Confessions of a Non-Christian

by Ben Cartwright
Many times in my recent years, I have been classified as a “non-Christian.” At first, I objected to this on the grounds that this did not describe anything about me. But nowadays, I’ve gotten used to it, and I would like to tell you a few other things about myself.

First of all, a few basic things. My race is non-black. I have non-red hair, and my height is non-five foot six. My favorite sport is non-soccer. My favorite food is non-green beans.

In case you’d like to know more about me, I live in a non-house, I speak non-Japanese, I majored in non-mathematics in college, and I love non-classical music.

I like long walks on the non-pavement, I enjoy traveling by non-train, I prefer non-Baroque art, and my favorite thing to read is the non-newspaper.

I’m sure Christians also won’t mind my applying the same technique when I talk about them, so instead of calling them “Christians” from now on, I’m going to call them “non-Muslims.”
read more of Ben's Writing

Do You Honestly Expect Me to Believe…

by Ben Cartwright

Does anyone who supports the idea that the Bible is infallible honestly expect me to believe that…

…God created the world, knowing full well that most of us would end up burning in eternal hell?

…he created it teeming with all sorts of amazing plant and animal life, including dinosaurs, and then shortly thereafter flooded it all and destroyed a devastating amount of them?

…by flooding the world in the way he did, he created a fossil record which clearly seems to indicate that the world is extremely old, yet doesn’t want us to believe this?

…God also created the stars so that light from them would appear to be millions of years old, deceiving us once again?

…he wrote a book which is very similar to all other creation and religious mythology, yet expects us to separate this book from the others and see it as perfect and holy? And if we don’t see that, we go to hell?

…Jesus came and died on a cross so that people wouldn’t have to go to hell, yet people keep going? Swing, and a miss!

…God thinks it’s fine for Bible-believing Christians to believe what they are taught and never ask any meaningful questions, but expects people in all other religions to question their foundational beliefs and assumptions enough to rip themselves out of their religion and culture and believe in the Bible? He expects them to go through this process, but not us? (oh yeah… because we’re “right” and they’re “wrong”… I forgot)

…God wrote a perfect book containing all that we need for our lives, yet no one can agree on what that book really says? (even on crucial hell-determining factors like salvation!)

…God is all-powerful, but can’t keep us out of hell? (if it is not God’s desire that anyone should perish, then no one should… he’s God!! He can have what he wants!!)

…God would make it this complicated to know him?

Perhaps if he creates another world, he will learn from his mistakes and just spell out “I am here. Believe in me so you won’t go to hell” in the stars. Or maybe he’ll just write, “Sorry for any inconvenience.”
read more of Ben's Writing...

Fire and Faith

submitted by Zachary Moore

As much effort is expended to explain and justify the accuracy and validity of the Bible, Christianity is a religion firmly grounded on faith. Faith in the existence of God, faith in the divine sacrifice of Jesus, and faith that acceptance of that sacrifice will bring salvation through grace.

Among other things, I’m an outdoorsman; since I was small, I’ve loved exploring the hidden confines of America’s wilderness. I’ve learned to feel at home in the complex simplicity of nature, and I’ve found that sometimes the most important lessons can be found perched in a tree on top of a hill.

At night, I can see points of light burning in the darkness all around me; campfires lit by other adventurers in the forest. It occurs to me that faith is like fire. It provides light to see, warms us in the frigid night, and protects us from the unknown. Faith and fire entered the human consciousness at the same time in prehistory, when humanity first put a bright, flickering wall between itself and the nature which spawned it and provided for its needs. In those days, fire became one of humanity’s most important assets, and thus became one of his first gods.

As humanity has developed, both his faith and his fire have changed to fit his needs and circumstances. Fire has been confined, controlled, and brought forth only when necessary through the striking of a match. It has been reborn through electricity, shining out of white-hot tungsten filaments. Molecular manipulation has given us fluorescence, fire without heat, and lasers, fire which can kill from miles away. Faith has likewise been condensed, repackaged, reformulated, rediscovered, and dissected with surgical precision. There now exists an almost impossible wide array of faiths for us to espouse, virtually tailor-fit for any individual’s tastes. However, both faith and fire when uncontrolled and unchecked, can bring about grievous catastrophes.

