It’s never been about religion. Maybe you think that’s a brash statement. Please hear me out. That was my spontaneous response to an online post ranting on and on against religion. I had heard it all before. We’ve all heard it before: the much-parroted opinion that throughout human history religion has been the cause of wars. Why some ivory tower intellectuals can be almost fanatically religious in their anti-religion stand! “Religion is bad, so let’s exterminate it.” But please let me reiterate, before you shut down my right to my opinion: it’s never been about religion!
Now, my contention is not intended to be a direct response to the accusations that religious disagreements have led to wars . After all, who can argue that? Actually, I would agree! If we rolled the footage of human history it would reveal year after year, century after century of bloody conflicts and raging wars. And yes, we would find religion a key player. Jews and Moslems, Christians and Moslems, have been at war and still are at war, interestingly even over the City of Peace. The Roman Catholic Church has had its hand in numerous intrigues and is guilty of its bloody Inquisitions. The Irish Protestants and the Irish Catholics fought long and bitter against one another, generation after generation. Six million Jews and seven million Christians were exterminated by Hitler. In Sudan and Nigeria, Christians are slaughtered even now for their faith in Jesus Christ. The Hindus kill the Moslems and the Moslems kill the Hindus even now. And anyone who dares to speak against Islam or expose some of its excesses and its falsities is in danger of being blindfolded and beheaded. No wonder people are ranting and raving against religion!
Seeing so many wars fought in the name of those religions, many peace-niks turned naively to Buddhism, myself included. (See my testimony.) But although generally perceived by the West as a peaceful religion, it too has been right there in the midst of battles. But Westerners know little of Asian history, so at least there is a nice illusion of peace: everyone sitting around in lotus positions visualizing world peace. Nice. Except the Buddhists themselves, including their priests, have also had their barbarous skirmishes. Indeed, the martial arts with their weapons of warfare are integrally connected to Buddhist thought. It’s history.
Yes, we must admit that all over the globe, throughout man’s history, war has been waged in the name of religion. Religion can be downright evil.
So now I have all the nice religious people mad!
But it’s not about religion, dear people, and it never has been.
It’s about Almighty God!
To that, many nice religious, tolerant people will shout “Amen!” “Oh, yes. Isn’t it nice! We all believe in God. Let’s respect one another. After all, we all worship the same God.”
Ah, the sugar makes one almost want to partake of their “all-religions-are-created-equal” elixir. What nice, nice platitudes! Wake up! It’s not true! All religions are not created equal.
But, then again, many religions are strikingly alike. Many religions are man-made. Many religions enslave man. Many religions are utter nonsense. Many religions will slide you into hell.
I know many will now brand me as intolerant. And I’ll “agree quickly” with my adversary! (Matt 5:25) I am intolerant! I am intolerant of religions that wreak havoc on people’s lives! I see no cause to respect a system that would condemn half the population of the world, that is women, to a life of bondage behind a veil. I see no cause to respect a system that demeans whole groups of people as “untouchables”. I see no rhyme or reason to flagellating oneself till blood streams down one’s back. I see no mercy in encouraging little old ladies to crawl on their knees in order to bow before a pagan statue renamed “Maria”. I have no respect for any system of lies, including those that deny their Creator.
But I do see value in each human being created in the image of God. My love for God and my love for people demand that I be intolerant of systems that rob people of their humanity and offer a shabby substitute, rather than the real thing. I repeat: it’s never been about religion!
It’s about Almighty God! His name is Yahweh, the Great I AM, the Ever-Existent One.
It’s never been about religion to Almighty God! What God wants is a proper, even an intimate relationship with His people.
So you may “get religion”. I got Jesus Christ who is Immanuel, God with us! I got a Savior, a Healer, a Friend. I got Jesus who is Light, Love, and Life! I got a relationship with the Great I AM and I’m not trading that for any ol’ religion! So be it. Amen!