Religion Vs. Christianity

A common misconception among believers is that once born again, there are no more trials and tribulations in life.  Over the years, I have talked to countless people who turned away from the faith because they were led to believe salvation was a magic carpet ride to eternal bliss.  Of course these people found out very quickly there are no magic carpets when it comes to the true Christian faith.

Where and how the troubling concept that one becomes a Christian to enjoy prosperity, live a life of worldly bliss, never have to deal with problems, have ten thousand friends and enjoy a “Leave it to Beaver” family is beyond me.  Christianity is not a self-help psychological program.  Christianity is not the stairway to financial success.  Christianity is not a dating service or a social club.  Christianity is not an automatic “get out of jail free” card that allows its holders to live in the lap of luxury and sit around swimming pools all day drinking martinis.

The outrageous claims made by many who profess to be Christians cause me great consternation.  I am a Christian.  I know what it means to be a Christian.  I know what many people mistakenly call Christianity is nothing but a convenient religion that promotes selfishness and error.  This “pseudo-Christianity” is not limited to any particular denomination.  It is a malicious cancer that afflicts people throughout the Christian faith.

The term Christian originally was used by unbelievers in reference to those who spoke of having “Christ in them”.  Christians are supposed to be those people who manifest Christ within.  Christians are supposed to be representative of how and what Christ would be if he were on this earth today.  To be a Christian has nothing to do with going to church, singing in the choir, paying tithes, wearing nice clothes on Sunday, serving on various boards, volunteering to paint the church or fixing the church van.

Religion runs rampant in this world.  Religion has nothing to do with Christianity.  To call Christianity a religion is an insult to true Christians.  Religion and tradition are twin brothers.  Traditions form the very backbone of most religions.  Religion never saved anyone, and just because a person is religious, does not mean they are going to heaven.  People brush their teeth religiously.  Does that mean every “religious” tooth brusher is heaven bound?

People do many things in life religiously.  In this sense of the word, all it means is to do something over and over again.  That is also what tradition means.  When something is religiously done in the same way over and over again; it becomes a tradition and in time a religion.  This is why Jesus railed on those religious leaders steeped in their traditions.  The religion they invented had nothing to do with the truth.  True religion NEVER has anything to do with the truth. 

Almighty God looks on the heart of man and not on his outward appearance.  All God asks of a person is to stay honest in their heart toward Him.  He is not interested in elaborate traditions which supposedly, in and of themselves, absolve a person of sin and bring reconciliation to God.  Offering a sacrifice did not automatically resolve a situation in the Old Testament.  More than once, God says in the Old Testament that He is not interested in the offerings and sacrifices; He is interested in true repentance from the heart.

Jesus Christ did not come to this earth to start a new “religion”.  If anything, he came to tear down the religious traditions that were keeping people from salvation.  Jesus Christ is not a “religious leader”.  He is the Son of God and Head of the Body of Christ.  Buddha was a religious leader.  Mohammad was a religious leader.  Pope John Paul II was a religious leader.  Martin Luther was a religious leader.  There have been innumerable religious leaders who have lived on this earth; Jesus Christ was and is not one of them. 

True Christianity is not a religion it is a Faith.  The book of James speaks of true religion being the service to orphans and widows.  Those who insist on calling Christianity a religion throw open the door to the very things that drove Judaism to the horrific state it was in when Jesus Christ confronted it in Matthew 23.  What started as faith, through the traditions of man, became a religion.  Religion is not able to save anyone.  True Christianity is the only way to eternal life.

There used to be a time when Christians were not ashamed of their faith.  There was a time when Christians were willing to face persecution, harassment and even death as a reward instead of a plague to be avoided at all costs.  There was a time when Christians would rather face a hungry lion than an angry God disappointed in their compromise.   There was a time when Christians were universally hated and hunted as animals because they were considered religious heretics and enemies of the state.  There was a time when Christians were not afraid to be Christians; no matter what it cost them.

