Thinking and behavior, in the name of religion and church, seem foul sometimes. Instead of avoiding or blaming, a little experiment can be done. Religion and church can be evaluated to determine if they really are the source of thinking and behavior. This effort has to be scientific, minus the human emotionalism quite often attending the subjects of religion or church. The research will also be metaphysical, indicative to the evidence that thought and behavior is infinite, yet never idle.
It is not an arguing point in this experiment to say human beings are connected to, or disconnected from, religion and church. Religion and church are associated with systems of beliefs. Basically, we all do have a system of beliefs. Scientists, clergy, physicians, sports fans, aid-workers, the strange neighbor, and so on do not only believe something, but also act on those beliefs religiously. Admittedly, belief systems are mind boggling. However, confusion diminishes as beliefs are broken down into simple components. A belief of love versus a belief in hate. A belief in principle versus a belief in randomness. Although these simple components are almost too simple, simplicity is a valid starting point in research.
Love and Principle is the source of constructive, practical, healing, compassionate ideas and thus action. Religion or church did not invent or initiate Love, Principle. Although, religion and church can be tools by which enlightened understanding and behavior are brought to our attention; research reveals that systems of beliefs have no innate lasting power to create, authorize, or discredit, the thoughts and behavior of people. Ironically, belief systems that lack this knowledge will think human philosophies, agendas, and rituals, empower thinking and behavior. However, unnumbered people have acted on a particular belief for years until one day they realized the belief was bogus, easily changed by newly presented facts or by simply taking a stand for a better thought.
Believing in an ultimate love and principle is better than believing in an unbeatable hate and chaos. A love belief contributes to the positive nature of thinking and action, contributes to our humaneness. But love without principle, flusters. Principle has order and includes an understanding of what love really is; a love that disallows suffocation or hurt feelings.
Because religion and church are not the source of thought and behavior, they cannot be the source of humanities advancement. Also, they cannot be a source of foul play. Therefore, it would be backward either to love or hate religion and church. It is better to love Love and hate hate.
If human beings believe religion or church originates (or crushes) advancement they acquiesce to rote thoughts, creating unapproachable or callous behavior worthless to the well-being of people and our world. Effort put into comprehending Love, Principle, is necessary. Because to just believe what first pops into our heads concerning the truth of these topics, is not productive. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health, “To seek Truth through belief in a human doctrine is not to understand the infinite.”
The infinite nature of Love, Principle, precludes the beliefs that advancement and inspired behavior can only come from a select group of people or at a particular time in human history. Someone, somewhere, now, is receiving a better concept of love and principle and applying it in their daily life. It is our right and responsibility to be aware of, and implement into every avenue of life, progressive ideas. If a small business owner in New Zealand decides to renovate her merchandise, making it more functional for the customers, we too can keep in mind how to better serve others.
It is essential to make sure we are not our own worst enemy to progressive beliefs. Decisions and choices are too often mechanically made based on our very limited mortal imprints and expectations. Meditation can help us disconnect from finite, even stubbornly ingrained beliefs. Prayer can allow us to reconnect with loving principled beliefs that yield to understanding. For example, years ago I believed any advancement in religion or church had to come from a religious or churchy person. But, just as genes mutate, my belief changed—improved. I discovered people who never went to church who were healing, who were serene, logical, powerful examples of the religion of Love. Conclusively, progress in healing and comfort exists. Perpetual advancement is not confined to a mortal or to the discoveries of mortals even if they call the discovery a religion or church.
I am not you, and you are not me. Religion is not church, and church is not religion. No one church has a monopoly on truth and no religion can be limited to a particular church. Understanding unites you and me, unites religion and church, but at no point does a church become religion or vice versa. Even if a religion and church seem to be born at the same time—like twins—they still are not one and the same. The true identities of religion and church can’t be distorted, discredited, or credited falsely, no matter how screwed up human belief systems and behavior can look. The object is to understand the Identities of Love, Principle, not so much the individualities of religion or church.
The individuality and unity of religion and church need to be viewed spiritually, with honesty and open-mindedness. If a belief system exaggeratedly magnifies the individuality of a religion or church, without appreciating the goodness of others, division is inevitable. Be aware though, if a belief system intensely strives to connect human beings, people mistakenly will assume that unity is to unify, to amalgamate into one and the same. Not possible. The Infinite is infinite uniqueness. Religions, churches, and human beings do not integrate into a similar, delineated body. Infinite identity requires endless unique individualities.
Religion and church are not the source of thought and behavior. They are thought and behavior. As effort is made to understand the thought and behavior of Love, Principle, instead of hate and uncertainty, religion and church can be seen as not something to avoid or blame but as something to include in our ever advancing world. Every effort made on the side of Love, Principle, will naturally diminish the tendency to repeat idle, self-destructive belief systems. With an infinite, beliefs constantly improve and progress can be understood and experienced by us and our world.

Author's Bio: 

Cheryl Petersen revised "Science and Health," by Mary Baker Eddy, a spiritual healing book. "21st Century Science and Health" can be found online www.HealingScienceToday.com