Why religion doesn’t work


I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with this post. Some thoughts have been swirling around inside my head all weekend, so this is an attempt to write them out.

My heart is burdened for the lost. Earlier this year, I wrote a post entitled The But Stops Here. You can read it if you like, but the main point is that we put too many conditions on our love for others. “I love you, but…”

We, as Christians, should be known for our love. Unfortunately, we are known more for what we stand against than Who we stand for. We are quick to point out the faults of others before we even show them love. We expect people to change before we are willing to love them. We love others when they are doing good, but when they do something to “hurt” us, we retract that love.

We can attend church every Sunday. We can start up home groups targeted to specific individuals. We can pray. We can read the Bible. We can quote all the required scriptures. We can feed the hungry. We can shelter the homeless. We can lift our hands in worship.

We can do all these things, but without love, it’s all a big fat zero. (1Cor 13)

Religion can do all the activities I just mentioned just to look good, check items off a list, or complete an outreach quota for the month. It’s just going through the motions of dead works.

The most sincere form of ministry and outreach will never be seen on the pages of Facebook. 

You can serve thousands of hours in the community, give millions to local ministries, and even hand out hundreds of hot meals. You can do these and saturate social media with your proof, but I don’t believe it has the same Kingdom implication as helping the homeless man on the corner by taking him to McDonald’s for a meal. And no one knows about it except him and God.

Why do we strive so hard for the approval of man? A ministry leader? A pastor? You will only receive their approval if you’re doing things to make them happy. I have experienced this first hand. That’s why I’m done trying to please man. I won’t be standing in front of any one man on judgement day. God created me in His image. Man didn’t. God sent Jesus to die on a Cross for me. Man didn’t. I will love others, but not try and please them.

Pastors and leaders are very important, but they are mere men. We can’t forget that. Jesus is our ultimate authority.

Our approval was determined long ago when God created us. Our value was sealed when the blood of Jesus ran down the old rugged cross to reconcile us once again to a Father who longed to have His children back.

We can’t avoid showing love to someone because they swear.

We can’t avoid showing love to someone because they use drugs.

We can’t avoid showing love to someone because they are gay.

We can’t avoid showing love to someone because they refuse to attend church.

We can’t avoid showing love to someone because they had an abortion.

Why doesn’t religion work? Because it is completely void of love.

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29 thoughts on “Why religion doesn’t work

  1. I agree with you I had not been anywhere near a church or even knew what a bible study was. Till I moved to the Barossa Valley. I met a Christian lady by chance and I was truly lost in a whirlwind of emotions. Because of a marriage breakdown. She has helped me get where I am and stable. Shown me a different walk in life than where I came from in life. I was 35 yrs in D.V. she showed me God not a religion. So well said.

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  2. I’ve enjoyed this first visit to your site, and since I’m now following you, I’ll be back to catch up on some of that which I missed. God bless, and I’ll read you soon.

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  3. Thank you for following my blog! I checked out this blog post, having an interest in religion (though I’m not religious myself).
    I agree that you shouldn’t do good things just to impress other people. Love is where it’s at. But the same time, (sorry if I’m oversimplifying here) I think the idea of doing something just to impress God isn’t much of a step further; it takes away the sincerity of the action if you’re only doing good things to ensure getting into Heaven and because God would want it. I think the purest form of ‘good’ in this world means taking action purely because you’re a compassionate human being, helping people for no reward, and making the world we live in a nicer place as we all have to try to survive and get along side-by-side. But if Christ works for you, and helps you do good things, then by all means continue as you are. Though I believe what we perceive to be ‘good’ and ‘moral’ mainly stems from society and living around other people, rather than from scriptures. Whether you’re a Christian, a Muslim, agnostic or atheist, we’ve all learned to know that helping a man in need is a nice thing to do.
    So yes, I do agree, religion as a whole doesn’t mean anything if there’s no love.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Very good thoughts here.

      Being a Christian, I’m not really to impress God, but rather I’m trying to imitate Him. Ephesians 5:1. I didn’t say a prayer, and now I’m waiting for a free bus ride to Heaven. That’s a huge problem with American Christianity today. Most think it’s a simple “sinners prayer”, and they’re good.

      Jesus said to follow Him. Die to self and follow. He paid much too high a price just for me to get into Heaven. It’s my privilege to bring Heaven to Earth by showing love. God is love. Jesus modeled the true Christian life when He was here on Earth as a man. That is to become love.

      Thanks again for the comments. I truly appreciate that.

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  4. For years, I have believed that certain people use religion and governmental laws as ways to control the general populace as well as increase wealth and power. Therefore, I do not have a particularly high opinion of most religions and governments. BUT I have a very high opinion of Spiritual people and true Christians, which (to me) have very little to do with organized religion.
    Wouldn’t our world be wonderful if everyone started following Christ’s teaching and treated others as they wished to be treated?

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  5. Loss is always devastating. I just buried a relative.

    But as an atheist, I don’t think he or anything of him remains. Do you believe me, exactly that though is most comforting. To know, that one day you are no more, as there also was an earlier time, when your were not yet.

    Did you feel fear and pain when you did not exist? Of course not.

    We must live now, love as much as we can, and be as happy as possible.

    And we can be sure, that the pain and sorrow will end some day for us all.

