Sunday, June 13, 2010

Just don't laugh!

Another in my series of what's wrong with religion.

I heard a comment this morning that stuck in my craw. The more I thought about it, the more that it bothered me. While I love it when a person's life is legitimately "changed" by God so that they become a seeker and follower of him, I hate it when someone is "convinced" that they need religion and equate that find with finding God.

The comment started innocently enough - he said that "God often tells us to do something but doesn't tell us what the consequences of our obedience will be." I can agree with this, and it makes sense. He then, however, followed that observation with "...because if He did, we wouldn't do it!"

While it's certainly true that God tells people to do things and many of them would indeed refuse to do those things if they knew the consequences, there is a deeper truth here that needs examining. If someone who identifies themselves as a faith follower of God would actually refuse to do something that God told them to do if they first knew the consequences, that clearly reveals that they have no faith after all. If they only obey to the extent that it pleases them to obey, then the question is, is that really obedience? It's akin to me asking my children to do their homework and them following through and pouring their heart into their homework in the subjects that they enjoy, while ignoring the subjects that they did not enjoy. It may be partial obedience, but it is not completing the task the way that it was assigned. It is indeed dis-obedience.

The condition of the heart is repeatedly what scriptures stress that we must change. With a pure heart, good works will follow, but the works themselves do not create a clean heart. This is surely why Jesus stated that someone who "hates his brother has already committed murder in his heart". It is usually the same religious spirit that I've already mentioned that will also tell someone that they shouldn't be laughing at filthy jokes. The way that I see it, if the jokes are indeed bad, and if a person would still find them funny, what's the use in repressing the laughter? Isn't laughter an outward expression of something that occurs on the inside? I, for one, am done feeling guilty because I listened to someone's off-colour joke and cracked a smile. There are many things that society has taken to label as taboo, dirty, or inappropriate that I don't think God has any issues with. Indeed, there are many people whom I have personally known who have been turned off from God because of the self-righteous attitude of a joke-hearer. Bottom line is that I am responsible for my thoughts and the consequences of thinking or acting upon them. If I know something is truly offensive to God, and I truly love him, I simly don't believe that I will find anything funny about it. It is my issue between myself and God.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, saying what appears to the be same thing over and over. But I strongly believe that what we are teaching as a path to God is really just a path to a religious spirit. Instead of teaching people to follow the law, we should be teaching people to know, love, and follow the God behind the law. If we truly are in love with the God of the universe, he will let us know when our behaviour is out of line.


  1. I was just telling my bible study class this morning that when I am talking to a non-believing student on the topic of Christianity and a relationship with Jesus Christ, I don't even touch "rules" or "change" - in fact, I would never tell a non-believer all the things they need to change about their life. Give me a break! I'm appalled by those who want to address outward behavior problems before addressing the heart. (We were reading the story of how Jesus heals the man by the pool BEFORE addressing his spiritual problems - he met the physical need FIRST in that case.) I believe those behavioral changes in a person will flow naturally out of a genuine love relationship with their Savior - through the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Once their heart condition is in the right place, then I can help uphold them to truth and walk with them through change. But I have never once felt in the entire 23 years that I have been a born-again Christian that I was just subject to a bunch of RULES. It has ALWAYS been about a relationship - and like you said, true obedience. I WANT to please God - because I love Him. And He has NEVER steered me in the wrong direction. (Turquoise hair and all... ha. But even that is a reflection of the freedom and creativity I have in Christ - the attitude of the heart is what matters, like you said.)

    That being said, I try to show grace to those who say such seemingly "religious" comments, knowing that usually their heart is in the right place. And knowing that I want the same grace when my mouth slips, too. :)

  2. Fair enough, Krissi. I'm not so concerned with "slips" because as you say, those are innocent enough. I'm more concerned with those who legitimately believe that which they are saying, and then teach it to others as part of Christianity. All that does is seek to confuse people, and confusion is not of God.

    I did not intend my topic to be judgemental of the person who made the comment, rather I was placing judgement on the content of what was being said and the prevalence of the frequency of how often I hear people in the church say things like that.