Many times, religion presents itself as a man-made pathway to God. It becomes a list of rules we have to follow in order to achieve God’s salvation. However if we truly understand Christianity, we know that Jesus is about love and relationships, not rules and religion.
Religion can breed hatred, while Jesus asks us to spread love. While not all Christians or churches are like this, there are definitely sections of the world that follow this incorrect model. They have twisted the Bible and cherry-picked out the parts that suit them best. This causes confusion about the true goals of Christ!
Here are eight reasons why Jesus might be against religion.
Religion Causes Judgement of Others
Along the way, you probably have run into a church where you felt like you were playing a game of comparison to those around you. You look down at the drug addict and think less of them, but also look enviously at someone with authority in the church. When you start to compare your spiritual life to others you condemn others and also yourself. The only one you should be comparing yourself to is Christ. When you do, you see the only option you have is to accept His grace and allow Him to bridge the gap where we don’t measure up.
Religion Grades Righteousness
The church probably told you the importance of prayer, daily bible study, or being active in the church. They push these on people to encourage them to build a relationship with Christ. However, it can also feel like you have to do certain actions to be put on God’s good side. You become enslaved to performing your religious duties, and the moment you miss a prayer you start to feel guilty. The truth is though that no matter how active you are in the church or how much you pray, you will not earn extra from God. God doesn’t love you because of the things you have done, He loves you because of what Jesus did to save you. He wants you to build a relationship with Him, not feel it’s an obligation.
Religion Focuses on “How” Instead of “Who”
Many times, religion focuses on how we should be doing something. For example, how should the worship music be arranged? How long should we pray? How much money do we give? Churches ask these questions, which can cause divide in people. When we create a relationship with Jesus, it is completely focused on Him. Instead of worrying about how we should praise, we are focused on who we should praise. When you break it all down, Jesus is the only one that matters.
Religion Makes God a Boss
Religion can feel like a contract, where if you do the right things then you will get something in return. There is no intimacy or relationship with the contract, only stipulations. It can make it feel like God is your boss, and that you are an employee trying to not get fired. But this is not what Jesus wants. Jesus wants us to understand that God is the Father and you are His children. Children are loved unconditionally, and nothing you can do will tear away the love of your Father.
Religion Doesn’t Encourage Questions
More radical Christians will tell you that if it doesn’t have Jesus written across the building, in the song, or movie it should be considered sinful. Only attend the best Christian schools and watch Christian entertainment they say. While these things are not bad, God wants us to reach out and explore all depths of our Christian faith. He wants us to look for the truth in everything, and not just assume because it’s labeled “Christian” that it is following His values. He encourages you to be critical and ask questions.
Religion is Fueled by Fear
Some churches and areas of religion will use fear and punishment as primary motivators. They will scare their members by saying “do all the right things or God’s wrath will cause you to burn in hell forever.” They paint God as an angry, spiteful man who sits around just waiting for one of His children to screw up. However, if you read the Bible you know that Jesus’s life and actions were driven by love. Fear creates lifeless religion, and Christians that only want to escape hell.
Religion Wants You to Serve the Church
A good question you should ask yourself if you are in a tainted church is “if our church closed its doors today, would the community even know or care?” If the answer is no, you are possibly in a church that only wants its members to serve them. Jesus wants us to reach out beyond our church walls and push away evil with His Word (Matthew 16:18). Our responsibility to God doesn’t end once we step out of the church, it should be something we carry with us every day. We should be proud to share Jesus with others in the community and strive to serve others the way Jesus did.
Religion isn’t Important in the Bible
Did you know that religion is only mentioned in the New Testament four times? Of those four times, it’s only mentioned favorably once. James 1:27 says that religious people will help those in need, especially orphans and widows. While James said that religion can be good and helpful, it’s important to note that it is not always that way. Religion stems from people believing that your hard work will eventually get you to God. While you can do good things in life, without faith in the Lord first and foremost the good deeds do not mean anything. Salvation is a free gift if you choose to accept.
God is filled with love and grace. Nothing we do – our behavior, beliefs or best efforts – will ever make us good enough for God. We already are! Religion unfortunately feeds into lies about what Christianity truly should be about: accepting Jesus Christ into our hearts.