But much of my experience with various Christian churches is that they go out of their way to make worship and faith a pleasant experience, rather than a self-challenging one in which an individual can get their self-image badly bruised.
Unfortunately, this ministerial oversight leads to mere “titillation” within a congregation’s genetic self-centered nature. (This titillation takes the form of people always believing they belong to the best religion.)
According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, humans are born with insane wills and thus, into evils of every kind. But because of a culture of religious titillation (to fill pews) and the strong human desire for self-importance and affirmation from others, our spiritual potentials merely flap their wings in vain. I have found—the hard way—that turning one’s life around requires more than outer acts of friendship and usefulness in the community (even though this makes people feel warm and fuzzy about themselves).
One has to go deeper and root personal evils out—many of which fly under our radar because they are so ingrained and have become second nature.
To offset this misguided trajectory, what we each know to be intellectually noble must make real contact with our hearts, our desires and our life-choices. When this contact (spiritual conjunction of heart and mind) is genuinely and sincerely made, many inconsistencies of character become visible to the point that they can no longer be overlooked. This practice of sincerity can be quite brutal.
Without this special inner contact, an individual can easily fantasize that he or she is on the right path. Until this inner contact is made, worshippers will continue to pin all their hopes on the idea that God loves them, and not on finding—and cleaning out—their own inner dirt.