Bono on Religion
In coming across a quote from Bono, it prompted me to think about the nature of religion. Here’s what he said:
“Religion can be the enemy of God. It’s often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship.”
So what is religion all about? Our instinct may be to define religion in terms of that which facilitates our beliefs about God or our belief in God. But this would miss the fundamental essence of the Christian faith: a relationship with God through Christ that opens our lives to love and be loved. When this is missing, faith turns into a religion that is about preserving the institution, not opening ourselves to the transforming love of God in Christ. I’m going to side with Bono on this one. If religion becomes about dogma and discipline, then God has truly left the building!
When religion goes wrong maybe it’s because we feel more comfortable participating in an institution rather than opening ourselves to the unpredictable journey that ensues when God’s love enters our lives. Again, here’s what Bono has to say:
“God is love, and as much as I respond in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that’s my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that’s not so easy.” Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas
We all may not agree with Bono, but we all should be asking, what’s the essence of my religion?