Why I Don’t Have “Religion”

When I was in High School, church activities consumed my life. I had this fire in my heart that spurred me to attend every service; Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday Evenings, and often even more times than that! I was a part of everything, and I felt like an essential thread in my community of believers.

And then I entered college. And that thread was snapped.

All of a sudden, I felt as though I were on the outside looking in; I was no longer encouraged to go to youth group; I was advised to find a college group elsewhere; activities that I once had fearlessly enrolled in now caused me to hesitate as I held my pen over the application papers.

In short, I felt alone, and that fire in my heart that had once consumed me began to flicker and blow smoke.

It’s been a long road to finding true, heartwarming fellowship again. It’s not that my Brothers and Sisters in Christ shunned me or anything like that; I think it was the fact that I, being the only college student at my church, had no college group readily accessible, which made me feel isolated and distant from the whirlwind of high school activities flying by me. It was a self-induced shame that I felt because, while all of my friends in my age group went to 4-Year Universities for their freshmen year, I remained in the same place. I felt as though I were running, but not making any progress, any movement.

I’m now in a very loving and welcoming group who keep in constant contact with me and its other members. But the way they treat each other is different than how my old Youth group did; instead of behaving around each other as friends, it has a very familial atmosphere about it.

Now to refer to the title. I am a Christian. I do love the Lord. “Why,” you may ask. “Do you say you don’t have religion?”

I say this because religion isn’t Jesus, it’s a conceived notion in society today of a society of hob-nobbers and rules, of people who judge and exalt themselves. And that’s what I don’t have; what I do have is Jesus.

Christianity isn’t about following rituals or rules. When most people hear the word “religion”, they immediately think, “A list of things people have to do in order to get to Heaven,” or “Things I must do to be a good person,” or, even worse, “a cult of people who think they’re better than everyone else and try to force their beliefs on society.”

If that’s what religion is, then no wonder so many people have left the church.

Christianity isn’t about following rituals or rules. This isn’t a cult. This isn’t a club. It’s a family. We don’t refer to each other as Brothers and Sisters just for the heck of it. It’s not a title or a sign of club membership; it’s a sign of affection.

We aren’t merely just friends. We are family. We all have a common Father who adores us and whom we adore, and not just for what we can get out of it.

When you run up to your dad, do you say “I love you” while also twisting his arm to try and get something you want? I mean, sure, we all do that occasionally (My dad would say that I do this way too much). But there’s a special place in your heart for your father, your mother, a love deeper than a material desire. That’s what God is for us: he’s our Father.

When I’m with my college group, I feel the same way for them as I feel for my family. I feel relaxed around them, like I don’t have to put up a front. We can talk about religion and politics without freaking out over political correctness or getting all defensive. When I’m with my church and talking with my friends, I feel connected to them.

Of course, there are things in Christianity that you should or should not do, but they are not exclusive to Christianity. Aren’t children told constantly to “treat others as you would like to be treated” and to be loving and friendly to everyone, despite their differences? Hello, these originated in Christ! These are things we should do not because we are told to do it, but because it’s the right thing to do anyways! Society, however, has become increasingly liberal, accepting lifestyles and practices that would have caused nationwide scandals not even a hundred years ago, such as sex before marriage, teenage pregnancy, abortion, and homosexuality. Not to say that Christians should shun people that do these things – we are loving of everyone, after all – but that we should try to restrain ourselves from engaging in the same practices.

The sad thing is, many Christians do feel as though, since they don’t do these things, they are better than those who do; many times, this is a subconscious assertion, but it can cause that perception of “hob-nob” Christians in others.

I don’t have a ritualistic religion; I have a family of Christians. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.

