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Be aware or beware, your choice, that this subject may wind up being rather lengthy and the subject is of a sensitive nature. If it starts to get a bit lengthy, I may decide to break it up into two parts- Religion part 1 and part 2. I’ll decide while writing, and also where to cut it off as part 1. As far as being a sensitive subject, it is what it is; and it’s mostly my viewpoint. So don’t get tore up about any group or congregation or religion. I do welcome comments; constructive criticism or supportive posts. Please feel free to do so, but leave out any coarse language (perverse sounding, cursing, and swearing) as it’s my right to disallow it on my blog, plus it shows a lack of vocabulary and learning on your part. I don’t express myself to others in such a way, whether it’s writing or talking to a group of friends. And this is my blog, after all. Hang on, it may get a little bumpy.
What is your religion? Believe it or not everyone has at least one. Many have two or more. Wikipedia defines ‘religion’ partially as ‘a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature’’. Given this information, religion doesn’t have to be about a ‘Supreme Being’ such as The Father, Jehovah, Yah-Weh, or Yahuah, all being the same (God) but part of a trio/trinity. With all this, so far, in mind, we will assume that most people’s religion does pertain to God. But just saying ‘God’, He can be the before mentioned ‘YahWeh’, America’s and Israel’s God of worship, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, Allah or it can refer to Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism or Sikhism, India’s leading four religions. The largest populations of the world will lay claim to one or more of these mentioned as their religion, as a whole.
Now Christianity is spreading into many regions of the world that it couldn’t get to just twenty years ago, because of and via the Internet and satellite TV. This has opened many doors in countries for missionaries of more than a few religions, with Christianity undeniably the leader. Americaclaims that 70 – 80 percent of its population is Christian. I disagree totally. For one, Catholicism is counted along with Evangelicals in these censuses. The Catholics freely proclaim that Catholicism is a religion. Religion versus a relationship. Their works save them, in their beliefs, although my Bible says differently. I got saved by accepting Jesus as my Saviour. That His sacrifice on the cross paid the price; did away with animal sacrifice, which was imperfect and put the person in a position where he/she had to work out his/her salvation; it was really hard to live the life that was good enough to please God. Jesus took on all our sins and gave us a way to talk to God. By my Bible, we are ‘saved by grace (of God) through faith’. Faith, as being the main ingredient of the relationship. My relationship with the Father is like many who are Christians; not like the majority who go through the motions of going to church, then don’t think of or acknowledge the Father until the next ritual visit to church. Some of these people claim that they have relationships, but it’s just lip service and they are actually using their ritual of church going to show everyone that they are legit. Some even do community service; again some just for the show of being a good Christian.
That brings us to the Catholics who desire to be counted among the righteous or saved people, the Christians, but they do too many things that are in opposition to God’s Word, the Bible. They practice idol worship as they pray while kneeling to a statue. They are entangled (like most of the main religions) in a web of having to WORK out their salvation. They call their pastors and evangelists, father each one. Unlike the pastors/ bishops of Christianity, the fathers are priests; as in the priests before Jesus came who saw to the worship at the tabernacles and the sacrifices of animals. Catholics pray to and have idolic statues of Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother. And though Mary had other children, sons and daughters, the Catholics claim (contrary to my Bible) that Mary was an immaculate virgin. To them, Mary is the ultimate one, the one that tells God what to do, being Jesus is God in the flesh (which He is), and being God’s mother; so they pray and worship Mary- idolatry. I think I’ll be generous and say that 30% of Americans are Christians, if only by title, and 30% Catholics, again, if only by title. That leaves about half of theUnited Statesbeing agnostic or atheist or good ole boys and girls. The latter group believe there is a God, the Father, and believe that Jesus is God’s Son, though they don’t practice any religion but maybe partying, good-timing. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and biking could be their religion. Maybe Facebook qualifies as a religion to many; and many it is. Let’s not leave out athletics; those who work out ritualistically or play major league sports- many of these worship the human body so that’s their religion, or one of them. Sex, drugs and rock and roll is definitely a religion that berates and blasphemes God in their words and actions. Wrestling, Nascar fans- could it be that these are their relative religions?
Sad to say, there are people that worship their family members- especially their children. As they are perfect in the parents’ eyes, it becomes idolatry and therefore it’s the parents’ religions until the child grows up and half the time or more, becomes a trouble-maker or takes up drugs as their favorite pastime. Then depression becomes the religion choice of many, with the grown child ruling over the parent; now the parent is not so happy with the god that Mama and Daddy made.
As anyone can see, religions don’t have to be about one worshipping God or a god. It can be worshipping a thing, a way of life, something that would take the place of going to worship, or anything that one can think very highly of. It could be sports for some, a hobby for others, or any kind of activity that one practices on a regular basis- a ritual if you will. That is the key, most times/ ritual/regular duty. The practicing on a regular basis something that one thinks a whole lot of; or better still and more accurately- something that a person cannot live without. Religion for some can be shopping, gambling, involvement with a gang, or some regular meeting to party with friends. I know an individual that cannot go to his lake cabin without bringing his ‘party buds’ with him, male and female. Getting tore up is his religion with them. He thinks that being a ‘good person’ will get him to heaven. I disagree, but I don’t claim to have God and Jesus as my religion. I have a relationship. Now, I may have another activity that some would consider my religion, such as fishing; but it does not take the place of my Father, God, Yah-Weh that dwells above. My God, my Saviour Jesus Christ are never far from my mind. When I catch a nice fish, or just a fish, I usually say, “Thank you, Lord”; And not jokingly, I mean it. I recently hit a small to medium size deer with my Trail Blazer at about 45 MPH, pitched the animal, one of God’s creatures, about 100 feet through the air to the other side of the road, in the ditch. And though I used to hunt and kill deer, I apologized to my Father above for killing one of his, unnecessarily. Seriously. It was probably one that I feed with corn, pretty regularly.
I guess I’ll call it quits on this subject for the time being. I may call this post part 2 later, as I know I have much more to say and maybe I’ll get some comments on this one. Maybe I’ll chase this subject of religion- something for everyone because everyone has, at least, one. For now, I’m done- my wife’s just got home and she can’t seem to stop talking. May –
24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace-