Freedom From Religion (UPDATED)

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Freedom From Religion (UPDATED)

On which the Bill of Rights is based

by baldilocks

My cousin Dyl­lan and I are very much alike and get along very well. This is inter­est­ing, since we are related by mar­riage (he is the grand­son of my Amer­i­can dad’s sis­ter), I’m more than old enough to be his mother, and we had vir­tu­ally no con­tact with each other dur­ing his for­ma­tive years.

Another area in which we dif­fer: he is an athe­ist agnos­tic and I’m a Chris­t­ian. To present another con­trast, he grew up as a prac­tic­ing Catholic and served as an altar boy, while I grew up with almost no Chris­tian­ity in my home; I became a born-​again Chris­t­ian in my mid 30s.

With these things in mind, Dyl­lan sug­gested that I write about the idea of “free­dom from reli­gion” and I warned him that my idea of this might be dif­fer­ent from his; of course, he knew that. Dyl­lan is also a writer, so he will prob­a­bly give his per­spec­tive on the topic, espe­cially if I bad­ger him to death about it.

So here we go.

If one lis­tens to a num­ber of ser­mons from Chris­t­ian non­de­nom­i­na­tional clergy, one will some­times hear the term “reli­gion” spo­ken in a pejo­ra­tive sense and here’s why: what many Chris­tians and for­mer Chris­tians think of as Chris­tian­ity is, in real­ity, man-​made tra­di­tion — religion.

Case in point. Dur­ing last week’s funeral ser­vice of For­mer Pres­i­dent George H. W. Bush, it was noticed that Pres­i­dent Trump did not recite or read along with the Apos­tles Creed as the Epis­co­pal clergy con­duct­ing the ser­vice led the recita­tion. This resulted in the usual Twit­ter Out­rage Mob finger-​pointing.

My favorite response was this one:

[cap­tion id=“attachment_110237” align=“aligncenter” width=“433”] Eyes on Trump[/caption]

Recite the Apos­tles Creed, you degenerate!”

Punc­tu­a­tion mine. I do so love the irony of the reli­gious demand jux­ta­posed with the accusation.

Any­way, the howls and screeches of HERETIC!!!! far out­num­bered the voices which pointed out that many, if not most, evan­gel­i­cal, charis­matic, and fun­da­men­tal­ist churches – read: Protes­tant non-​mainline — don’t con­duct litur­gi­cal ser­vices and don’t have a for­mula as to how ser­vices must be conducted.

Reli­gion is the demand that one must do cer­tain things in addi­tion to the one thing explic­itly stated by Jesus the Christ in John 20:31 (and else­where) in order to be a fol­lower of Christ. This is what I think of as “reli­gion” – as opposed to rela­tion­ship, that is, rela­tion­ship with God via the sin­gu­lar means stated in that passage.

(And because all too many are wont to read into what’s said rather that receive ideas with good faith, I don’t see any­thing wrong with litur­gi­cal ser­vices; I just don’t believe that liturgy is mandatory.)

There­fore, when I think of Free­dom from Reli­gion, I think of free­dom from allow­ing human beings to forcibly insert them­selves between me and my God; to dic­tate the terms of that rela­tion­ship. Included in that num­ber are the human beings who did this so long ago, that many of us Chris­tians have come to believe that those inser­tions are essen­tial to Salvation.

It’s like being a third party in a marriage.

UPDATE: Dyl­lan gives his response. Good stuff! I also made some cor­rec­tions in this essay.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng has been blog­ging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here. She pub­lished her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012. Fol­low her on Face­book, Twit­ter, and Gab.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar or hit Juliette’s!

On which the Bill of Rights is based

by baldilocks

My cousin Dyllan and I are very much alike and get along very well. This is interesting, since we are related by marriage (he is the grandson of my American dad’s sister), I’m more than old enough to be his mother, and we had virtually no contact with each other during his formative years.

Another area in which we differ: he is an atheist agnostic and I’m a Christian. To present another contrast, he grew up as a practicing Catholic and served as an altar boy, while I grew up with almost no Christianity in my home; I became a born-again Christian in my mid 30s.

With these things in mind, Dyllan suggested that I write about the idea of “freedom from religion” and I warned him that my idea of this might be different from his; of course, he knew that. Dyllan is also a writer, so he will probably give his perspective on the topic, especially if I badger him to death about it.

So here we go.

If one listens to a number of sermons from Christian nondenominational clergy, one will sometimes hear the term “religion” spoken in a pejorative sense and here’s why: what many Christians and former Christians think of as Christianity is, in reality, man-made tradition — religion.

Case in point. During last week’s funeral service of Former President George H. W. Bush, it was noticed that President Trump did not recite or read along with the Apostles Creed as the Episcopal clergy conducting the service led the recitation. This resulted in the usual Twitter Outrage Mob finger-pointing.

My favorite response was this one:

Eyes on Trump

“Recite the Apostles Creed, you degenerate!”

Punctuation mine. I do so love the irony of the religious demand juxtaposed with the accusation.

Anyway, the howls and screeches of HERETIC!!!! far outnumbered the voices which pointed out that many, if not most, evangelical, charismatic, and fundamentalist churches – read: Protestant non-mainline — don’t conduct liturgical services and don’t have a formula as to how services must be conducted.

Religion is the demand that one must do certain things in addition to the one thing explicitly stated by Jesus the Christ in John 20:31 (and elsewhere) in order to be a follower of Christ. This is what I think of as “religion” – as opposed to relationship, that is, relationship with God via the singular means stated in that passage.

(And because all too many are wont to read into what’s said rather that receive ideas with good faith, I don’t see anything wrong with liturgical services; I just don’t believe that liturgy is mandatory.)

Therefore, when I think of Freedom from Religion, I think of freedom from allowing human beings to forcibly insert themselves between me and my God; to dictate the terms of that relationship. Included in that number are the human beings who did this so long ago, that many of us Christians have come to believe that those insertions are essential to Salvation.

It’s like being a third party in a marriage.

UPDATE: Dyllan gives his response. Good stuff! I also made some corrections in this essay.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Gab.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar or hit Juliette’s!