by on September 22, 2016 in BLOG


Armed men get on board a bus and kill all passengers of a different religion than theirs, while screaming ‘God is great’.

Fifteen hundred religious men seize  a pregnant woman and her husband, strip them naked, drag them after a tractor, dismember them with an axe and throw their body parts into a fiery furnace. The young couple is said to have ‘blasphemed’ the men’s ‘holy book’, which according to their country’s law leads to a death penalty. One of my friends meets the dead couple’s three orphans one week later. How shall he explain why their parents were killed? What does religion do to us?


When I see the pope upon his throne
while prophets’ demands wear me down to the bone
I turn to a person of different origin
Jesus is not a religion

When some people say they rely
on infallible scripture that fell from the sky
I find myself of a different opinion
Jesus is not a religion

We as humans seem to be incurably religious. We create rites around important events in life and use symbols like candles, flowers, music, colours, etc. when facing the mysteries of life. In all cultures, throughout the centuries runs a line of “spirituality” – a belief that our reality is more than only materia.
Many of us see love, unselfishness and goodness as signs of this greater reality. Many of us choose to call this reality ‘God’.

Two thousand yeas ago Jesus talked about love as being the most crucial factor in all human relations: ‘Love your enemies’, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and ‘love one another’, was his core message. 1 John 4:16 summarises it all in three words: ‘God is love’.
Jesus was a jew. But he often took people of other religions as good examples of genuine faith and true humanity: Samaritans, Romans, Syrians, and others. Jesus followed the religious customs of his time, but he consciously broke with them, when they were inhuman and oppressive. His love was expressed in concrete care for the poor, the sick and the marginalized, not least women.

He choose a path and a mission
Where no one had gone before
Released us from superstition
His vision has opened a door

Unfortunately, Jesus and his message has not only been exploited for political reasons, but has also been misused by religious leaders, who have established “sin catalogues” and false pretenses in order to gain power, impact and money for themselves, while  creating insecurity, feelings of guilt and fear among their followers.
It’s true that most Christian leaders generally haven’t killed their opponents, since this so obviously would go against everything that Jesus taught and acted out. But psychological and intellectual oppression is bad enough.

I don’t want to join in campaigns
Bombarding my brains until nothing remains
I simply believe that love is the reason
Jesus is not a religion

There are 4.200 different religions in the world today. Some are more cruel and more oppressive than others. Some are rather harmless in themselves, but have nonetheless been “kidnapped” and abused by political leaders. It’s generally men who are political and religious leaders. Women are mostly being oppressed. Christianity is the world’s biggest religion. It was founded by Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. in order to serve his political ambitions. Yes, Christianity is based upon what Jesus taught and did.       But – again – Jesus himself did not found a religion. ‘My Kingdom is not of this world” was his clear  message. Unfortunately, history came to tell a different story. But the foundation remains:

I’m tired of following rules
Doctrinal systems that make us all fools
I long for the truth and I don’t need a fiction
Jesus is not a religion

I know many people who have fled their home lands because of an oppressive religion. Many, but not all of these people have been granted asylum in other countries.                The basic problem, however, must be solved on the spot, where religion is totalitarian and oppressive. And God preserve the world from being conquered by religion!
I speak on behalf of everyone who has been liberated from religious oppression:

I don’t need to bow to the ground
I’m so happy now with the freedom I’ve found
I lift up my head in a joyful position
Jesus is not a religion

© Ingemar Olsson

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