Real World Religion

Real World Religion

People like you and I, we live in the real world. We live in a place where people have to grow up, make difficult decisions, get jobs, and work hard. The difference between a fourth grader and an adult is real life, the place where cars won’t start, spouses aren’t always faithful, and people have to choose between paying for health insurance or groceries.

In the real world people make radically important decisions all the time: Should I marry him? Should I take that job? Should we have kids? Move to that state? Take this treatment? We’re used to it because that’s what adults do. And it’s in this real world that people begin asking questions like, “Why am I here? How do I find my place in the universe? Are we alone? Is there a Being that created all of this?”

It’s at this point—the point when we human beings start asking questions about meaning and transcendence—that people raised in the Western culture with its worldviews want to think like fourth graders instead of like adults. 

Above all else, these days people want to live in a world without religious bickering. And that’s completely understandable. I hate bickering. But, if there’s an ultimate truth out there to govern our lives, that truth, just like the other truths we learn in life, must be found. Questions have to be asked. Evidence must be weighed. This search involves discussion, debate, and even disagreement. That’s how we find truth.

The problem is that we live in a culture where people want to avoid honest discussions about religion. The forces of our culture convince people to long for a simpler time, a time free of religious disagreement and division.

The reality is that I want to live like religion doesn’t matter, too; I want to live like what I actually believe isn’t that important. I like being liked. I don’t like making waves. I don’t like making people feel awkward. But, I can’t back down from what I know to be true. Sheer logic will not let me do that. Like the atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell, Christians have always known there can’t be more than one correct religion.

I think all the great religions of the world—Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Communism—both untrue and harmful. It is evident as a matter of logic that, since they disagree, not more than one of them can be true.”

More importantly, for two thousand years, most Christians have rejected the “don’t ask/don’t tell” religious mold into which our culture has consistently tried to pour us. Not surprising, even in the most persecution-filled environments, Christians have always been willing to share their faith. We’ve always felt it better to risk causing division than not to get the gospel message out.


Because there is something unique about Christianity that not only sets it apart from all other religions, but drives Christians to the point of martyrdom to help their non-Christian friends and family discover it.

Do you know what that is?

“What is so important about Christianity that it’s worth offending the people who lovingly and authentically embrace these and thousands of other religions?” What is it about our faith that forces us to abandon the immense cultural drive to act like fourth graders when it comes to religion? What makes it worth risking misunderstanding, awkwardness, losing a friendship, and even losing your life?

The answer is simple. It’s one word: propitiation.

As helpful, insightful, and meaningful as other religious systems can seem, none of them, and I mean none of them, can provide the means to propitiate the wrath of God.

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