[faith vs religion]
to the right you can see a quite traditional piece of cheap soviet propaganda art.
it says “Religion is poison, watch your children.”
a friend of mine has sent me the link to this picture today and i told him that religion might be poison, but faith isn’t. we had a small discussion regarding Christianity and Bible and God the other day, but it ended when we both needed to call it a night.
after he sent me this picture, i thought… religion is a poison. in a way.
let me explain before some may think i am giving up on following God.
to start on a correct note, what is religion?
re-li-gion [ri-lij-uhn] – a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. (dictionary.reference.com)
rules are good for people when they help them figure out what to do in a certain situation. but they always should remain the means, not ends. when we try to keep all the rules, exceptions arise and we end up not knowing what to do because we all have followed what the rule said and this situation goes out of the rule book.
for example, capital punishment. there were so many discussions, debates, arguments, laws regarding this issue… and to what result? there’s still no correct answer given by all those debates and arguments. personally, i believe that it is not in our power to pass judgement and kill someone. thank God i haven’t been in a situation where someone killed someone i cared about, but i don’t think i would want that person to be killed as well. what would be the point of it? none.
another example, 613 commandments of Judaism. i am not against Jews and i believe they are a chosen people and through them God brought the salvation, BUT 613 commandments… even Jesus pointed out obvious exceptions to those. and if there are exceptions, once again, my favorite question of the week… what is the point?
rules also play a devastating role when they divide people instead of uniting them. “you drink wine? oh, sorry, can’t talk to you – my religion forbids drinking wine.”… or an older example… “you worship on that mountain? sorry, man, i like you, but you worship at the wrong place. if you will worship on my mountain, then you’ll do right.”
by concentrating on rules and dividing people into “IN” and “OUT” categories, we’re not only destroying the relationships with those “OUT” people, but we’re killing the main idea of CHRISTianity! and that one is summed up in Jesus’ words…
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
LOVE, that’s the main rule / law / commandment that we should keep (and the one that is the hardest of all often). once you keep this one, you will find that all the other ones are fulfilled as well.
if you look at the picture, you can’t see the Love in it. of course kids would want to go to school rather than follow a creepy-looking old lady clad in all black into the Church.
but Love isn’t clad in black! it isn’t scary (well, not in a creepy way)! if there is a color of Love it’s a rainbow. it’s white light dispersed through the prism of life. and following Christ is not a continuous funeral mood! we are called to rejoice, and rejoice always.
religion is a poison that we keep feeding ourselves. faith and following His way is not, however. religion is dead and faith is alive. and maybe people will disagree with me, but that is what i believe.
YOUR FEEDBACK IS WELCOME.
What do you think about that picture?
If you don’t know Russian and pretend that you don’t know what the picture says, what would you think it’s all about?
Is religion a useful thing?
What do you think about the entire issue of religion vs. faith?