Random believer: Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship. I’m not religious.
Random atheist: Really? So you don’t believe in worshiping God?
Random believer: Wait, no, that’s not what I meant. I do worship God.
Random atheist: So you are religious, and Christianity is a religion?
Random believer: Well yes, wait, no. You’re twisting my words.
Random atheist: You seem confused. You can keep your religion and whatever relationship you’re in to yourself.
End scene. Moral of the story, changing a word doesn’t fool anybody. It’s okay to call Christianity a religion. Let’s dig deeper.
What does religion mean? The Greek Word used for religion is thrēskeia. It means worship, fear of the gods. So to be religious is to worship and revere God. That’s it. It’s not a stop sign. It’s not a traffic light. It’s not this idea of rules that some believers think religion has that negative connotation. Sure, that’s how culture can understand it sometimes. What I explained is how I think believers should understand it and explain it.
I get that some believers want to soften what they see as the edge of a sword in the word “religion”. They want to make things appear as appealing as a beautiful woman walking down the street. But non-religious people don’t want appearances. I think that’s the point of why they chose to be that way. They wanted something real. So why not be real? Say yes, Christianity is a religion. It’s a lifestyle of worship to God. Respect to God.
There’s a good intention to the phrase “Christianity is a relationship” we can keep. Christianity is a connection with God. But let’s also remember it’s a respectful worship of God too, religion. There are instructions to obey, which some may call rules. But let’s go back to that stop sign and traffic light analogy. Why do rules exist? They exist to keep us from harming ourselves.
In the same way, God gave instructions to protect us from ourselves. For the good of our well-being. When you think about it that way, perhaps rules should actually be viewed with a positive connotation.
Peace to all those who are in Christ.