Does God Hate Religion?

Where's The Hope?

Does God hate religion? That’s a provocative question, isn’t it? Maybe so, but if the answer is yes, then what are we to do?

We are wired for religious expression; everyone worships someone or something. We can exert much energy denying our need for faith of some kind, but when mortality pushes and shoves its way into our thinking, then we all grasp for meaning and purpose.

Death is always creeping up on us, but sometimes it hits so brutally close to home that we are gripped by a great desperation for comfort that goes beyond the poetry of pretty sounding words. Even battle weary agnostics and atheists, whose journey was fueled by hostility toward all things related to God, find themselves questioning their belief system when the grim reaper comes a calling.

However, if God hates religion, then what’s the point and where’s the hope?

The Creator of the universe desires to be in relationship with each one of us.
The Creator of the universe desires to be in relationship with each one of us.

Life Worth Living

Our Father in heaven, the One whose voice was the big bang that spoke the universe into existence, desires to be in a dynamic relationship with each one of us. That was his intention from the beginning, but humanity chose to reject God’s plan. Sin, our innate rebellion against God, is the voracious destroyer of relationship.

Fortunately for us, God is love. He will never abandon us to our reprobate nature; this overarching character trait compels him to action. His longing for restored relationship is never-ending so he sent his only Son to repair the breach.

Rather than arriving on the scene to start another religion, Jesus of Nazareth came to call us into a new intimacy of relationship with the Creator, who according to Thomas Jefferson, endowed us with unalienable rights.

The first example of these God-given rights Jefferson set forward was “life”, which is certainly interesting since Jesus put a fine-point on his mission when he said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

That fullness or abundance of life; that place where we have life worth living can only be found in a thriving relationship with the One who gave us the right to it by programming eternity into our hearts.

What Is A Christian?

The word Christian literally means Christ-follower.  Christ means Messiah; Chosen One; Savior; Deliverer; Rescuer.  Therefore to be a Christian really means to be someone who follows Jesus Christ because they acknowledge that he is the Savior.  Jesus put it quite bluntly when he said:  “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

A Christian attends church to participate in corporate worship because they have a genuine relationship and they want to be an encourager and be encouraged in their faith.  Just going to church without being reconciled to God won't make someone a Christian any more than camping in the woods makes one a tree or standing in a parking lot makes one a car.  It's not a matter of where we go, but Who we know that makes a person a Christ-follower.

It is a tragedy when Christianity is perceived as nothing more than condemnation draped in meaningless and irrelevant traditionalism.  That perception has been reality for far too many individuals, resulting in negative experiences that are roadblocks to relationship. 

When any church disconnects custom or ancient ritual from relationship it begets an empty deadness; it is a grievous thing and is exactly why God hates religion that is devoid of relationship.

Two Passages

Consider anew God’s Word as proclaimed by a sheepherder turned prophet named Amos: “I hate all your show and pretense - the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.  I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.  I won't even notice all your choice peace offerings.  Away with your hymns of praise!  I will not listen to the music of your harps.  Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.”

Connect Amos to what James, a leader in the first-century church at Jerusalem, wrote:  “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

When those two passages are laid side by side it is clear that the Christian life is one of properly aligned relationships:  With God; with ourselves; with our brothers and sisters in Christ; with the world around us.  Any teaching that contradicts this by substituting religiosity for relationship is not Christianity.

God hates lip-service religiosity.  The Bible is entirely unambiguous on the matter.

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Comments 48 comments

DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 7 years ago

Ken R. Abell, Wonderfully written and stated. As you stated: “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” God's Word is AWESOME! This scripture has truly freed me!

I Love to Praise and Worship the Lord. As you stated: "We come together to participate in corporate worship" And yes, fellowship as well! I believe that Christianity is really supposed to be a "Daily Lifestyle." As His Word says; "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that the Spirt of God lives in you?"

God knows if we are sincere! We must be real with Him! I agree when you say; "God hates lip-service religiosity. The Bible is entirely unambiguous on the matter."

Thank you for sharing this thought provoking hub! Blessings


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, DeBorrah. Blessings to you.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

Amen! "These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me", says the Lord. Knowing God and to be known by Him is a changing of our hearts ~ we fall in love with our Lord and hear His voice and follow Him. This is a great hub!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Judah's Daughter.


