Why I Am Not a Religious Person

Often times, people ask, “Are you a religious person?” My answer to that is “no.” That might surprise many readers considering this is a faith-based blog. But, the reason I say no is because religion can be transformed into a system of works-based salvation. It completely dismisses the fact that Christianity is about seeking Jesus and is founded on grace and love.

So many people get caught up in religion that they forget to have a relationship. It’s not about a checklist. It’s not about performing rituals. It’s not about formalities. It’s not only about ‘doing’ good. It’s not about working hard. It’s not about earning God’s love. All of these are based on religion. Religion is performance based, not grace based. It develops traditions and formulas to accomplish spiritual goals. It tries to earn God’s love and forgiveness.

This definition of religion seems spot on, “an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and maintain the status quo by using religious devices.” Satan loves to work religion onto people. Sometimes it happens without us even noticing. Before we know it we are living according to rules and regulations and by our own human efforts. It’s all a trap set by the enemy that we can all fall into. Religious spirits are destructive to having an intimate relationship with Jesus. One of the reasons Jesus died for us is so we can be free from all bondage and religious spirits.

It is really easy to get caught up in religion. Believe me, I have struggled. I’ve had the thoughts, “If I do ABC, then XYZ will happen.” But, that isn’t how Jesus works (thank goodness). It can even be things in the church – a religious person might tithe, volunteer, and attend bible studies, but none of that matters if they don’t have a relationship with their creator. Are those things good? Yes. Are they important? Yes. But, We should never ‘do’ to get something from Him, instead we should ‘do’ because He has given us life, and anything we do for Him should be a response out of our love for Him. Just like we can’t work our way into heaven, we can’t work our way into a relationship either.

Denomination doesn’t matter either. At the end of the day, whether you are Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, or any other Christian denomination doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a relationship with Jesus. Jesus created us to be in relationship with Him. There is nothing we are supposed to do to make Him love us more, including what church we attend or what denomination we are.

Whether to you being a Christian is considered a ‘relationship’ or ‘being religious’ isn’t the point in sharing on this topic. The point is that being a Christian is all about the grace and based on love. It starts when you accept Jesus as your Savior. It moves forward when you further your relationship with Him through things like worship, prayer, and spending time in His word. Don’t get caught up in religion, that you forget what having a relationship is all about.

I’m not saying all religion is bad. Of course, it depends on how you define the word. If religion to you means marking off the checklist and doing works to gain more things, better health, more love, or more blessings then it’s bad. I, at times, have gotten caught up in it too. Even though I have gotten off track at times, I wholeheartedly desire to live in freedom from all religious spirits and have a honest and pure relationship with Jesus. If a spirit of religion has affected you, repent, dismiss and command the spirit to leave, and ask the Lord to pour his grace and a new understanding of His love on you.

Why I am Not a Religious Person - In Due Time Blog

  • Jessi
    Posted at 08:29h, 29 May Reply

    YES YES YES! So true, my sister! We do things to serve God because we WANT to in our relationship with Him, not because we have to just to earn his love and approval, and not because we expect results in return. He already paid the ultimate price for US. >

  • Dawn
    Posted at 08:41h, 29 May Reply

    I so love this post!!! And isn’t it just a beautiful thing that we don’t have to earn God’s love?! We just have to accept it and love our Father back. Fantastic post, Caroline!

  • Rachel
    Posted at 09:04h, 29 May Reply

    At first I wasn’t following – but as I read through, your post resonated very deeply with me. You’re exactly right, and this is something I have felt all along but didn’t know how to vocalize – so thank you for giving words to my feeling (without even knowing it!). It is so frustrating to me when people talk about a God who requires you to do this and that “just so” in order to earn His love. I have always felt His love without needing to do those things first, and feeling His love makes me want to do good things and share in my experiences because I am loved – I truly believe that THAT is what being a Christian is about.

  • Jojo
    Posted at 09:49h, 29 May Reply

    Very interesting. I guess I never saw it in this perspective. J always told people he was not religious but he had faith/believe and that’s what mattered to him the most. U made me realize what he meant by this.

  • Sara
    Posted at 10:20h, 29 May Reply

    I 100% agree with this post and it really speaks to how I feel about having a relationship with Jesus. I could literally write a book on how religion and church effected my childhood. Thank you for writing this out so eloquently.

  • Rebecca Jo
    Posted at 10:48h, 29 May Reply

    I have a freidn who always called me her religious friend & i finally got her to stop…. i hate the term religious

  • Morgan
    Posted at 11:29h, 29 May Reply

    This. This exactly!! I always cringe a little when someone calls me religious. I usually try and correct them, but sometimes they just don’t understand the difference. LOVE this!

  • Cassie
    Posted at 12:09h, 29 May Reply

    I think most people avoid Jesus BECAUSE of religion and all the negative things churches have done which is so sad!

  • Kelly @ SoKo Blog
    Posted at 12:21h, 29 May Reply

    Yes yes yes!! I feel like so many times people will get wrapped up in the “religion” of everything and forget the actual “Gospel.” Great post friend!

