Saturday, January 14, 2012

Religion versus relationship

All-Merciful Saviour Orthodox Monastery posts the following on FB:
Orthodoxy is NOT a religion, but a way of life that is centered in Jesus Christ. Orthodoxy, as a way of life, has the cure to what ails us and can return us to that state of wholeness that was God's original intent for human kind. Because Orthodoxy is not about religion, it can offer the transformation of the heart that comes with entering into a relationship with our creator. This transformation begins with repentance, that moment when we decide to return to that pure state of communion with God, for which we were created. When we renounce ourselves, we become a difference person through the action of God's grace. Where we were corrupt because of the fall, through repentance we are returned to that state for which we were created.

It's the second time I've seen such a distinction being made in recent days on the Internet.

A Thomist could agree with this in so far as religion (being concerned with practices or rituals and other actions in the service of God) does not have God as its object, as it is not a theological virtue, but has God for its end (and is thus concerned with the means). One needs charity (or perhaps the natural love of God) for religion to be enlivened. Religion by itself does not give the motivating force, nor can it substitute for a living union with God. But this does not mean that for the Christian the virtue of religion is not necessary either.

If, however, religion is defined as faith or belief system then we would have to distinguish between the infused theological virtue and some acquired virtue that is not dependent upon God for the revealing authority, along with an explanation of how faith and charity differ.

Edit. Remembered that this video has been making the rounds on FB, and Catholics and other Christians have been putting up responses. I don't think I'll be responding to that.

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