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Why humans do not need religion
by Dr.Arsenio Esteras, Jr
2/01/2009 / Christian Living
Religion, as a general rule, is the human perception of GOD. It originates in the human mind. It is not a creation of GOD. It is the human understanding of the divine. It is the human understanding of a divine Person that Adam and Eve defied and abandoned in favor of a serpent. How then can the human person comprehend the Divinity that their ancestors double-crossed and backstabbed?
Christians have their own perception of GOD apart and distinct from the perception of Non-Christians. Within the Christian religion is further fragmentation and division and, hence, varying and diverse Christian perception of GOD. The same thing applies with the Moslem religion. There is Sunni. There is Shiite and other breakaway sects or groups.
The more the proliferation or mushrooming of religions and the more divisions within its ranks, the more the truth is broken to pieces, the more hazy and ambiguous it becomes, the murkier the mud, the darker the dark, the more faith in GOD is eroded, the more irrelevant and meaningless religions become, and the apostasy is heightened. On that basis, humans do not need religion.
Religion is restrictive and divisive. It conceptualizes the truth. It puts GOD in a box. It could a Roman Catholic box, a Non-Catholic box, a Moslem box, a Jewish box, a Buddhist box and so on until the believer ends up in a box of its own at the end of its days. Religions imprison GOD in their own mind. Each distinct religion pictures GOD on the basis of its own human understanding of GOD. Within the Christian religion per se, there is wrangling whether the Son of Man is GOD or a mere prophet.
Christians have their own version of truth and salvation that defines their religion that set them apart and distinct from others of their own kind and from Non-Christian religions. Meeting of the minds and hearts of religions cannot be achieved because each will insist that theirs is the true and right religion. Instead of uniting, the more they drift away from each other. Each religion oftentimes gets hostile with one another for the sake of their religion and not for GOD's sake. History has born that out time and again. That is indisputable. Religion has always ended up playing GOD and not worshipping GOD as GOD desires. Religion has established its own standards distinct and separate from each other and from the standards of GOD. The standards of GOD are divine and not subject to error. All the Christian religions are human terrestrial ventures. They are not divine and as such they cannot be expected to tell the whole truth about GOD. The element of error is a given. The elusive truth is in the Sacred Scriptures that must be followed and not conceptualized and theorized and marketed as Catholic truth, Protestant truth, Jewish truth or whatever truth the enterprising human mind can conceive and market. On that basis, humans do not need religion.
The sacred manuscript of the followers of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST is loaded with narratives of verbal clashes between the Son of Man and the authorities and experts of the prevailing religion of the time that He encountered. The religious authorities of Judaism hatched a plot to kill the Son of Man. Imagine religious authorities plotting to commit murder for the sake of religion and not GOD. It was an explicit transgression against the Ten Commandments handed down to them by Moses. "Thou shall not kill". They killed. They became criminals for the sake of their religion. Granted that the Son of Man was not GOD, the Jewish Sanhedrin of the time cannot justify the savagery they committed against a Person whose only offense was its claim of Godliness. They were not satisfied with just sending Him to prison for life or to a mental facility. They were threatened no end by the miracles He performed and by the mercurial rise of His immense popularity. Their religiosity dissipated into thin air. The slaughter of the Rabbi was a satanic rather than a religious ritual. It was meant to be for the sake of religion. Suffice to say that the human person by virtue of its religion will argue with anybody even GOD just to maintain its grip on its religion and would even go to the extent of committing murder. It was done with the Rabbi who is GOD. Therefore, nobody is spared. Such is the extent of what religion can do. It does evil in the guise of good.
In the Philippines during the Spanish colonization in the name of their religion, the Spanish invaders persecuted and slaughtered non-believers. On the other hand, Christian missionaries preached their truth in the Buddhist and Shinto countries and met the same fate. On that basis, humans do not need religion.
Upon approaching Jesus they petitioned him earnestly, "He deserves this favor from you," they said, "because he loves our people, and even built our synagogues for us." Jesus set out with them. When He was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him: "Sir, do not trouble yourself for I am not worthy to have you enter my house. That is why I did not presume to come to you myself. Just give the order and my servant will be cured." Jesus showed amazement on hearing this, and turned to the crowd which was following him to say, "I tell you, I have never found so much faith among the Israelites." When the deputation returned to the house, they found the servant in perfect health. (Luke 7: 1-7, 9-10)
Following the wisdom of the centurion's quote and the amazed verbal response of the Son of Man from the preceding gospel narrative, it is an uncontestable and an undeniable Scriptural fact that the faith that is pleasing and acceptable to GOD is not measured by the religion that the human being who is a believer possess or profess. GOD does not look at the religion of the individual. GOD looks at the heart of the individual.
The centurion was a man of authority. He was an officer of an empire that occupied all Israel at the time of the visitation of GOD as a carpenter's son. All Israelites within his jurisdiction are subject to him. Yet, he humbled himself before a carpenter's son in front of Jewish religious authorities that were subject to him and who woos financial support from him for the building of synagogues. The pagan centurion recognized the carpenter's son as GOD and not as a mere mortal under his dominion. As a Roman officer he will not bow down or humble himself before the Jewish Sanhedrin that is subject to him. Yet, he humbled himself before the carpenter's son in front of a crowd. GOD in the divine Person of the Rabbi recognized his abiding faith. GOD read his heart. The Roman officer threw away his pagan religion for OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Hence, the Rabbi's astounding remark: "I have never found so much faith among the Israelites." On that Scriptural basis, humans do not need religion.
Simply put, GOD looks at the heart of the person. He sets aside its religion. The gold standard is the Roman centurion.
Peace to everyone!
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