Simone Weil, the brilliant French resistor, said that “the tragedy of Christianity is that it came to see itself as replacing other religions instead of adding something to all of them.” … We’ve usually presented Christianity as an ideology competing with communism, materialism, or some other “ism.” I can see why our perception of it slides in that direction, but corporate religion gets all tied up with totems and symbols and arguments about who’s right and wrong, instead of holding the tension of life and death — and paying the price within ourselves for that reconciliation.
Every major religion has done the same. This preoccupation with religion as an ideology leads to over-identification with the group, its language and symbols. Group loyalty becomes the test rather than loyalty to God or truth. Many of the hate letters I get indulge in guilt by association.
In other words, religion often becomes the point of the religion…which is pretty pointless! As a follower of Jesus, I don’t want to be defined by what I’m not, or by what I don’t do, but by what I am becoming.