PinanShodan profile image

PinanShodan 7 years ago

Hi Ken,

It is really so easy to become that perfect human being when we are face to face with our friends at church or in a bible study, but how do we live when we are put to the real test outside in the real world where it counts the most.

For me it is that daily Bible Study and quiet moments when Jesus and I are alone, examining my character for any flaws that may keep me from being that Christ Like example that Jesus wants me to follow.

Thank God for those moments, they substantiate the fact that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and lets me know just how big his grace is and how much he loves me. I believe Jesus hated religiosity but loves spirituality and those willing to follow his will and tell others about his unconditional love and freedom when we turn our will and our lives over to him and truly follow is word.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

PinanShodan - Thanks for stopping by & sharing. Amen & amen, is all can say to your good words.


susansisk profile image

susansisk 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

God does not want us to worship idols, or graven images. Sometimes we put so much into building super mega churches that we are worshiping the "house" instead of God. Thanks for a message to make me think.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

susansisk - You're welcome. Thanks for your good comments. They are exactly right.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California

To know God in the context of an intimate relationship. Religion falls short in mending that which the Messiah came to do. Thanks for the hub Ken. You tied it together so well.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Gicky.


stars439 profile image

stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Very Informative work and well written in my humble opinion. God Bless You Dear Friend.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

stars439 - Thank you very much for your kind words of encouragement. Blessings to you.


Holy Hunter 7 years ago

I truly believe that god does not hate religion, but rather didn't want us to be religious. It even stated in the bible that going to church can still send people to be damned if they lived a lie. worshiping him is no a crime and I am sure he appreciates us doing so.however look at what religion is doing in the world. people argue who is right and what religion is blasphemy. people are still going to war because of this stuff. God wanted us to believe and follow him. anyways just an opinion........who needs to listen to a catholic guy like me anyways............after all I am in the wrong religion as many people out there on the internet figure.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Holy Hunter. Agree with your observation that God does not want us to be religious.


Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

I agree with what you are saying and wish "Christ followers" would pay attention to the teachings of Christ rather than the teachings of man. We screw everything up!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Duchess - Thanks. Yes, we screw everything up that's for sure. That's one of the reasons why the grace of God is so incredibly marvelous. Blessings to you.


Joy56 profile image

Joy56 6 years ago

i am interested in your thought process, and how you came to understand the bible the way you do. I have been studying scripture all my life, so agree in lots of places with your writing..... thanks so much, for sharing, i like the way you write.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Joy56 - I had some real good teachers, plus lots & lots of personal study, testing, application & debating.

Thank you for you kind words of encouragement.


LittleStash profile image

LittleStash 6 years ago

Ken,

This is just the type of question that earns late night discussion by the fire pit at our house. Please keep up the to-the-point commentary. Your work is a great asset to Hubpages.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Little Stash. I'd certainly enjoy hanging out around that fire pit some night.


burning bush profile image

burning bush 6 years ago

I may not agree but I like to read other views and commentary on life and spirit. Well written.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

burning bush - Thanks. What'd be the point of only reading those with whom we always agreed? Blessings.


RyMa 5 years ago

Why do we tie God to religion? God created us and he gave no one the authority or agency tio act on his bahalf. religion does just that. Jesus or Allah or any other godmen are not the answer. Talking to God directly is. Let us not be led away from God by religions. Shun religions and you get closer to God and develop a close relationship with him.

Remove religion from society adn society will develop naturally in compassion and understanding of fellow men.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RyMa - Thanks for stopping in & sharing thoughtful comments. Blessings.


Sunnyglitter profile image

Sunnyglitter 5 years ago from Cyberspace

Interesting hub.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Sunnyglitter.


Madurai profile image

Madurai 5 years ago from Online

In my opinion, God will hate religion. because by calling religion people are fighting among themselves...


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Madurai - Thank you for stopping in & sharing.


