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Organised religion is ruinously divisive

Alban Maginness' reflections on the Reformation (News, October 24) end with the view that: "It is still my belief that the Reformation was a tragedy for all Christians. Sadly, division remains a living reality today and scandalously defies Christ's own words in John 17:21-22."

Here, Alban quotes from the Jerusalem Bible, the preferred Bible of the Catholic Church. Even the Bible, the cornerstone of the Christian faith, needs many versions to satisfy all shades of Christianity.

The greatest single aberration on the road to Christian salvation, as set out in the Bible, has been the role of the Churches, both Catholic and Reformed, down the ages.

Yes, both preach a salvation message, but the road to salvation is on their terms and within the confines of Church teaching.

Christian worship within organised religion was, and remains, about power and influence.

Nowhere is that grip more tragically evident, or more divisive, it seems, than in Northern Ireland.

What if, as Christians, we chose a different path? Accepting the salvation promise of John 3:16 requires no Church, priest, or pastor, select vestry, incense, or intercession.

It is based on personal belief and faith in the promise of everlasting life, granted by God through the sacrifice of Christ, his son, on the cross.

In the same way, the worship of God, the Bible tells us, takes place where one or two are gathered together in his name, quietly, free from the noise, trappings and divisive politics of religion.

If division is the living reality today, then it is the divisive and self-serving influence of the Churches, both Catholic and Reformed, which must share the blame.

In defence of your Church, please don't bring Christ into it.

OBSERVER

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