There are many good things done in the name of religion. And, there are many bad things done in the name of religion. Quite honestly, history shows us there is more in the second column than the first.
“Religion” points to a god or a deity, but it centers around man. It is man’s attempt to reach up to God and earn something with God. It will always be based on what man should do. It will almost always edify man. It will always consist of rules that man has devised or re-interpreted. And people will use it to abuse others.
Christianity confronts this in two ways:
First, while religion is man reaching up to God, Christianity is God reaching down to man. There is a place for pride and judgment in religion because it centers around or includes man’s performance. Man can be at different levels. But there is no basis for pride or judgment in Christianity because it is based on Christ’s performance. We are all on the same level.
The second guard Christianity offers against religious abuse is the component of love. God’s love flows through us. Christ’s Spirit – living in us, loves through us. As he is present in our hearts, his love is present in our hearts.
What is the application for us? Don’t let your Christianity become a religion.