Religion or Relationship – Is Religion to Blame?
In many cases, the two are treated as being opposed to each other. Sometimes, people who live out their faith in unhealthy ways are described as having a “religious” spirit. However, Scripture seems to point towards the problem lying with those who don’t live out their faith in a real way that makes a difference.
In James 1:26-27, for instance, there is no criticism of religion per se, but rather practice of it that doesn’t demonstrate a true faith. After all, in Biblical times, many either followed the pagan religions of the time or practiced Judaism in a way that was more about keeping rules than understanding why they were kept. This is just as much a problem in our day and age as it was in the time of the apostles.
Relationship and true religion go hand-in-hand. When we follow our religious convictions based on a deeply-rooted relationship with God, we are much closer to modeling the faith that the apostles taught. We are called to live out our relationship with Christ in the context of the Christian religion.
In this series, I’ve given some honest thoughts and concerns about terminology used to address many of the issues that trouble Christianity. While I don’t claim to have the answers to everything, I hope my posts have helped provide some new perspectives.
During this Easter season, Christians have been hearing readings and sermons that demonstrate how the earliest Christians put their faith into practice. May this be an inspiration to all of us as we try to do the right thing.