God Hates Religion
By Rod Nichols (Rod@RodNichols.com)
The title alone is enough to get a guy stoned by the religions folks. As a Pastor, I have seen the results of manís religion and have enough time in Godís Word to know that God hates what man has done to religion. As with just about everything, man has taken something that was pure and good and turned it into something that is self-serving and hurtful. In order to understand why God hates religion, we need to go back to the beginning; yes the very beginning.
In the beginning, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all met and decided to create a new world. They did so by speaking the earth into existence; by moving matter from the spiritual realm into the physical realm. They molded the matter and formed a paradise. Then they filled the paradise with all kinds of animals. Finally, the created mankind in their own image; oh, not their physical image because the triune God is purely spiritual, but in their spiritual image. Adam and Ever, the first humans, were spiritual beings in physical bodies.
Godís plan was for them to procreate and fill paradise with others of their kind; all of whom would be allowed to live forever. They were given the perfect diet of fruits and vegetables, so they would stay in great shape. After all, when you are naked all the time, you want to look great, right? God even told them they could have a little meat if they wanted. Then God gave them complete dominion over the new world and they could continue to rule forever, as long as they didnít eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Well, the first humans were no different than any of us, when someone tells us not to do something, we want to do it. They did and the rest is history. Sin and death entered the world and they were kicked out of paradise to toil in the dirt and endure painful childbirth.
Religion was pure in the beginning Ė it was to spend time with God and develop an intimate, loving relationship. Adam and Eve took long walks with God in the cool of the day. Their spirits were connected directly to God. They really knew God; the way a husband and wife get to know each other. Adam and Eve enjoyed God and God enjoyed them. That was what God meant religion to be.
Today, religion is nothing close to that. We refer to different religions Ė Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, etc. There are even divisions within each of the religions that are referred to as religions Ė Christianity is divided into four parts: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Anglican. Even within those parts are divisions or denominations. Mankind has taken something that was meant to be so simple and pure and has made it complicated and polluted. Itís easy to see why God hates religion.
The biggest reason that God hates religion is that manís religion is not focused on God; rather it is focused on man and manís needs. God did not create huge fancy churches and temples, He created the great outdoors. Yes, after man botched it bad and God had to kill off the cancer of man with a great flood, He did give instructions for building a temple, but that was because He knew that if man didnít have instructions He would just mess it up. However men donít read instructions and we botched it anyway.
God didnít want the huge Hollywood productions we see in some churches. Sure, these productions attract lots of people and churches can boast about their huge attendance, but in the hubbub, they forget about God and what He wants Ė intimate, loving relationship with His children.
God didnít want people to fight each other to prove that their religion was right or better. Yet, how many wars have been and continue to be fought in the name of religion? I can just hear God now, ďcanít you just get along and love each other?Ē
No, God hates manís religion. All He wants is for mankind to love Him and to love each other. In Godís relationship manual, the Bible, He told us to love each other as His Son Jesus had loved us. Jesus was willing to do whatever it took to save us; even to the point of dying for us. The Bible tells us that the only religion that God sees as pure and faultless is to ďlook after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.Ē (James 1:27 NIV) Do we see these things in manís religion? Yes, there are a few wonderful exceptions, however for the most part, religion is all about manís traditions, manís needs, and not about God.
It is the self-focused, hypocritical nature of religion that keeps people away from God. I turned away from God for over 20 years because of the hypocrisy I saw in the church. It saddens God to know that religion is turning His children away from Him! In its original design, religion should draw people into relationship with God, not turn them away.
So, what is the answer? Well, religion is not a church or temple or denomination or belief, it is a relationship with God, the creator of everything. The door is open for everyone to come and have religion/relationship with God. He created that open door through the Son, Jesus, who created the bridge that allows us to reach God over the chasm of our selfish, sinful nature. God is a loving Father who is waiting with open arms for His wayward children to come home. He is a Brother who longs to have a loving relationship with his siblings. He is a Spirit that is there to counsel, comfort, and guides us through the tribulations of life.
Fortunately, for all of us, God hates what mankind has done to religion, but still sees us as His children and loves us. He longs for us to come to Him and rekindle the religion that He created in the beginning, so that one day, in the near future, we can all go to spend eternity with Him in paradise.
Rod Nichols is an Associate Pastor at Truth and Grace Foursquare Church in Tacoma, WA. He is also a published author and accomplished public speaker and teacher. Rodís latest articles and books can be found at www.RodNichols.com. Rod is married with five children. He and his wife Karen live in beautiful Washington State. Rod is available as a freelance writer. If you'd like to hire him, e-mail Rod@RodNichols.com.
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