  • C Rogers
    Posted at 12:35h, 29 May Reply

    Amazingly written and so so so true. Thank you so much for sharing and validating my own thoughts and concerns! Xoxo


  • Amanda
    Posted at 12:51h, 29 May Reply

    Love this! You worded this so well 🙂

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 13:58h, 29 May Reply

    Love this!

  • Cheryl Smith
    Posted at 15:31h, 29 May Reply

    You are so right, Caroline. Legalism is what I call it. Having spent so many years battling some of these very things and being made to feel if “brother so-and-so is not pleased, God surely can’t be pleased with me, either”. Oh, my! You probably don’t want to get me started on this subject! LOL!! Suffice to say that one day I may write a book about the pain and anguish of heart this has caused my little family and me. Jesus HATED the spirit of Phariseeism and how they imposed such strangleholds on the people of His day and the way they inflicted rules on people that God didn’t even require through the Mosaic law. So grateful to God to be free of “religion” and happy in Jesus!!

  • Tiffany
    Posted at 16:38h, 29 May Reply

    Great Post! I’m reading the book, “Jesus > Religion” and it is spot on with this post!

  • Erin
    Posted at 17:31h, 29 May Reply

    Great stuff and well said! I’ve tried explaining that to someone I know who is atheist, but they don’t get it. But they don’t know Jesus, so why should I expect them to? I think that’s where there’s so much confusion with non-Christians. I want Jesus, and then I want my heart and my works to follow suit.

  • Sheryl
    Posted at 18:31h, 29 May Reply

    Such a wonderful post. Thank You! XOXO

  • Suzanne
    Posted at 15:24h, 01 June Reply

    Really love, understand and appreciate this post. Thank you!!

  • Sevi
    Posted at 18:44h, 01 June Reply

    This was a very interesting read due to the fact that I just had a very heated discussion with a friend based on this exact notion. Your articulated the stance of not being a religious person in a manner that I could not get across. Definitely emailing this to my friend right now.

  • Carrie
    Posted at 19:26h, 04 June Reply

    What a great and honest post! We are a Christian society that is unfortunately filled more with religion, it seems to the public, than with Christ. When we as Christ followers can give up our claim to the rules and routines and start living authentic lives that reflect Christ and His grace, then we may see true revival.

  • Jenny @ Unremarkable Files
    Posted at 19:57h, 04 June Reply

    I think one reason for churches is that there is a community of believers to help each other – supporting your fellow spiritual brothers and sisters physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Jesus talks about the church as a body having many members that all work together. I think that’s important, too.

  • Bibi
    Posted at 18:27h, 05 June Reply

    So true! It is so easy to fall into being religious, but so important to have a relationship.

  • Jaclyn
    Posted at 21:35h, 05 June Reply

    You hit the nail right on the head and reminded me of why I left the church I was attending for over 10 years up until 2 yrs ago. Even the “goal” of striving to not be “religious” can also result in legalism, judgment, CONTROL and, you guessed it: RELIGION. I’ve learned in life that you should focus on what you want to be not what you’re not trying to be – or in Biblical terms: as a man thinks, so is he. When we focus on Jesus, we become like Jesus – something the world desperately needs – and churches forcing us to be “cookie cutter Christians” is the very mold we must be breaking everyday – especially as we shine for Jesus everyday. So thankful for your blog – you reignited so much in me and encouraged me so much with this post – so sorry for the delay! I read it last Friday at lunch and this week has obviously been super busy but it’s been on my mind all week. Knowing I’m not alone in this desire and fight has brought so much peace to me and has confirmed that I’m not just “hearing” things and I am, again, so ever thankful that our paths have crossed – distance has no bounds!!! There is a purpose in all of this craziness!!!: D

  • Shelly
    Posted at 23:19h, 05 June Reply

    Love this! I grew up in a small town where it very much was about religion and little about grace and love. I stayed away from the church for so many years and when I finally found my way back in a church that is more about loving everyone I felt renewed.

  • Arena
    Posted at 22:45h, 06 June Reply

    I think that this is definitely a trap that a lot of people fall into. Church can sometimes become more about social hour and making friends, rather than focusing on your relationship with the Savior. I am not really a religious person either, but I feel that having a personal relationship is so important.

  • Krystal
    Posted at 12:22h, 08 June Reply

    “Denomination doesn’t matter either. At the end of the day, whether you are Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, or any other Christian denomination doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a relationship with Jesus. ”

    Could not agree more. I actually just had a lengthy discussion about religion with a few of my professors. Organized religion is such a tricky thing, but within all of us who have a relationship with God is something sacred that churches cannot teach. Thanks for writing this!

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy}
    Posted at 13:02h, 09 June Reply

    Yes yes yes!! Really great post, Caroline! I just shared it on my FB and Twitter. Totally agree and I think you put it into perfect words.

