Last week Bill O’Reilly made a claim that Christianity wasn’t a religion; it’s a “philosophy.” Sadly, I have heard this argument too many times to chalk it up to O’Reilly’s spin factor. Believe it or not a lot of Christians try to use this argument to get around criticisms by atheists of religious institutions and in O’Reilly’s case to get around the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
This is a simple word game. It’s an easy game to play. If you don’t like the implications of a word, just change the meaning of the word. Christianity isn’t a “religion” because religion is getting a bad reputation and Christians want to distance themselves from that reputation. So now Christianity is a “philosophy.” As Bill O’Reilly put it, religions aren’t allowed on the courthouse lawn, but Christianity isn’t a religion; it’s a philosophy.
Okay, I’ll play that game. If Christianity isn’t a religion, then Churches have to pay taxes. Philosophy groups have to pay taxes if they raise money so if Churches are just places where people discuss their favorite dead philosopher, then they have to pay taxes too. I was part of an Aristotle group for a while. We didn’t have a church; we met in a coffee shop. If we did buy a building to meet in, we would have to pay taxes because reading Aristotle doesn’t qualify as a religion. Besides, I don’t remember the last time someone tried to put up figurines of Aristotle or Plato on the front lawn of the county courthouse.
Philosophers are lovers of wisdom and last I checked the Bible had some pretty disparaging words about wisdom:
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…” – 1 Corinthians 1:27
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” – 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
So if Jesus was a philosopher then he was a self-hating one. But the fact is that he wasn’t a philosopher; if he existed at all, he was a cult leader.
Christianity is a religion. Christians generally don’t dispute this when they talk about how America is a Christian Nation. No one say’s this is a Locke Nation and yet most of our founding fathers were immensely influenced by John Locke.
When Christians brag about how Christianity is the world’s largest religion, where is Bill O’Reilly? Why isn’t he out there setting these, “loons” (as he would call them) straight? I guess if Christianity isn’t a religion than Islam is the world’s largest religion. What does O’Reilly think about that?
But again, these are just world games designed to break the law. Of course Christianity is a religion. You would have to be a “pinhead” or a liar to claim otherwise.