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All Aboard!

It’s religion, not in our selfish attempt at obtaining salvation, but religion in humble reverence to a loving God that is keeping us from being polluted by the world. That’s why we worship Him in song, in the word, and in service on a weekly basis. That’s why we serve Him in deed throughout the week, at our jobs and in our homes and wherever it is that God would lead us.

I often think about this subject. That is, how many in our society, including Christians, view religion in a negative manner as displayed in the above photo. As I wrote in a previous post, I understand the mentality. Our culture is, unfortunately, replete with numerous examples of man’s attempt at justifying himself and doing things for his own glorification rather than God’s. That’s the kind of religion that Christians are talking about when they speak of the word “religion” in a negative manner.

Where I have a problem with this whole line of thinking is that I don’t think many Christians completely understand what they’re saying. They’ve hopped on the bandwagon because, as I previously posted, it’s the “in” thing to do in Christian circles, i.e. it’s become kosher.

Where I’m coming from is simply this…Most folks that we come into contact with on a daily basis don’t attend church regularly. Even though we rightly say “It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship”, they may not understand our participation in the whole religion bashing thing. I’ve actually run across non-Christians who sort of wonder about that whole attitude that many believers have and it kind of makes them do a double-take or make that trademark Tim Allen grunting noise. Those are the folks I try to think about before I start to participate in the whole “religion is bad” discussion.

The picture of religion I try to keep in my mind is the picture that Jesus himself painted for us in the scriptures. Religion is someone who volunteers to mow the yard of a neighbor who can’t do it for themselves. Religion is providing a safe place for a friend of your child to visit who may not have such a welcoming home to return to. Religion is saying a kind word to a worker at a store who may have dealt with rude customers all day. Religion is being there for a friend or family member who just lost their spouse or child even if you have no earthly clue what to say to them. These things are what Jesus meant when he talked about “pure and faultless” religion (James 1:27).


32 Responses

  1. all I can say Dave is Amen.

    • Hi, Dave!

      Religion needs to evolve a lot more quickly in order to survive. Science is kicking its ass. Ultimately, society doesn’t need religion. It’s nonsense and the root of all evil. What society needs is clarity of thought, vision, and action. Society has been clouded by religion long enough. Give it up already – it’s just a matter of time anyway.

      • Science isn’t kicking anything, really. I agree that most religion isn’t necessary at all. However, the soul of man cries out for a relationship with God, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

        I guarantee you that, as long as the world exists, there will ALWAYS be religion or, better said, a relationship between man and God.

        By the way, good to “see” you again and I’m glad to hear from you…regardless of how wrong you are. 😉

        • If most religion isn’t necessary then let’s just be done with it. Ultimately, there will always be a NEED for man to seek God. Why? Because God is always there for us in our darkest hours? That’s a laugh. Man needs God only because man is pathetic. The line from JOURNEY’s Easy To Fall says it all: “You only believe in God when you come undone.”

          Thanks for letting me post! 🙂

          • The line in that song is talking about people who ONLY believe in God when tough times come. I believe in Him regardless of whether times are tough or going well.

      • …and to think I’ve been blaming satan as the root of evil for all these years! What this pitiful, broken “society” needs is a loving Savior named Jesus.

        • Yeesh! REALLY? Have you not noticed that not everyone in society wants Jesus in their lives?

          • John, I think he realizes that. I know Larry personally (in real life, in other words) and he’s no dummy.

          • Oh yes, I have really noticed this. I have also noticed the signs all around us that point to The Way.

        • This is in response to Larry’s “The Way” post. It didn’t ha a Reply link so I’m not sure how to jam this in. Anyway…

          Which “The Way” is it? The Way of Krishna? The Way of Allah? Pick a God – ANY God… which The Way is THE Way?

          You’re talking extremism here. It’s frightening!

          There are more The Way’s than you can shake a stick at. Your The Way is no more “THE” than any other. POP! There goes your big, scary bubble.

