Yes, Christianity is a religion though some would have us believe differently.
Some leaders of Christianity assert that their institution is certainly not a religion, but the one, true way to God. Of course, this is a scare tactic and not true.
Consequently, Christians believe their specific brand of 'Jesus Religion' is all about spirituality and that Christianity is very spiritual. And for some this could be somewhat correct. Yet, there seems to be a confusion between defining religion, spirituality and Christianity. I too will struggle to define them even in this writing.
Religions Are Made
Let's first look at religion. What is religion? Where do religions come from?
Religions are founded upon spiritual teachers who once lived. These teachers, whether it be Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus, etc. had incredible spiritual wisdom and insight. They would share sayings to cause others to go deep inside for understanding. Followers would often ask, "What did he mean?"
Unfortunately, people who came after these spiritual masters attempted to define the wise sayings and make them into practices. Voila! A religion was born. Practice this, do that - you get the idea.
Religious Practices and Beliefs Define Religion
Religion itself is a set of practices and beliefs, based upon stories of a higher power, namely God. A religion, seeks to explain the mysteries of the universe through these beliefs. These beliefs are the core of a religion, for upon them believers practice rituals, such as prayer, study, worship, music, and the like.
The challenge with this, however, is that even when a religion seems good and godly the practices are often focused on doing something to be right with God. One must 'do' something, and that 'something' tends to be the idea that we need to look outside of ourselves for life's answers. Living life is about being and not doing.
When a religion asks us to do something, it often causes people to seek direction for their lives from other sources, be it a religious institution, religious leaders, a religious book, an idol, etc. The Christian religion, for example, teaches we need to look to another to save us. This sort of idea is actually promoting disconnection - separation. It is a concept of the mind. Disconnection would have you believe that somehow you could separate your very existence from your source which is life. Impossible.
But, religions and spiritual practices are not necessarily bad. They can be used to bring us to great truth. Accept them for what they are and do not allow yourself to be trapped by fear if encountered. Everything in life has its purpose.
Is Christianity a Religion?
Now that we have defined religion, at least from my perspective, then let's answer the question, "Is Christianity a religion?" Well, you already know the answer. Yes, it is.
Christianity sets forth beliefs and practices based upon stories of a man who we learn is called "Jesus." Most denominations and sects of Christianity can trace their roots back to early orthodox Christianity, something became organized by the fourth century after Jesus. Other early Christian beliefs were stamped out by orthodox opponents, effectively being silenced over time.
Although we may not realize it, Christianity is indeed a religion. It is the 'Jesus religion' that was crafted through aid of the Roman Empire and eventually established upon the writings of what would become New Testament authors.
Today, Christianity is simply packaged in many different forms in order to attract new believers. Just look at all the different worship styles from which we have to choose: traditional, contemporary, etc. Christianity, with all its different forms, is divided. That is a sign that something is in error with its core.
Christianity and Its Beliefs
Religion seeks to establish its own set of beliefs as the truth, focusing on the purposeof the universe and our role within it. Unfortunately, men create such beliefs then look to have others subscribe to them even if they are incorrect or used for less-than-honest purposes.
Religion, such as Christianity, always prefers believers to feel that their religion is the only one which possesses truth. Should one elect not to believe in said religion's teachings, a consequence must be suffered (e.g. community shunning, eternal punishment - Hell, for Christian non-believers).
Within some religions, fear is used to influence the mind, making it difficult for believers (and non-believers) to consider other views even if it is obvious that the religion itself is incorrect in its instruction. Believers simply are unable to see the religion's own sins due to the power of fear. This is how cults are formed and cultivated, by the way.
Today's Christianity, unfortunately, has become a world religion that was created and empowered by government (Roman Emperor Constantine, the Council of Nicaea, etc. - look it up) in order to control people through use of fear. This idea is age-old and used by different empires to enforce its particular laws of right and wrong.
Did Jesus Create Christianity?
No, Jesus did not create Christianity; Christianity created Jesus. Men created their own teachings and simply ascribed them to a man they coined as "Jesus." We can read in the Bible passages that cite this great spiritual teacher how he stood against religious ideas, promoting love and peace to his followers.
This may come as a shock, but the true messages of Jesus can still can be found within the Bible. Just read the gospels and pay attention to who he was speaking to and forget any religious interpretation you might have learned about his parables. Listen to them anew deep inside - don't try to wrap your brain around them. Jesus' real name, by the way, was something more like "Yeshua."
Recapping Spirituality Versus Religion Versus Christianity
True spirituality is void of religion if it is indeed real spirituality. Spirituality is not the same as being religious; for spirituality does not attempt to control people through fear. Religion, and especially Christianity, claims to provide direction for people by steering them to look outside of themselves for answers. Religion will point to books, outward places of worship, outer places of eternity, a leader and the like. Such devices are used to promote fear.
Fear is always produced by looking outside of ourselve and believing what the mind interprets. Deeper within you is an awareness that is not the thinking mind. This is the real you.
Peace is realized through identifying with your deeper awareness behind thought, and it is our deep connection to the eternal energy, or spirit. Awareness of something greater can only be found WITHIN YOU after quieting the mind. That is the core message that the greatest spiritual teachers tried to share with us. Religion can never grasp this, for it is created by the mind and seeks only to promote itself. - Louis Charles
How to Buy the Book, Jesus Religion!
Want to learn more about what was likely the real message of Jesus? Do you desire to find freedom from fearful Christian ideas and teachings?
The book Jesus Religion by Louis Charles is available on Amazon.com.
Know that you are already eternally connected to God and find your path to spirituality and peace.