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In defense of religion…

January 14, 2012

Is it possible to practice religion with sincerity?

The service and worship of God, the teaching of a system of belief.  That is the definition of religion.

I did not start this blog to preach, I started it to document and share my own growth and struggles and do not intend to impose myself on anyone through this forum, just want to share my current food for thought.

I think it may be very possible that the Christian community, myself included,  has thrown the baby out with the bath water.

There is a circulating viral video that denounces religion as an opposition to the principles that were taught by Jesus and it is one of a long history of anti-religion rhetoric that I have grown up with.   I grew up in an environment that was for the most part nurturing and well intentioned, but there was a definite strive to not have religion but have relationship.  We focused on the feeling, we committed ourselves to the emotion and in the meantime lost the beauty of religion in its real sense.

But there WAS religion.  I can quote scripture chapter and verse, I can tell you church history and recount details of Biblical figures both prominent and obscure. I know Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but I also know Susanna, Tabitha, Anna and Ruth.   I can tell you how the practices of current Christianity link to the ancient practices of Judaism (even if I have trouble spelling it) and I can tell you why it is I believe what it is I believe.  I know that apologetics has nothing to do with being sorry.  I find that to be common in my immediate family and with many of my friends but uncommon in the general population of Christianity and churches.

I am definitely not being pious here as my personal church attendance in recent years is nothing to brag about and that was a personal decision that stemmed from hurt and anger that I realize was immature and not well thought out, but that is a different matter that I may or may not ever have the courage to discuss with you here.

Religion is necessary.  Religion is important.  Religion is the part of Christianity and the church that teaches us to and allows us to question our faith and, in turn, be able to answer when anyone else questions why I believe.  Religion is the fundamentals of relationship.  Religion is the “getting to know you, getting to know all about you” of God.  I do not care what you believe, it requires religion to both understand it, share it and defend it.

With every respect and appreciation for the makers of the video and appreciation for the message they are putting out there, I would say that Jesus did not fight against religion but against the perversion of religion.

 

Just put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2012 2:33 am

    It’s been so interesting to read so much in defense and opposition to that video…both sides by people I know and love and respect as followers of Christ and the truth. (you included). I think maybe people are using the same word (religion) with very different definitions.

  2. January 14, 2012 2:55 am

    I think we are talking about the same thing but from different perspectives and experiences. I think it is important to have the discussions. I don’t disagree with the sentiment of the video, I just think there is more to think about and it has definitely hit a nerve.

  3. Kari Miller permalink
    January 14, 2012 4:47 am

    One of the reasons my hubby is so glad he went to Asbury for seminary, is that it showed what was good about religion in the good sense. He has an appreciation for the lectionary and the church calendar. He uses those to inform our worship services. I have heard him say more than once that the whole religion vs. relationship thing is really a false dichotomy. Perhaps legalism is a better word, but then we have to be very careful what we label as legalism too.

    Just to encourage you, just today we had a Methodist pastor’s wife say that she would open her living room to a bunch of young mom’s who drop off their kids for Wednesday night kids events at our AG church. We are out of room and out of people to reach the mom’s, so we have been praying. She is going to feed them, give them warm drinks, and foot massages, as well as a listening ear. She is going to probably get a friend from the local Christian church to help her. I love to see the Kingdom growing, and I love this type of cooperation.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kari Miller

    PS I still really appreciate you cutting out my kitchen border and then putting it up when I lived in Nicholasville!

  4. Finley McKinney permalink
    January 14, 2012 7:17 pm

    Well spoken! I think there is a huge difference between the religion endorsed by Jesus (seeking the Father, loving the brethren, doing good works) and the “easy believe-ism” (without personal responsibility or sacrifice) or the even scarier “take-anything-a-religious-leader-says-as-holy-writ” approach. I think Jesus appreciates intellectual honesty (or any kind of honesty, for that matter.) God did create the human brain for His glory. Actually using the thing is a pretty good way to love Him in return.

    You did good. ;D

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