What on earth is religion?

posted in: Blog, My Blog | 2

‘Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens…”’ Genesis  11:4
Don’t you hate being called ‘religious’? I regard myself as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, not as a religious person. How about you? I guess the reason I don’t like being called religious is that I associate the word with things like traditions, rituals, and rites that seem man-made rather than God-given.

I define religion as any human attempt to find a way, on his or her terms, to God. The Tower of Babel was an early example of this. The people of that day wanted a way to relate to God that suited and served them. So they built a stepped pyramid, a ziggurat ‘tower’ so they could climb up to the heavens. They constructed a temple on the top of the pyramid filled with representations of the sun, moon, and stars. Then they developed a religious system of worship to these celestial objects, these ‘gods’. 

Things haven’t changed much since then. There are many religions in the world, ranging from Islam to New Age spiritualism. All of them claim some sort of divine origin. Islam professes that an angel gave Mohammed the contents of the Koran, and New Age practitioners would like us to believe that disembodied higher beings channelled wisdom through them. However, when we get right down to the basic issue of validation, only Mohammed saw the angel and only the New Agers personally experience the ‘channelling’. It is all very subjective.

Christianity, on the other hand, is the name we give to an individual and corporate relationship with Jesus Christ. God the Son personally came to Earth, incarnate as a man, and revealed the nature and purposes of God to all who were prepared to see, hear, and believe. For three and a half years he walked the length and breadth of Palestine in the company of twelve men and a larger crowd of followers. Tens of thousands heard his words and saw the miracles he performed. Even after he had risen from the tomb he appeared to more than five hundred people at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6).

How do you regard religion? Are you religious or do you have a relationship with God?


2 Responses

  1. Lance Peppler

    Hi, how would you regard the Bible as part of a relationship with Jesus? It seems to me that in todays standards four thin books outlining key points in a persons life (the gospels) are such a small insight into his life. The gospels, therefore, can get boring and repeditive especially if a person has been a Christian for a long time. I wonder if the right way of reading the Gospels is to use them similarly as Paul did as a starting point in a broad view of who Jesus is and then like he did when he wrote his letters broaden it in our own lives to get a deeper more personal insight into who Jesus is?

    Just a thought…

  2. Christopher

    Hi Lance. Of course, we can find Jesus in the Old Testament (for instance His pre-incarnate appearance with Abraham) and in the book of Revelation. Also, Paul describes His divinity in places like Colossians 1:15-20. However, I never tire of reading about Jesus in the Gospels. What I do is change the way I read and this keeps it fresh. Sometimes I read several chapters at one time to get a sense of the movement and scope of Jesus’ ministry. At other times I take just one incident or teaching and re-read it several times over a number of days until it all sinks in. But my favorite way of reading a Gospel account is to put myself into the story. I see the surroundings and the players in my mind. I try to smell and hear and feel. Soon the scene becomes vivid and dynamic. Then I simply wait to see if the Holy Spirit will highlight something to me or ‘speak’ to me in some way through the passage. He often does!

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