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  6. Religion has no place in the church. The Pharisees were religion. The Sadducees were religion. Jesus is love. However, with that being said, I also think some churches have taken Christianity to the other extreme of saccharin filled pulpits with no meat. Yes, Jesus loves everyone, but there is still sin to deal with. Just like a person can’t work their way into heaven, there has to be a turn, a repentance from the former things when deciding to follow Christ.

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    1. Thanks for the follow.
      I tried to give back commenting where I felt I could add something.

      I’m not a religious person but the nearest chance to believe in God would be reaching faith through Possitive Teology.
      “We can” and the concept of “ministers” and “pastors” including both concepts of doing things and actions for pleasing them actually follows the doctrine followed by those religious still politic groups of Pharisees and Sadducees whose difference with the doctrine by Jesus was that Pharisees and Sadducees were more worried about their own actions, by their own justification than by the “sanctity” which comes from God.
      Jesus instead had taught them to live like children do, without any other worries than the ones linked with God Kingdom: mainly sanctity and apostolate. Everyday is different and keeping the same thing everyday should not be a duty. Apostolates who work building that kingdom aren’t supposed to worry about it. God gives them bread when they need them, that’s the idea of Christian faith right?

      Nothing tires out humans more than uncertainty and fears: that’s why the world is full fortune tellers and other so-called magicians. God wants Christians and other humans without any worries. That freedom or sense of release is needed for humans to rest.. That’s why “rest in God” is said when someone is alive and “rest in peace” when one is dead.

      I don’t know what Christian or Catholic group you belong to but even teachings or ideas of God from the Old and New Testament are quite different.
      Anyways if religion doesn’t join politics then it’s just normal citizens using their own resources for doing things for others which makes taxes or other work that should be done by the State kinda unrelated to own faith. Isn’t it a way of self-restricting yourself by both religious rules, state rules and financially (taxes, church, good actions like giving or helping others)?

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  7. I am not a Christian despite being christened one ad attending Sunday School, now as an adult I have my own beliefs, and my own relationship with the deity I trust in, I find more and more of my friends feel the same way where they are more interested in their personal relationships with God than being part of organised religions who at times seem self serving and interested in preserving a power relationship rather than one that actually teaches caring about their fellow man and not putting themselves in God’s place by passing judgement. The worst culprit is of course the catholic church, if you consider the wealth hoarded within the Vatican no person on this planet need go hungry or homeless, but other ‘religions’ are just as bad.

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  8. Definitely opened my mind up to a completely new perspective. I do disagree with you on a few points though. The fact that man does what he does to please other people does not mean that religion is void of love, contrary to that, religion is all about love, it’s just man that’s contaminated with hate, greed and bitterness. We- the product of this awful generation- now live in a world where if something happens but does not show up somewhere on social media, it simply does not exist; people want to “see it to believe it”. And, so i believe in doing things for the sake of oneself, meaning if i want to help the homeless man across the street, i will. And hopefully he will appreciate that help and accept it, making me feel fulfilled in return.

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  9. I agree a relationship always wins. It takes two people to take action. Love, live and let God be part of your life. Live in love and soon your life will be strong and true. If you are looking for someone to love, you will learn the basics from a God who cares. ❤

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  10. So well said Chris. I ask the question to other as to why the unchristian feel the way they do about so many professing Christian. You nailed it. Lack of real true love. Jesus said if you have no sin throw the first stone. Showing love and not condemnation will win hearts. Thanks for your great post.

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  11. Wonderful post Chris! I have believed for a long time that Christianity is Not a religion, it’s a personal, real and vital relationship with God and Jesus Christ. But we Christians (myself included) have often made it or turned it into a religion or religious activity. Religion and my own past behavior has sometimes, made me feel like saying to myself, “Self. I would’nt go to church with you even if you paid me!!” 🙂 We need to love ourselves too!

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  12. Reblogged this on Darien R. Tan and commented:
    Superb blogpost which contains some of the things that I’d thought about before, but could never think of a way to put in words.

    Love means trust.
    Loving means authenticity.
    Love and not judge.

    I think that this is what’s lacking in churches nowadays, especially in the church I attend.
    I was just thinking about why some churches such as Elevation Church, can have such a strong atmosphere of worship and freedom, but not ours.
    Sure, the strong presence of God can always be felt in church camps. And the pastors always claim that that’s because we’re being ‘cut off’ from the world during those periods.
    Perhaps they’re right. Or perhaps there’s a deeper meaning to being ‘cut off from the world’.
    Maybe it’s only when we’re ‘cut off’ from our daily routines (e.g. Studying, working etc) do we start to love God and the people around us more.
    Maybe only then, do we start to let go of the things that are holding us back from doing so.
    Maybe other churches have something that we don’t — Love.

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  13. Spot on…it all starts with “Love” ! I weary of the churches that get lost in “acts” “deeds” “words” and they don’t allow the Holy Spirit to move and guide them. The ultimate love of his sacrifice gets lost in man made rhetoric…much like the Pharisees Jesus dealt with. Thank you!!

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  14. Where does one put a man/woman relationship in this equation? Say, you are single and find a woman and she doesn’t love you. Do you persist hoping that the person would have a change of heart?
    Yes, I know I guess this post is not about that sort of relationship, but still one wonders …

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  15. this is so true, and we are in a disagreement with my mom because I don’t see the point of going to church and praise God with people who do not embrace people who do not fall within their ‘accepted’ standards of doing things. this is my favourite post.

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