There once was a time in this country where those who did evil in the sight of the Lord were relegated to “closets” where they hid their wicked ways.  Now they have all come out of their closets and it is the Christians who practice “closet Christianity”.  Oh my, people say, I cannot afford to let people know I am a Christian, for they might not like me or take their business elsewhere. 

I am not a political activist and I would never “endorse” any candidate; but I am thrilled there is at least one politician running for President who is not afraid to tell the nation he is a Christian and believes Jesus Christ is the answer to this nation’s woes.  Of course he will never get elected, but at least it is refreshing to have a politician talking about good old fashioned conservative Christian themes instead of the progressive junk promulgated by most.

I am appalled at the venom so many “progressives” have for the “religious right” in this country.  Millions upon millions of people absolutely hate Christians.  To them, everyone who says they are a Christian is automatically labeled an “evangelical”.  The degree of that hate was just manifest a few days ago when an “ex” evangelical violently shot and killed numerous Christians.  In his pre-killing internet posts, these murderers vented his extreme hatred toward Christians and desire to kill as many as he could.

What are we, as Christians (not evangelicals or any other designation) to do in response to this hatred?  Are we to ignore it, confront it or hide from it?  What did Jesus do when Judas betrayed him?  Jesus simply said, “That which you do, do quickly”.  If people hate us and want to kill us, so be it.  If someone stands up in a classroom and demands that all Christians step forward to be shot, I would hope and pray the real Christians would boldly step up just as Stephen did in Acts 7.

 Jesus never promised His road would be an easy one to tread.  In fact, time and again He let it be known that any true follower of Him faced untold persecution, tribulation and martyrdom.  Those that followed Him 2000 years ago did, for the most part, pay the ultimate price for their faith and yet they never complained.  They counted it all joy to be able to suffer with him.




10 Responses to “Religion Vs. Christianity”

  1. 1 Sid
    February 1, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    I just read Religion Vs Christianity.A few weeks ago I was in a discussion on this very subject.I am convinced Jesus was no big fan of religion. We were having trouble expressing the difference,a clear definition of the subject makes explanion easier
    Thanks for the insight.

  2. 2 Aaron
    February 27, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    A good deal of the trouble, it seems to me, comes from evangelicals who creat web “ministries” to spread lies and half truths about people with whom they disagree. The don’t just engage in standard apologetics, but rather they make stuff up and repeat lies.

    The protest in front of Mormon church services and deface the Book of Mormon, but they have a heart attack if someone posts a video of a buring bible or says Happy Holidays.

    They attack, belittle, and imply through lies and half truths that Mormons, Hindus, Budhists, Muslims, Masons, Catholics, and people who practice Yoga, are engaged in Satanism. It is a bald faced lie. And it is every where. In their books. On their websites. On their television shows. On their radio shows.

    They are hatefull people.

    People who are not strong enough to turn the other cheek respond in kind.

    These people reap what they sow.

    As a Christian I have no sympathy for them.

    • 3 Antonio Jackson
      July 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      I am a Christian and I am trouble by your comments. God is Love and Love is God. There is no Christian out there that can say they are fully responsible for themselves being saved. This is the work of God and not ones self. These are self righteous people. I have members in my family that do not follow the finish works of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. I can not protest them or persuade them. I could not save myself, I was called by the Father just as well as every other person created. I made the choice to follow. I am not a scholar nor a preacher, but I am lead by the Spirit. The Spirit is the Comforter that has been given to man once he has confessed with his mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and old things have been passed away. You are then a new creator. I can not even interpret the Word of God for myself, this is done only by the Spirit of God that now live on the inside of me. I am never angry with a person for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers in high places. I did not save myself, but was saved by God and everything Jesus Christ did for me on the Cross. So I forgive any and everyone for actions no understood. This is Agape Love the Love the God has for man. There are no emotions involved. Study to show thyself approved. Amen, have a Blessed day.

