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Posts Tagged ‘The End of Religion’

Elton John is being too kind here. The reality is, “organized religion” absolutely, overwhelmingly does not work.

In fact, “organized religion” is so wildly unsuccessful that just putting those two words together causes a negative reaction in people like me.

Because I follow Jesus Christ — whom serious Christians believe is the divine Son of God — you might not understand. Aren’t people like me all about “religion”? In a word, NO.

Serious followers of Christ have zero interest in “religion” because it does exactly what Elton John says. Religious people seem addicted to:

  • harshly opposing anyone who doesn’t agree with them
  • judging others based on horribly superficial criteria like clothing, body jewelry, language and political positions
  • ignoring or downplaying their own weaknesses
  • isolating themselves from the world, instead of working to improve it

Where does this all lead? So often, it leads to religious people concluding that because they’re right, everyone else is wrong. It’s a pretty short trip from that conclusion to persecuting those “wrong” people.

Unfortunately, history overflows with horrifying examples of that thinking, from Christians rioting against Jews in the Middle Ages to present-day Islamic terrorists murdering Christians, Jews and anyone else who opposes their radical agenda.

There you have it; the hateful lemmings of “organized religion”.

Now let me advance to you the position of Jesus Christ. In his book The End of Religion, Bruxy Cavey notes that in the Bible, Jesus “is not portrayed as the founder of a world religion, but the challenger of all religions. I am not suggesting that Jesus opposes all forms of organization, but that he opposes dependence on any one organization for our connection with God.”

Bruxy, a Canadian pastor, goes on to make this statement: “the primary mission of Jesus was to tear down religion as the foundation for people’s connection with God and to replace it with himself.”

Exactly. Being a Christian is not about being part of a religion. It’s about establishing a relationship with the Son of God through prayer, reading the Bible and attending church. As that relationship deepens, Christ followers open their heart, minds and souls to being led by Jesus to a place where we:

  1. Come to understand and support God’s position that all people, from terrorists to politicians, from blue-collar workers to billionaires, are worthy of His passionate love.
  2. Humbly agree that no one has the inside track on virtue; everyone has “sinned” — that is, missed the mark of what we can be — and that by following Jesus, God can and does change that through radical forgiveness.
  3. Recognize that we are Christ’s loving ambassadors in a world that most of us will agree is not doing very well. In fact, as Christ’s ambassadors, Christians are really God’s agents of change — allowing Him to work through us to make this planet a better place.

Do you want to be one of God’s agents of change? Yes or no, share your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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divisionI do love all those times — and you’d be surprised how many there are — when I, a man of faith, want to high-five atheists.

When I discovered this atheist graphic (please, people, PROOFREAD the memes you generate before posting them), I certainly wanted to find the creator and tell him or her how much I appreciate this quote.

“Religion” divides people by ranking them, declaring some are better than others based on behaviour and adherence to group-think.

“Religion” controls people by declaring they must follow a long list of rules, most of which are gloriously petty and irrelevant to the big questions of life, death and eternity.

“Religion” deludes people by insisting they can earn their way into some sort of eternity with a creator if they only do enough good stuff, think enough ‘right’ thoughts and be enough of the kind of person that will win others’ approval.

I want nothing to do with “religion” because it has almost nothing to do with God.

“There is a difference, an important difference, between relating to God through doctrines, codes of conduct, inherited traditions, and relating to God directly, soul-to-soul, mind-to-mind, heart-to-heart,” writes pastor Bruxy Cavey in The End of Religion.

“Jesus [Christ, whom serious Christians believe is God’s Divine Son] taught this distinction, lived this message and was killed because of its implications.”

Does Jesus divide people? Absolutely. His message of love, acceptance and being a necessary intermediary between imperfect people and a perfect God split families and couples 2,000 years ago and it continues to do so today.

In fact, following Jesus and trusting that His sacrificial death makes up for all the wrong things I’ve done and all the right things I’ve failed to do has divided me from the rest of my biological family.

I’m not happy about this divide, but I’ve come to know that following Jesus is the most important thing I can do in this life and in the life to come.

Does Jesus control people? In a way, yes. When you trust in Him and commit yourself to seriously following Him, then he enters into your life and begins to change you. He’s working on me as you read this, making me more generous & less petty, more loving & less resentful, more charitable & less self-centred, more forgiving & less judgemental.

It’s a challenging, life-time project but I’m eternally grateful for what He’s doing because I’ve come to realize I can’t make me a better person on my own.

Does Jesus delude people? Just the opposite.

  • He reminds us of our complete and breathtakingly imperfect humanity.
  • He reminds us that God is perfect and that’s God’s standard for humanity.
  • He reminds us that even though we can never be perfect, we don’t have to be when we believe in Him and what’s He’s done for us through His life, death and resurrection.

In other words, when we accept the life-changing GIFT of Jesus Christ, we can be better people now and, when this life is finished, we can spend eternity with Him.

Sound interesting? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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