Religion and Christianity

August 27, 2007

Is Christianity a religion? What is religion anyway? Did Jesus come to start a new religion? Is a Christian a religious person? Time I came back to these sorts of issues.

I think it’s pretty obvious Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion (and perhaps the same could be said of Buddha and even Mohammed).  According to John 10:10, he came that we might have abundant life, not abundant religion.

Unfortunately we ended up with “the Christian religion” doing much the same as any other religion: bonding societies, keeping everyone under control, providing meaning to life, celebrating the stages of life (birth-marriage-death), legitimizing the state or the church, providing a basis for law.

Nothing wrong with those things- we need some of them at least- but religion inevitably ends up getting mixed up with power, control, ideology, tradition and boundaries: i.e. us v them, as we can see with the current Islamophobia in the west. So it starts to function like the 2nd beast in Rev.13, supporting the big beast of the imperial state.

How can we get free from this? Here’s a few thoughts.

1. See religion as an infected area, part of the “elementary principles” of the world system (cf Gal.4:3,9; Col.2:8) that Jesus came to set us free from.  Do read those passages, by the way!!

2. Get a new idea of “conversion”. It’s not changing my religion but  turning back to God and being changed by Jesus Christ, becoming his disciple. This applies equally to “Christians” and “Muslims”, “Buddhists”, etc.

3. Refuse to draw unnecessary boundaries around non-Christians. They don’t need to join something called Christianity to be accepted by God. More radically, they need to fall in love with Jesus and follow him 100%.  And so do you and I. Maybe the very word “Christian” is past its use by date.

Last night I watched a great doco on Tehran. All these wonderful people, not my enemy, just people God loves, who are looking for their way in life, but locked into Religion! May they find Life instead.

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One Response to “Religion and Christianity”

  1. Walt Velehradsky said

    Religion is a tool for control. I don’t doubt this and the Roman Catholic Curch has been great on using Jesus as this tool. But I’m not writing to debate anything, I’m going to tell you that I know for a fact there is a JEHOVAH as I’ve visually seen the hands of GOD in the sky. Therefore, I can never subcome to the mind conrol that athiests and the like would like to do. I don’t know how it all works but there is a JEHOVAH. There is a creator. The image of those hands buned themselves into my mind for the rest of this life.

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