It’s strange, but for a girl who grew up without knowing God, why would I be writing about the problem with religion?
The fact is, at a later time in life I decided to become a disciple of Yeshua(Jesus). At 24, everything I had ever thought I knew or needed had suddenly and forever been changed. My eyes were truly open to the truth about life and my purpose. When I say purpose I’m not talking about my career choices or marriage, although God plays a part in that as well, I’m talking about the purpose of every creature, every human. What is that purpose? simple; to have an intimate, life-changing, peace giving relationship with the One who created you, God.
For two years after my awakening, conversion, whatever you want to call it, I started going to church, a Pentecostal church at that. If you know anything about this denomination, you know they are very charismatic as well as very black & white. It’s either their way or the highway for the most part. not all. Now I should be clear before I go on, I am not here to judge or question anybody else’ choice of where they worship God or how, this is my story and my personal views & convictions after being a part of the Pentecostal church for over 20 years. So I do have a little experience.
The Foundation of Religion
Where did religion begin? well, thats a very long answer, I would need to write a book on that but I don’t need to because there are many books out there that will tell you. The more relevant question to the title of my blog is, how many religions are there and what is the problem. You see, God is not the problem, man is, that’s it. It’s really that simple. Religion is man made.
Here’s a quick look at the top 20:
- Christianity (2.1 billion)
- Islam (1.3 billion)
- Nonreligious (Secular/Agnostic/Atheist) (1.1 billion)
- Hinduism (900 million)
- Chinese traditional religion (394 million)
- Buddhism 376 million
- Primal-indigenous (300 million)
- African traditional and Diasporic (100 million)
- Sikhism (23 million)
- Juche (19 million)
- Spiritism (15 million)
- Judaism (14 million)
- Bahai (7 million)
- Jainism (4.2 million)
- Shinto (4 million)
- Cao Dai (4 million)
- Zoroastrianism (2.6 million)
- Tenrikyo (2 million)
- Neo-Paganism (1 million)
- Unitarian-Universalism (800,000)
There’s apparently 24 other religions. Man made organizations with God or god at the centre of them have been the catalyst for many many wars of the past and today. Sadly, it is not about to stop anytime soon either. The fact that the religions listed above are all man-made religions is the foundation for problems. Wherever man is, there is pain, brokenness, anger, hate, violence, jealousy, envy, immorality & a whole lot more. Man is fallen, I think everyone can agree on that but when we bring religion into the picture it just makes us more fallen, why?, because we tell the world that all we do is in the name of God. This is the problem with religion.
God is not a Religion
When we follow any religion, we are basically giving those in authority to indoctrinate us. Most of us who start going to a church for the first time at an older age would like to believe that as adults we can make rational, thoughtful and smart decisions. However, man made religion has a way of not giving you all the answers in the “manual” right away if at all. They only tell you what benefits their organization, which can be many things; money, volunteers, popularity, increase in membership etc. I call this manipulation and deception. I’ve only recently found out the last year that most of what the western christian church has taught is wrong and is full of paganism. It sounds bright & wonderful, like Christmas bells, hymns, mangers and concerts all the in the name of Jesus, yet, none of it has anything to do with Yeshua(by the way thats his real name, Jesus is the greek/english translation). Easter is also another lie(some call tradition)and if people did research they would find out that easter ties Yeshua to paganism and witchcraft.
The other problem is that we as people just take everything the church/organizations teach us as fact, why? because if these people say they represent God, than everything they must say and do is correct right? wrong. That was my problem, being new to religion I believed everything and trusted everyone because I had my own personal encounter with God alone for two years without people or church. So when I attended a church, I expected them to be God-like, and the God I got to know was kind, loving, forgiving, compassionate, honest, gentle, and more. I was naive in believing they would be good like God. That lead me down a path of very destructive thoughts and beliefs as I followed what many so called “Christians” said “was from God”. I understand that man is so fallen from God that it doesn’t matter how close to God you say you are, you are no better. Fact is, your fallen, I’m fallen and it is only Yeshua who makes us good before God. There is no hierarchy with humans & God, only Yeshua has any hierarchy.
Religion didn’t Save Me
After nearly 25 years of being a disciple of God,(I do not label myself a Christian, as this is a man made name), I decided to call it quits from the western church. It’s been almost two years since I attended one. I do not miss it, but I do miss some of the people. The interesting thing is many others are leaving the church for whatever reasons, I like to call it “a call to truth” a complete dependance upon God. If you ask me if I believe the bible, I would say there are many truths recorded in the bible but there are also many missing, for example the Maccabees book, why did they not put it in the KJV bible? Anyways, that’s another topic.
