KENTUCKY (11/18/12) – About a year ago, a video went viral on Youtube called “Why I hate religion, but love Jesus.” This video is a poem that the speaker wrote about why Jesus is better than religion. There has been a major move since in the Christian movement to hate religion. Before the video went online, I had heard a cliché multiple times that said “Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship.” Sadly, I have used that cliché before. But since this video went online, it has become more prevalent.
Let me first be clear, Jesus must always be the center of Christianity. The minute anything comes before him, it is idolatry. That being said, this “relationship not religion” idea has only just come up in the past few decades. I recently read “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis and even when he published that in 1952, he was calling it the “Christian religion.”
It is a noble attempt to help elevate Jesus, but we must accept that Christianity is a religion. But what kind of religion is it? The Bible speaks of bad religion in passages such as Colossians 2:23 where Paul talks about man-made religion.
However, James 1:27 says “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.” How can we read this and say that all religion is bad? How can we read this and say “I’m not religious, I just love Jesus?”
James says that true religion is to help the poor and pursue purity. It can be observed that religion does not lead you to loving Jesus. Rather, loving Jesus leads you to religion. If you truly love Jesus, you will help the poor and pursue purity.
So, we should stop hating religion and start realizing that it is true religion that shows our love for Jesus. Yes, false religion is bad, but all religion is not bad. As Christians, we are commanded to help the poor and live purely, thereby being religious.
Bearing the Cross
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