Like fire, faith must constantly be fed to burn brightly. Its fuel is often emotion, which burns the brightest but is depleted the fastest. Apologetics seeks to replenish the spent emotion with more stout fuel, but as any outdoorsman knows, large logs do not burn without tinder. The hot coals of habit can keep faith alive for a time, but without renewed fuel, faith cools to black.

I let both my faith and my fire cool a long time ago. Striding along a ridge top, I watched the sun set and decided not to light a campfire that night. I found a comfortable niche under a limestone outcropping, and gathered pine needles under me. After the light of day receded, I laid quietly and listened to the forest around me. Nocturnal animals began to stir- without a fire to frighten them, they ventured closer to my camp site than I’d ever experienced. When the moon came out, I could see the entire valley spread out before me, more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.

There were others in the forest that night, each with their campfires lit. I felt sorry for them; such a bright light allowed them to see things immediately around them, but the rest of the forest dropped into pitch black. Their world ended at the limit of their campfire’s light; mine was spread out over the whole valley, bathed in silvery moonlight. It is the same way for people who hold strongly to their faiths- while they are able to see things close to them, everything is colored in the orange glow of their faith, and everything beyond the scope of their faith is pitch black, and does not exist for them. Theirs is a bright world, but it is also a small world.

I can still enjoy the warm glow of a campfire, and nothing is better for an evening of companionship in the forest, toasting marshmallows and singing songs. But even as I sit by the fire, I know that there is a beautiful world in the darkness, and that warms me more than any fire ever could.

Science is a Religion!

I recently came across a Christian pamphlet that suggested science was nothing but another religion requiring faith to accept its lofty claims. The basic idea of the tract was that science was so much guesswork resulting in an inferior and false belief system when compared to the time tested truths of Bible. The article attempted to support its premise by pointing out that science had been forced to adjust its claims repeatedly over the years, whereas the Bible had remained steadfast, yesterday, today, and forever. The writer of the essay wanted to offer the Bible as something you could count on because of its unchanging reliability. In contrast, the ever shifting sand of scientific knowledge was presented as an undependable foundation for understanding reality and life.

Those who cherish this line of reasoning are correct. It does take a certain amount of faith when it comes to most of us accepting complicated scientific axioms, hypotheses and theories. For example, I learned the basic workings of electricity in school. I learned that atoms consisted of protons and electrons. I learned that the electrons of certain metals could be stripped off and sent traveling down wires as a source of power. I admit that I have to accept these ideas on faith because I can’t see atoms and. I can’t see electrons. My comprehension as to how it is possible for electrons to travel down copper wires resulting in my light to read by is very limited, so I simply have to trust that there are others who do understand the chemistry and physics of electricity. Every day I experience the benefits of electrical power, but when something happens and the power goes out, I am totally dependent on others to restore it. I am forced to have faith in those who actually do understand how the science of electricity works.

However, there is a marked difference between the two faith systems. Having faith in science does not require belief in an invisible, magical, unverifiable, and incomprehensible entity. If a person has the interest and intelligence, that person does have the potential to become one of those who have a workable comprehension of electrical power.

Not so long ago in human history, bolts of lightening were thought to be the chastising and judgmental arrows of one god or another. (2 Samuel 22:14 The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.15 And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.) Benjamin Franklin was condemned for the invention of the lightning rod. It was considered by some ministers of his day an attempt to “control the artillery of heaven.” The Bible presents thunder and lightning as the voice and power of Yahweh and poor old Ben was using Jehovah’s special power for parlor tricks. Now we understand that lightning is nothing more than complicated than the interaction of a charged atmosphere with oppositely charged portions of the Earth’s surface. We call it static electricity. Powerful, yes – supernatural, no.

Since the first experiments with electricity until now there have been significant changes in humanity’s ability to understand and harness this force of nature. Science had to expand and readjust its teachings on the subject as more discoveries were made. The Bible’s teaching on the nature of electricity, however, continues to remain “static.”

