Religion is Worthless

There are some great things going on in our church right now, but I am continually amazed at where the majority of the “activity” is taking place. Where I have personally witnessed and heard of stories of transformation and renewal are primarily coming from people that are not “church folk.” By church folk, I mean people that have been steeped in religion for the better part of their life. As I was thinking about one family in particular and how they are helping kids that are in trouble and God is using them in a big way, and they are not people that have grown up in the church. They have caused me to pause and realize that the longer you have been a Christian, the easier it is to fall into the trap of fruitless religion.

One of the smartest things Richard Dawkins and his cronies have done is lumped all religions into one group. They have almost singlehandedly made religion almost a dirty word in today’s culture, and probably for good reason. True worship looks up, out and in, and the minute you begin to only look inward is the second you find yourself involved in fruitless religion. The sad thing is, most religion in our world today is focused inward rather than on God and others. If you don’t believe me, just listen to yourself and others after you attend church in the next few weeks. “The sermon was just ok.” “That woman’s voice was way out of tune.” “It was too cold in there.” “The sound was too loud.” “Can you believe he said that?” “I wish they would sing more contemporary songs.” “It’s not my style.” “Her outfit was distracting.” “The person behind me was breathing so loud.” The majority of our responses to worship services focus on ourselves rather than on what God is doing amongst us.

The only problem I have with atheists lumping all religions together and saying they are all self-seeking is that Christianity is not supposed to be this way in its purest form. In fact, the whole Bible only contains the word “religion” four times. And two of those times come in James 1:26-27. It says, “26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

If you are like me and have been raised in the church (or any religious system, for that matter), then I need to tell you that you are in danger. People like us have got to constantly be on guard to keep from falling back into fruitless religion rather than true worship. If we’re not careful, we will easily get entangled in things that do not ultimately matter in the end. And as soon as this happens, we prove both atheists and the Bible right: impure religion is fruitless. True worship allows us to care for others and remains faultless before God. If when you look at your life you see no fruit, I would suggest the next time you gather for a religious meeting to shift your focus and turn it into true worship, and then see what happens.

6 thoughts on “Religion is Worthless”

  1. I was skeptical when I read the title of this post, but it was a good post.

    I would also add that our inward focus in church also presents itself in the positive, rather than simply the negative. How often do we choose a church because “the music is great” or “I like what the service does for me.” Even on a weekly basis we hear “the sermon really spoke to me,” as if it’s effectiveness hinges on how I feel about it.

  2. Michael,

    I agree almost 100% (more like 97%). The only reason I did not put it in the positive is because I do think true worship looks up, out AND in. So there is a thin line where it is good that worship moves us (hints the last part of the James passage). But somewhere we’ve turned that into consumerism, so that is why I agree with you. Thanks for the thoughts and for being my only reader outside of my wife. 🙂

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