As I sit in the midst of a personal reformation, I find that the things Ive stated before so belligerently in the past arent necessarily untrue, just processed and spoken most often from a place of anger or critique or even judgment.
So often, people who dont claim any religion, and even those who do. will use the term “religion” in a pejorative manner. The context Im most familiar with, evangelical christianity, loves to say “it’s not about religion but relationship”, as if the statement itself actually proves itself. The common claim I have heard stated often “More people have been killed in the name of religion…” while not actually true (unless you consider atheism as a religion, then you would be right) “feels right”, and has some meat to it considering things like the crusades and the world population at the time compared to the amount of people killed, as well as all sorts of other things.
But what is the definition of religion? I dont know if I accept this article as it defines everything, but I sure connect with this statement:
The real issue is WHY I think this definition has merit, and why the end result is that religion itself, the very existence of it and its operations, result in the same thing, which is death.
I assert that religion is human.
You can argue semantics, simply saying religion is just a word that means “faith”, like “Christian Religion” = “Christian Faith”, and somehow faith is different than the term religion. Or as I stated before it “isnt religion, it is relationship”.
But I say that religion is a human thing, that relates humanity to an order of existence, and in most cases this order of existence is divine being(s). And the key here is it is HUMANITY relating to this order of existence. It is a human centric paradigm.
I can only speak to the “christian” paradigm, as Im very familiar with it. The more I sit and consider the supposed basis for this faith (the Bible is what most would confess), the more I come to see that christianity is religion. And it is totally human in origin.
Im not saying that “christians” are bad. But what I am trying to say with sincere affection, but even more commitment, is that the christian religion is a farce. It is a culture, it is a system of humanity trying to relate to a God, which for the most part, the culture made up.
I understand how shocking and offensive this must be. However, if there is any truth in my conclusion, which in my mind is accurate, then it requires I repent. Because according to the scriptures the under-gird the faith, it is Yahweh reaching to people, and then putting in place a literal set of guidelines to follow. The classic interpretation of Judaism (yet another man made religion) is that it is full of rules and laws, impossible to keep. Iw ould agree. But the standard isnt some man made religion, it is Yahwehs proactive actions and reconciliation to humanity that needs to be observed. And its very important we dont take that, and then process our own response through a lens of yet more man made attempts to relate to the divine.
This is the crux of the matter. In my response to divine initiative, I put a little spin one way or the other on something. I try to make it a measuring stick, or make it “safer”, or make it “friendly” or try to find my place in it. The same motivation inside of rebellious angels is inside me, looking for a way to add my take on it, or get some kind of angle on it.
That is religion. And its awful. Truly awful.
No matter how sentimental your connection to a specific group, activity, or paradigm, no matter how nostalgic your association with a time in your life (especially when you experienced Yahweh really moving on your life), when you find that you added something to it, or took something away from it, you are tainting the whole thing. There is no amount of your own creation you can bring to the relating to Yahweh that is legit. That is labeled many thins, from “strange fire” to “abomination”. Too many are quick to use those labels with something that makes them uncomfortable. A greater problem might yet be that we never look at the things that make them comfortable and apply the term.
The only answer is to do what John the Baptists said, repent and turn TO God. Neither lineage, background, past experience, insight into scripture etc… is enough. The main leveler to get in the Kingdom that is rushing at you at the speed of light, it repentance from sin, dead works, lawlessness. All religion will keep you outside the gates of the Kingdom, and even though you have the words “Lord Lord” you have no place in it.