Although the stagnant nature of the Bible may offer comfort for those afraid of growth and progress, in this instance I would have to say that my faith is better placed in science. In fact, in my opinion, the very ability of science to change with the advent of new information demonstrates its superiority to every other “faith.” The Bible claims to have all the answers already and its promoters laugh at any discoveries that contradict its archaic ideas. This rationale is aptly demonstrated in the challenges presented in the endeavor to understand human origins. The theory of evolution is by no means a complete or finished science at this time. There are some holes in our ability to accurately explain every nuance of how all the pieces of the evolutionary puzzle fit together. As more information is realized, the theories will continue to modify and adapt.

As I said, to a degree it does take some amount of faith to accept several things modern science tries to explain. The difference between trusting the increasingly verifiable claims of science versus trusting the impossible to confirm claims of the Bible should be obvious to anyone willing to admit it. While there is no question that science lacks the answers to many questions, the Bible retreats from satisfactorily answering any questions concerning nature by simply brandishing the words “GOD did it.” The faith that science demands is one based on experimental proofs, verifiable theorems and a history of being able to reorganize when new knowledge becomes available. The Bible cannot revise its position, no mater how much evidence comes against it. Since it claims to be the very words of GOD, it cannot be found to be deficient in any way and remain authoritative. Obstinacy can be a strength in certain situations, but flexibility is usually considered a stronger and more desirable quality.

Using a leadership model for allegory it sounds something like this: Would you be more likely to place your trust in a leader who can admit they are wrong on occasion, or do you prefer the leader that never admits to error?

The Bible says that the Sun once stood still. (Joshua 10:13) Of course thanks to science we now know that the Earth goes around the sun so if anything stood still that day it would have had to have been the Earth. Without the rotation of the Earth, there would be severe repercussions that would threaten all life on this planet, even if that rotation only stopped for a few hours. The Bible says that rabbits chew the cud (Leviticus 11:6 ), which they do not. It says that some flying insects like grasshoppers have four legs. (Leviticus 11:23) There is no such thing. The Bible repeatedly assumes a geocentric universe with the canopy of the sky overshadowing the Earth. Above the sky is the dwelling place of the Almighty, who looks down and oversees the goings on below. The Geocentric Bible is a website maintained by those who still believe that the universe revolves around the Earth, because the Bible says so. Of equal interest are those who insist that the Earth is flat likewise, because the Bible clearly describes a flat immoveable Earth. If the Bible is indeed the Word of the Almighty Creator of the Universe, then it must not have error. While the “Geocentrics” and “Flat Earthers” may seem peculiar to mainstream Christians, at least they are honest and consistent with what the their holy book clearly describes about reality.

I used the Bible as my guide for life for many years. Now I use my brain. Science does not have all the answers, but continues to live, grow and learn with each passing year. The Bible does not harmonize itself with reality at all; demanding those who truly believe to put their minds on hold, do what they are told and not question too much.

Science encourages a doubting, questioning sort of faith which is not satisfied with incomplete answers. It applauds innovation. The Bible demands a slavish sort of faith, paralyzed and inflexible. It applauds mindless servitude.

It has only been in very recent history that science has had a free hand to explore the mysteries of the world outside the confines of ecclesiastical control. In that short time the comfort, lifestyles, and life spans of much of humankind have been amazingly improved. The things we take for granted today in the area of medicine, travel, technology, availability and variety of food, etc. are nothing short of miraculous when compared to all of history up to the present century. Our luxurious western way of life is in large measure a legacy from science. The Bible held total sway over western thought for well over 1000 years and in that amount of time, one would think there would be extensive progress made for the betterment of human society. In my opinion, the Dark Ages and horrific plagues born of ignorance of the basic science of sanitation are the awards of long term rigid Bibliolatry.

Is science a religion? I don’t see how. Science has no deity, no rituals, no meeting houses, no inflexible dogmas, strives to open hidden treasures locked in our world, no messiah and glories in tearing down old walls of ignorance. In fact as far as I can see, science is the exact opposite of religion.

What do you think?

