When I talk to people about the downfalls of organized religion, I often find myself in the company of people who have their own anitreligion religion. If that makes sense… I’m talking about people who create their identity, form their own language, and get really intense about being antireligious purists and rejecting organized religion. I am someone who will move when it feels honest to move. I don’t feel the obligation to perform procedural behavior just because it’s a Christian behavioral norm, so that makes me look a little more liberal than I actually am. It also, strangely, makes me look more religious than I actually am.
I recognize and even respect that there is an important role in the sense of community that people find when they go to church. As an introvert, I spaz out a little at the thought of obligated social interaction. Especially when it pertains to something so vulnerable and, consequently, emotionally charged as faith and spirituality. I acknowledge the need for the organization, especially for people who don’t necessarily read their Bible on their own. I’m not saying that all people who go to church don’t actually read their Bible. I’m positive there are lots out there. But, sadly, far too many don’t.
It’s like the people who are most politically vocal around major elections don’t even vote when the election day arrives. Being religiously vocal around religious topics is no guarantee that the person talking actually reads his or her Bible. It’s strange to hear people bring up the sins of others to neutralize or diminish their own. They wouldn’t need Jesus if that logic worked. It’s unsettling to hear someone talk about the grace of Jesus in the context of their obviously sinful lifestyle. The grace of Jesus doesn’t allow sin, it changes the identity of the sinner. The people who claim to be Christians, but deny Him in everything else are both in the church building every single Sunday and out of it. Both butcher the words of people who are on their own journey toward Truth and make every path look like a path full of hypocrites.
Going to church doesn’t make a person a Christian. It’s not even a criteria. However, in some countries and cultures, it’s a hard fought gift. In others it’s a right of passage. For many, it’s a break from the rest of their lives, and for others it’s their job. I don’t downplay the experience because of what it means to so many people. The worship and the camaraderie are two of the highlights I hear people talk about the most. When you refrain from the pressure to perform and when you resist the trap to conform, don’t make antireligion your religion. If the over production of the sacred is what keeps you from standing near the fog machine, then accept that within yourself without judging someone else’s love for the entertainment. Don’t bad mouth people just because their journey looks different than yours. Antireligion is not better than religion and religion is not better than anti. However, freedom is better than any of it because that’s what Jesus won. Your choice is your freedom, just like their’s is their’s.