This might seem a little lighter than most of my previous posts, but it brings up an important issue that I think many of us can identify with. Does the popular convention of “religious” really say a lot about what goes on in a person’s mind or heart, or whether others’ assessment of their spirituality really nails it? My off-the-cuff answer to this would be “No”, and here’s why I believe that.
A discussion on Facebook in the last year or so took an interesting turn when it turned to politics (sigh…yes, I know what people say about discussing religion and politics, but it just kind of crept up). The person who is definitely on the other side of the fence from me politically made a comment roughly to the effect of “I’m not as religious as you, but…” before going on to justify a position that I found reprehensible. After reading this comment, my initial thought was “I’m religious? Really? That’s news to me.”
The OP is Catholic and seems to have missed the memo that non-Catholics are not subject to the worship, doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church. Even more importantly, they seemed to be focusing most of their perception of religiosity on things that were more outward. Too much focus on the outward really seems to be a disease that infects much of Christianity.
Yes – I was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church. That is where I customarily attend, although I am not an every Sunday attendee. My Facebook feed contains likes, follows and group postings from TEC and other like-minded organizations.
However, these things alone say nothing about my spiritual state or whether my beliefs conform to those that some see as being representative of all Christians – I am a member of a specific group but don’t personally consider myself religious. A very common way of thinking is that “Because I’m a Christian (or “religious person”, etc.) and believe X”, all other Christians must also believe X”. That way of thinking can be annoying at best and downright destructive at worst.
Being considered “religious” says nothing useful about a person, it merely says that they identify with or hold to the beliefs of a certain religion. James 1:27 makes a case for “good religion”: Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (WEB) Are those who use their beliefs negatively against others keeping themselves unstained? – just something to think about.