Is Your Religion an Idol?

Henry Sloane Coffin quote

The quote from Henry Sloane Coffin’s book Joy in believingwhich appears in the image, as well as the background image from Olivia Bell, came to me via the post “Faith Without Apologetics” on Kevin Davis’ blog.

Here’s a bit of the larger context:

To us likewise the prophet [Isaiah] would say that a burdensome religion is a false religion; that a god whom we conceive in doctrines which we force ourselves to believe and which we struggle to safeguard, with whom we have fellowship in forms we must spur themselves to keep up, and whom we serve in duties our consciences strap on their reluctant backs, is a man-made idol, not the living and true Lord, of heaven and earth. Religion that is a load is not comradeship with the Most High God. Religion which you must take care of is not the faith you need, but religion which takes care of you. The test by which one may discover whether he is dealing with an idol or with the living God is this: Do you feel yourself carrying your religion, or is it carrying you? Is it a weight or wings?

A Christian’s beliefs are not ideas which he compels his intellect to accept; they are convictions — ideas which grip and hold him. They seem to come with hands and arms and to grasp his reason; he is aware of being lifted and carried along by them. The Truth takes him off his feet, and he is conscious of resting on it, rather than on ground of his own choosing.

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  • Jonathan Bernier

    I like it. I have held the suspicion that a person riven with doubts about their beliefs is so riven precisely because the beliefs are so dubious.