Fluffy77 profile image

Fluffy77 5 years ago from Enterprise, OR

Very thought provoking indeed, a subject I have pondered on many of times myself, you approach it very well.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Fluffy77 - Thank you. Glad you found it thought provoking. Blessings.


smoonee profile image

smoonee 5 years ago

Thank You for your religious insight Ken. Your opening question is a smart way to get some good words out. :)


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

smoonee - You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Blessings.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

"Some keep the Sabbath going to church

I keep it staying at home

With a Bobalink for a chorister

And an orchard for a dome"

Emily Dickinson (1862)


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

RNMSN - Thanks for sharing that from Emily Dickinson. Great quote.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

you are welcome :) think I spelled the birds name incorrectly but hey oh :)


sonfollowers profile image

sonfollowers 5 years ago from Alpharetta, GA

Great stuff. I love the clear distinction between religion and relationship. It does completely boil down to relationship, despite what we may try to do to it.

Thanks for sharing. You have a great communication style.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

sonfollowers - You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing words of affirmation & encouragement. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit.


My2Cents 4 years ago

Well said, Ken.

Those who first have a good relationship with Jesus, hear His voice and follow His teachings will naturally seek out others of like faith. Together they will naturally fulfill Jesus' idea of religion, that being looking after widows and orphans and the like.

Those who seek to build the church first, without the relationship, will end up with dead religion.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

My2Cents - Thanks for stopping in & sharing. Much appreciated. Blessings.


Alexander King 4 years ago

Thank you for the wonderful read. I've never been religious but I do believe in a higher power who watches over us and wishes to have a personal relationship with each and everyone of us regardless of who or what we are. I believe this higher power is the Existence, it is eternal, all seeing, all knowing, ever present, it is within us, it is within our family and friends, it is in total strangers, it is in the food we eat and the air we breath, it is with us in life always, it is with us at death and it is with us in the eternal life after, this higher power is in every atom no matter how small and in every universe and creation no matter how big. I believe this higher power some called God, Allah, Almighy is the Exsitence itself calling out to us, it doesn't just want to be a physical part of us it wants us to be in our hearts and minds. I believe it wants to be in a personal relationship with each and everyone of us, a realtionship filled with love not fear and hate because of this I have always stayed away from religion because I never felt that connection with the Existence, I always feel that relgion was too manmade and filled with man made doctrines. God is not a doctrine God is love, God is free from religion, they are beyond the boundarys of man, they can not be controlled by religions, they are above all that, they dont want or need worshippers they just want a realtionship with each and everyone one of us. That's my belief, others may disagree but that's my belief.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Alexander King - Thanks for your thoughtful comments. There may be some semantic differences, but it sounds to me like you & I possess some of the same fundamental beliefs.


how-to-make profile image

how-to-make 4 years ago from India

You are really a great philosopher. I like this hub. The question about the existence of God always force me to think about such things. I appreciate your work.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

how-to-make - Thanks for stopping in & sharing.


how-to-make profile image

how-to-make 4 years ago from India

You are always welcome Ken. But what I think is that why god has created less people like you as I could hardly find a few. The division on the basis of religion is one of the most important factor in dividing the nations and the people living there. I am also a religious person but I believe in the existence of one God who don't have any name but I consider him as a super power which takes care of all of us remains inside us in the form of a life particle or what we call a spirit.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

how-to-make - Thanks for sharing your spiritual/theological perspective. I fundamentally believe that God, the Creator of the universe, has placed eternity in each human heart & is continually drawing individuals into a deeper understanding.

I also know that we humans are tribal & selfish, which means we put up barriers to God being at work in our lives & in our midst. We have an endless capacity to screw up the Lord's Prayer & do so on a routine basis.

Anyways, blessings & much encouragement to you.


how-to-make profile image

how-to-make 4 years ago from India

I am really thankful for your reply with those beautiful words. I am really glad to meet you!!


NiaLee profile image

NiaLee 4 years ago from BIG APPLE

first and foremost, we need to determine who is GOD, because different people different version, so different things he hates.

Frankly, I find that religion very often stands in the way of developing faith... or keeping it, because the practices and dogmas become so important that the faith gets lost, as much as the individuals in the group. I almost feel like it is a crime to be me sometimes, just to dare recognize your uniqueness and accept the fact that you have qualities as a self...not through God himself and other medias of faith.

It is the reason why I often step back from others and meditate...because once I is lost, I gets restless or depressed and all the religious knowledge swallowed becomes a burden,a lot of noise.

I belief in the principles then I need to put limits to the rest, my faith like my being need to be free,not evil, not rebellious, just good and free.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 4 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

NiaLee - Thanks for stopping in & sharing.

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