So why is it that folks get all wound up about religion? Because they try to understand God with their mind. Even the most mature Christians step off into intellectual assents trying to make a case for a Biblical worldview. The living God, however; is not going to be understood by the human mind. Putting on the mind of Christ, memorizing Bible passages, and spouting scripture does not, in itself, make us a Christian.
There is an amazing story in John chapter 4, and it is worth reading even if you are not a believer. Even if you hate Jesus, you should read it. Jesus gets a bad rap when things go wrong with stupid, religious church people, and when humans have pain they do not understand.
The scene unfolds between Jesus and a Samaritan woman.
John 4:9 The Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan [and a] woman, for a drink?--For the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans--
10 Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognized God's gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.
Why is this amazing? Because Jesus (assuming that He was God) was talking to her about the prejudice the Jews had against the Samaritans. Notice He didn't' say, "let's be tolerant of each other and all get along." He simply pointed out her error. "If you had only known and recognized God's gift" (Him!!), then you would have known life. He didn't say, "Hey, let's go to church and get on a kneeler and have communion." Or, "Are you saved?" Or maybe "dude-ette, let's read the Word together and pray." He simply said, "If you knew me, you'd have life." Do you see? There is no debate. You know a living God, or you don't. You can't debate God. Again, you know Him, or you don't. One might debate how you know that you know Him, but not that you know Him-- umm, if you do.
I mean if Muslims don't pray facing Mecca, are they hypocrites? If a Satanist stops for someone in a cross walk without running their butt over, is he a hypocrite? If a Christian Scientist takes an aspirin, are they going to hell? Religion is killer. Religion is a list of rules, laws and practices that people cannot endure, and can never adhere to perfectly. That is why we get the principal of "good." It's like a doctrine for religious folks and atheists trying to feel good about themselves. Look, quite simply no one is perfectly good no matter what religion you look at. If you look closely at the common denominators, everyone is trying to find purpose in life and make sense of an afterlife. Biblically speaking, if you faith does not produce good works, you need to examine your faith.
Back to the story. Our little girlfriend at the well doesn't get it. She goes on the religious bent one more time.
John 4:12 Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?
Jesus stops her and again speaks life.
John 4:13 Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again.
Even after Jesus tells her exactly what the living water is, and who He is, she is like "What church do you go to?" You see, that is the problem with religion! She should have known that Jesus was the Church, and by choosing life, she too could be the church.
In the end Jesus convinces her not with words, but with supernatural power. By the way, there is not another religion on earth that contains the love of God as it expresses itself in the supernatural. Not one. The living God still listens and and talks to those that know Him - and He performs miracles, provides revelation and heals sick bodies to name a few.
Amazingly, the woman goes back to some more religious upbringing-- she just can't help herself and talks about the Messiah to come. Jesus is so cool. Verse 26 Jesus said to her, I Who now speak with you am He.
I don't know about you, but after He told me nearly every major event of my life, I'd be wanting to know more too. How about you? Do you want to know more? Are you tired of religious people being judgmental and hypocritical? The living God, Jesus, He is out there waiting for you to call on His name. How do you know you've met Him? You can feel it-- you can tell. I can't imagine having a relationship with someone that you just believe in like a character from a story book? Honestly, isn't that a little religious?