          • Extremism? So believing there’s only one way to God is extreme? 😀

            You’re an atheist, so you believe there is no God, hence you also believe there is only one way (or lack thereof). Doesn’t that make you an extremist by your own definition? I’m just sayin’…

          • Yes, there are more “ways” than you can count. The big difference is that Budda, Muhammad, and all the others are still “planted.” They did not die and rise again.
            Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 This is the way I am referring to. Oh, and I don’t have a big, scary bubble!! He! He!

            Peace and love to you brother….

  2. I think the word “religion” gets its bad rap from the man-made traditions and rules that take precidence over Jesus’ teachings in various denominations. I was in disbelief at my friend and co-worker’s funeral mass…. I was told that I would not be allowed to take communion with them. Struck me as really strange and legalistic…. I KNOW that Jesus died for me too! This was shortly after I had become a Christian and it really hurt.

    • Larry, that’s the point I was trying to make. “Religion” as most people practice it is not the kind of “religion” that Jesus spoke about as being “pure religion”. However, I think we need to be careful when dumping on “religion” with non-Christians because I know for sure that some really wonder why we as Christians would do such a thing, dumping on religion when what we are practicing is religion.

  3. Religion gets a bad rap for a reason. The bible tells us to pray in private – and those who make public spectacles of theirselves are worshipping for vanity – pure religion is in the heart – not under an alter. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jedlemon/

    • The point the Bible makes is not that one should pray only ever in private but, as you said, that people should not pray in public as to bring glory to themselves.

      Pure religion is not just in the heart…It’s as I said in the last paragraph. It’s in the things we do for others in living out our religion, or the relationship we have with Christ in our soul, that makes it real to other people.

  4. “Pure religion” may reside in your heart, but if it never leaves from there, you’ll fall short of becoming a true Christian. The Bible and Jesus are very clear on this… faith without deeds is useless. As far as public spectacles go… I’m not quite sure that’s a fair argument. At my mother’s funeral, we were right at the gravesite next to a major road for all to see us. Vanity was not the purpose for our public prayer. We felt completely destroyed and were crying out in prayer to our Holy Lord.

  5. Dave, Sorry that I’ve taken so long to reply. You said, “The line in that song is talking about people who ONLY believe in God when tough times come. I believe in Him regardless of whether times are tough or going well.”

    You’ve missed the point. Man needs God ONLY when he comes undone. You say that you believe even in the good times. But when do you NEED God – that’s the point.

    Other than the bad times – nobody needs God. I’d argue that God is useless in those times, too as there really is no God.

    • John, I do get the point you’re making. I just don’t agree with it. I need Jesus ALL the time, not just when things are bad. It’s a pretty shallow relationship if you only ever need the other person when things aren’t going so well.

      • Hi, Dave. Beyond what you’ve stated – why ELSE do you need Jesus ALL the time? That’s an extreme (and scary) statement. It borders on addiction.

        On a side note – I was searching through MR.com and stumbled on this:

        Wow! Did people hate me or what? Maybe I’m the root of all evil…? 🙂

        • I’ve never hated you…But as to the “root of all evil” stuff, that’s up for debate. 🙂

          Why do I need Jesus all the time? It’s not an addiction thing. Following Him is not something I do automatically and I don’t get withdrawal symptoms if I don’t (other than not being the type of person I should be).

          • You might hate me after a few more posts!

            So you need Jesus to be the person that you should be. What kind of person should you be? How does Jesus help you be that person? Could you be that person without Jesus? If not then why?

          • No one’s capable of being the complete person that God intended them to be when left up to themselves. That’s why man ultimately screws up everything. Atheists and humanists would have you believe that we’re capable of ultimately achieving world peace but it’s never going to happen short of turning to God. If mankind hasn’t figured that out by now, we never will.

