Fact-We are all religious.
Fact-What we “do” is what overflows from our religious beliefs.
The question is not “Am religious?” but “What religion am I practicing?”
To begin with let’s define religion
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Definition of religion
1a: the state of a religious
(1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2:a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3: archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
Using this definition of religion, I think we can all agree that we are all very religious and we obey “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Perhaps, we could also agree that religion is not necessarily what we confess with our mouths but how we live our daily lives and it determines how we spend our time and money, and how we eat, shop, parent, work, play and so on.
4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
I think it is reasonable to assume that religion is the system of beliefs that we religiously practice and it testifies to who and to what is telling us who we are. Consequently, the practicing of religion is the external manifestation of our internal beliefs and it is what we could call the “works of faith.”
This ardent practicing of “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs” is how we live out our religion in our everyday lives and in everyday actions. It helps us to remember who we are, how we are designed to be and live, and where we stand, sit or kneel in relationship to all things.
Just because one may not believe in God, Jesus or some divine being doesn’t mean that they are not practicing a religion. Anything or anyone who we give the power and authority to tell us who we are, what to believe, how we are designed to think and feel and what to do possesses the potential and possibility to become “God” for us.
To say we aren’t worshiping something or someone is to be ignorant.
As we dig deeper, we find that “religion” isn’t just a spiritual act but it is wholly spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and relational. In other words, everything we think, feel, do or say is interconnected, interrelated and interdependent. Nothing we say or do can be fragmented and disconnected from our whole being. This means that there is absolutely nothing we do that can be separated from everything else we do. We cannot separate a spiritual act from a physical act. How we shop, eat, watch TV and work is just as much a spiritual, mental, emotional and relational act as it is a physical act. Even prayer, partaking of the sacraments and going to church are not just spiritual acts, they are also physical, mental, emotional and relational acts.
With these truths in mind, let us continue a little further.
Again, I ask “What religion are you practicing?”
Before you answering this question, let’s just look at the current state of physical health in America. 88% of Americans have some form of diet related disease. 74% of Americans are either overweight or obese. Our children are suffering from diet-related disease and sickness earlier than any generation.
Seemingly, it doesn’t take a rocket science to see the results of what the vast majority of us have religiously practiced and how it has impacted our individual health and the health of neighbors, communities and world.
Undoubtedly, our most popular religion in America is and has been consumerism and as a result, we are not full of peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Instead, we are full of fear, loneliness, anxiety, depression, division and an epidemic of diet-related disease and sickness.
When 88% of all Americans have some form of diet-related disease and sickness, then it is time to ask ourselves some hard questions. What am I practicing? What if I just looked at my own health, am I healthy? Am I nourishing my spirit, heart, mind, body and relationships with things that are good, excellent and true? What is determining how I shop, eat and live? Where am I spending my thoughts, money, time and energy?
The lie of consumerism is that we can get, eat, drink, slather, inject, read, buy, and consume something to give us control over our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies and relationships. The lie of consumerism is the lie of the forbidden fruit. If you just eat this, then you’ll be be like God. We have nearly destroyed ourselves and our world believing the lie of consumerism, and taking on a consumer identity.
We are not designed to be consumers. We are designed to be receivers and givers of love, truth, beauty, hope, joy,
Think about it.
As consumers, we are constantly filling ourselves up but we’re always hungry. We are more connected but we’re more disconnected. We are full of information but we are more fragmented than ever. We work harder but we still don’t have enough. Our kids are involved in more activities but they feel lost, anxious and empty or purpose.
We are busier and more entertained than ever and we are bored out of our minds. We know more about more people but we don’t know them. We call more people friends but we are more lonely than ever. We have more drugs and healthcare but we are experiencing epidemic levels of disease, sickness and breakdown.
We have bigger houses, cars, larger neighborhoods, massive churches and less community. We have more exercise gyms and less physical activity. More grocery stores and less local organic foods. More time to talk and less real conversation. More knowledge and less wisdom. More drinking and more fun and less real celebration. More religion and less hope, love, truth and peace.
We have more things to make us happy and less joy. More politics and greater divisions of wealth, power, resources and relationships. More schools and less learning. More individualism and fewer individuals. More room to create and less creativity. We have more of just about everything we want and less of everything we need.
We have all these results but our hearts, mind, bodies, spirits and relationships are running on empty. How do we turn this tide?
We start by telling our truth and we stop living for results. We remember who we are and how we are naturally designed to be healthy, whole, holy and human. This is not a lifestyle change this is a life change. It requires us to go another way and stop living as consumers, and start working really hard at being good human beings. This will require Truth and an honest conversation with yourself.