Is Religion a Dirty Word?

dirtywords

When you hear or see the word religion what comes to your mind?  What feelings, thoughts ideas, visions come to you?  And when these feelings and thoughts come to mind, what religion are you connecting it too?  My emotions and thoughts of religion come from my personal experience. Back in the summer between 7th and 8th grade my parents were notified that my brother and I were not welcomed back to the Christian school we were attending. This was based on the premise that my brother was suspected of smoking marijuana. So going on hearsay they not only kicked him out but me as well. This left a really bad taste in our mouths regarding the church and we separated ourselves from it for years. It wasn’t until  about 10 years later that I returned to it but that’s a whole other story My point is that a lot of us base our prejudices against religion based on our personal experiences and not what the faith teaches. So why am I talking about religion anyway? Well just this past week I got into an argument regarding religion. Although I don’t consider myself to be a “religious” person in the sense most think  religious to be. Nonetheless I was told by this person that all religion does is create war, steal money for it’s own gain and perpetuate lies for power. I thought to myself “wow” the word religion really stirs up a lot of hatred. I think there is premise for this due to what some in the church have done throughout the years. There have been wars in the name of religion, extortion, hypocrisy, molestation, quest for power etc. I think that there is a distinction that gets lost in translation. Most would say that Christianity=Religion. Therefore everyone who is associated with the Christian church is religious hence equating Christians to horrible people. But what I think we really hate is not true religion but false religion.  This same religion Jesus  is against as well, while talking to the religious leaders of the day said this  in Matthew 23:27–28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness”. This is the religion that most can’t stand and stirs up the hatred for the church. Recently there was a video put up about hatred toward religion and in 1 week has had over 15 million hits. This clearly demonstrates that there is a disdain for this false religion. The video in which I am referring to is below.

Why I hate religion but love Jesus

I think we need a better definition of religion  so we all understand what we mean when we use it. Do we mean a set of man made rules created by the church in which we must follow? Or is it just a set of beliefs agreed on by a group of people?  Maybe I am being a bit nit picky here and maybe it is just understood that people understand religion to be  hypocritical religion, but then again maybe not. Here is a great post on the differences between the Gospel vs. false religion

The Bible has some things to say on the matter of religion. One is found in the book of James, who was the brother of Jesus.  It says in James 1:26 –27 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”  So our actions should match what we believe. Of course it is impossible to always do this, but this should be what we strive for.  John, one of Jesus’ disciples said it this way in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” One last passage that I want to share with you is this Isa 58:6 –8,10 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?   Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard…  if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”  In these verses it clearly demonstrates our actions should be where our faith (religion) is.

Although there is much animosity toward religion, and in most cases rightly so we need to judge our religion on the creator of the faith and what the faith teaches and not on the people who distort it. Even though there is much harm that has come in the name of Christianity over the years it is also the Christians who give more to charitable causes than their secular counterparts.They run countless shelters, pregnancy centers, rescue missions, and food pantries. Christians operate orphanages, staff clinics, dig wells, raise crops, teach children, and fight AIDS around the globe to name a few. So don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. There is also a lot of good that comes from religion, we need to hate the false religion but hold on and embrace true religion.

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11 Comments

Filed under Daily living, Religion

11 responses to “Is Religion a Dirty Word?

  1. Awesome! So inspiring and truly reflecting the heart of God. I found your blog from SCL and that’s where I started this idea.

    If you go to my site, MarkWritesWords.com, and comment on any blog, then I will continue to check back and comment on your site as well.

    Let’s start a community of aspiring Jon Acuff’s and encourage one another.

    What do you think? Ready, Set, Go to MarkWritesWords.com and comment!

  2. Carol

    Interesting thoughts on religion. I like the way you presented your thoughts about it, and I also don’t like the word “religion.” It was also very had to forgive the Christian school for what they did and how they handled the whole situation regarding you and Jonathan. I thought that as a Christian school they certainly did not act as Christians as I knew Christians to be.

    • Carol

      As you know, a lot of people look at Christians and shun Christianity because of the hypocrisy they see.

      • Kevin SIne

        It is frustrating that the hypocrisy is what catches the media’s eye and not all the good that cones from Christianity as mentioned in the post. Thanks for commenting

  3. “People who go to church are hypocrites, and that’s why I don’t go.” That’s a statement I hear all the time. My response? As gently as I can, I point out the fact that wherever there are people, there is hypocrisy, and that includes every single church – and office, and home, and fraternity and every other gathering of people, on the face of the earth. Our very nature makes us, each one, subject to failure at any given moment. And that includes behaving in a way that does not bring glory to God.

    I also offer that the church is not for perfect people, but rather, it’s a spiritual hospital for the broken. Attending church doesn’t make one ‘perfect’, anymore than sitting in a garage makes one a car. But it does provide opportunity for fellowship, spiritual growth and service – the very things Jesus calls us to engage in.

    • Kevin SIne

      Thanks Leanah for your input. I hear that statement all the time as well. We need to be better at clarifying what the church is and who it is for. But as you know Christians are definitely held to a high standard. When is the last time you heard anyone say “can you believe that buddahist lost his temper”? But I am glad we are held to a higher standard. It allows me more opportunity to explain to people that I am not perfect but I have a Savior who is.

  4. Is religion a dirty word? It’s sad that it has become one. Hating religion and all the slogans that come along with it, “No religion here”, “Religion Sucks”, “Church without religion” are catchy and are “all the rave” but they aren’t helping. Why do we just keep dividing the church? Let’s unite in community to see the world changed and stop blaming the church.

    • Kevin SIne

      Thanks for the comment Mark, I agree with your view. I think we need to separate the difference between false religion and true religion as well.

  5. Need to focus on Christ!

    I came to your blog from Jon Acuff’s site. He has created a tremendous forum for sharing our blogs and impacting more people with them.

    I hope my blog can be an encouragement to you also.

    I write it for encouragement and motivation daily.

    http://i-never-fail.blogspot.com

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to watching the connections grow!

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