Religion. It’s one of the most controversial topics of all time. While it is true that some people are religious about watching their favorite football team every Sunday, religion in general is used to describe a person’s devotion to the church they attend every week on the same day.
Although attending church can be a source of comfort for many people, it can lead to negative consequences. Religion has torn apart picture-perfect families based on the different interpretations of the “rules.” It is often the root of terrorist attacks, and it’s even been known to start wars.
By definition, religion means to tie, fasten or bind. It’s human nature for people to search for anchors, balance and clarity; however, when left to the devices of some power-hungry, confused or love-starved leaders, seekers can get bound by man-made laws that lead them astray from the essence of life: love. And while you may already have a laundry list of causes to either embrace or avoid religion, here are three more reasons you may not need a religion after all.
1. God is love, and love knows no fear.
When you find yourself tied to something, fear can’t help but be present. Think of the dog tied to a tree all day in the mid-summer heat of Texas. Or the way you’re attached to your conference call and can’t find a way to take that much-needed lunch break. Being bound to a religion is no different when it keeps you from living up to your full potential. If it’s holding you back from loving yourself or others unconditionally, binding everyone to certain judgments and limitations, then it’s opposing the essence of God, which nearly every religion interprets as love. Love sees everything in one color, is no respecter of persons, and doesn’t check bank accounts. It casts out fear and encourages you to become the best version of yourself–making everyone else around you desire to do the same.
2. Religion can become a god thing.
As the saying goes, “When a good thing become a god thing, it’s a bad thing.” Many times folks end up searching for their identity in religion rather than in the essence of the Creator. They try to earn their way into Heaven by following set rules, alienating those who don’t and losing themselves in the process. While learning about the essence of God is a good thing, pursuing perfectionism can easily become a god thing and therefore turn into a bad thing. Seeking the heart of God rather than rules of religion is the safest way to go about spirituality since everything comes down to the cycle of giving and receiving love.
3. Religion can keep you comfortable.
There are countless numbers of churches worldwide, and the majority of them talk the talk but end up limping along when it comes to walking the walk. While they may teach the necessary feel good stuff that helps move you from a mindset of lack into a space of hope and acceptance, you eventually need to be uncomfortable in order to grow in your faith and in your purpose. Staying comfortable equals staying stuck and fosters the “woe is me” mentality. If you’re not getting fidgety and craving more out of each day than just surviving, then you’re fastened to an old way of thinking that keeps you rooted in fear. In order to fulfill your destiny–and I know you have one!–you must act as the baby chicken acts and peck your way out of your shell. Peck through the past and explode into the here and now. Start by taking at just one step in the direction of your passion and then another. If religion is keeping you satisfied playing small and dreaming none, you might need to ditch the religion, take a leap of faith and trust the bridge to your passion will appear as you trust more and fear less.