A Thought on the "It's a relationship" viewpoint...

We have all heard and discussed here…the idea that is summed up in the catchphrase, “It’s a relationship, not a religion”.

Well I was thinking about this some this AM and it occurred to me that there are different kinds of relationships and these can present in different ways and can sometimes be misunderstood.
For example, we have very different sorts of relationships with parents, schoolmates, co-workers, teachers, bosses, clergy, siblings, underlings, etc…
In each of these cases we have a “relationship” but the nature of these relationships will vary from the very familiar and informal to the very formal and structured.

It may be that the person who espouses the “relationship” argument looks at the more “structured” and formal sense of the mass and “canned” prayer etc and they do not see this as fitting in with their idea of what a “relationship” is.
So where we see the structure and certain “formalities” (ritual?) as enhancing our relationship with our Lord and King…they see it as interfering.

Just some thoughts…


For Catholic it’s both, no? Faith and works. Scripture and tradition. Relationship and religion. How much more of a personal relationship can you get with Jesus than in the Eucharist?

It’s a very interesting thought and I am glad you shared it. Certainly quite possible.
I always enjoy reading your posts.


I think part of the issue with the statement is the understanding of what a religion is. Using the typical association of religion with works-righteousness, I would agree with them, but that isn’t what religion is. Religion is more correlated with belief and faith rather than works. The works within a religion are to aid in the belief and faith or as their fruit.

So, yes, for Catholics, it is both, and in reality, it is both for all Christians. Our relationship is sustained by the religion.

My 2 cents.

Understood…And I agree on the intimacy of our relationship with our Lord through the Eucharist. I think it is a good “comeback” that hopefully opens up conversation…
Perhaps it is at this point…once the ice is broken…that the idea of different types of relationships can be useful.


I agree with you. A religion is simply a set of beliefs in some philosophical worldview, it has nothing to do with earning God’s favor. But they seem to think it means try to earn God’s favor. In that sense they’re right. The point of Christianity to have a relationship with God through Christ, not to follow a whole bunch of rules with the intent of earning heaven. If that’s how they define religion then they’re right, but like you said their definition is flawed.


It’s both. It’s a religious relationship. It’s a relationary religion.

“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion” (1 Tim. 3:16)

God bless,


I heard Shawn McCraney say the same thing, “relationship, not religion”, but such
is not true. The Bible never says that relationship with Jesus is to replace religion.

It is THROUGH religion that we have a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus, because with-
out religion, it’s like Jesus fulfilled his part in the relationship, while we appreciate
only, but not properly respond to his love.

People who proscribe to the “relationship, not religion” doctrine simply don’t want
to be part of a formal religion with certain rules. It’s “Free Style Religion” basically.

I need religion. I’m too weak to have a relationship with God by myself. I need God’s help - and I get that through His religion.

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