It’s an honest question, and hopefully your answer would be “No.” I’ll come back to that.
The terms “religion” and “Christianity” are defined below.
RELIGION: the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods: ideas about the relationship between science and religion” – (Oxford dictionary)
Synonyms: faith · belief · worship · creed · sect · church · cult · denomination (Oxford dictionary)
About 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with one of the five largest religions, namely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. About 16% of the world’s population is religiously unaffiliated; i.e. atheists, agnostics. (Wikipedia)
CHRISTIANITY: the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices. (Oxford dictionary)
There are more in depth opinions (I’m sorry, I mean definitions) of the two words, but what I have shown pretty much covers it.
It just shows me, again, how Satan mixes some truth in with a lie so that it comes out smelling so sweet who could possibly question it. This is the same tactic used by liberals and politicians. For example; many will say, “God is love and would send no one to hell.” It is true that God is love, but it is not true that God will not cast all who do not come to Him through Jesus into hell (Lake of Fire) at the White Throne judgment.
I ask again, are you religious? I still hope your answer is “No” (for the right reason of course).
My definition of religion would be; the worship of anything and/or anyone other than the one true God of Heaven as required in His Word, the Bible.
My definition of Christianity would be; a personal relationship with the one true God of Heaven as explained in His Word, the Bible.
The bottom line is; Christianity is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with God. Think of the personal relationships you have with your family and very close friends. Now think of a relationship that is even closer than those. In Christianity, we recognize each person of the divine Trinity as totaling the sum of one holy God, and we worship Him as such. Because He has made it possible, we also have a relationship with the one true God that is personal; Father and child, bride and Groom, and Savior and Lord.
Religion on the other hand is a smoke screen that Satan uses to draw millions away from the one true God and into his future domain, the Lake of Fire (hell). No religion ever has a personal relationship involved. All religions require something of man to “make it” to the “other side.” No god in any religion gives of himself to save even one person within mankind.
In Christianity, God gave Himself as a sacrifice so that all who come to Him will be saved, and He keeps them saved.
In religion man must save himself and keep himself saved, then cross his fingers before he dies. Religion is always impersonal. There is no true love, no true comfort, no true peace, no true surety, nothing but false hopes and satanic lies.
In Christianity, the Son of God became the sacrifice that man could never be and offers the only way to the Father.
In Christianity, the very Spirit of God lives within each of His children, guiding them and keeping them from the evil one.
In Christianity, the Heavenly Father listens to all who come to Him through His Son and welcomes them Home upon their arrival.
In Christianity, love blossoms and is fed until the love of God flows through them to others. In Christianity, God is preparing a future of peace, no sickness, no death, eternal life, an indescribable home in Heaven and on earth, and an heirship with the Lord Himself.
Religion offers none of this, because it never accepts the only way for a person to be saved from sin and sin’s wages. Religion is glittery, but it’s a fool’s gold that is worthless and will buy nothing but a spot in hell and eternal damnation.
Allow me to move away from the obvious areas of religion such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism, 7th Day Adventism, and the other many cults. Let’s make it personal and look on our own soil, even in our own backyard as we proceed.
THE RELIGION OF HUMANISM
Humanism in this sense simply means the love of self, the big “Me, Myself, and I.” You know the “What’s in it for me” crowd. This religion actually covers the next two I’ll mention, because it can branch out in so many directions to satisfy “self.”
Humanism has no time for God. It has its own ideas on what constitutes getting saved, and is reasonably assured (in its own mind) that its good will outweigh its bad.
Humanism wants to enjoy life now and maybe later it might give God a listen, but right now, “Nah.”
THE RELIGION OF MATERIALISM
Of course materialism is the love of money, or better defined, riches. I’ve worked for people like this. The only thing on their mind is money, and they never get enough.
I always wondered about those who have so much money they could never spend it in a lifetime, but still just can’t get enough. They’re always looking for more. Perhaps from gaining the money, the seed of “power” is planted, and now it’s about gaining more and more power. “He who has the money has the power.”
Yep, even in materialism I see a lot of humanism in there.
THE RELIGION OF HEDONISM
Okay, hedonism is what we call the love of pleasure. That should cover about everyone in our society. American society runs on pleasure. “What pleases me?” “What makes me happy?”
From children to elder adults, most everyone is seeking the pleasures of life. This isn’t always a bad thing, but it can lead to a serious problem when it gets in the way of our need for God.
These are the three main categories usually mentioned by the theologians and they are accurate. However, I think I’ll just throw a few on the wall and see if they stick (like you do with spaghetti to see if it’s done). Now these are totally random, just thinking of them as I go, and dozens more could be added, but here goes.
RELIGION OF WAR
That’s an odd one, but there are those who think our power rests in our military accomplishments. We’ve got the big stick, and we can never be defeated. Maybe God had something to do with “military accomplishments.” We are not great because of “us.” We have been great because of the one true God.