  6. Here’s the thing. God is the answer for whatever can’t be explained. Religion merely capitalizes on this ignorance and perpetuates it in order to keep the $$$ rolling in.

    Man has wondered about storms. God was the answer and he was either angry or merciful depending on the conditions prior to the storm.

    Man has wondered about health. God was the answer if one’s condition was healthy. Demons were the answer if not – then a priest was asked to exorcise the demons in God’s name.

    Man has wondered about many things within and beyond his vision and powers of perception. God has always been the immediate “easy” answer until science and technology sufficiently progress to properly reveal the truth.

    We now know through the powers of science where storms come from and why. We even have Doppler radar to track them. We now know through the power of microscopes that viruses are those little “demons” that make us sick.

    God and religion don’t provide any real answers. Never have – never will.

    So the question is: when will you grow up and stop asking Santa Claus for a new red wagon?

    • John, we were having a decent discussion up until that last comment. Like other atheists before you, you’re not just content in what you believe but you have to belittle those who don’t agree with you. I didn’t do that to you here and I expect the same treatment in return.

      “The wisdom of the cross is easy to receive
      But only foolishness to them that don’t believe
      They may say that I’m a fool for the cross that I proclaim
      But the gold that I must seek won’t be found in earthly things”

      • Dave,

        I wrote a long response and then WordPress site stopped responding and my PC froze. I lost everything. I figured that it must’ve been God denying me. So I rebooted my PC and thought better to use Word. Then Word froze. Uh-oh. God must REALLY not want me to post.

        There are people out there that would really believe that.

        I don’t.

        First, I’m not an atheist. An atheist by definition is: a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

        To categorize me as such is ridiculous and inappropriate. It only serves to put a wedge between us. We’re both human beings. You happen to believe in God. I wouldn’t deny you that belief. I would only say that believing in something does NOT make it TRUE.

        We’re not even talking about beliefs. We’re talking about NEEDS. I’ve simply grown beyond needing God.

        My intent wasn’t to offend you. The fact that you were offended should tell you something. Perhaps the question that I asked rang a truth in you that you’ve been denying.

        My point was simple: man’s vision of God has sharpened with technology and social evolution. Michelangelo’s painting of God with a long, white beard floating in a cloud and stretching out to touch the tip of man’s finger seems like a fairy tale illustration through the eyes of modern men.

        As you may know, we have 3 boys. 2 are autistic and the other has ADHD. These are REAL developmental disorders. A friend said to me, “Maybe God made them that way because He knew you could handle it.”

        All I could think was, “What a poor, ignorant person.” They REALLY believe in THAT God. Does their belief make it true? No.

        The truth is that my wife and/or I have tainted genetics. It’s just that simple. My friend simply is incapable of coping and managing REALITY.

        We recently volunteered our blood to a genetic research group called AGRE. Today and tomorrow we will be visited by one of their psychometricians who will be collecting more data. We hope that our participation will help researchers to understand autism. Meanwhile, my friend will continue to BELIEVE that God made our boys that way because we can handle it.

        REALLY? Do you BELIEVE in want THAT kind of God? Does God have a quota or something? “Hmmm… let’s see… I’m behind on retards this month. It looks like I can throw a couple to this guy – he looks like he can handle it.”

        What about the parents who can NOT handle it? What about the ones that are screaming, “Why God – WHY!!!???” I guess God must be saying, “Whoops! I missed the mark with them. Maybe I’ll make up for it and send them a puppy.”

        The reason why we can handle things is because we KNOW that God had nothing to do with any of it. Neither do we need to BELIEVE that there was some “reason”. It’s GENETICS – plain and simple. No imaginary, supernatural being had anything to do with it. I simply don’t NEED to believe when the TRUTH is EVIDENT. I quit writing to Santa a LONG time ago. Despite that – I still have a little red wagon.

        Perhaps it wasn’t God that was freezing my PC and Word. Perhaps it was Satan. He may have been angry of my questioning the need for religion and God. There are some people that BELIEVE that religion is actually Satan’s tool – his way of ruling man in sheep’s clothing. How true might THAT be?

        Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is WITHIN you. It’s also within me and ALL people. Don’t let beliefs (religion) blind you of the Kingdom.

        • John, there was nothing inappropriate about calling you an atheist. I simply derived from what you were saying what appeared to be on the surface. If you’re not an atheist, your writings in the responses here would clearly lead anyone else to think the same thing.

          As for being offended, I haven’t been all that offended by anything you’ve said yet. Regardless, it brings to mind one of my favorite sayings…”He who is offended by nothing likely cares little about anything important in the first place.”

          You’re right about what your friend said to you about your boys. That’s stupid and short-sighted. That being said, I’m not unacquainted with developmental disorders, either. We adopted our daughter going on seven years ago and she has FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), and because of the FAS she has mild mental delays. Because of it, we often suffer severe behavior problems (including her attacking my wife while she was driving the car earlier in the year, causing an accident, hitting, kicking, biting, spitting, spraying hairspray in her eyes, etc.). We’ve pretty much run the gauntlet, other than attempted murder, so I understand what you might be going through.

          Anyway, do you say all that to accuse me of that kind of attitude? If so, it’s far from the truth. Regardless, God is no imaginary supernatural being.

          • Hi, Dave.

            I know someone who adopted a brother and sister from the Ukraine and they recently learned of their having FAS. Sorry to hear about your struggles with it.

            Now the questions: If only God would’ve somehow prevented these kids from being victimized. If only God would’ve saved their innocence. Etc., etc. These are the “stupid and short-sighted” things that people say because THEY CAN’T DEAL WITH REALITY. So I pose to you: look how far YOU have come to recognize that these kinds of statements are stupid and short-sighted. I dare say that at some time in your life you probably thought that they were valid questions.

            You’ve grown in your relationship and understanding of God – enough to recognize that THAT particular understanding of “God” is ridiculous. If you’ve come this far then how much farther might you go?

            About the atheist thing – I say that it’s inappropriate to call me that because the INTENTION of doing so was to frame me into a corner. It’s like throwing cheap punches to the kidney. It’s like me saying, “So typical of a Christian.”

            To me you’re Dave. Always have been. I don’t care where you went to high school or college. None of that stuff matters. Labels don’t matter. They only serve to wedge.

          • Actually, no, I don’t recall ever thinking those kinds of questions or statements are valid at all. The atheist comment was also not intended to be a slur. It is what it is. Looking at what you wrote previous to that comment, it appeared that you were an atheist. I wasn’t the only one that thought as much.

    • I used to think I was an atheiest. However, that would mean I had read the scriptures and rejected them. I had done neither. At best, (or worse!) I was an agnostic trying to be “out there” or “radical.” It almost seems like the new normal these days.

      I ran across this snipping from Max Lucado’s “A Gentle Thunder” this morning. It might explain your “Santa Claus” a little better.

      “For all its peculiarities and unevenness, the Bible has a simple story. God made man. Man rejected God. God won’t give up until he wins him back.”

      “God will whisper. He will shout. He will touch and tug. He will take away our burdens; he’ll even take away our blessings. If there are a thousand steps between us and him, he will take all but one. But he will leave the final one for us. The choice is ours.”

      “Please understand. His goal is not to make you happy. His goal is to make you his. His goal is not to get you what you want; it is to get you what you need.”

      Kinda reminds me of that old, Rolling Stones song!

  7. Dave, Come on. Are you really being honest here? I dare say that in your youth you very well DID believe in the statements that you now believe are juvenile. And this is the point of it all. It seems to me that you’re either unwilling to address or just don’t get.

    • John, I honestly can’t ever remember thinking that saying something like “Why couldn’t God have just prevented this child from being victimized” was valid. I just don’t. That’s the blunt truth, something I think you know I have no problem dishing out on occasion. 😀

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