3 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Have “Religion”

  1. Hey, I came across your post when I was doing some ressearch for an essay. I, like you, am a devoted Christian. I’m part of the youth group of my church, I attend services 4 times a week (including 3 in the weekends) and do my best to be the best I can be. However, something really bothered me in your post: “Society, however, has become increasingly liberal, accepting lifestyles and practices that would have caused nationwide scandals not even a hundred years ago, such as sex before marriage, teenage pregnancy, abortion, and homosexuality”. My father and my mother physically and emotionally abused me throughout all of my middle school years and throughout both freshmen and sophomore year. My mother used to tell me every single day how I was the reason she lost her job, how she used to have a life before she had me. My father would beat me if I got a B in any class. It was in church that I found light, my father only allowed me to go out if I was going to church, and, it was in my sophomore year that this new girl entered our Youth Group. We became best friends quickly, and, one night, after my dad threatned to cut me with broken glass I ran to her house and told her what was going on. We told her parents and they became my real life angels. They took me to the police and stood by me as I pressed charges against my parents and they took care of me until I turned 18, on the beggining of my senior year. When I turned 18, Karen (their daughter) surprised me, she gave me all of the money she had been saving from her babysitting job and told me to rent an apartment so I had somewhere to live until I went to college. So I did it. A few weeks later I threw them a surprise party to thank for everything they had done for me. On that night I told Karen I was in love with her. And once again she surprised me, by saying she felt the same. I am now a sophomore in college, Karen and I are still together and more in love than never. I feel terrible when I see people posting stuff about how christians condemn homosexuality, because it makes me feel less christian. God is all about love, you shouldn’t discriminate against love. God and Karen helped me survive the worse years of my life. You seem like a really nice, understanding girl (besides I’ve seen you read Clockwork Princess, do you think Magnus is a bad person then?), I just wish you wouldn’t say things like this.

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    1. Dear Lara, thank you so much for addressing this. I’m so sorry for what you went through during your developing years, I know that I cannot even imagine the stress and struggle that accompanied your trials. I do not judge you for your choices, because God is the Ultimate Judge and it is not up to me to make discriminatory decisions against people for choices in their life. I love you as a Sister in Christ. However, I am going to stick by my views that homosexuality is wrong. It is clearly outlined in the Bible in multiple places that God does not approve of the practice. As it says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” And again in 1 Corinthians 7:2: “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” And lastly, “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” There are many other verses in Scripture that continue to denounce homosexuality, such as 1 Timothy 1:10-11, Mark 10:6-9, and Romans 1:27. Note that I do not mention verses from the Old Testament, as many liberal activists do to discredit the Bible, for those laws were replaced by those of the New Testament. That is why we do not stone homosexuals and sexually-immoral folks today; because Jesus taught love, though not necessarily acceptance.
      This is not only my own opinion, but that of God. Many people choose to accept only parts of Scripture as truth, but by that logic, the entire Word of God is a sham, for do we not claim that the Bible is God’s spoken word? For further affirmation, please refer to the attached article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/my-train-wreck-conversion.html?paging=off . This was written by a woman who not only was a leftist liberal, but who also engaged in homosexual activity. I think that you’ll find it enlightening. Again, I love you with all of the love of Christ, and I pray for you. I want to make sure that there’s no doubt that I know that I sin, too. I do things daily that I am irrevocably ashamed of, things that I am too afraid to speak of to anyone. Yet I know that the power of Christ cleanses me and that He continues to forgive me, no matter how many times I relapse into the same sinful patterns. I also want to make it clear that I do not judge you; I am truly sorry for how your life has been thus far. Have you seen that new movie yet, God’s Not Dead? In it, there is a very powerful statement made by the elderly mother that resounded strongly with me: “Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God; Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to leave. The door’s wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late.” I know that you haven’t been living in comfort in the past, but from my understanding, you are in perfect comfort now, in love and in the church.

      Thanks again for your comment and I pray that God leads you according to His perfect will, and that you have the strength to follow Him.

      ❤ Kristin

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  2. Thank you for your kind words Kristin. I understand your position, it upsets me but I do. I believe that God sent Karen to be my guardian angel, seeing as she was the first person I ever met to show me any kind of love. I truly hope one day society will be more accepting of “my kind”, but until then I find comfort in knowing that, while people may not respect my decision, they respect me. I hope you have a blessed life Kristin

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