RELIGION OF SPORTS
Whether as a player or as a spectator we Americans are obsessed with sports, as was Rome. Is it really true that some churches will actually cancel their services because it conflicts with the Super Bowl? Not only is it true, but I know of some who will have a Super Bowl party (popcorn, snacks, drinks) at church instead of their regular service and have their big screen TV ready to go.
RELIGION OF SEX
“Everybody’s doing it, so why not I?” That seems to be the general consensus of our society. “Oh come on! God knows I love them (at least for tonight). He won’t mind. Besides, it’s my body!”
If I am really a Christian, my body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). It is surprising at the number of people who claim to be a Christian but ignore this verse and also Romans 12:1-2.
RELIGION OF POLTICAL CORRECTNESS
For the sake of political correctness (or Christian cowardice) millions of people have caved in to the squeaky wheel of society. Now, nearly all society squeaks. God is out. Abortion is in. God is out. Perverted sexual practices are in. It is no longer “God.” It is “gods.”
RELIGION OF GOOD ENOUGH
From Hollywood to the man on the street, from Washington to the family member, we again have millions who think they are good enough. “My god is a loving god. He would never send anyone to hell. That’s just old folklore, and comes from mean-spirited conservatives.”
RELIGION OF MUSIC
The music industry makes billions a year on the sale of music (much of it isn’t even music). A lot of it comes from the pits of hell, but you would think it was ordained in Heaven by the reaction of many listeners.
RELIGION OF FAMILY
Is it even possible to put family before God? Perhaps a reading of Matthew 10:36-38 is in order. Enough said.
RELIGION OF TITHING
I remember well hearing messages from my youth which basically said, “If you don’t tithe, you won’t be blessed,” also “If your tithe goes anywhere but here, you won’t be blessed.”
Every taxpaying citizen tithes. That is exactly what a tithe was in the Old Testament. However, please read 2 Corinthians 9:1-15. We (Christians) are to support God’s work and His people, but don’t think we can “buy” God’s favor with money.
I’ve seen many who are so proud that they give their 10%, but what if they could have given to God 20%, or 70%? They cheated God.
What if they could not give even 10%? Read Luke 21:1-4 to hear what Jesus says about it.
For those Pharisaical tithers who crow like a rooster in the early morning light, please read Proverbs 16:18. Many of you are shortchanging God.
RELIGION OF CHURCH
Is it possible that the church (the organization, the building, the activities) could be a god by those who are involved? Could there actually be pastors who have made their achievements by the church they lead into their god? What about the parishioners? Could the activities, the lights, the sounds, the warm fuzzy feelings have become a god?
Unfortunately, the answer, at least from my viewpoint, is obvious.
RELIGION OF SOCIAL WORK
Helping others is a good thing, but will that alone get us past the “pearly gates?” A lot of people apparently think so. Some have made a profession of social activities, and that is great, as long as it is done to serve the Lord and not to replace His work.
RELIGION OF ME
Have you ever heard, “Me and God got it all worked out?” I have, more than I would like. This is a common consensus among many mislead folks. Their god is themselves. They actually think they’re good enough (regardless of their lifestyle), and God will be honored to have them.
RELIGION OF CAREER
I guess you see this type more in the big cities, but we still have our share in the country. Their career is their life. “God will just have to wait, I’m just too busy.”
Well, let’s stop there. I’m getting tired.
Have you noticed that all of these I splattered on the wall would fit humanism, materialism and/or hedonism? Have you noticed that not just bad things, but also good things can be made into a religion simply by our own worship of it? For example, sex is good, but enjoy it God’s way. Sports are good, but God is better. Family is precious, but God must still come first.
My point in this long diatribe is simply that it is very easy to make nearly anything or anyone our god. When we do that, it becomes our religion. Religion and Christianity are like oil and water. They do not and will not mix. Be careful where you hang your coat. It could easily be the wrong peg.
Satan is chomping at the bit to drag you into religion and he is very stealth in his methods. There are many religions, as I hope I have shown. What is yours? I hope you say, “I am not religious. I am a Christian.” If you can say that, you are very blessed indeed. You know which side your bread is buttered on and it tastes real good.
I pray that others of you will realize that anything or anyone you put before the one and only God of Heaven has placed you in a religion of some kind that will do nothing but lead you to hell. There is wonderful news for you though. There is a way out and it is through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He has made the way clear for you to have a personal relationship with Him. Listen to what He says.
“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:35-40 NLT)
Don’t believe the lie that Christianity is a religion. It is not. Religion will do nothing for you but lead you astray. Religion will even take Christianity and try to pervert it by preaching a false gospel. You need a relationship with God, and you can have that in true Christianity.