When I hear news of seven year-old boys celebrating the execution of fellow human beings in the name of God, I hate religion. When I see signposts inscribed with “God hates fags”, I hate religion. When I watch horrific news stories of wars tearing Nigerian families apart based on the fact they pray to different Gods, I hate religion.
So, when somebody asks me if I am “religious”, I simply tell them, “I am not.” Not because I do not believe in or worship a God, but because I do not conform to a label that serves to alienate people from one another. It’s a label that contradicts and belittles the message of Jesus Christ in whom I place my faith.
Religion separates and divides. Jesus unites us all, through love.
Religion discriminates and excludes. Jesus embraces all, through love.
Religion judges and condemns. Jesus offers freedom, through love.
Religion deceives and manipulates. Jesus is the truth.
So, I tell them, “I am not religious, I’m in a relationship. An amazing relationship, with a God who loves me unconditionally. That means, I’m just as bad as anyone else, but God loves me anyway.”
“I’m never alone, because God’s love is constant. God’s love is everlasting. That means, I am content and do not need to worry, because God’s love will never fade away.”
“I’m free, because Jesus died for my sins. God sent his perfect son to take the punishment for my screw ups. That means, I am forgiven and free to live my life the way my creator intended, loving others and serving him.”
“I’m in a relationship, and you can be too. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay, man or woman, black or white, rich or poor, able or disabled, God offers you the same indescribable love. It doesn’t matter how you’ve lived or who’ve you hurt, God still seeks you. It doesn’t matter how much you blame yourself or how far you’ve strayed, God is calling you home.”