Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Did Jesus Say About Religion?

A discussion thread titled Religion vs. Spirituality over at social networking site BlogCatalog prompted me to search the Bible...and that's always a good thing!

The author of the thread added this under his subject head: Some folks cleave to Religion. Some to Spirituality. Some say it's either/or. Some embrace both. How 'bout you?

Here's how I responded:

I'd like to answer this question with some scripture. But, first let me say "religion" has caused a lot of damage. However, "faith" or one's spirituality based on seeking truth can do more good than we can even understand sometimes. It's also important to recognize that the pursuit of truth, doesn't mean pursuing relative truth, or the truth as you know it now, but real truth.

What does the Bible say about "religion"?

Here is Jesus talking to his disciples and a crowd that gathered around Him:

"Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven." (Matthew 23:9)

And a moment later He says:

"I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either. You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned." (Matthew 23:13-15)

These verses are from "The Message" Bible version. I think it pretty much sums up the "importance" of religion. I'm sure that if I did some more searching, or if any of you who already know some of Jesus' own words would point out to me, there are other references to how Jesus felt about religion.

So, what do I embrace? More accurately who do I embrace? In my case, and I know many others, I "cleave" as best as I can to Jesus, not religion.

How 'bout you?


Alexander is a writer in the online spiritual battlefield. You can also find him at The Scrooge Report and TheBigRuski Goes Healthy.

4 comments: said...

One question I've been meaning to research is the idea of Religion in the 1st century. James (James 1:26-30) uses the word religion (at least on my english translation) and I wonder what connotations he had in mind...

Low Carb Adrenaline Junkie said...

With out a doubt Jesus is my savor. Religion has never been a top priority in my life. I can not judge least I be judged. I serve God not the church. If that makes sense.

Wayne Sedlak said...

I think we do a great disservice to our King when we dumb down his words with the paraphrase. While the King James may not be perfect... it certainly says it better than any paraphrase that may be out there.

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Mat 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. ( this is something we quote to the Jehovah's witnesses who come to our door!)

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

So yes, Embrace Christ. Amen and Amen

Alexander said...

I disagree with the "disservice" part when using another translation of the Bible.

God's church is bigger and works in more ways than we can understand.

I will be posting a New King James version of those verses soon.

However, it must not be that much of a disservice because an "Amen and Amen" was posted.