Dashboard Jesus Kills Ohio Teen

CINCINNATI (EAP) - A Cincinnati teenager was killed yesterday when her plastic Jesus dashboard figure was driven into her chest by her car's airbag which inflated during an accident involving two other vehicles.

17-year-old Darlene Fulps of Cincinnati was apparently holding her Jesus figure close to her chest when she ran through a red light and collided with two other vehicles in a busy intersection.

"The air bag inflated and pushed the head of Jesus straight through her heart," said Tom Young, medical examiner at the scene of the accident. "If it wasn't for the plastic Jesus, Ms. Fulps would still be alive today."

"Air bags have saved thousands of lives, but in this case it actually took a life, thanks to Jesus," said police officer Graham Pryor, first officer at the scene.

Robert Fulps, Darlene's father and devout Christian man said "It was just our daughter's time to go, and we can't question the actions of God. My daughter loved Jesus and worshipped Him, and I think she's probably talking to Him in heaven right now."

"We gave our daughter the dashboard Jesus for her birthday last year, and she really liked it," said Mrs. Gladys Fulps. "It's too bad that Jesus ended up killing her, but we believe she's in heaven now, and we're happy for her, and hope to re-unite with her when we get to heaven."

"We're just glad our daughter had Jesus in her heart when she died," said Mr. and Mrs. Fulps.

What really happened to the Titanic?

As with any video clip, it works best if you have a broadband connection.

This external link may work better for you

Do you think?

For a real debate on why Christianity is true as opposed to other religions, click the image below. You will need "REAL PLAYER" to view the clip.

The Naked Truth

Someone who calls himself Ikhyun wrote this:
“Hey Dave wake up! I'm only 20 years old but sorryyour lack of maturity someone your age scares me. It's you that need God. God doesn't need you; if you've abandoned Christianity and you've got your valid reasons, that's that. However the way you've displayed pictures of obscene pictures of Jesus engaged in sexual acts shows that you are still just an infant crying out for attention. Let me prophesy; although you're probably three times my age I can say this to you; if you live your life for yourself rather than for Christ, you will one day be at the end of your journey and look back on your life and see that all that you have done in this world were for your own selfish motives, and you will pass into oblivion knowing that it could have been so much more. Your ex-brother until you come back to Christ. Really; I hope you see you in heaven Dave.”
I want to use this interesting post as a jumping off point for the following observations:

It seems to me that the decision to become a believer, or remain a believer, is almost entirely emotional in nature. Now I know there will be detractors that read this and argue that they made a conscious choice to devote their life to Christ based on very rational and well thought out reasons. I used to say the same thing. In fact I read dozens and dozens of apologetic authors in order to bolster my claim to being an intellectual Christian. It took me years to realize that the only people who read apologetics are Christians. At the same time I woke up to the fact that the reason I was reading so many apologetics was because I had so many serious doubts. I wanted to satisfy my rational brain with the assurance that I was not simply fooling myself with all the Christian hype. I wanted to believe, so I found ways to make myself believe. I made an emotional decision.

The comment quoted above is like so many others that passing Christians like to leave when they stumble upon this site. It is filled with harsh criticism, overly zealous religious curses (prayers), accusations, judgments concerning the possible motivation for any or all of the site, etc. It is, briefly, an emotional response.

It seems to me that if there were a god somewhere, one little website is likely to attract very little attention in the scheme of things. It also seems to me that if the silly pictures on this site should they raise the wrath of this supposed deity to levels implied by this loving servant of the Lord, well then HE is way to petty for my, or anyone else's, attention. Now, I will admit that some of the comical pictures displayed here may be less than tasteful to some people. You have no argument from me there. However, there are so many significantly more obscene pictures floating out there on the web. Daily I receive several dozen Spam ads filled with pictures far and above more obscene than this whole site put together. I wonder if the Christian quoted above writes to all those people denouncing their vile images? Or does it really have nothing to do with the pictures themselves, as much as the caricature of JC depicted in the pictures? Once again, this Christian makes an emotional response. He defends his pet god by drawing allusions to my eventual abiding place in the horrible torture chamber of his no-nonsense, can't ever laugh at himself, no sense of humor, easily offended and pissed off celestial being.