When I prayed that prayer 25 years ago, simply asking Yeshua to come into my life and takeover, my life truly transformed. Some things changed over night and some took years & much change is still needed, either way, I knew I had found my home in Gods heart, the Creator of the Universe. I knew I had finally found my hope in this life and the truth & no man, no religion, no evil will separate me from God. God is the reason I’m here today. He is the reason I have the family I have today. God is the reason I have forgiven many people in my life and chose not to retaliate(although some days I would like too). God was and is the reason I have eternal life, hope, peace, faith, it’s not the church, if it were I would have lost everything two years ago when I decided to leave. God saves, NOT RELIGION!
Wars, Separation, Hate, Pride
Recently during lockdown I had the opportunity to begin my research on the Western church and many of my findings were very disheartening and made me quite upset. To think all these years I tithed not only monetarily but also physically to the church with my time and energy, it gives me a sense of rejection and deceit. I learned so much of the Roman Catholic influence in the Western church, including pagan traditions and idolatry and I felt sick and fed up, not to mention the corruption, deceit, spiritual abuse amongst others.
Whenever you have an “aha” moment in your life you of course want to share it with everyone, BUT, warning….be careful who you share with because the responses you get back just might backfire in your face. You see, one thing I’ve learned these last several months is that you can’t make people see what they are not ready to see. Many people will never be ready because they are too tied up in man made doctrine and traditions. I have had a few close relationships become estranged simply for sharing what I’ve been learning or not agreeing to their traditional beliefs. And this is sadly what religion can do, it can cause separation of the closet of relationships, why? two reasons, pride(admitting deception) and the indoctrination of man using God and causing people to fear of believing anything else. It almost seems taboo to have a mind of your own and do your research. That’s where religious people lose their control and makes them quite uncomfortable. It means that we can no longer spiritualize every situation that happens and manipulate our way through life.
The Middle East is the biggest example of how religions cause wars, hate and separation. It’s the melting pot of religion. Depending what God you believe in, there is also much evidence that much of what’s happening in the Middle East is actually prophetic.
Keeping your Faith
In light of all I’ve learned recently, there were times I felt like giving up on God. I somehow tied Him to all the deception and problems with religion. But I realized quickly that God had absolutely nothing to do with all the circumstances I faced in the church nor does he have anything to do with the evil of humanity. God wanted me to see the truth, only because I was ready to hear it. So why would I separate myself from the One who has lead me to truth. God is good, religion is not. For many it is an escape, for some its an innocent desire to learn who God is and become better people, for others it’s a place to intimidate & control others birthed from their own insecurities. Like those who think they are on a higher or special spiritual hierarchy. For me it was honestly a place I hoped to grow closer to God & find purpose, yet I already had found my purpose without even stepping foot in a church. Those who encounter God in church do find him, don’t get me wrong, God is everywhere, and that’s my whole point, you don’t need religion or church to find God but if that’s where you do find God, than great, finding God is the best thing that can ever happen to someone, just do your own research in the bible & learn the truth through God first and the Holy Spirit, then men that you can trust.
Humanity needs God not Religion
Man is a sinner. Man is broken. Man is selfish. Man is not good without God.
There is not one, no. not one who is righteous, this is what the Word of God declares, a simple truth that doesn’t need much interpretation. You just have to look around you BUT you also need to look inside yourself. If we are all honest with ourselves we would admit we are far from good. Jealousy, anger, gossip, hate, drunkenness, lust, idolatry are just a few things we all battle everyday of our lives. Not one of us is free from sin, that is why we need Yeshua, the Son of God. That is why He died on a Cross, sound too simple? thats really the foundation for our salvation, Yeshua is salvation. It’s not how many times you attend church, it’s not believing what every teacher or person tells you, it’s not confession to a priest, it’s NOT BEING PERFECT! and it’s especially not belonging to a religion.
If we want to have an intimate relationship with the One who created us, we need to have Yeshua (Jesus) a part of that. Yeshua is not separate from God and God is not separate from Yeshua. The two are one along with the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot do good things, it’s impossible. I tried for years in the beginning of my life as a disciple of God and it doesn’t work. You and I are corrupt, it’s that simple. Only God can help you get through this life. Only He can transform you. Only He can give you the hope you need.
It is time we left religion behind and seek the heart of God through Yeshua not our good works or a religion.