A Courteous Contrararian

True Religion

Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - Feb• 25•15

The Dalai Lama has reputedly said, “My religion is kindness.”

It struck a chord with many people, it seems like such a noble practice. We all love to be treated kindly. Most of us would like to be thought of as kind. It hardly seems like a controversial statement.

Yet if there is blowback, or controversy, about such as stance, I’m somehow sure that it would come from a certain type of my fellow Christians. In a way, that’s understandable. When I first heard quote, I looked for the appropriate box to store it in. That’s what we do as thinking humans; classify. We hour-by-hour adjust our worldview by our experiences to fine tune our realities.

The box that his quote best fit, it seemed to me, was secular humanism. I don’t see such a view as evil in the way we are sometimes taught, as a worldview inherently opposed to Christianity. Secular humanism is a worthy practice – yet it doesn’t seem to be a worthy goal. It is a fine road to travel as long as we are on our way to someplace better.

When I thought about the quote more deeply, I filtered it through my Christian perspective. Are we here to be kind or our we here to follow the Lord wherever he may lead? Yet what do we say about Christianity? “It is a relationship, not a religion.” And although I love the relationship, I’m not quite ready to throw out the religion. Religion has its place. Religion is actually important. Secondary perhaps, but nonetheless important.

I say this because, as I was filtering, I filtered the quote, as I always do, through the lens of the Bible. The Bible doesn’t think religion is so bad when done properly.

The Bible tells us true religion is caring for widows and orphans. Widows and orphans in that time were poor and powerless. In our times we would say they are under empowered and economically disadvantaged. Same thing.

Helping people less fortunate than ourselves seems like the epitome of kindness and so the Dalai Lama agrees with our quote from the book of James. Kindness is indeed a fine path to travel.

All this has been to make a bit of a point: secular humanism is not a bogeyman. It is Christianity, most likely learned at the feet of Christians (or even Jesusians!). It is only Christianity without Christ. And after all, that’s what we think religion is, the practice without the Savior.

Of course Jesus should be our example and our goal, but we aren’t here to knock those without Christ, we’re here to show them Christ. We can’t complain, “Oh the world is so misguided.” We can only say, “Oh the world needs Jesus.”

And so humanism is not an enemy. Thank God that it influenced by Christian thought through the ages. Humanism is preferable to tyranny or oppression or injustice. We can think it the lesser of two evils or we can see it as a step closer to Jesus. I view it as part of God’s plan to improve humanity.

I wrote a song (We’ll All Go Together) with a line I think defines me as a Christian and it is not so far from secular humanism except that it motivated by Jesus.

I’ve been on a quest for mercy/ Mercy is the best of me/ The best should be the road that takes us home


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  1. Simona says:

    Many,most Christians, are loocking after Paul’s teachings,setting on the backburner Jesus’ teaching while creating all sorts of dissensions among them. Many theories cling on accepting!!! the whole Bible as an “absolute”…statting as being inspired by the Holy Spirit, ignoring science: evolution,Noah’s flood local not global???,etc…(why don’t they just as well may trow away their phone…product of science… ) Bottom line: how about change the name of Jesus,calling Him for what He really is: “LOVE AND TRUTH”, WHO will set us free from all those ill interpretations,missjudgements, bringing us to the highest level of spirituality,meaning to have a constiens, that ultimately make us SAVED. Truth is the holy spirit that the world will reject… which in fact is blasphemy. And finally, Jesus is the one Who will give us the PEACE,not like the Paul said”peace that surpass all understanding- peace is the attribut of Emotions,something we feel it in our heart; Understanding,is part of intellect,they do not combine nor substitute each other… Jesus’ Peace is not like the world will gives us, meaning it will be given deep in to our hearts. That’s the difference!!! So,we take it from there …It is so sad to see the world loosing the rel essence of what Jesus was,a and is forever: the representation, the representative of Heaven to Earth of LOVE AND TRUTH, teaching us THE WAY to Heaven.
    I consider Jesus’ teaching to be FLAWLESS. PERIOD! And that’s all we will ever need.

  2. Hi Simona. I like your thoughts, especially your main thought.
    Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father.
    People love to argue about Paul because he’s so hard to grasp. But he gives us a lot of info that supports Jesus.
    There is a way to blend science as we have it seamlessly together with the Bible. Evolution isn’t a problem and neither is the Flood. i’m nearly finished writing a book about it.

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