As far as my being an infant crying out for attention, I wonder if the person who converts to Christianity after a lifetime of atheism and then goes about preaching on the evils of an atheistic lifestyle would be considered an infant crying out for attention? I wonder if the converted Jehovah Witness who goes about exposing the fallacies of the JW cult is an infant crying out for attention? Really, in the Christian mind, it is anyone who publicly states that Christianity is bunk who is considered the infant. When a Christian goes about condemning everything they disagree with, that's mature.

Now about these obscene Jesus pics:

1) When Adam and Eve were without sin, did they wear clothes? Since the answer is no, then why did Jesus wear clothes? I thought he was sinless.
2) When Adam and Eve were without sin, did they have sex? If not, why not? Is sex part of the fall, and therefore sinful, or what?
3) Did Jesus have a penis or not? Was he sexual or asexual? Was he a real human male?

The Bible says that Jesus was about 30 years old when he was baptized by his cousin John and started telling his cute stories around the countryside. Although the text doesn’t say for sure, the implication is that he was unmarried. It is also assumed that he was a virgin. There is no mention of his cousin John being married either. John had to be about 31 or so, according to the information provided in the gospels, so I guess he was celibate for life as well. Is it any wonder that the early Christians started orders of celibate monks, priests and nuns? It appears that real Christian holy men, didn’t have sex. So is sex sinful? Would it have been wrong for Jesus to have a wife? In a time when death came early to most people, still being single at the age of 30 must have appeared quite odd. Rightly or wrongly, even today a 30 year old virgin male, unless he is a Catholic priest, is looked on with some misgiving. In fact, a 30 year old man who has never been with a woman in his life is usually suspected of being homosexual to the outside observer. I wonder if Jesus’ apparent lack of interest in the opposite sex raised any eyebrows? No wonder the Christian religion is so filled with sexual repression. The founder of the movement apparently found the whole propagation of the species thing something to be avoided.

I suppose Jesus had all the same bodily functions common to any normal man. He urinated, defecated, and had B.O. most of the time. Bathing was not commonplace, toilet paper was non-existent, deodorant wouldn’t be invented for centuries and good sanitation was completely unknown. He slept outdoors and probably didn’t own a change of clothes. I am sure Jesus’ associates saw him nude on occasion. Bathing and baptism was done in public streams ,when they were done at all, and the cumbersome robes would be stripped off. Fishing was often done in the nude (see #13). Athletic competitions were performed in the nude. People were not crucified with diapers on. They were stripped naked and hung up for all to see. Am I a nudist? No. The point is, Jesus had a male body with all the accoutrements. He was not some angelic spirit being without sexual organs. He was a man. He was either a celibate religionist or some form of a non-heterosexual. Consequently the oldest form of Christianity, the Catholic Church, considers celibacy a requirement for the highest order of devoted religious service. It might also be noted that for centuries the priesthood has had a fair share of non-heterosexual practices going on in its ranks. Historically the Jews never held life long celibacy in any esteem whatsoever. The Essences, a sizable Jewish sect of the first century revered a celibate lifestyle, and I believe this is actually where the idea of a virgin savior unsoiled by the evils of sexual union can find its source. The Cousins who founded Christianity could very well have been heavily influenced by the Essence cult.

The point with all the artwork, comedy, sarcasm, and so forth displayed on this puny site is to stimulate thinking outside the confining box that Christianity has attempted to erect around the minds of those who were once seduced by its mesmerizing influence. If unclothed pictures of Thor, Zeus or Ra were to be posted here, no one would say boo. No Christian thinks those characters are gods, so no emotions are all stirred up.

I’ve got news friend Christian, Jesus is not a god either.

I admit that I live my life for myself, everyone does. It is called the survival instinct. You live your life so that you can rest assured that you will survive death in a wonderful place you call heaven. That, my ex-brother, is also living for yourself.

In the Name of the LORD!

Exodus 32:27, 28. "He said to them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man and his brother, and every man and his companion, and every man and his neighbor. (28) And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."

Hosea 13:16. "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up."

Judges 21:10. "And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest and commanded them, saying, God and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. (11) And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man."

