Religion

Part of the series Hangups
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-11-30.

While religion can be advanced as positive, it often gets in the way of growing in our faith.

We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Bible Reference: Heb. 11:1-3

Religion! There are a lot of things that can be said about it, but all of it is dependent on our understanding of what the word means.

I am certainly no scholar of Greek, the original language of the New Testament, so I did a bit of research on the internet to try and come to grips with the word religion. I found the that there are two Greek words that may be translated into the English word religion. One refers to pagan superstition and the other to the externalization of someone’s internal beliefs as used in James 1:26-27. If religion can represent the service and worship of God (or the supernatural) or a personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices, it should be obvious that religion can either be positive or negative in nature.

When looking at the English word, there seem to be two Latin possibilities for the word “religion”: relegere, meaning to read something over and over again; or religare, which is a combination of re (to return or to repeat) and ligare (to tie or to bind). If we consider the second option, religion can mean a returning to restraint or a fastening of the self to something that is considered important. Positively understood, religion is “a reconnecting to something important”, but within a negative light, religion simply means “a return to bondage.”

Even more important to note is that Jesus never calls people to religion but to faith. In fact, Jesus was openly hostile to the religious practices of the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, the spiritual leaders and system of that time. They had “twisted” the scripture to become a set of rules that they were zealous to enforce, even if not that good at applying to their own lives. While they advanced a religious set of “dos” and “don’ts” that people feared, Jesus lovingly taught us to simply “be”, by faith.

Understood in light of Jesus’ teachings, religion ends up being the enemy of faith. When Jesus claimed that not all those who say onto Him, Lord, Lord, would enter the Kingdom of heaven, it was the religious, not the faithful who would be rejected. A cursory look at our modern western version of “Christianity” finds that there are likely two negative religious systems at work today. One is a return to the bondage of rules and regulations within a stringently fundamentalist mindset. The other is a watering down of the way through unceasingly compromising with the world, creating a religious system that demonstrates a greater fear of man and his institutions than faith in God. There are, of course, always those who wholeheartedly desire to be of service to the real Jesus who resurrected from the dead, initiating true freedom from religious hypocrisy.

Is it possible that religion is nothing more than a fixed worldview that will not be changed due to the fact that we start any discussion on the premise of being right? Could it be that religion has us believing we are okay when in actuality we have no idea how far we have strayed from the truth, how biblically illiterate we really are, and how insensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit we have become?

What describes you best? What do you believe and put your trust in? Fear or Faith? Government or God? Religion or freedom? Against Him or for Him? Think about it. It could start a new pathway for you.

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