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What is Religion and is Christianity a Religion?
Christianity is religion. Yes, Christianity is a religion, though some would have us to
believe differently. Some leaders of Christianity would have us believe that their
institution is certainly not religion, but the one, true way to God. Many Christians
believe their specific brand of "Jesus Religion" is all about spirituality and that
Christianity is very spiritual. And, they may be somewhat correct. Yet, there seems to
be a confusion between defining religion, spirituality and Christianity, and I too will
struggle to define them even in this writing.
Let's first look at religion. Religion itself is a set of practices and beliefs, based upon
stories of a higher power, namely God. A religion, seeks to explain the mysteries of
the universe through these beliefs. These beliefs are the core of a religion, for upon
them believers practice rituals, such as prayer, study, worship, music, and the like.
Though seeming good and godly, the practices of religion are always focused on doing.
One must "do" something, and that "something" is to look away from ourselves for life
answers, often seeking direction for our lives from other sources, be it God, a religious
institution, religious leaders, a religious book, etc. Religion teaches we need to look
to another to save us.
After defining religion, then we must ask, "Is Christianity a religion?" Yes, it is.
Christianity sets forth beliefs and practices based upon stories of a man who we come
to know as "Jesus." Today, most denominations and forms of Christianity found their
roots from within early orthodox Christianity, which became organized by the fourth
century. Other early Christian beliefs were stamped out by orthodox opponents,
effectively being silenced over time.
Though we may not realize it, Christianity is indeed a religion; it is a religion that was
crafted through aid of the Roman Empire and eventually was established upon the
teachings of New Testament authors. Today, Christianity is simply packaged in many
forms in order to attract new believers. Just look at all the different worship styles
from which we have to choose: traditional, contemporary, etc.
Religion seeks to establish its own set of beliefs as the truth, focusing on the purpose
of the universe and our role within it. Unfortunately, men create such beliefs; then
look to have others subscribe to them, even if they are incorrect and used for
nefarious purposes. Religion, such as Christianity, always wants believers to feel that
their religion is the only one which possesses truth. Therefore, should one elect not
to believe in a religion's teachings, a consequence must be suffered (example: eternal
punishment, Hell). This is an example of how fear is used to influence the mind,
making it difficult for believers (and non-believers) to consider other views, even if it
is obvious that the religion itself is incorrect in its teachings. Believers simply are
unable to see it due to the power of fear. Christianity is simply a religion that was
created in order to control people through use of fear, further empowering
governments and its laws of right and wrong.
To take this further, Jesus did not create Christianity; Christianity created Jesus. Men
created their own teachings and simply ascribed them to a man they coined as "Jesus."
This man (Yeshua) stood against such religious ideas, promoting love and peace. And,
you may be surprised to read this, some of Yeshua's real teachings still can be found
within the Bible, today.
True spirituality is void of religion, if it is indeed real spirituality. Spirituality is not the
same as being religious; for spirituality does not attempt to control people through
fear. Religion, and especially Christianity, claims to provide direction for people by
steering them to look outside of themselves for answers. Religion will point to books,
outward places of worship, outer places of eternity, a leader and the like. Such
devices are used to promote fear; for fear is always produced by looking externally.
In contrast, peace is realized through identifying with our connection to the eternal
Spirit that can only be known inwardly. That is the deeper message that the man who
would later be known as Jesus tried to bring to the world. Religion can never grasp
this, for it seeks only to promote itself. - Louis Charles