Too Much Religion

Long ago someone pointed out to me that Christianity is not a religion. Not a religion? Well, look at how Wikipedia defines religion:

“A religion is a set of beliefs and practices generally held by a community, involving adherence to codified beliefs and rituals and study of ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term ‘religion’ refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.”

Most Christians do have certain beliefs and practices – in that sense there are some Christian religions – but that’s not what Christianity is about. It’s not the belief and practices that make me a Christian. “Codified beliefs” and “group rituals” can be pretty scarey. Stop there and you’re in big trouble. Jesus was always down on the people who had a religion but didn’t seem to have much knowledge of God.

Well, what I’m trying to do here is distance myself from the kind of notion about religion expressed in today’s news. You heard about some people planning to attack Fort Dix? I was charmed by a statement made by a relative who thought the problem was caused by religion:

“It’s fine to be a religion man,” said Murat Duka, 55, a distant relative of the defendants. “But if you get too much to the religion, you get out of your mind and you do stupid things.”

Told that the three brothers had been repairing the roof of the Philadelphia mosque, Murat Duka said he had done the same at local mosques and churches, and had also donated money to synagogues. “You’ve got to donate because you don’t know next life which one is the true story,” he said. “So you’ve got to be balanced.”

I’m with Murat Duka: “If you get too much to the religion, you get out of your mind and you do stupid things.” Right on: too much beliefs, too many practices, you can go crazy. It happens all the time. Check out recent events in the Episcopal Church.

My advice? Don’t get “too much to the religion.” Remember where your priorities are – and God’s.


LibbyMay 11th, 2007 at 8:32 am

Thanks for this one, Dad. Did you see Real Live Preacher today? I think he’s on the same wavelength, here:

AnonymousMay 18th, 2007 at 6:33 pm

Amen Chris and thank you Libby for the pointer to the essay at “reallivepreacher”! Too bad we all don’t heed RF’s advice “that when we go out into the world to remember to hold hands and stick together” jnh

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