithe every week even though everyone’s salaries come out of the offering plate in the first place. But she continues to give away money that should be rightfully hers for doing her churchly duties, because giving on Sunday mornings is the “right thing to do” as a Christian.
And everyone who contributes to the Sunday offering, and in turn, President Matthew Harrison’s paycheck, is convinced that it’s the “right thing to do”. The entire religion is set up perfectly to make pastors and other clergymen rich. It’s why apostates like myself are demonized and threatened with hell for deciding to liberate ourselves and stop attending. It’s why the pastor has to work so hard to tell everyone that coming to church and contributing money will be a ticket to heaven. And it’s why the persecution complex and self pity is such a central theme of the LCMS and religion at large. They can convince you that everyone is out to get you and then offer their house of worship as a place of solace from all of the perceived attacks.
And that is how churches get rich. It’s also why I’m proud to be done with them and never offer my church a penny of my own money. I’m ready to be a part of the reason that the LCMS withers away until there are no members left. It will be sooner than we think.