Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christ or religion?

"No...No... I don't need religion. Religion has often been the source of the world's troubles. That's the last thing I'd need!"

I often hear these words when someone shares the gospel with an atheist or agnostic. Do we Christians preach a 'religion' when we share the gospel? I for one would certainly not preach a religion to any person. I came out of a religious system, and It would not be right to burden someone with what I myself was not able to bear. However the most important question for a Christian in this issue remains: "Did Christ preach a religion?"

Religion often consist of rituals and traditions. When we look back on Christ's earthly life do we see him teaching his disciples to adhere to any sort of ritual? We know for sure that Christ was heavily opposed to the traditions and superstitions of his day. On many instances, Christ was furious at those teaching traditions as God's commandments. One such incident was when Jesus and his disciples ate with unwashed hands in the presence of the Pharisees.

"Why do you break our tradition of washing the hands before eating?" The self-righteous Pharisees questioned Jesus. Jesus' reply wasn't exactly polite (see Matt. 15:3-9). Later he explained to Peter,

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” (Matthew 15:17-20 NIV)

What we can know for sure is that Christ wasn't interested in bringing a new religion for the masses. He wasn't interested in styling himself as some sort of rule-maker or anything like that. He was interested in the transformation of human lives. He was interested in the changing of human hearts, and bringing about a new creation not born of corrupt human ideals but of God.

Jesus also said,

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3 NIV)

What does a child know about religion? When I was a child all I knew was that my dad was my hero and I wanted to be like him. It was when I started growing up that I found out about religion. And with religion came walls of enmity between me, a Hindu, and my friends, Muslims and other non-Hindus. It took a loving and compassionate Christ to tear down these walls built by religion.

So what did Christ preach if he didn't preach religion? Quite simple, he preached the love and compassion of God - the good news. He urged all to enter into an undying relationship of love with God. "Remain in me," said Christ, "and I will remain in you." He demonstrated his own love for us on the cross, by dying for us.


  1. These words of Christ empower me. I feel Him. Thank you for being humbled to receive.

  2. Yes, indeed, Christ, our Lord did not start a new religion. He reunited us with our Creator, our Father!
    Way to go brother! May our God bless you as you strive to do His will. Amen!