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Faith vs. Religion – the role of the body of Christ, the ChurchMinimize

Faith vs. Religion – the role of the body of Christ, the Church.

There is a vast gulf between faith and religion; as Charles Schulz , the creator of the cartoon series "PEANUTS" and the author of "The Gospel According to Peanuts" says:

“Religion without humour is a worthless religion. Humour is part of man and man never would have survived without humour. It is the only that that makes life palatable- if that’s the word.

And to say that there’s no room for humour in religion is like saying there is no room for religion in life. The scriptures themselves have quite a few incidents of humour – probably more than we realize, especially if we had the ability to go back and understand the cultures which contain some of the occurrences reported in the Bible.

Of course, I do believe that the scriptures are holy, but I do not believe that the Bible itself is a holy instrument to be worshiped. After all, the words are only the words which men put down under inspiration".

All too often, religion, of whatever brand, is without humour and without humanity ; faith is the living out in daily life of the beliefs of an individual. Hebrews 11:1 says this about faith:

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."

So, what then is the difference between faith and religion and what is the role of the Church in relation to faith and religion?

Faith, for a follower of Jesus, is the application of his teaching and the Holy Spirit inspired insights from the Bible, to daily life, on a day by day basis. Religion is the public face of the collected beliefs of a religious system; in the case of followers of Jesus Christ, the institutions such as Presbytery and the Synod are the public face of the Christian religion.

However, that is only part of the story; here in Hazelbrook we represent both Jesus and the Uniting Church and few people make this distinction.

If we as a body of believers do things that the wider community does not agree with, then we, the Uniting Church and Jesus, all get into trouble.

Let us have a humourous look at sample issues that those angry with the Christians raise:

Evolution  vs.  Religion

A little girl asked her father: "How did the human race appear?"

The father answered, "God made Adam and Eve; they had children; and so was  all  mankind made."

Two days later the girl asked her mother the same question.  The mother answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys from  which the human race evolved."

The confused girl returned to her father and said,  "Dad, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God,  and Mom said they developed from monkeys?"

The father answered,'Well, Dear, it is very simple.  I told you about my side of the family, and your mother told you about hers."

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.

Four worms were placed into four separate jars.

The first worm was put into a container of alcohol.

The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. 

The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup.

The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

The first worm in alcohol - DEAD. 

The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead

Third worm in chocolate syrup - DEAD.

Fourth worm in good clean soil - ALIVE.

So the Minister asked the congregation

What can you learn from this demonstration?

Maxine was setting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"

That pretty much ended the service.


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