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    Relations vs Religions

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    Drew.Rub

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    Relations vs Religions

    Post  Drew.Rub on April 13th 2012, 11:32 am

    Hypothetical question: "So, are you a religous person?" or "Would you consider yourself religous?"
    Proposed answer: "I'm sorry, my relationship with Jesus prevents me from having a religion."


    No, I have never had this question actually presented to me. But I got to thinking about it randomly today for some reason. So I wanted to present the idea to the rest of the forum, give my explaination, and see what others had to say on this.

    For reference, I have not had a chance to go back through some of the older forum posts to see if this topic or a similar one has already been brought up, so if it has, please forgive me.

    The way I see it, there are many religions. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoist, Unitarian Universalists. Even within each of these religions there are different "dialects"; Methodists, Baptists, Protestants just to name a few in Christianity; Shi'ites and Sunni's within Islam; I won't try touching the others.

    Honestly, society can make just about anything a religion anymore. think about the common use of the phrase, "Oh, I watch <insert media program here> religously." or "I support <insert sports team name/school name here> religously." Even money can become someone's religion with the dedication people put into making more and more of it (let's save the discussion of the sin of greed for another time).

    Contemporary Christianity is focusing more on our personal relationship with Jesus. I don't recall scripture where Jesus said, "Hey, start a religion in my name, write a bunch of rules that your followers will have to abide by or they won't be true followers." I do remember Him telling us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. I seem to remember that Jesus went to the people and wanted to have relationships and friendships with them in order for them to come to the Father.

    Am I wrong? Is it appropriate to say that our relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father prevents us from being religous? These are beginning thoughts, and I don't have a quick resource for seeking biblical scripture to start the hunt.

    Thanks for input.

    DNArington

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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  DNArington on April 14th 2012, 12:03 am

    My thought is, having a relationship with Christ and believing that He saved you from your sin on the cross is a religion. Basically religion is what you believe about life, death, and anything beyond that. (At least that is the way I think of it. If you think differently please say so I would like to hear what you think.) Therefore everyone has a religion wether they want to admit it or not. You can't have no opinion on the matter whatsoever. So whenever I hear someone say that "it's not a religion, it's a relationship" I find it odd, because they it is what they believe and yet they refuse to admit it is a religion. Now I'm not trying to discount the fact that there is a relationship with Christ, there defiantly should be. However, there were people who had a relationship with Jesus and yet didn't believe He was the son of God (His brothers for example.) Therefore I think saying that it is not a religion minimizes everything Jesus came to earth for by pinpointing the relationship and glazing over everything else.


    Drew.Rub

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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  Drew.Rub on April 14th 2012, 7:13 am

    Hmmm...perhaps it's fair enough to say then that the main difference is not necessarily religion vs relationship, but that our relationship moves us BEYOND having just a religion?

    DNArington

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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  DNArington on April 14th 2012, 6:58 pm

    Hmmm...Yeah. That seems like the right way to think of it...

    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 15th 2012, 10:18 pm

    Merriam-Webster defines religion as follows:

    1. a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion>
    b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural
    (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

    2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

    Definition 2 is the most useful, and Christianity would certainly fall under that category, when taking 1.b into account.

    I think the problem with the slogan "It's a relationship, not a religion" is that it's trying to distinguish Christianity from other religions on terms that biblical Christianity does not attempt to do. At its core, Christianity distinguishes itself from all other religions in Grace.

    Every other religion is set-up like this:
    Good Works = Salvation (however salvation is defined)

    Christianity looks like this:
    Grace = Salvation

    So I would rather distinguish Christianity the way the Bible does, via grace. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift -- Eph. 2:8

    I think somehow, the modern church has come to think of religion as a synonym for "legalism". I suppose I can see how this has happened over the years . . . but the Bible doesn't use religion as a code word for legalism. In fact the Bible most indeed affirms that there is true religion:

    Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
    James 1:27



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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  Hackmodford on April 16th 2012, 1:53 pm

    Every other religion is set-up like this:
    Good Works = Salvation (however salvation is defined)

    Christianity looks like this:
    Grace = Salvation

    I'm not sure I can 100% agree with Nathan on this.

    "And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed
    must I do, to have eternal life?"

    "And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One
    there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the
    commandments." Matthew 19:16-17

    And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying,
    "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

    Jesus said "What is written in the law? How do
    you read?"

    And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your
    heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all
    your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

    And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will
    live." Luke 10:25-28

    “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Mat 5:18)

    By the way... these are all Jesus' words.

    Oh and Christianity is a religion... I don't see the point in denying it.


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    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 16th 2012, 9:04 pm

    Hackmodford: If I'm following your train of thought here (and we're opening up a huge can of worms here), based on the entirety of the New Testament, salvation is a free gift that is neither earned or deserved. However, those who have been transformed are called to obedience - conforming to the likeness of Christ more and more.

    I understand the purpose of the Law (in VERY general terms)*, to describe how God's redeemed people should live. Jesus fulfills the Law, because He enables us to live lives obedient to God, whereas we were powerless to do so under the bondage of our own sin before.




    * There are various positions on how the Law applies to the Christian. The positions range from "The Law does not apply to the church" to "Everything in the Law applies to the believer". Most views however land somewhere in the middle and apply both New Testament texts (i.e. Bacon is now okay) and seek lines of contemporary application for other texts (i.e. putting fences on your roof, teaches the contemporary believer that keeping others safe in your home is a moral obligation).

    Hackmodford
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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  Hackmodford on April 16th 2012, 9:06 pm

    All I was doing is showing what Jesus says compared to what Paul says Smile


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    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  Nathan James Norman on April 16th 2012, 9:22 pm

    Hackmodford wrote:All I was doing is showing what Jesus says compared to what Paul says Smile

    I misinterpreted what you were getting at.

    I'm sorry!

    I repent! Smile

    Drew.Rub

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    Re: Relations vs Religions

    Post  Drew.Rub on April 17th 2012, 6:49 am

    Hack, I certainly wasn't trying to indicate that I thought Christianity was not a religion. The biblical principals for defining Christianity as a religion is well defined.


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