Wait, what? God hates religion? God and religion are at odds? This is nuts, right? How could someone say that ‘God hates religion?’ Isn’t the whole idea of believing in God to be religious? Then how could God actually hate religion? If these are some of the questions you may be asking, you’re likely going to be shocked by the answers.
First, let’s clarify what we mean by “God.” What/who is God. For the sake of brevity let’s go with a broad definition – God is the necessary Being who created the world, who holds humans to a moral standard, and with whom those who He deems worthy will spend eternity. In order to try to see how God might hate religion, we will need to try to look at reality through the eyes of this Being who oversees it. Ok, I realize we’re not going to be able to do the mind of God justice by trying to think His thoughts, but given what we can discern about reality, we can have some rough approximations.
What is “religion?” When people speak of “religion,” they are referring to the broad canopy of belief systems within which people worship a supernatural being or beings. Though there is typically an attempt made to either amalgamate or downplay the various differences in all the religions and attempting to relegate religion to mere preference (see The Blind Men and an Elephant), to be certain, there are unbridgeable gaps between all religions that can never be closed. For example, within Islam, Jesus is merely a prophet and not God. Within Christianity, Jesus is the incarnate God. Either Jesus is only a prophet or Jesus is the incarnate God, or Jesus is neither a prophet nor the incarnate God. The one option we don’t have is for Jesus to not be the incarnate God and be the incarnate God – that would be a logical contradiction. This means that either Islam is wrong about this fact or Christianity is wrong about this fact, or they are both wrong about this fact. What’s obvious is that Islam and Christianity cannot both be right about this fact. The one thing we cannot say is that Islam and Christianity can be reconciled. This is but only one issue. There are numerous others that make Islam and Christianity mutually exclusive. And this actually happens to be the case when we compare virtually all other known religions – though there may be some general similarities, they will differ on the important specifics. What this means is that either there is only one true religion or there is none. The logical conclusion is inescapable – God and religion are at odds and not all religions will lead people to the one true God. And if we were able to peek into the mind of God, what would you suppose God’s reaction would be to all the fallacious beliefs people hold about Him?
Now, given that the only one religion is possibly true and all others false, what else might God think of religions? Well, if the belief system is not gained through God’s direct revelation or the observation of the world He’s created, then it must be made up. It must be man-made. What do you suppose God would think about humans creating their own beliefs which do not accord with His true nature? It would be sensible to think that He would be displeased, to say the least. This is because there are masses of people, who through their cultural and academic traditions and false beliefs, are actually propagating a false God through misinformation and leading people away from the truth. I realize people may be sincere in their beliefs, but the fact remains.
Suppose the people that knew you best told others about you. If you were concerned about being represented in the correct light, how would you feel? Most likely not that uncomfortable. After all, your closest friends know you well enough to give an accurate picture of who you are. Now, suppose relative strangers who only know you from a distance, started to tell others about you. How would you feel then? Probably far more concerned that you were being represented accurately. Well, if the belief systems that identify God incorrectly, and therefore do not know God well enough to be trustworthy witnesses of His true nature, tell others about their view of God, unless for a stroke of incredible luck, they are going to misrepresent the nature of the one true God, in other words, God is going to be libeled. How do you suppose God would feel about being libeled?
If you’ve never thought about any of these issues at depth, I hope I’ve given some food for thought. What do you think? In light of the reasons we looked at, why would God not hate religion?
Arthur is an author, a former agnostic, and current ambassador of Jesus of Nazareth who loves to share the best of reasons for God's ultimate reality. His love and passion are helping skeptics and Christians grow in their faith and knowledge of God through accessible materials.