Somebody I know (who is entirely well- intention-ed I’m sure) posted a picture on my Facebook feed. It was one of those motivational-esque meme-like images. Candles illuminating the dark with cursive writing over the image that said: Christianity is not a religion… It is a relationship with God.
Here’s how I responded (saying in my head “here’s the sitch Melody Bostic”)
“while the second half of that statement is true… the first half is not. Christianity is a religion, in fact its an institutionalized- organized- religion. The word religion is not a bad word- it comes from the Latin “religio” which in turn can be broken down to re + ligio… it essentially means to repeatedly perform a bonding activity. So in the end– the word religion embodies the relational aspect of Christianity… relationship with God, and relationship with the people around you. In a way the statements contradict each other: if the first half is true, the second half can’t be.”
Some might try to jump and say “but wait, couldn’t someone have a relationship with God without the ritualized activity” … and this is a common misconceived argument. The “spiritual but not religious” debate if you will. I have already thought of this though, so hold on to your hats- because you’re about to be blown away.
You see above how I broke down the word religion into it’s parts… well you can do the same thing with the word relationship. And we will assume for a moment that if you call yourself “spiritual” that you have something that you might call a “relationship” with a supernatural entity- whether it be emotional, mental, physical, etc.
You might also be able to see that in fact the words “religion” and “relationship” begin with the same two letters (alright yes the first three are all the same but we’re gonna focus on the first two). RE as in return, redo, reconcile, religion, relationship, re-acclimate, reacquainted, reaction, and the list goes on and on and on… get a dictionary, go to the section where the words beginning with re start… and read (ha didn’t even plan that… read)
Re means to do something again… it is where we get repeat from (another re word, would you look at that). So… if you have a relationship with God– it means you have to turn to God (or should I say return) over and over and over again. Which means even if you are not bonding yourself to other people, even if you describe it as an individual faith, you are bonding yourself to God through your repeatedly turning to Him. Re + ligio… religion. It is etymologically impossible for you to be spiritual but not religious.
Religion is not a bad word, stop treating it like one. Begin to recognize that it is (certain, not all) people that turn you away. Don’t blame humanity on God- it’s not His fault.
never the less… religion is not a bad word