Friday, September 07, 2007

How religion draws us away from God

Alan Hirsch, missional leader and author of The Forgotten Ways, has an excellent post in which he cites Paul Minear, author of Eyes of Faith.

Hirsch explains how we seek to escape the overarching lordship of Christ in all of our lives, including religion. Hirsch comments on this, quoting Minear:

"We try to escape God by attempting to '...preserve mementoes of God’s former visits in ritual and law, to idolize these, to substitute legal observance and cultic sacrifice for ‘knowledge of God…The religious person is also inclined to speak of God in the third person, albeit with apparent reverence, and thus to remove himself from the magnetic field of divine compulsions. Man can forget God in the very act of speaking of him.' Religion is one of the biggest cop-outs known to the human. It objectifies God and thus seeks to control him."

It is much easier to follow a rule than to love one's enemies or pursue justice, mercy, and the greater matters of the law. It makes one feel secure, righteous, even while pursuing an unrighteous life. The evidence of this is overwhelming, particularly in the way that people may deal with doctrinal disagreements. In following "religion" (human rules and conclusions), many resort to mean-spiritedness, entrapment, destruction of unity, gossip, and more to destroy their "opponents" (fellow Christians), with behavior that shows they believe the ends justify the means.

This is a danger that we all face in "religion." We should always check ourselves and make sure that pursuing justice and mercy are our primary acts of "religion," not any minor point of doctrine or personal preference.

Do you think that "religion" can draw us away from God?

Here is a link to Minear's book. Thanks, Alan, for the reference.