Posts Tagged ‘ Irreligious ’

Religion Madness

It is time to look at that super-non-controversial word “religion”!

Some claim religion is for unthinking idiots or contrary to a relationship with God.

Some Christians claim “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

Atheists and other irreligious folks claim that religion is an opioid for the masses (Marx) or for those who don’t like to think.

Are these claims true?

Many scholars agree that our word for religion comes from the Latin:

religare: to bind, to connect

And therefore …
religio: obligation, bond, reverence

We therefore can understand religion as binding oneself to a set of obligations. Is this helpful?

Both Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries have several definitions (look them up!), but I will focus on just a few:

Merriam-Webster uses:

  • commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
  • a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
  • a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

With some definitions of religious being:

  • relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality
  • FERVENT or ZEALOUS

Oxford defines religion with:

  • A particular system of faith and worship.
  • A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

Personally, I would also clarify with a religion being:

  • A set of guidelines and beliefs that order life
  • or a shared collection of beliefs and practices.

This all should quell the religious fervor with which Christians deny that Christianity is a religion. We still set boundaries for any relationship which we faithfully follow, so this particular relationship is a religion. (But I get their meaning, so I will not harp too much on them for it … unless it gets in the way of or directly refutes firm doctrine.)

Conversely, this all implies that even atheism is a religion. Why?

The argument some atheists offer, that it is a lack of belief, is, frankly, stupid. It is a belief. It is incredibly difficult to prove scientifically that something supernatural (Beyond the natural) exists, so a lack of evidence in something beyond our understanding of space-time can only lead to one believing something … without evidence.

And before anyone argues atheism is not a blind faith, how did the universe or life on Earth begin? No experiment or evidence has yet to reveal these from a naturalistic origin. To claim we know how either of these began (apart from God) is being intellectually dishonest and anti-science. You must believe on faith that we may someday find these answers, even with little to no evidence supporting any of the myriad of claims for each beginning.

How is atheism (and along with it evolution and the climate change movement) not a religious belief, especially with the cultish celebrity-worship, demand for strict adherence to the teachings, and excommunication of people who disagree (or raise challenging questions, even from a sincere perspective)?

No matter the religion, Christian Scripture tells us what our religion should look like:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Matthew 23: Basically, Jesus tells us that hypocrisy is setting rules and demands on others while not holding yourself to them. Do not make it more difficult for people to follow, make yourself look good, and take care of your own needs, yet neglect mercy, justice, and true faithfulness without really changing yourself.

Religion is not relationship denying nor for unthinking idiots.

Wise people have religion, for it sets the boundaries to live by to protect relationships and truth. To remove those rules and guidelines is to allow for any “truth”, and this leads to cultish behavior and/or anarchy. Just look at the state of the Western Church and pop-atheism and the global climate change scare.

Madness.

Give Me 5: The Law

Welcome back, my little chickadees! Or something… And as a reminder, this is late due to technical issues. Hopefully later this week another one is coming!

This is the first of a new series of videos I will be making called Give Me 5. The premise is that in about five minutes (hopefully less, and not necessarily including the intro and a few other extras – like my little outtakes I sometimes put in) an apologetics approach (apologetics, again, coming from 1 Peter 3:15, in which we are told to always be ready to give a reasoned defense, Greek apologia, for our faith) will be used to answer some biblical/theological questions/challenges.

This first one is about The Law

Specifically, I am dealing with the question of what it means that Christians are not under the Law while also looking at the challenge from atheists and the irreligious that the Law, and more specifically the Ten Commandments, are useless and/or stupid.

Not Under the Law?

It is first helpful to realize that we are freed from the ceremonial or Levitical law. We no longer need to perform certain regulations and sacrifices to be made clean before God. He did that for us by sacrificing Christ on the cross.

Jesus summarized the Moral Law by quoting the two greatest Commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:18, ESV

Loving God can summarize the first three and a half Commandments, while loving people can summarize the second six and a half.

Why?

Non-controversial Commandments

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, He tells us in verse two that “I am the Lord your God,” which tells is that all morality is based on who God is. Apart from God, there is no valid reason for morals. Obviously, atheists and the irreligious disagree with this.

God begins with the First Commandment (v. 3) that we should have no other gods. He created everything ever, so no one could be as powerful as He is. There simply are no other gods. Period. (This rules out other religions.) There is a God.

This leads to the Second Commandment (v. 4) that we are not to make idols. This is anything we create or is a part of God’s Creation that we give worship to. And before anyone argues that this does not happen: many people, such as astrophysicist Niel DeGrasse Tyson, argue that all of the elements were created in stars which blew up, spreading that stuff all over, so that we are mad up of this star stuff, therefore we should literally thank the stars that we are alive.

That is idolatry.

Which relates to Commandment Three (v. 7), that we do not use the Lord’s name in vain. This does mean not saying “G.D.” or “omg” and stuff like that, but more importantly it is claiming to be a follower of God (i.e. Christian) and do the very things Je says not to do (i.e. cuss people out, sleep around, lie, mistreat others, etc.)

Now it shifts to the halfsies Commandment, number four (v. 8): Observe the Sabbath. Atheists and the irreligious disregard this (and the first three Commandments) because it is all about the God they do not believe in, because it says that He spent six days creating and then rested, so we should, too.

However, they should not object to the idea of taking a day off every week! It is about rest! (Again, why this is not exactly reiterated in the New Testament is for another time, but essentially we have rest for our souls now with the hope of eternal Sabbath after Christ’s return.)

The other six Commandments should be what we all agree on(at least to some extent.

The For-Some-Reason-Controversial Commandments

  • Fifth: Honor your parents (v. 12)
  • Sixth: Do not murder (v. 13)
  • Seventh: Do not commit adultery (v. 14)
  • Eighth: Do not steal (v. 15)
  • Ninth: Do not lie (v. 16)
  • Tenth: Do not covet (v. 17)

What is there to disagree with?

God says to show respect to people (especially parents, which has become weird in the past few decades), do not murder, take a spouse from or stuff from, lie to or about, or desire to have the possessions and loved ones of other people.

Sure, our society now says that parents are largely irrelevant and that it is okay to want others’ stuff, including spouses. Even murder is seen as okay (i.e. abortion and assisted suicide).

But we do all agree that resting, showing respect to others, and not taking other people’s things, loved ones, or life are all good.

We also need to remember that God is the reason these are good, that we are even here to experience it all, and deserves all honor and worship.

If you want to debate, challenge, or question any of this, comment below or on the video, or even send an e-mail over to Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

God loves you!

Daniel