At the absolute base level, the only criteria a person requires to be a ‘Christian’ are: The ability to be able to read in any modern printed language, a copy of the Holy Bible written in that particular language, and the good fortune to live in a country which allows freedom of speech and conscience where a person can hold and express beliefs. Any person could then freely acquire and read the contents of the Holy Bible, and with their own faculties decide whether or not they agree with the ethos of the book and wish to be a Christian, living by the suggestions in the book; or, they do not agree with the validity of the statements in the book and decide not to use the book as a fulcrum for their life.
None of the above requires the existence of a ‘self appointed multi-billion pound organisation’ which exists in order to instruct that person, and all other such people, exactly how they should interpret the text within the Holy Bible, lest they interpret it incorrectly, according to the ‘accepted view’ of the ‘self appointed multi-billion pound organisation’!
And exactly what does the Holy Bible content say on such matters?
Or in essence, not to create a multi-billion pound organisation!
The structure of the self appointed, multi-billion pound organisation:
The Church of England finances 13,000 parishes, 120,000 acres of rural land, large tracks of land in cathedral cities, 16,200 church buildings, 44 Bishop’s palaces, 43 cathedrals, salaries and housing for an army of serving clergy, pensions and housing for a large number of retired clergy and financial support for the widows of recently deceased clergy, at a running cost of £1 billion a year.
The £1 billion required is financed only in part by the parishioner’s donations; or put another way, 100% of the parishioner’s donations are allocated toward the financing of the £1 billion a year running costs.
From the Church of England finance records, the makeup of their annual income is as follows:
The size of the investment accounts has to be colossal in order to generate a return of £100 million in a year!
The Church of England also holds investments in industrial estates, leisure parks, shopping centres, parking facilities in the city of London and European property.
As an established religious organisation, the Church of England is also exempt paying VAT on the costs of maintaining its property, and therefore not contributing to the tax revenue required to run the country.
From the Church of England’s own records, out of the above £1 billion income per annum, only £40 million of it goes to overseas missionary work and national and international charities.
Now, ‘overseas missionary work’ really means funding clergy to live overseas and talk to people about the Church of England’s official version of theology; spreading the word as it were. So, the harsh reality is, from the Church of England’s colossal £1 billion a year income, less the 4% goes direct to good causes, the remainder, more than 96 %, more than £960 million every year goes directly into the feeding trough!
The church employs 44 Bishops on a salary of circa £30,000 to £60,000 a year, who all live rent free in one of the Church’s lavish, historic, houses/palaces/castles. In 2008, the Church of England spent £7.3 million of parishioner’s donations and tax rebates from the tax payer’s purse maintaining these official Bishop’s residences. The Bishop of Durham resides in the most lavish of these properties, being Auckland Castle. The castle also houses 13 priceless paintings by Zurbaran valued at over £1 million each! One has to assume that the Church of England not only needs to own this lavish castle, but also NEEDS to have priceless works of art hanging on its walls, in order to be able to minister the word of God to the people of England and Wales!
The Church of England also has to fund a colossal pension fund from its annual income which is currently suffering a £352 million shortfall.
We simply cannot ignore the obscene wealth of the Church, both Protestant and Catholic, nor the hypocrisy of the two churches in owning such wealth. This can be demonstrated with the following logic:
If we conclude that the concepts of the Christian theology are totally flawed and that neither the Abrahamic God nor Jesus actually existed, the wealth of these two organisations will most definitely have been obtained by the perpetration of a total lie. However, if we accept that the tenets of Christianity are completely true, and that the messiah Jesus did visit Earth to preach the word of God, do we think that the eye-watering wealth of the two main organisations (Protestant and Catholic) created in his name would be exactly what he had in mind? Of course not! In which case, his message has been misused by greedy parasites in order to create immense wealth. In either scenario, the wealth of church organisations such as the Church of England and the world wide Catholic Church, is utterly disgusting.
Supporters of the existence of the ‘Church’ as a wealthy organisation would, and do, insist it is a force for good because of the charitable donations it attracts from its members for good causes. But this is hypocrisy in the extreme, such an argument presupposes that religious followers only give to charity because of the existence of the ‘Church’, and would not donate otherwise. It is poignant to consider that secular members of society need no such compulsion in order to donate to good causes. It is also noteworthy that 100% of secular donations do go direct to their intended good cause; hence, secular donations are far more effective.
Catherine Boyle, The Guardian, Friday 28 April 2006
Martin Beckford, Telegraph, 18 Jan 2010
Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Telegraph, 23 Jan 2010
Patrick Sawer, Telegraph, 27 Jun 2010
Church of England website, Church Finances page