So I was reading the news this morning like I always do and I came across a story on KCRG about an atheist-led invocation at the Iowa House. Apparently, this is the first time that an atheist will lead the invocation there. I am assuming that most of you that are reading this blog will instantly get defensive about what is going to happen. Maybe it is rightfully so. Apparently, the purpose of this invocation is to draw a clear line of the separation of Church and State. Instead of beating a dead horse on the Christian argument, let me engage your mind in my thoughts of this entire topic.
First, lets look at the argument of the separation of Church and State. To call myself a Christian means that I am a Christ follower. Being a Christian is not a religion or a Church, it is a relationship with Jesus. When we call Christianity a religion, we are putting it in a category for which it does not belong.
I went to Merriam-Webster to see what they said the definition of religion is. This is what I found listed on their website.
the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practice
archaic : scrupulous conformity : contentiousness
a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and fait
So let's see how the definition or religion holds up against a personal relationship with Jesus.
- Not sure about the religious nun that they are referring to. The service and worship of God would fall into a place of worship. Last time I checked, I did not have religious service outside of the Church doors. My relationship is with Jesus and through the blood that Jesus shed for my sins. Never do I put religious faith or observance above my personal relationship with him.
- What are religious attitudes, beliefs, and practice anyways? All of these are man made. This is part of the rigmarole of Churches that I frequently talk about. They have nothing to do with a personal relationship with Jesus. Sometimes these “things” are put in place by man to help further our relationship with Jesus. They, however, do not replace the relationship.
- If we are conforming to something, we are following man-made plans. A relationship with Jesus is not conforming. It is a constant walk of fulfillment. Instead of conforming, we are continually expanding our relationship and spiritual journey. Folks, it is called a spiritual walk for a reason, not spiritual conformity.
- A system of beliefs again is part of the man-made rigmarole. When you have to ask your priest for forgiveness, that is what I am talking about. Our relationships need to be direct with Jesus.
Matthew 10:32 NASB Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
Now that we have established that a personal relationship with Jesus is not a religion, it is time to move on to the next topic.
The separation of Church and State.
A Church would be defined as a building of worship for religion. I have never seen anywhere that there is a separation of a spiritual relationship with Jesus and State. It is just not there. Atheism would pretty much fit Merriam-Websters definitions of religion. Where there is a commitment for their cause. They have an institutionalized system of beliefs and practice. There is conformity of a non-belief in God. There is also a system of believing that God does not exist.
So the next time that an atheist wants to lecture Christians about religion, they should look no further than their religion of denial. You can say that you do not believe in God all that you want. You can say Christianity is a religion. But when you choose to support a confirmed belief, you are venturing down the path of religion.
Should an atheist-led invocation be allowed at the Iowa House?
I would suggest to you that atheists should be allowed the same privilege as any other religion. This does mean that an atheist-led invocation should be allowed if you want all religions to have equal treatment. Since Atheism is a religion, they should be treated as such. When an atheist wants to talk about removing God from something, they are pushing their religion on others. Personal relationships are different than religion. The next time an atheist wants to silence you because of your spiritual walk with Jesus, don't play into the notion that the relationship that you have is a religion. If you see your relationship with Jesus as a religion, you should probably examine where you are in your walk with the Lord.
Do I think that an atheist-led invocation should be allowed? Yes, but what will they pray about? Since the definition of prayer invocation indicates that someone will be calling on a deity, or holy spirit for protection, then who will an atheist ask for protection? Your guess is as good as mine. I don't really have an answer for you.
I think atheists should have to follow all of the same rules and laws that any other religion should have to follow. As Christian, we need to stop letting atheists bully us and drive the narrative of our personal relationship with Jesus. For too long, we have cowered and have taken up stake with the wrong argument in the wrong way. Religion does not create a spiritual relationship. A spiritual walk creates a spiritual relationship. Until we believe in Jesus, we will continue to be backed into a corner of political submission.
Standing by your religion creates a lack of faith.
Faith is ultimately what drives us to pursue a relationship with Jesus. The church is just a big pep rally to get you excited about what you are doing. We don't need to see to believe. I would encourage you to engage an atheist in your life. Show them God's love and grace. You don't need to tell them they are wrong and you don't need to smack them on the head with your Bible. When we are the salt and the light in the world, they will see Jesus in us. Someone's mind will never be changed by telling them they are wrong. You will, however, create a path for God to work in their life.
2 Corinthians 5:7 “for we walk by faith, not by sight”
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