“I’m not a religious person because they’re hypocrites.” “I don’t want to go to church because they’re so judgmental.” I hear comments like these a lot from people who say they believe in God but don’t want to be considered religious. I’ve even spoken to people who are atheists or agnostics and they have similar reasons for either leaving the church or not wanting to be Christian. It’s not everyone’s reason, but I’ve heard too many people say it.
Here’s the typical scenario and belief: People who go to church or claim to be a certain religion are hypocrites because they’re sinful people. They commit adultery, lie, steal, are drug addicts, abuse their loved ones, but they praise and worship God every Sunday. They pretend to be “good” for an hour every week. Those religious people are judgmental because they look down on anyone else who does anything they think is bad. They are against gays, abortion, alcoholics, criminals, premarital sex, etc.
These are the things I hear from people who would rather not be called “religious.” These people would rather accept their sins and downfalls and be honest with who they are (including all the “bad things” they do), than be called religious.
These non-religious people call religious people judgmental, but then isn’t that a judgment? Isn’t a judgment labeling someone or a group something without understanding why those people are that way? Without even trying to understand?
So then, what we’re left with is that both groups are judgmental and neither group is better than the other. Let me repeat that: Neither the religious or non-religious people are better.
In John 8:1-11, there is a story about a woman who committed adultery. This woman was brought to Jesus and in verse 5 he was asked, “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such [a person] should be stoned. But what do You say?” Jesus wisely responded, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (NKJV v.7). When everyone who brought the woman had left, Jesus asked her if any of her accusers had condemned her, and she replied that no one had. Then he said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (NKJV v.8).
If you consider yourself religious, you are most likely familiar with these verses. It’s a very wise thing that Jesus did, because he got everyone to acknowledge that they are all sinners. No one is guilt-free. Jesus spoke against judgment and called everyone to love one another. This isn’t to say that sins should go unpunished. I’m not proposing that we let God punish sinners and we should do nothing. I’m simply speaking against judgment.
If you consider yourself to not be religious, then I hope you can still get some light from this story. Both religious and non-religious people make judgments. They commit the same sins. They make the same pretenses. So why should religious people make judgments on sinners when they both sin just as much? Why should non-religious people make judgments on the so-called righteous when they both make judgments just as much?
As an extra note, here’s my defense for religious people and church goers: They are trying, but they’re not perfect. I am a Christian and I am very proud to admit that to anyone. I do not go to church every Sunday, but I acknowledge that I should and I do try. I sin, and there are many times I don’t regret it. I know I have a forgiving God and I take advantage of that, just like many other Christians.
However, I try to follow God’s most important commandment: Love God, and love others as you would love yourself. This is the gospel. This is the core of Christianity that should be spread and known by all. I’m a Christian because I not only believe in God and his message, but I believe that to fully love God and have a relationship with Him, I must help better His Kingdom. That means going to church and building community, reading His word, praying, and loving everyone. These aren’t easy tasks, and every religious person struggles with them, but we try. We get lost sometimes and think ourselves righteous because we feel like we’re doing so good, but deep down every religious person should know that they all fall short of perfection.
What’s most important to me is for everyone, with any belief system, to experience unconditional love. For Christians, this is God’s love. For non-believers, this is a love you must discover in your own way. It gives me hope when a non-believer believes in the full power of love, because as 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.”Source: