Perhaps the title of the last two posts was misleading. But those who know me well know that I like to spark a little bit of controversy. Plus “Religion leads to death” just doesn’t have the same eye-catching quality.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the life that Christ lived here on earth. In this week’s sermon at Liquid Church, Pastor Tim touched on the point that grace is a scandalous embrace. Grace is such that it embraces those who seemingly shouldn’t have access to it. This was Christ’s life exemplified. He embraced the people who shouldn’t have been embraced–the insurrectionists, the tax collectors, the prostitutes.
And his enemies? The religious leaders. The blind followers of a dogma they created in order to make themselves feel good about themselves. They created laws governing the Sabbath, making sure to keep every single one of them. . . and pointing out the fact that the sinners were completely unable to follow these rules. Christ slammed these pious Torah-thumpers with a barrage of truths. These men lied to themselves and to those around them. The laws they created did nothing more than highlight the sinners’ weaknesses and promote themselves as “holy.”
“For today’s Pharisee, certain cultural taboos serve the same purpose, such as smoking, drinking, dancing, and attending R-rated movies, for instance.
Abstaining from these things appears sacrificial, but most modern-day Pharisees don’t want to do any of these things anyway. This system cleverly enables us to follow the law perfectly (as we have reinterpreted it) while passing judgment on all those who don’t follow it, can’t follow it, or who simply could care less about our little charade.”
~John Fischer, 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)
Religion serves its purpose: it showcases our flaws and gives the religious ample opportunity to judge people for these flaws. Religion presents a problem. Unfortunately, it doesn’t present a solution. Religion, this man-made attempt to reach God, falls short yet again.