Are you religious?
A question which, as a religious studies teacher, I get asked a lot. My answer, is always… No! I am a Christian, and I go to Church, but I am not religious.
Personally, I associate the term religious with following lots of rules. There are a LOT of rules in the Old Testament, but Jesus summarises them by saying Love your God and love your neighbour. At no point does Jesus belittle the rules of the Old Testament, but he recognised that people were getting caught up in the rules, as opposed to why the rules were given in the first place.
After summarising the law, he then tells the story of the Good Samaritan to emphasise that someone who follows the rules doesn’t necessarily do the right thing, and the person was a neighbour, the person whose example Jesus told them to follow was the Samaritan. The Samaritan was considered an enemy to the Jews and the Samaritan would not have been following the Jewish law. However, those who were considered high up in Jewish law did not act like neighbours.
Mahatma Gandhi famously said “God has no religion”
I imagine over time that this has caused a lot of upset, however, a religion is a belief system followed by people. For most religions it is a belief in God that is followed, that manifests itself in different ways but there are also a lot of similarities.
It is easy for people to make assumptions about people based on their religion. It is harder to have a conversation and find out what a persons beliefs are and how that affects their life. But which would bring love in to the world?