  • a spirit of simplicity
    Posted at 17:41h, 11 June Reply

    I couldn’t agree more

  • Shannon @ Of The Hearth
    Posted at 05:28h, 13 June Reply

    This is how I feel, too. Sometimes people ask why I do or don’t do particular things and I always try to say something about how I practice my faith, not how I practice my religion because I want to avoid this confusion.

  • Laura @ Making Baby Provence
    Posted at 16:45h, 16 June Reply

    I like your perspective here, Caroline. Thanks for sharing this. Todd and I try so hard to teach the kids how the most important thing is that they build a personal relationship with God. I hope that it’s sinking in even though it seems like it’s falling on deaf ears.

  • Crystal
    Posted at 09:15h, 29 December Reply

    This is a great perspective! I think this is especially true for people who grow up in a church and never see any different ways and don’t have a tendency towards an inquiring mind.

  • Robbie @ use resources wisely
    Posted at 10:23h, 29 December Reply

    Very interesting perspective! I never considered being “religious” as being dictated by rules, more of a willingness to follow as a guide.

  • Samantha Lee
    Posted at 10:46h, 29 December Reply

    Love that you’re calling women to fall in love with Jesus (:

  • Shann Eva
    Posted at 12:02h, 29 December Reply

    Very interesting perspective. I’m not a religious person either, especially when it comes to organised religion . I do, however, feel I have a relationship with God, and pray every night.

  • Chels (@Inspire_Indulge)
    Posted at 12:23h, 29 December Reply

    Caroline- this is an amazing post. I get so frustrated with people who are SO one-sided about their religion. i.e. strictly Catholic. Strictly Lutheran. etc. I think it’s important to have a relationship to God, and whatever/whoever that God is to you…as long as He motivates you to be a better person, that’s all I care about. LOVED this post. Sharing it!!

  • miragonz
    Posted at 13:12h, 29 December Reply

    This is such a good post! And spot on. I got caught up in the religious spirit earlier this year, as in, I am doing this, so God should do this. But God is not a genie, and God is not mocked. Instead of having the desired effect, it actually caused me great strife and depression, which are also tools of the enemy. Thank you so much for putting this truth into such plain, understandable language.

  • Andrea
    Posted at 14:16h, 29 December Reply

    it’s not about religion – it’s about a RELATIONSHIP….

  • lifeofaministermom
    Posted at 21:21h, 29 December Reply

    Yes! Love and grace! Those two things should never get lost or overshadowed based on what we’ve done. So thankful for my RELATIONSHIP with Jesus!!

  • Katie
    Posted at 23:38h, 29 December Reply

    Great thoughts, Caroline. Religion has become such a subjective term these days I shudder to use it as well.

  • Elizabeth Edgar
    Posted at 09:40h, 30 December Reply

    I agree with this 100%! I grew up in a strong Christian home, but now I am not religious at all. I believe in God somewhat. However, I aspire to be a better person and do good things, not just to make myself look good for the society. Organized religious churches and superficial people who claim to be religious and perfect are what steered me away from religion. They say people should attend church every Sunday to be called a religious person and that is not true. There should not be a checklist like you just said.

    Sorry to say, but some religious people I have met are the most judgmental people ever. I do not aspire to be one of them.

  • Chelsie Carr
    Posted at 10:08h, 30 December Reply

    This is a very interesting point of view and it looks like I’m going to be on the other side of this stance. I consider myself a very religious person because I am strong in my church and faith (LDS) but I go to church to develop my relationship with Christ and to come to know him better. I follow the teachings of my church not as a “checklist” but as a way to come to know my Savior better and to grow in his teachings. And if being Christian is being founded on Grace and Love, then all Christians should be supportive of those who choose to go to church and to follow a certain religion, instead of condoning them and calling their beliefs a performance.

  • Tara
    Posted at 11:47h, 30 December Reply

    Great post and catchy title! Being a Christian is all about our relationship with God.

  • Jonathan Key
    Posted at 09:34h, 01 January Reply

    Really thought provoking post! It’s all about a relationship with God. Yet I’m reminded of this verse in the Bible:

    James 1:27
    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

    I think sometimes people forget the first half of this verse and just focus on the second half. As if people will be won over by high standards and judgmental words.

    What did Jesus say? Love God and love people. He also said we would be known as His followers by our love for one another.

    John 13:34-35
    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    Keep up the great work and looking forward to more great content in 2016! Happy new year to you and yours!

  • jmuddamalle
    Posted at 21:47h, 01 January Reply

    There is so much to this post that I can relate to! I think one of the challenges can be assumptions made by other believers in regards to what it means to “not be religious”. I think relationship is vitally important and it also includes being apart of a local church body where you can grow in maturity in Christ.

  • Sandra
    Posted at 06:13h, 03 March Reply

    I have read your posts about religion and your heading ‘why I am not religious’. I have to say I disagree with you about s***n’s part in it. Because he would not want us to be part of any group that is supposed to glorify the Lord God. Also, and speaking from a sociological point of view, to be identified member of a religious group or faith based church group is a part of belonging. An identity. We all need to belong.

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