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, 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 Grove City College, but this is legitimately disturbing. Most of the article 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 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. In a 2016 LCMS National Convention Workbook, Harrison wrote in regards to the LCMS’s decline,
The third demographic study really honed in on the landscape of the US with respect to the birth rate. Americans, and particularly European-descent Americans (95 percent of the LCMS), are not having children at even the replacement rate of 2.1 per family. The year 1959 saw the largest number of LCMS births and Baptisms. Last year’s number of LCMS births was down some 70 percent from 1959. Society has changed. Marriage is delayed. Education comes first. Debt affects marriage and families. Delaying marriage and child rearing means far fewer children. Children are very expensive.
Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS 2016 National Convention Workbook, p. 2
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.
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.