What’s Your Religion?

On September 22, 2011, in Christian Living, Philosophy, by july

Every once in awhile, I will run into friends who will ask me this question.  For people who have not really spent much time in Philosophy and Theology, what is being asked here is too broad a question.  I always struggle to give a good answer to this mainly because my belief sails on two different boats.

I certainly do not believe in religion if by religion one means a certain set of practices one do to appease his God.  Neither do I support religion if by religion one aims to put a sword on somebody else’s neck or to bully nonbelievers to silence through arguments.

So what’s my religion? Upfront, I can say that I am a Christian.  But why do I struggle answering such a simple question? I struggle for two reasons.  Every time I tell others that I am a Christian, there is always a connotation that I too am a Protestant.  I do not wholly subscribe to the views of Luther and Calvin… consequently, I am not wholly in agreement with Protestant theologians.  I think they make some good points on some doctrines, but nevertheless Catholicism trumps some.  This is of course in my view only.

I struggle as well because when I am asked about my set of beliefs, I can’t find a word that tells the other guy that I agree with some of the Catholic doctrines and some of the Protestant Doctrines in general.  Can I say that I am a “Pro-Tholic” Christian? :D

I have friends from all sorts of belief systems.  I have Catholic friends that really shows what is it like to have the Fruit of the Spirit.  I have some Muslim friends, Hindu, Buddhists, Mormons, Atheists and others… all of which are such wonderful people that they are really fun to be with… and I think they live with a really good moral standards!  I do not believe in drawing swords and striking each other down.  Quite honestly, anyone who disagree with your set of beliefs are heretics, isn’t it?  I once debated a friend for five hours and bullied him to silence.  Did I feel good? Yes I felt good because I won the debate.  But did I win a brother over? I didn’t think so.  It was through this experience that I learned that it is almost impossible to share the love of Jesus by philosophical bullying.  Once the other guy raises his defense walls, nothing you say will make him reconsider his position.

So what’s your religion? Does your religion teach you to start firebombing the infidels or verbally assaulting those who do not know much about what they believe?

I don’t have a religion really.  But I do have a relationship though.  I have a Dad who remembered my sins no more.  I have a Friend who died for me on the cross.  I have a Counselor who helps me discern the will of God.  I am a sinner, forgiven and cleansed.  Unworthy, but not worthless.  Lost… yet loved.  I have a gracious God.  His name is Jesus.

So what’s your religion? Do we have the same God who loves us unconditionally? Do we share the same God who is the only religious leader in the world that came from Heaven to show us the way?

We could be different.  We could be the same.  Yet I think the most important part of understanding one another is when we both sit down and talk about it.  Why do you believe what you believe? Is it anchored in truth? Or is it merely speculation? Do you believe something just because the preacher says so? Or is it because you’ve spent long enough time to understand what it is?

Jesus once said that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).  If this were true, then the implications are serious.  It means that piling up one good works after another is futile.  Unless one has Jesus… it’s curtain call.  But is this true? Is Jesus’ claim reliable? I think we all have to spend long enough time to check it out.  

Do you believe that truth is the compass that guides our belief? I believe it is.  Unless truth is the anchor of one’s belief, his worldview will crumble into absurdity.

So what’s your religion? I don’t know if a hunger for truth is considered a religion… but if it is… then I have a religion after all!  We all believe in some things.  But are our beliefs anchored in truth? I ask myself that question all the time.  Sometimes the answer is no.  It’s grueling… it’s uncomfortable… yet it’s fun.  For in knowing the truth, I grow and become a better person.  In an ocean of lies there, truth is cast aside.  Behind every duplicity there, stands reality.  O, how fleeting the truth can be…  yet life is unlivable, until it finds its rest in thee.

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