The Religion Racket
by Norman H. Wells
Former Pastor, Central Baptist Church, Cincinnati
Now With The Lord
© 2005 James H. Dearmore/Gospelweb.net

The Late Dr. Norman H. Wells

[GospelWeb.net Globe]

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Chapter 13

Sanctified Sin

One of the difficult things which a supposedly religious people have had to cope with is how to be religious and sinful at the same time. This presents quite a problem because most religion inconveniently identifies right and wrong and some even go so far as to commend the good and condemn the evil!

This attempt to be sinful and religious simultaneously has produced some ingenious efforts. One of the truly sophisticated ways of accomplishing this is to pretend doubt and ask for a definition of terms. What is good? What is evil? This works well because, of course, as is already known, there is some confusion as to the meaning of these terms and this confusion gives an excuse for continuing in sin. After all, who says it is sin? Maybe what is sin for you is not sin for me? When this confusion can be created it is a big help in enabling one to be sinful and religious at the same time.

If one wants to go to the trouble he can usually find a church that doesn't condemn any of his particular sins. This is a great help in getting over the obstacle of being both sinful and religious. A little more difficult but very effective is the effort to draw a line of distinction between spiritual things and material things. This finally narrows down to being religious at church and sinful everywhere else. Most people find this an agreeable arrangement.

If one has the time he can join efforts with some supposedly intellectual group that is working on a philosophy of religion that will completely reverse the meaning of religious terms. They call good evil and evil good. Right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right. Most people find it easier to live by these terms. One has to be a little careful, though ... a man named Isaiah about 2700 years ago wrote:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! "

He could be right.

There is another method used in the attempt to be religious and sinful concurrently but it is not quite as honest and above board as the others. In fact, it's downright sneaky, but is used a lot. This simply involves being religious and denying you are sinful when in the presence of your religious friends, and being sinful and denying you are religious while around your sinful friends. This can be complicated, particularly when you keep meeting your religious friends in sinful places and your sinful friends in religious places.

Another system that has grown popular in recent years is to "religionize" sin. Sin is taken out of the world and brought over into the church and sanctified. Sanctified sin! This, supposedly, makes it all right and it enables one to sin ... religiously.

Some people, coping with the problem of being both sinful and religious employ an action called backsliding. These people will alternate being religious and sinful ... they are never really religious and sinful at the same time but it accomplishes about the same thing. After being religious for a time they will backslide and be sinful for a while. After a while they will return and again be religious. This is an accepted, standard procedure and also has the added advantage of always being joyfully welcomed back whenever one returns ... either to his sinful friends or to his religious friends.

There are those who use what might be called a diversionary action. This is really very simple. You pick out a sin you are not practicing and vigorously condemn it. An all out crusade is launched against this sin. Everyone becomes so engrossed in fighting the uncommitted sin that no one pays any attention to the sins being committed. This, of course, is a great aid to maintaining both sin and religion.

If a preacher wants to condemn sin he has to find one his congregation is not practicing. Throwing babies to crocodiles as an act of worship is a sin that gets a lot of condemnation.

Another diversionary action is to put all the emphasis upon the minute interpretation of some obscure religious doctrine. When this is done with great zeal little attention is paid to sin.

If a religion will cooperate by softening its emphasis upon the distinction between right and wrong the two finally blend. Being religious and sinful at the same time becomes an easy thing.

The modem idea that it is wrong to place any prohibitions upon children can be used. We are told that to place any restrictions upon children is harmful. It can cause frustrations, inhibitions, and a host of other horrible things. They must be allowed full expression. This means that the children can sin if they want and this necessitates the parents following the same path. After all, we want to do right for our children ... even if it's wrong!

Men have found it is good to keep religion in their wife's name. How much more religious can you be than to see that your wife and children are provided for in religious matters? This enables the man to continue his sinning with a clear conscience.

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