There are religions that continue to grow, while there are religions that are stagnant, losing membership due to the older generation dying out. But what makes a church grow? How do we bring in new members? We can promise potential members paradise and joy. But what do they have to do to gain entry into heaven? Churches that blame external forces or others for our sufferings; and focus on forgiving them, converting them, or even eliminating them are more easily adaptable to the masses. On their part, they only need to acknowledge, sacrifice, or praise God to enter paradise in afterlife. Religions that make it easier for the individual, which is the blame game, will have the largest congregations and donations. Religion is like a business, which guarantees paradise. What motivates and energizes and brings more people in than the blame game?
This blame game does not only take place in religion, but it takes place in our daily lives. For example, there was a case where a child died because of a tooth infection that developed into a major infection. The focus of the investigation was on why there was no dentist that was available to treat this patient; and the parents of the child were shown on television angry and blaming the health system for their child’s death. Who cannot feel for these parents who lost an innocent child; but whose responsibility was it to prevent this infection? Where were the parents when the child went to sleep without brushing his teeth? Where were these parents when the child first complained of pain? It is easier to blame others than to look within for the solution.
Enter the Heaven’s Truth Religion (Tenrikyo). This is a religion that believes that to improve the world, we must first look within ourselves when confronted with problems that we encounter daily. We find the solutions for our problems by looking within our selves, or our hearts. By looking within, we are talking about purifying our minds of greed, arrogance, and self-love. By reflecting on these dusts, we can improve our behavior when confronted with suffering or inconveniences. This by the principle of causality (karma, innen) will bring forth joy in our future. We control our future by our thoughts and behavior of today. This I believe is an Eastern Religion concept.
But it is difficult to look within, when it is easier to blame an external force for our problems. This is why our church is having difficulty in gaining members. But God promises us that the world will be joyous with everyone helping each other. He has given us a special prayer, the Joyous Service, which accepted by God, will bring new members to our churches. By ourselves, we will have a difficult time gaining growth in our religion because we do not play the blame game, but with our special prayer and God, this world will become heaven on earth.