In the coming months I'm going to be publishing snippets from my work on <a href="http://joelglovier.com/books/religion-vs-faith/" target+="_blank">Religion Versus Faith</a>. So in the interest of discussion and clarification, here's a synopsis for the book to refer to.
Many people reject Christianity as just another world religion, and claiming as such is at least partly responsible for many evils in the world.
Religion is often condemned by atheists, secularists, humanists, and many other groups for evils that have been done in it’s name. But are they right to condemn religion? And are they right to lump Christianity into the same pot with all others?
Religion is typically used as a generic term to refer to the belief system of those who hold to some type of supernatural order in the universe, ruled by a God. But for the sake of this book, religion is more specifically referred to in the context of the particular type of belief system that requires it’s adherents conform to some pattern of behavior in order to earn the favor of a higher power in the universe, and attain some type of afterlife reward.
Again, many would lump Christianity directly into this category by definition. However, those people would be wrong based on Christianity’s own orthodox definition of itself.
By definition, Christianity is not the adherence of a pattern of behavior in order to earn the favor of a deity. Christianity is the acceptance of the free favor of God, undeserved and unearned by it’s recipients. All patterns of behavior that result are to be exactly that - a response by it’s adherents to the Giver of grace who has initiated the actions, not a prerequisite for earning such grace.
In this book we will look at how Christianity does not fit the mold of typical “religion” and instead is all about walking by faith, which is being defined here as trust or belief in someone else - specifically God in this context.
Where religion says, “I will adhere to these standards of behavior or actions in order to earn a reward from God,” faith says, “I trust God based on who is He is, what He is like, and how He has revealed Himself through Jesus. I haven’t earned anything, but He is giving it to me anyway.”
Religion’s natural product is pride, arrogance, and judgement. It is also failure. Faith’s natural product is love, gratitude, and humility. It never disappoints.
Religion puts God in my debt when I adhere to required standards of behavior and makes me an idolator by putting the things I am trying to get from God above God Himself in my affections.
Faith acknowledges that God is the supreme ruler of all thing, and can never be in my debt. But because He gives me freely favor which I have never deserved, generates gratitude and adoration for Him as I respond with thanksgiving to His grace.
Religion Versus Faith will explore the difference between these specific perspectives on the concepts, and discover what makes Christianity unique as a worldview of faith different from world religions.
But let's be clear about something from the outset: I am a writer trying to make a point about something very much based in semantics. People who have little interest in engaging over semantics will doubtless find my premise less than compelling. That's okay with me.
I'm writing only partly for those people, if at all. I'm really aiming my discussion at people who are both willing to challenge their own opinions in the matters and willing to exam the deeper meaning and implications within the topic. Things which the former group will consider merely semantic, and as such inconsequential.