God hates religion – especially the Christian one

The whole concept of “Christian worldview” (which has become quite a trendy thing in the past few years) really bugs me. It implies that Christians by default have a different (i.e., better) understanding of the world and reality and that out of that understanding flows a superior ethical framework by which we can make ethical decisions, knowing what is right and wrong, and declaring to others when they are, and when they are not. Christians have become notorious for pointing out the sin of everyone else.

This troubles me because there is an underlying self-assuredness (one might well call it arrogance) that I find at odds with the sort of life I see Jesus calling his followers to in the Gospels, the sort of life lived out in Acts and the rest of the New Testament. What I see there is always more of a limited understanding and a dependence on obedience to the command of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit, to know what is right to do. More than once in Acts, Paul tries to go in one direction, but the Spirit sends him in a different direction. The sermons in Acts focus almost exclusively on the basic story of Jesus. The epistles give us more teaching content, but most of them deal with specific issues relating to their initial audiences. We can glean truths from them, but we have to be careful doing that outside their context. For example, Paul sends Onesimus back to be a slave under Philemon. Paul tells Philemon to receive him back in love, but he still sends him back. We could easily read this as Paul approving slavery (this IS how this was read in the antebellum South), but that is making more of it than Paul likely intended, and a bad distortion of the overall way Jesus established.

Don’t get me wrong, I am firmly committed to the foundational teachings of the Christian faith (e.g., those laid out in the Apostles’ Creed). But we affirm belief in those long before we understand what they mean. Believing itself is an act of obedience, a trust in the Spirit of Jesus to lead us into all truth. But how can the Spirit lead us into truth if our worldview already has it all figured out? How can we walk as disciples in obedience if our worldview enables us to make ethical decisions on our own? Do you notice how close this puts us to the original sin of Adam and Eve? To the extent that a “Christian worldview” lessens our dependence on the Holy Spirit to lead us into truth and teach us to walk in obedience, we should reject it as just another attempt to make ourselves gods, which is what all religion is. Which is sin. Which is why God hates religion.

The (in)famous rebuttal to this is that Christians are always supposed to be ready to give an account for the hope that we have (1 Pet. 3.15). Many Christians immediately take this to mean we need to have everything figured out, be able to explain it all, which is where the whole Christian worldview concept came from, just a nicer, more philosophically tame version of apologetics. But this gets it all wrong. Giving an account for our hope doesn’t mean explaining the whole story of the world. It means one thing. Telling them about Jesus. He is the reason we have hope. This brings us right back to Acts, where all they talk about the whole time is Jesus. What Jesus did while he was on earth. What Jesus did when he met Paul on the Damascus Road. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Our hope is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The opposite of all religions. Especially the Christian one.

One thought on “God hates religion – especially the Christian one

  1. I like the way you think.

    It seems to me that another hurdle that a lot of American Christians are having to deal with has to do with the argument that this is a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, and that somehow or other makes us ‘special’ and carriers of the blessing of God.

    For too long, these same Christians have been reading 2 Chronicles 7:14 and praying it for America, as if the USA is God’s people, and if they would only repent and turn, that somehow or other God would return us to how things were in ‘the good old days’.

    The 2 Chr 7:14 passage was a particular if then statement given to a king of Israel regarding the heart attitude and priorities of that nation, then.

    Many US Christians are facing an insurmountable hurdle to acknowledge that our country is not so rosy and godly. Perhaps they say, ‘If we can only legislate Christian values in our laws, then perhaps we will get back to how it should be.’

    My own opinion is that the founding of the US was not so high and lofty as many history writers make it sound. What a trouble maker I am for saying these ‘heretical’ things about our country.

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