One of the claims I hear many times from Christians is that “Christianity isn’t a religion! It’s a relationship with God”. Of course anyone who looks upon this claim without bias knows what nonsense it is. Even James refers to Christianity as a religion:
Jam 1:26 & 27 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Christianity, as James insists, is most definitely a religion and we can see for ourselves it is full of religious practises and rituals, that most Christians indulge in. In fact, many of these practises are considered a must for any “true Christian”. Here’s a list of religious rituals that Christians indulge in, many of which are done daily:
1) Speaking in tongues. This is common in Pentecostal churches. The disciples did it on the day of Pentecost and were accused of being drunk. You can understand when you hear it, because it’s really just a lot of gobbledegook that sounds more impressive the more you practise it. Former Christians can still speak in tongues even though no longer Christians.
2) Anointing with oil. This is not so common, but done in some churches, especially when someone is prayed over in the front of the congregation. But of course it was an important ritual in bible times, so why not now?
3) Casting out of Demons Back in the 80s there was a big fad going on called “Spiritual warfare”, which involved shouting and screaming at people in an attempt to cast out demons. People believed they had the spirit of discernment and believed God was telling them the types of demons to cast out. “Come out spirit of witchcraft!” “Come out, spirit of homosexuality!” Of course it would never achieve anything and after a few years people realised it was a futile waste of time. The demons were not fleeing in the name of Jesus, like the bible promises. Perhaps demons have built up an immunity to the name of Jesus over the centuries? This sort of silliness still goes on in churches some times. Often you hear about it in the paper when something goes drastically wrong and someone doesn’t get the mental or medical treatment they should be getting from psychiatrists or doctors.
4) Raising hands to God. This is more likely done in Pentecostal churches, but can only be considered a religious ritual. Raise your hands to God as if in surrender to him.
5) Baptism. Every Christian is expected to be baptised at some stage in their Christian walk. This is the ultimate religious ritual, a symbolic act. It is a surreal experience, which people who undergo it mistake for a touch from God. You’d feel weird too if you were ducked under water in front of a crowd of people and pulled up to having everyone praying over you furiously and then singing songs to God.
6) Communion. Most churches conduct this cannibalistic ritual each week at church. The bread represents the abused flesh of Christ, while the wine represents his blood. The flesh is always consumed first before the blood. It is taken very seriously and sometimes the host will warn the congregation that if you take communion without putting your life right with Christ you will be cursed!
7) Attending Church. Every good Christian knows that without the continuing validation of their faith, after a while they’ll realise just what a crock it all is. So church is considered vital… and of course the Church leaders want to ensure a steady flow of cash into the church coffers. Christians religiously attend church each Sunday, just as the Hare Krishna’s might congregate to dance up and down the street every Saturday night.
8) Singing together as a congregation. Every Christian who goes to church, practises this time honoured religious ritual. It will often involve standing together with fellow churchgoers and singing songs, many of which are forms of positive affirmations. Singing certain words over and over like “God is great” or “I love Jesus” will hopefully, over time, condition the mind to believe those things.
9) Prayer. The Muslims bow to face Mecca and pray. Christians don’t face Mecca, but they are still just as religious when it comes to prayer. Sometimes it involves getting down on your knees or putting your hands together. It always involves closing your eyes. Prayer will be used as a religious ritual at meal times, used almost as a mantra each day. These sort of prayers generally have less and less meaning and become more and more ritualistic, the more you do it. Prayer can be combined with speaking in tongues and people will gather together with the symbolic laying on of hands to pray for people. Sometimes it will be done holding hands, but make no bones about it, it’s a religious practise, particularly when it comes to the utterance of the Lord’s Prayer or when an evil disgusting sinner bows before God and prays the Sinner’s Prayer.
10) Daily reading of the bible. There’s nothing more religious than taking out time each morning, evening or whenever, to read the word of God. It is perhaps one of the most important religious rituals next to prayer that a Christian can undertake. Without regular brainwashing from the word, you cannot possibly hope to conjure up the excuses and justifications you will need to answer the challenges of those pesky Satan-loving sceptics. Reading the bible helps you to come up with stuff, that an intelligent person would be ashamed to use in a debate, for fear of looking like a complete moron.
As you can see this is just a handful of religious rituals that is rife within Christianity. So if you are practising even one of these you are quite clearly practising religion. To say otherwise, is as I have shown with the scripture from James, a contradiction to what the bible says.
For a continuation of this article see "Christianity is NOT a relationship with God"