Some people say they do not believe in religion. However, no matter who you talk to, everyone holds certain beliefs that are a basis of how they live their lives. If they believe that poor people should be helped, they are more apt to donate to a charity that helps the poor. If they believe that it does not matter if you live with a boyfriend or girlfriend without being married, they are more apt to live with someone without being married.
What they fail to consider is that the original meaning of the word religion communicates the idea of any belief that controls behavior. The root of the word religion is the “lig,” which is the same root of the word ligament. A ligament is a tough fibrous tissue that holds two bones together like a knee for example. Religion then is something that binds or controls someone’s life.
Where do we get our religion?
When we are born we are born with the ability to think. As our parents, the culture, and human nature influences us, actions and operations of our mind begin to reason. This reasoning is sorted and categorized into deeply held convictions and beliefs of what we consider to be truth. This truth becomes the basis for our opinions, which make up our worldview.
Our worldview is the “super link” between our thinking and actions. It is used to create our religion or standard of behavior to guide our actions. Those actions produced by our religion also become an influence upon the culture. The combined effect of actions and events then, in turn, alter or reinforce our thinking.
It is a constant circular process with the thoughts, worldview, and religious beliefs being internal to the individual and the culture being external. This circular process creates a circle of discipleship.
What is a circle of discipleship?
A circle of discipleship visually represents the process where all of these things happen. Starting at the top with the thoughts, it proceeds to form the worldview based on our beliefs. Our beliefs become opinions that we use to create our religion, as seen at the bottom of the circle. As a person communicates his religion through behaviors and the things he says, he has an impact upon the culture and the culture has an impact on him. The culture then influences the thoughts and the process starts all over again.
How does our religion change?
Any effort to change a person’s religion must take place in the mind. If the culture is the primary influence on the mind, then the thoughts, worldview, religion, and behaviors will reflect the culture. If there is something other than the culture as the primary influence upon the mind, then the thoughts, worldview, religion, and behaviors will reflect that influence.
No matter how you look at it, the battle over religion takes place in the mind and it demonstrates itself in our worldview and religion, which form the basis of controlling our behaviors. This is why it is important that we strive to become disciples of Christ, filling our thoughts with the Word of God (Psalms 119:11; Psalms 119:105; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24; Philippians 2). Pure religion demonstrates itself in what it produces (Matthew 25:34-45; James 1:19-27). When you think about it, it really is something to consider about religion.