The God of LOVE

1 Samuel 15:3. "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

Jeremiah 13:14. "And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them."

Numbers 31:15, 17, 18. "And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? (17) Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. (18) But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

Judges 21

19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.
20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;
21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favourable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.
23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.
24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.

Jesus Christ - Vampire Hunter

External Link

This is a for real full length movie. There is an article on it at Metro Weekly:
a review of the movie

Here is the real website selling the movie with a different trailer: Click Here to View

It is not a religion - it is a relationship!

Many "Christians" claim that "Christianity" is not a religion, but a relationship.

A Christian is taught to consider a 'religion' as something that has to do with any spiritual teacher other than Jesus Christ, and/or a set of spiritual beliefs which includes ritualism or tradition with which they are not familiar.

Here is what Dictionary.Com has to say about religion:
re·li·gion n.
Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.

A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Under the heading of "revealed religion" Dictionary.Com further expounds in part:
1. The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies, or by the conduct of life; a system of faith and worship; a manifestation of piety; as, ethical religions; monotheistic religions; natural religion; revealed religion; the religion of the Jews; the religion of idol worshipers.

2. Specifically, conformity in faith and life to the precepts inculcated in the Bible, respecting the conduct of life and duty toward God and man; the Christian faith and practice.
To the modern Evangelical "Christian" a religion is anything, including what might claim to be "Christianity," that requires nothing more than participation to provide some sort of "spiritual benefit". These things can range from saying words, such as "The Lord's Prayer" to elaborate and arcane rituals practiced by highly trained priests in secret and richly appointed temples to appease some obscure demonic beast. Anything, particularly if it is not related to their particular flavor of "Christianity," can be a religion, even if it is another sect of "Christianity." This is frequently seen in Protestants who believe that Catholics aren't "Christians," or "born-again" believers who proclaim that the less fundamentalist minded Christians are not "real" Christians.

Generally, a "Christian" will describe any spiritual practice that is unlike their own, or with which they disagree, as a "religion", while they will characterize their spiritual life as a "relationship" with God (usually through Jesus), regardless of the similarities between their lifestyles and those of the people who are being marginalized as "religious."

When most people think of God, they do not think of him/her/it as someone with whom it is possible to be a friend or a lover in the way that one is a friend or a lover of another human being. Nearly all "Christians" will freely admit that 'Christianity' is essentially slavery to Jesus, and they use scriptures such as Matthew 20.27, Matthew 23.11, Mark 9.35, Mark 10.44, John 12.26, Romans 6.16 and Ephesians 6.6 support that argument. At the same time, they claim that the only way to experience "true freedom" is to accept the role of a slave. (1 Corinthians 7.22) A master/slave relationship is basically one-sided. The master commands and the slave obeys. It is not a "relationship" with the pleasant overtones Christians want to promote.

A lot of "Christians" will argue, in spite of hard evidence to the contrary, that unprovable and fantastic things are true. There are Pentecostals, for example, who will denigrate a diabetic person for injecting the insulin they neeed, because they are giving in to the demon of diabetes. Sufferers are encouraged to overcome the affliction through prayer and faith in God. These same people believe that the mentally ill have been afflicted with demons, and even go so far as to attempt to prove it by trying to cast these so-called demons out. A mountain of books have been sold on this topic—some to me.

Furthermore, the "God of the Bible" is reputed be the inspiration for all sorts of horrendous and abominable things, including the sexual mutilation and murder of infants, children and adults; incest and genocide; and, this "God" is even responsible for killing off almost everything on the planet in a great world-wide flood. These atrocities are well documented and widely known to anyone who reads the Bible. And yet, "Christians" continue to maintain that the "God of the Bible" is an entirely good "God" who only wants to have a loving relationship with everyone.

This begins to sound a lot like George Orwell's description of "doublethink."

Most people naturally consider Evangelicals (aka "born-again" Christians) to be very religious. Indeed, the conservative political "arm" of Evangelicalism is commonly called the Religious Right. Yet, ironically, Evangelicals themselves often deny that they practice a "religion!"

