Do I Have to Be Religious?

“I try to be a good person, why do I need to be religious?”  Someone said this to me the other day and I think it is important to respond.

It is important to be “religious” and not just a good person. There is a God and he is the source of all love. So he must be very loving himself. In fact, the Christian Faith says he is love.  

That being the case, he wants a loving relationship with the human beings he has created. Like any person who loves someone, he longs for a loving response from the person he loves. That is why Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to love God. This takes priority over the second greatest commandment which is to love your neighbour as yourself.

Actually, what Jesus said is: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:29-30).

So the first reason to be “religious” is that God is seeking a loving response from you. He’s waiting to hear from you, i.e. for you to pray to him. And he wants to hear from you regularly.

The second reason to be “religious” is that we shall each stand before God one day and we would find it very embarrassing (not to say worrying) to have to try to explain why we had never, or only rarely, taken notice of him and communicated with him.

Actually, I don’t think the word “religious” is adequate. Christianity is first and foremost a personal relationship with God. Since Jesus showed us what God is like he is easier to imagine, I think it is better to say that Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Why not embark upon a personal relationship with Christ now, by speaking to him (he is listening) and committing your life to him?

© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction