In every age, ours included, the institutional church has claimed “sacramentalism” as the route to God’s favor. By “sacramentalism” I mean the practice of certain rituals to gain and maintain God’s favor and secure one’s eternal destiny. Arguments rage over which sacraments are the correct ones, but traditional churches always attach great importance to their rituals, generally identifying certain ones as essential for pleasing God and gaining heaven. Baptism, communion, confession, tithing, and church attendance are typical examples of these church proclaimed requirements. No one seems concerned about the implication that a god and church of required rituals is really a vehicle for honoring those who achieve their own salvation through the personal effort associated with performing such rituals.
“Sacramentalism” is a necessity to the maintenance of the church and its hierarchy. No required rituals would mean no required church, Therein lies the basic problem. The church must maintain its vital role as the source of sacraments or it ceases to be. It may be safe to criticize the rituals of others, but our rituals must remain sacrosanct. Self preservation in institutions is equally as compelling as it is in individuals.