Again, Evangelicals define religion as a burdensome yoke of man-made rules and dead rituals; a futile attempt to please God and save oneself by good works. So, it is insisted that Christianity is not a religion but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Is Christianity a religion or a relationship?

Why Are Evangelicals Anti-Religion?

Among Christians, this aversion to "religion" is unique to Evangelicalism. Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and mainstream Protestantism never tried to claim that Christianity is "not a religion". The Protestant "reformers" (sic) did not object to the term religion either; in fact, they all used it to refer to the Christian Faith! So why do modern Evangelicals find this term so repugnant?

It may, in part, be the result of past attempts to share the Gospel with people who dislike "organized religion". Such folk would show resistance toward any discussion about Jesus and hostility to the prospect of becoming Christians. So perhaps Evangelicals started to tell them, "Hey, I hate religion as much as you do; I would never try to push that on you. I just want to tell you the Good News that Jesus loves you and wants a personal relationship with you. I'm not talking religion, but a relationship."

(I often wonder how many people buy this line, and how many simply say to themselves, "Well, this guy believes in a Deity, follows the Bible with all its 'do's and don'ts' and goes to church every Sunday - sounds like organized religion to me!")

Many Evangelicals honestly do have a tremendous personal aversion to "religion." The word evokes in their mind images of oppressive religious authorities, empty, showy rituals, and, most of all, self-righteous hypocrisy. It all seems completely removed from the deep love they have for their God and the joy they feel in living the their version of the Christian life.

What Does the B-I-B-L-E Say?

The Bible itself does not condemn all religion! In fact, James indicates that there is a true expression of religion, which he defines as follows:
"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27)

There you have it; The Bible clearly teaches that Christianity is a religion! When confronted with this verse, no one who truly wishes to be faithful to their Holy Scriptures could fail to acknowledge that.

An honest reading of the Bible will show that God is not opposed to religion or to its "rules and rituals". After all, He established just such a religion in ancient Israel! Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, is full of all sorts of commands - six hundred and thirteen of them, to be exact! It also contains many detailed rituals involving sacrifice, purification, etc., all given to Israel by the Lord.

Nor was Jesus opposed to religion, for the Gospels tell us that He Himself observed the Judaism of His time. He kept all the Commandments contained in the Law of Moses (Galatians 4:4) and worshiped His Eternal Father every Sabbath in the synagogue liturgy: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, unabated day. And he stood up to read" (Luke 4:16; also Mark 1:21; 6:2; Luke 6:6; John 6:59).

Jesus also made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for major festivals (Luke 2:41-42; John 2:13; 5:1; 7:2-10; 10:22-23) and celebrated the Passover Seder (Luke 22:7-15), a ritual meal complete with written prayers and hymns. No, Christ was not opposed to organized religion and rituals.

(When Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees, He was only condemning the empty religiosity which a few of them exhibited. He was neither condemning the Jewish religion itself nor religion in general! Notice that He prefaces His strongest words against the religious leaders by telling the crowds to observe the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees because they "sit on Moses' seat" [Mt 23:2]. That means they have religious authority over the people!)

After He ascended into heaven, His disciples followed His example. They went to the Temple daily to worship God until they were kicked out (Luke 24:52-53; Acts 3:1), and met daily in each others houses, then later in the catacombs. Scripture records the following about the earliest believers, right after

At Pentecost:

"So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers....And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people" (Acts 2:41-47).

According to this passage, the infant Church had doctrine (the apostle's teachings), rituals (Baptism and "breaking of bread"), communal prayer and temple worship. Don't those sound like the elements of a religion? Yes, and that is what they are.

Christianity makes demands of those who believe: Care for the unfortunate, Keep yourself unstained by the world, Bridle your tongue (James 1:26), Gather in Church every Sunday (Hebrews 10:25), Hear God's word (Joshua 1:8), Obey Christ's commandments (John 14:15, 21, 23-24), Be baptized (Acts 2:38), Receive Communion (John 6:53), Confess you sins (James 5:16) etc. These are not "dead works" talked about by the writer of Hebrews. Paul said: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Eph 2:10).

I would say that Christianity is most definitely a religion.

What do you think?

Pageviews this week: