“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5, ESV).
There are many people who will tell you that religion is bad. They’ll say that it’s a set of rules designed to control people, or that it’s a crutch for the weak-minded. But I’m here to tell you that religion is neither of those things. In fact, I would argue that religion, done right, is one of the best things that a person can have in their life.
Let me start by defining what I mean by “religion.” When I talk about religion, I’m referring to a set of beliefs and practices that help us connect with God. This can include going to church, reading the Bible, praying, and so forth.
Religion: Good or Bad?
Some people might say that these things are nothing more than empty rituals. And they would be right, if that’s all we’re doing them for. But if our motivation for obeying God is simply out of a sense of obligation or fear of punishment, then our religion is nothing more than a set of empty rules.
That’s not what God wants from us, though. He doesn’t want us to obey him out of duty or fear; he wants us to obey him out of a heart of gratitude for all that he has done for us—out of love. When our motivation for obeying God comes from a place of love, then our religion will be real. It will be something that we believe in and want to do, rather than something that we feel like we must do.
So, is religion bad? No, not when it’s done right. When our motivation for obeying God comes from a heart of love and gratitude, rather than duty or fear, then our religion will be authentic. And that’s what God wants from us.