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April 22, 2011

We hunger, but though all that we eat brings us little relief we don’t know quite what else to do,
We have all our beliefs but we don’t want our beliefs,
God of peace, we want you.


A few weeks ago, I was browsing through Netflix, looking for something to watch to fill the time. I was in one of those moods where I didn’t feel like doing something productive, but I didn’t feel like wasting my time with some sitcom episode either. So, I stumbled upon “The Atheism Tapes.” I have only watched three of them so far, but I have found them to be extremely interesting. Each episode is simply a conversation that English atheist and playwright Johnathan Miller has with another highly prestiges atheist (philosophers, scientists, authors, etc.). They simply talk about being an “atheist,” though they seem to all dispise the term.

What I have found to be the most interesting aspect of each one that I have watched so far is the reason why many of these people give behind their atheism. They have discovered that religion is more of a detriment to the world, than it is a positive.

And I agree with this.

Religion brings fanaticism, war, hatred, you name it.

Though I don’t see this to be a good enough reason to renounce the existence of God altogether, I think that it is reason to renounce religion.

I think that with religion comes blind faith; comes the need to “save” people; comes the need to change people; comes the need to look down on people; comes the need to colonize people; comes the need to kill people.

These things are not what God is about.

Most people would consider me to be a religious person.

I refuse to consider myself a religious person.

Because God isn’t about religion.

God is about love. Religion should be about God.

And therefore about love.

So, I consider myself a believer and follow of God. And love. And Grace.

Now, I’m not saying that we need to all abandon churches and stop studying our Bibles and what not, but I am saying that something is broken.

I think that, when people approach God through religion, we get the following:

People believe for the sake of believing. It isn’t real. It isn’t something they have developed to their core, but they believe so that they can be apart of a church and a community and therefore a religion. They don’t make it about God. In fact, many leave God out of it. Honestly. Speaking from a Christian point of view, I think that Christians often times take both God and Jesus out of religion.

People make it an act. This is somewhat in line with the prior. People decide they need to dress up for church so that the other people know that they are taking things seriously. People are not honest becaue they’re afraid of not appearing as a good “Christian” or “Muslim” or whatever the religion may be. People decide what they are supposed to be.

There is a sad phonomonan that I have witnessed in the church and that is the Christian image. “A  Christian guy needs to look like this, needs to act like this, needs to be like this.” If you’re not out on the streets evangalizing to complete strangers and sporting fo-hawks, I’m sorry to say you are just not a good Christian.

I’m sorry to say that this is far from the truth.

God made each and every one of us different, with different skills, ambitions, passions, abilities, etc. Religion is taking that away and replacing it with a bunch of actors in a play.

And other people see this.

And other people run from this.

Jesus was all about honesty and genuinity. Unfortunately, I rarely see either one of those in religion.

People hate. They put themesleve above the “outsiders;” they look down on them. Because they have their clear distinctions between one who is “saved” and one who is “lost.” And then they feel the need to save the lost ones, rather than show them love and actually build a genuine relationship with them.

And then say hateful things to the lost ones. And then they protest outside of abortion clinics and belittle those who need love most. And then they bomb the lost ones because they are “trying to wake them up.” And then people like Jonathan Miller run as far away as they possibly can from the notion of God, because of all the hate shown by religion.

But there is something that we need to understand.

God is love and love is real,

And if we take relgion out of things and make them about God, then there will be less hate.

And there will be more love.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. BZook permalink
    April 28, 2011 4:27 pm

    I agree.

    Obviously religion isn’t ALL bad though. What about the good aspects? You could probably argue that without organized ‘religion’, there would be many fewer channels for people to connect with each other, grow together, help each other, etc. I think the way you describe things, there is a clear line between faith | religion. Which I agree with.

    But I would say there is also a line between good religion | bad religion. Good religion blurs the faith | religion line and bad religion reinforces it. Good religion incorporates faith with ritual, formality, structure, etc. Bad religion does the same things, but with selfish, greedy motivations.

    Good religion happens when people quit caring about image and ritual for the sake of image, ‘saving’ people, and all the other stuff you listed. But ritual and formal community still have some sort of place right? People are still legitimately ‘saved’ through the influence of other people (and organized/structured churches) right?

    So would the world be a better place without all religion? Or just the bad kind?

  2. BZook permalink
    April 28, 2011 4:28 pm

    I realize that there are a lot of references to ‘bad religion’ in that last comment. I wasn’t referring to the band. Mostly.

  3. April 30, 2011 6:53 pm

    All valid points. And I agree with them. I think that’s what I was more or less getting toward. Religion does bring a ton of good to the world, along with bad and I think that there is a distinction between good religion and bad religion. I think that my opinion on what good religion is, is one about faith and love. Which, I think are traits found outside of religion as well (maybe not faith so much). Just like selfishness, pride, greed, etc. are found outside of religion. So I think it just comes down to one’s approach to religion. If you focus on the bad it brings, then you’re not going to like it; but if you focus on the good of it, you will like it. I think that my main point was that we need to focus less on our “religion” in terms of our structured, human concocted approach to God (such as ridiculous religious ideals and misconceptions) and focus more on God. Because I think that often times, people get so caught up on the religion that they take God out of it.

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