In the early 1970s, John Lennon wrote a very popular song called “Imagine.”
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.
If one were to simply look at the world with secular eyes, a case could be made. In the name of religion, the Crusades occurred, slavery was tolerated in Great Britain and the United States (supposedly Christian nations) and even in the homes men misinterpreted the Bible to inflict a tyrannical rule over their wives, all the while claiming, “Woman, the Good Book says you’re gonna submit to me, so what I say goes, no matter what!” Some even used this logic to physically abuse their wives — again with what they deemed was a biblical warrant for such deviant behavior.
In the spirit of John Lennon, now comes Elton John on the scene making headlines with a recent interview made the comment, “I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. From my point of view, I would ban religion completely.” He promotes the view that religion lacks compassion.
Apparently this mindset is quite en vogue, for Rosie O’Donnell on her newest gig, “The View,” noted that radical Christianity is as big a threat as radical Islam here in the United States. ” It should be noted as well that O’Donnell is a homosexual as well.
But back to John. In the midst of this article, he makes a very salient point that penetrations all of us who worship Christ as the Prince of Peace.
Organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate. The world is near escalating to World War Three and where are the leaders of each religion?
Why aren’t they having a conclave? Why aren’t they coming together? I said this after 9/11 and people thought I was nuts. Instead of more violence why isn’t there a meeting of religious leaders?” he said.
It must be said that having all the ‘religious leaders’ come together is a tall task, especially since so many hold to so many differing views on salvation, the nature of Christ, and other intricacies. So it is difficult, nay impossible, for all religions to come together in any spiritual enterprise (see 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
But what about the Christian leaders? What about the unity of those who hold to Christ and His Word? Are we becoming so spiritually minded that we forget Christ put us here as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) as a testimony to His good work on the cross and how those barriers of hostility may be broken down through Him (Ephesian 2:11-22)?
What Elton John and Rosie O’Donnell and others of their ilk have a problem with is the Bible’s view of homosexuality — and that we cannot change because Scripture says what it says. We cannot nor should not re-write the rule books no matter how loudly people yell. Plus, they yell we are being too exclusive in our views — yet they are being as exclusive in their views as we are — even more so, saying that whoever disagrees with them is wrong and needs to be corrected. Yet they add that we are the equivalent of those who are terrorists.
Maybe what should be banned is “bad” religion. I submit that true Christianity, when actually taught, believed, and practiced, will show that ‘religion’ can be good, but also beneficial. Not everyone will agree with us, but at least it will show the truth of Peter’s writings in the Scriptures:
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,  but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;  yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil 1 Peter 3:13-17, ESV).
They may not like what we say or teach, but when Christ’s love permeates our thoughts, words, and actions, they will see the truth of God’s Word in our lives and be shamed for not embracing the same truth as well.
Even James tells us what true religions should be, and it looks good!
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:26-27, ESV).
Of course, the context of James’ passage comes from being ones who are not simply hearers of the Word, but doers as well (James 1:22).
So again, we should be as followers of Christ ones who ban bad and embrace true Christianity.
The world — even those antagonistic to the Scriptures — won’t help but take notice.