That’s right! Yours truly is announcing to the world that I have given up on religion! From this point forward, if I am given a form asking for my religious preference, or asked the question directly, my answer is NONE! “But wait just a dog gone minute! You’re suppose to be a preacher, pastor, teacher! And now you are telling me that you do NOT have a religion?” That’s right, Buckaroo!
Now, before you begin to dislike me or unfollow me, listen to my reasons. I did NOT say that I am an atheist or agnostic–I’m not that stupid! I just said, “My religious preference is NONE because I don’t have any religion in me.” Think about what Religion has done over the ages. Here’s just a few examples, and reasons why:
- Religion led to The Crusades
- Religion caused The Inquisition
- Religion was behind the genocide in Bosnia
- Religion was why girls and women were excluded from schools in Afghanistan
- Religion is why there is so much conflict in the Middle East
- Religion has caused “religious” folks to look down on others
- Religion divides people–even within Christendom
- Religion is intertwining beliefs with politics (talk about a Train Wreck!)
- Religion creates the illusion of moral superiority (“my brand of church is a whole lot better than yours!”)
- It divides families and friends, creating distrust, even hate
- It has led to a deep sense of complacency–causing apathy to the pains of real people in real places
- And never forget what Karl Marx said about religion: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” And NO! I AM NOT A COMMUNIST!
- And ad nauseam
So, if I’m no longer involved in religion, nor even religious; if I am not an atheist, agnostic, nor a communist; just what am I? This decision I have made has resulted in peace, hope, desire–in short–it has brought me to life. Since I an unencumbered by religion I am now free. I have to confess, sometimes I slip back into religion. But it doesn’t take as long as it once did to break free from the talons of religion. Here is how I self-identity when it comes to that horrible question “What is your religious preference?” I am a follower of Jesus!
“Why?”, you may ask. I could give you so many reasons. Instead I will give you just one, and from this single reason, begins to flow all of the other reasons:
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.Micah 6:8 (NLT)
Or, as another translation puts it:
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.Micah 6:8 (The Message)
Think less of me if you like. Frown upon me if it makes you feel better. Me? I’m enjoying the liberty and joy of taking God seriously–instead of religion.