Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Breaking Free


Religion hurts people. It is religion that rears its ugly head that leaves such distaste in the hearts of man. It masquerades as truth, righteousness, and love, but it is none of those things. It focuses on morality, justice, and law, but only leaves rebellion in its wake. It’s a chain that most people will not suffer under for long. They will break through and break free. But unto what? What do we break free to?

We may think our freedom lies in a life without religion. We would be right in this estimation, but not usually in the way in which it is meant. We equate spirituality with religion, and yet religion only utilizes spirituality to cover its true nature. It isn’t spirituality that is the problem; it is the law of religion that is the problem.

Does that mean we should shirk all moral precepts? No. Morality is no more the problem than spirituality. But because religion often brings with it moral law and attaches itself to spirituality, when we break the shackles of religion we find ourselves also at odds with anything that we now associate with the chains of religion.

Or we try to find these things in a form that has no God element attached to it. But what if God isn’t the problem either? What if religion isn’t of God at all? What if we have associated something with God that God also disavows?

This religion construct is not only found attached to legalism and religious structure. People can be as religiously against religion as religion can be against the irreligious. It is a meme or construct not confined to theists or members of a world religion. It’s attached to the human race no matter faith or creed.

It’s generally an internal indignation, offense, or reaction to something or someone that sucks the life out of the person being affected by the religious response. It’s a vice grip on the heart that spawns and spews animosity, distrust, fear, and self-righteousness.

Bottom line: Religion hurts people.

Here’s the thing. No one is immune to, at times, responding religiously to people. While I know that I can love Jesus and love people and it not be the aforementioned description of religion, I know I can also be exuding religion anytime I’m allowing fear or animosity to rise in my heart.

It is love that casts away fear. Love is the guard against this religious problem so prevalent in this world. This love comes from the Father. It comes from gaining His heart for people. We want to fight wars He isn’t fighting and we fail to realize that only love wins the war.

Speaking as a follower of Jesus, I’m sorry for the damage religion has done in the name of Christianity. I would be remiss to say I haven’t any religion in me. If I were to say there was none in me, I would be speaking falsely. In fact, to read this and think not of oneself, but of another guilty person shows that there is at least a little of it in us.

Naturally we can all think of extreme cases, but we must remove the plank before removing a speck. The unhealthy stuff in us, is always more harmful to us than the unhealthy stuff in someone else. 

1 comment:

welches said...

May I ask what your definition of religion is? I have a dictionary that defines religion this way: "a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny." Are you against that definition? Another definition given is "an institution to express belief in a divine power." Is this the definition you oppose?

The best way to define religion is to see what the Scriptures say about it, if we accept the authority of Scripture. James 1:26 describes the kind of religion you are talking about. Talk and no do. However, in verse 27 it actually says that there is religion that is pure and undefiled, which is listening to God and obeying him, and talking care of the vulnerable of society is one example of that good religion (reading the whole paragraph that James 1:26-27 are in.)

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,
Eric