A South African man recently wrote his local television station and explained how he lost his religion and became an atheist. He claims that it was a result of his father's death. This seems fairly normal in a high schooler, but this man was in his forties. So it got me thinking and pondering. The piece is up at the local television station: Losing My Religion.
First, I would like us to say a prayer for this man. His display name is Gert_swart. God knows the man behind the name. May he be genuinely seeking and find truth on the other side of his quest. May God reveal Himself to him in amazing ways.
Next, I would like to deal with an excerpt from his article. In it, he challenges us to also lose our religion.
But if you are a believer: a Christian, Muslim, Jew or partaker of any other religion, you should reconsider your religion because you will never be free whilst in religion. You may think you are free, but you really are not. You may think that you chose religion out of your own free will, but you did not. Religion was forced on you as a child. Even if you converted from one religion to another as an adult, you still made that decision courtesy of seeds planted in you when you were a child.I agree with Gert_swart. If this is your religion, then you need to lose it. If your religion causes you to divide others into some category so that you can look down on them, you need to lose it. If the leaders of your religion are living some luxurious life, you need to lose it. If the religious institution you are part of rapes young boys, you need to lose it. If the religion you are part of encourages violence toward those different, you need to lose it. If your religion degrades women, you need to lose it. If your religion hates homosexuals, you need to lose it. If your religion hampers the progress of science, you need to lose it.
You need to undergo the process of losing your religion because if you don't, you will continue to contribute to the devision of the people of this world into christians, Muslims, Jews etc., opposing each other. You will continue sponsoring some evangelist's or preacher's mansions and luxury cars. You will continue upholding institutions which officials on an ongoing basis rape and scar young boys for life. You will be part of those who fly into buildings killing thousands of innocent people. You will share in the guilt of sending children with bombs around their waists to kill infidels. You will continue assisting in the degradading of women. You will continue in assisting to promote homofobia. You will continue to settle in other's living space only because you think you are some fictional deity's chosen people. You will continue to contribute to global tension, wars, terrorism and violence. And you will continue assisting in the brainwashing and enslaving of children into the prison of religion.
The process of losing your religion might be painful, but if you have the confidence and self-worth to start this journey, it certainly will be worthwhile. You will be freed from the bondage of religion. You will be freed from responsibility of performing worthless religious rituals. You will be freed from guilt, shame and fear of dissappointing some non-existing deity when acting outside certain prescribed rules. You will even contribute to world peace, because if there are no us and them, there will be a lot less friction in the world. And in many cases you will be freed from staying in the closet and from enduring the suffering of listening to irrational rants every sunday and then even pretend that you actualy believe the stuff that religion are telling you. You will contribute to progress because religion is still a huge stumbling block in scientific progress.
If that is your religion, then you need to lose it. Losing your religion can be a great thing.
Instead, you need to find a better religion.
You need to find a religion that causes you to love everyone - Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, black and white.
You need to find a religion that has humble, servant leaders who reflect Jesus rather than emulates the authoritarian powers who killed Him. "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all. (Mark 9:35 ESV).
You need to find a religion that empowers young boys and girls to achieve their potential. Jesus taught, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matt 18:5-6 ESV).
You need to find a religion that teaches a gospel of peace. "As shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace." (Eph 6:15 ESV).
You need to find a religion that empowers women to live the life worthy of their giftedness. "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good...All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills." (1 Cor 12:7, 11 ESV).
You need to find a religion that loves homosexuals. "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.'" (James 2:8-9 ESV).
You need to find a religion that encourages the progress of man. "And God said to them...have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 ESV).
Jesus came to establish a religion of peace, truth, and love that would (and has) transformed the world for the better. We need to discard any false teachings of man that transforms His religion into a religion of man. Selfishness, divisiveness, greed, and oppression are all instruments of evil that routinely creep into His religion and morphs it into an instrument for the power-hungry and oppressive people of this world. We need to truly follow Jesus, seek His way, and find His true religion.
That, my friends, is true religion. Let's discard the religions that man makes up in order to satisfy their own selfish desires. Instead, let us cling to a religion that brings peace, love, and truth. A religion that spurs us on to love those who can't pay us back. A religion that keeps us set apart for a higher mission than gratifying the desires of our flesh.