Religion or Relationship: an Apologetic

I’ve been seeing this come up on Facebook, here on CAF, other forums, and even amongst members of my extended family. It’s almost like a new trend to try to divorce religion from relationship. I have searched for apologetic articles that address this specifically, but the most I found was an answer from Fr. Serpa (linked in the blog post) on a similar question.

I hope this is useful, and I welcome critique and feedback from all sides. You are also welcome to comment in the combox of the blog article.

Did God Give us a Religion, or a Relationship?

Good article. I’ve said before that statements like “I hate religion, but love Jesus” is no different from saying, “I hate aerophysics, but love airplanes.”

I think it is a very good blog.

Fr. Serpa came to our parish and discussed this a little bit! :smiley:

I think that’s a nice article. :thumbsup: I like how you go to the root of the word “religion” to make the point about both being necessary.

I think we’ve gotten to this point simply because many people have a negative view of “organized religion”, and yet they cannot deny the attraction they feel towards spiritual things. And so they construct this artificial division between being “spiritual” and being “religious.” They basically redefine religion to encapsulate all those negative aspects that some exhibit in the name of their religion and thus reject religion as a whole.

Fundamentally, I think such people are just not thinking through what religion actually is all about, at least when it comes to Christianity.

The error here is that The Bible mentions true Religion often and in a favorable light. The Bible does not use the term relationship in reference to Jesus.

IMO, nobody can have a true, perfected “personal relationship with Christ” outside of the Holy Catholic Church and her sacraments. Heretics and schismatics, IMO, by definition have a wounded relationship with Christ…if any.

Just because someone is “thinking” of Christ all of the time doesn’t a relationship necessarily make.

Amen

Yes! (And thank you all, by the way, for the kind words.)
But, yes, I think this is the key. Folks in our day seem to be in a habit of one-liners and tend to say and profess things without thinking through what they are really saying. That’s why I hit on “religion” and what it really means…so they can understand what they are really saying in renouncing it.

I feel like it can then move to the “what”, so to speak, of what they disagree with in terms of organized religion, and from there it’s a matter of pointing out the facts and asking questions that directly go to the heart of their professed relationship with Christ. For example:

-“I don’t want to be told how to worship.” - Well, Christ told us how to worship in the Lord’s Supper. Do you think we shouldn’t worship the way Christ wants us to?

-“I don’t like the idea of having to belong to this or that certain church.” - Well, Christ clearly established a Church, and it had obvious visibility, heirarchy, sucession, etc… Don’t you think it’s important to belong to the Church He established? Don’t we owe it to Christ to seek out that Church which He established and join it?

-“I don’t think anyone, or church, should be able to require me to confess to a Priest.” - Well, Christ gave His Apostles authority to forgive, and even retain our sins, and Scripture shows us pretty clearly that God set up auricular confession for us…and Scripture even tells us plainly to confess to each other. Don’t you think we should do things the way God planned it for us, if we are going to claim a deep relationship with Him? Or is it okay to reject what He gave us, and still claim realationship with Him?

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