In the final analysis there are two kinds of people: religious and non-religious. That is, there are those who participate in rituals, rites, services, habits and acts of a religious nature in order to worship and serve God and there are those who do not do these things. In the end, however, this distinction is not as all-encompassing as it might first appear.
- There are those who do their religious actions, not so as to communicate with God and be changed into a better person, but as a way to show others (and perhaps oneself) that he already is “a cut above the rest.” “God” (and one’s acts of worship toward this fictional “Him”) is thus like a badge or flower to be worn on one’s lapel to show one’s superiority over the rest of wicked humankind.
- There are those who quietly look for hungry people around them so that they might feed them and meet their immediate needs. If these think about God (and from time to time they do), their knowledge and ideas about Him are hazy and poorly-defined at best, based more on their occasional brushes with God than on scholarly-developed “theologies” and teachings. These, for the most part, do not (though some to their own detriment do) reject the truths contained in “theologies” and teachings but rather have a well-deserved distrust for things apart from their own limited experiences with God.
- There are those who are certain that, because they practice certain numbers and kinds of rituals and acts, they are guaranteed to have a place reserved for them in what they call “Heaven.” Any other wicked acts or negligences can be remedied or overlooked so long as the practice of these religious rituals and acts is maintained. “Church” attendance is often high on the list of such acts.
- There are those who refuse to lie, steal or harm others and these exude peace, cheerfulness, gratitude and a quiet optimism about life in general.
- The religious people have an unshakable certainty that their own perceptions, explanations, “theologies,” etc. are infallibly inspired, given, delivered and permanently engraved in their lives, words and actions and that by God Himself. Thus, sick or poor people must be in sin or under God’s judgment. Such as those sick and poor people can be safely ignored because God has obviously already turned His back on them. Religious people have great, great difficulty recognizing smug, self-satisfied, presumptive arrogance – especially while they are practicing it – and they have no qualms about boasting that they are “the righteousness of God.”
- The non-religious people tend to accept themselves as they are and rarely feel the need to be anything other than what they are.
James wrote, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
On the day when men are brought before the judgment throne of God, which kind of religion will be deemed acceptable and which will be rejected will be a surprise to many “fine, upstanding religious” folks and “simple, down-to-earth” folks alike.
Let he who has ears hear.
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