Christianity / Faith / Religion / Thoughts

What I’m for: Religiosity as experience, not an idol.

In the past, I have been religious. At this point in my life, I am no longer religious and have not been for quite some time. Many of you are aware of the things that the church has put me through. It’s hard to be religious and enthusiastic about a church that only tears you down. From that place, my faith has blossomed and changed and grown. You always hear about cults that when the end of the world doesn’t come they re-double their faith. I suppose it looks like what I did, but it’s not. While I was growing up, I had a lot of head knowledge and a lot of zeal for the church. I didn’t apply my faith to me because I didn’t need faith. My childhood was pretty idyllic. One’s relationship to God during times of peace and ease is very different from one’s relationship with God during hard times. When hard times came, I realized that I needed to have a different relationship with God and the church or none at all. So I changed.

Part of that change is the move away from being religious as it is colloquially defined in our culture. What is religion in the USA right now? Right now, being religious involves fitting the norm of a particular religion and involving oneself in the widely accepted practice of that religion. It is viewed as a heartless pursuit right now. That being said, if I am talking to someone who has studied theology, I will self-identify as a religious person. As in most theology studies, religious is defined as one who asks oneself the religious question “is there more to life than this?” and comes up with an answer. Even if it’s no, that is still an answer. In that vein, I do believe that Atheists are religious, (And oh the hell I’ve caught for that one.) and also that agnostics are the truly irreligious. Just as anger is still passion, and indifference is the absence thereof. I will not however call myself spiritual. To many a theologian, spiritual is a cop out.

In my non-standard religiosity, I would consider myself Christian. I do that because I find that Christ brings me the closest to experiencing the divine. I do that because I like boundaries. I believe that there is no salvation without Christ, but to me that is not synonymous with the only way to heaven being belief in Christianity. Meaning: Christ is the reason that anyone can be saved, but not that there aren’t any other ways to relate to God. Perhaps, you find God in Allah (also the God of Abraham) and you dedicate your life in service to God. You follow Islam to the best of your ability and God respects and accepts your devotion. Perhaps the law is the way in which you relate to God, and you find yourself Jewish and devote your life to God through upholding the law. To me, God sees our heart and wherever we were born and whichever religion we were predisposed to experience God through if any (ie. general revelation) and God sees that devotion to God’s self. To say that God sees someone live a life that they believe is in service to God, and find that oopsy, you picked the wrong religious title and the wrong words to say, the wrong prayers to pray makes God a God that I cannot see. I cannot see that God in Christ. To me in many ways, religion is an idol.

I once had a discussion with a man about these specific beliefs. We argued about it for a while. On my page, in email. It was very not okay that I believe this way to him. While I think it is very nice that he should care about my eternal destination so much. I’d rather not reenact that conversation. I love discussion. I love a nice debate as much as anyone. I welcome your comments always. However, I urge you to read into the fleshing out of these issues that I have already written. As anyone has been following me will know, I am not trying to convert anyone or advise anyone. I am not a Christian counselor. Please afford me the same courtesy.

Back reading:
Would I want that God?
What really saves us?
The Gray Areas of Salvation Series 1, 2, 3.

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2 thoughts on “What I’m for: Religiosity as experience, not an idol.

  1. While I see where you are coming from, calling an atheist “religious” is going to generate more heat than light. And an atheist might say, “I ask the question in order to escape it. I apply rationality to it. I see the oppression of the church, and how monstrous as well as ridiculous those beliefs are, and I reject it.”

    You can say you are not “religious” in any way you like, but being Christian but not religious or spiritual is a bit odd. To me, religion is the framework through which I contact spiritual reality. My overwhelming religious experience this month came to me on waking at around 4am.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I don’t say that to start anything. It’s just the way that religious studies looks at it. The foundational thinkers Berger, Tillich and such agree on this point.
      It really has more to do with the way that people define religious in our country. It’s quite popular (though not at All why I say it) to say that Christianity is not a religion or “I don’t have a religion, I have a relationship.” While I feel that the Christian industry has exploited the idea, at it’s heart I agree. We are not follow blindly a series of practices to show devotion, but to act like Christ.
      That is a time when I have had my greatest religious experiences. Especially if it’s windy. 😀

      Like

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