The Non-Religion

"For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5.6) 

Christianity isn't a religion.

All religions--from Buddhism to Hinduism to Judaism to Islam--have at their core a central conceit: That humans can make our way toward God. Or, if not toward God, then some form of enlightenment. In their essence, religions are pathways, routes we follow toward the divine. The farther we progress down the path--adhering to the Torah, obeying the Koran, walking the Noble Eightfold Path, or following the Dharma--the closer and closer we approach God or enlightenment.   

The same goes for non-theistic correlates of religion, all the paths and techniques of self-improvement and self-actualization. You work the program and improve.

Christianity, by contrast, is the end of religion.

Christianity provides no path toward God, no route to the divine, no ladder to climb toward the heavens. Christianity proclaims the exact opposite. There is nothing you can do, no step you can take. The gulf between you and God is unbridgeable. Between you and enlightenment there exists an abyss. 

Christianity isn't a religion because it isn't a path toward God, a spiritual regimen to follow. Oh, to be sure, people turn Christianity into a religion all the time, twisting it into a moral self-improvement project. But whenever Christianity is turned into a pathway, gives you a plan to get closer to God, it is no longer a proclamation of the gospel. 

Christianity isn't a ladder to heaven you have to climb, a moral mountain you have to scale, an inner fathom you have to plumb. Christianity is history. An event. A report. News. Glad tidings. Christianity is a story, the story of God coming to us, the ungodly, while we were stuck, powerless, and helpless. While we were dysfunctional and wicked. 

Christianity isn't a religion because, in the end, there is nothing you can do to get close to God. But here's the news:

God has already come close to you.

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