  3. 4 philip
    November 30, 2008 at 2:01 am

    In Northern-Ireland,sometimes you got asked:”what’s your religion?” to which I more often replied:”Prod! Prod!” (hoping I didn’t get beat up or worse!,if they happened to be the militants from the Roman-Catholic side of town) Yes, “religion”,as defined as: man’s vain attempts at pleasing God through various ‘religious’ activities(e.g: praying often enough,giving enough,reading the scriptures etc.) but no real relationship with the True Godhead. “religion” didn’t do us much good!!
    JesusChrist,when He was on the earth,because He was and is God come in flesh and blood,got upset not with notorious sinners of the time but with “religious people”!These religious people, were experts in all matters pertaining to “the Law of Moses”.They were referred to as
    Blind-Guides.These men did their duties and their studies,but they had become blinded by their
    own self-righteous,self-indulgent,self-opinionated bigotted attitudes.
    These Religious people;the Pharisees,the Sadducees and Scribes ; depended more on their own
    performances in keeping the Mosaic Commandments than in keeping with the Spirit of those
    commandments.when you read the New-Testament(particularly Matthew,Mark,Luke and John),you do
    understand that God’s Order of things is a little different to what we would do,if left to our own devices!Having the T’s all crossed and the I’s all dotted doesn’t mean approval-with-God.
    A heart filled with God’s divine attributes,and living them does.
    Christianity is a relationship with JesusGod!!! That relationship needs to be cultivated
    and tended to,but not through rituals or the afore-mentioned religious-activities.There are activities by the way,in Christianity,but these are merely the vehicle to connecting with God.
    What God has always wanted is people that mean what they say,and say what they mean.
    “The guides” were hypocritical(their outward appearance of piety was shallow at best,as they were often hyper-critical of others whose performance didn’t conform with what they wanted.
    When they themselves fell short,their black pride would not allow to admit even to themselves
    that they were wrong!)To connect with God means to draw near to Him humbly,asking for His help and asking God to forgive you where needed (if you believe Jesus is God,you read the Bible!!!)
    In the Word,I have oftentimes had words sort of “leap out off the page”,confirming what I had
    been thinking about OR correcting me about something or other(usually a sinful attitude)
    When one is serious about God,He makes Himself known! You find out fairly quickly what He likes
    or dislikes.There are many denomination(sometimes venominations sad to say,for those who feel
    superior to everyone)but God just wants a loving family,who tell the whole Truth about Him and
    don’t misrepresent him.

  4. 5 Distinguish G
    April 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    You are on the money with what real Christianity is, I have been preaching this for years. Stay the course! Be Bless!

  5. 6 Sherisevd
    July 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I fully feel this way about the way i live my life, i would much rather be a good person and love all around me than to be a prejudice person who tries to force the world into a certian way of living your life. I am not comfortable with that at all, and its not real Christianity.

  6. 7 Diane
    December 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    To Philip…Thank you so much for writing the true meaning of christianity. You have inlightened my heart. Most every child is brought up in some form of religion. By the time they are adults they become very confused, especialy in todays world with all the different religions and views and wars that are so misguided over thier religion. Sorry to say as an adult I have not been to church in years Only because I do not agree with ALL of the teachings. BUT I do and always will have faith in Jesus. I pray, I talk to him in my own way. I try to be a good person, I try to teach my adult children that all they need to do is have faith and believe in Jesus Christ, and to live thier life in a good way. To help others. And when bad times are ahead of them to just believe and trust in jesus that things will work out.
    It is heart breaking to see the world as it is today. So many people dying in the name of religion. So many who do not understand that religion is not the same as christian. I pray all the time for these people. And all I can do is quote what Jesus said on the cross. Forgive them father for they no not what they Do……
    Thank you for your writings. Everyone needs to read it.

  7. April 18, 2013 at 3:39 am

    I really like what you guys tend to be up too.
    This sort of clever work and exposure! Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to my personal blogroll.

  8. 9 Phillip
    May 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Great explanation! a few things I disagreed with but over all fantastic.

  9. September 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    These arre genuinely enormous ideas in regarding blogging. You have touched soje nice things here.
    Any way keep up wrinting.

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