The longer I live, and the more I think – I mean, really think…it seems like “religion” is a scam.
Yes, Yes, I know. It all depends on how I define religion. If we agree that we’d let the majority in the world define it – then it’d be something like: “A shared system of beliefs and doctrines by humans about the afterlife and a deity.”
If we let the Bible define it, then we see it used positively just once – and it’s caring for orphans and widows. I’d be happy to be in that one, but I haven’t seen much of it yet.
Christianity, Islam and Judaism are the three mono-theistic religions. All believe in one deity. Muslims worship on Friday, Jews on Saturday and Christians on Sunday. We have shared holy books plus a couple of extras. The leaders of the religions teach the followers what to do and believe and say and think. Hinduism and Buddhism are much the same.
It’s not all bad. Religions give people a sense of purpose and conformity. Marx called religion the “opiate of the masses.” Conformity is highly valued in religious systems.
Along came Jesus. The man from humble origins. Dad was a carpenter. Mom had him out of wedlock. From the backwaters of the north country – Nazareth. He immediately offended the religious elite. The ones who were teaching and controlling and even using their position to make money. Jesus worked (healed) on the holy day. He ate and drank with sinners. He touched unclean lepers and dead people (they didn’t stay dead). He let prostitutes pour oil on his feet. He walked on water and commanded the elements to obey him. He loved. Laughed. Joked. Poked and pushed and wooed and invited.
Crowds followed. The religious fumed. The Politicians reeled. Then they ganged up on him and killed him. He died. Dead. Except….not. Then he conquered and lived and still lives and…..well – this is NOT religion. Whatever Jesus did and whoever he was and is – well, surely can’t be described as religious!
Sounds more like life. That’s why when people ask me what religion I’m part of, I clearly and boldly say NONE. I follow a person, not a system. I follow Life. I follow Way. And Truth. And Love. And Power. It’s Jesus. This is not watered down. It’s ramped up! It’s Jesus. The Man for all ages and the One who shows us the Father! He is the Way I follow.