What’s wrong with Religion?

 picture courtesy of interfaith.foolmoon.com

Choosing the right religion these days almost feels like walking through a flea market – it’s enough to drive you crazy. It’s like hearing from more than ten vendors simultaneously as they recite their respective lines to persuade you to buy their items. They entice you with different offers, but when the talking stops and the decision-making starts, you soon realize that they are all selling the same thing!

Now, I’m not trying to mock religion here. There’s no point in doing so, anyway. But to be honest, I think the mocking goes the other way around. It’s these so-called spiritual, God-anointed ministers who are making fools out of us. They think we don’t know the difference between a church and a circus. Try to open your televisions and you’ll see what I mean.

Our religion, before we had the chance to choose it, had most likely chosen us already at birth. Perhaps it is true that we have the freedom to change our minds later on when we become more mature to make our own decisions, but it is almost certain that our upbringing as a child, to a great extent, would influence our future choices. Let us also not forget that religion is intertwined with culture, which shapes human thinking and behavior.

Theoretically, if every religion could perfectly satisfy the spiritual needs of their respective members, then there is no way that we can put one religion above the other. But even if that be the case, it is still impossible to have a world where different religions can peacefully coexist. A religion is always presumed to be founded on truth, and having two or more versions of “truth” is not acceptable. Eventually, a debate as to which religion is the true one will take place sooner or later.

So again, we go back to where we started.

Choosing the right religion is very difficult especially since “choosing the right faith,” for most people, would mean “departing from their original faith.” The decision to change one's belief can bring horrible consequences like rejection, persecution, and alienation.

Afterwards, when we already made up our minds on what to believe in, can we say to ourselves that it is worth the trouble? Or are we going to find ourselves "walking through the flea market,” where after going through all that hardship and confusion, we would be given the same object that we wanted to get rid-off with in the first place?

Perhaps you have already found out what I was trying to say all along.

No matter how we look at it, all of this world's religions belong to only one category. While it is true that they have their own doctrines and call their God (or gods) with different names, their paths to heaven or paradise are still one and the same. All religions teach that God can be reached by an accumulation of noble deeds.

There is really nothing wrong about trying to please God, only that salvation is about God's conditions and not ours. We may assert that different actions produce different results, but deeds alone cannot remove our sinful nature. Only a Saviour can do that. Only Jesus Christ can.

A similar situation can be found in 1 Samuel 15:22-23, when Samuel rebuked Saul for attempting to cover up his disobedience to God by offering sacrifices. Samuel said:

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king."

So, if you will be given a choice between trusting your own actions and entrusting yourself to someone who can save you, which way will you go?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9)

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