Often in my posts I mock the bible (and this one is no exception), but there are some verses with which even militant atheists should agree. These are the verses that eschew supernatural claims and make profound social statements. Jesus, for example, is often cited for his work on behalf of the downtrodden. These verses make it easy to ignore the other verses in which crimes against humanity are justified. But then there’s one verse that takes goodness to a new level by liberating it completely from Christianity. Might I draw your attention to James 1:27:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
I have quoted the Catholic bible because some books (for example, the King James Version) call “God and the Father” two different beings, which makes no sense at all. Anyway, moving on.
“Pure” religion is, essentially, according to this verse, caring for people and not letting the bad things get you down. Although the verse mentions god, notice that it claims this is what god wants without mentioning anything supernatural: Do good things and be happy. “Pure” religion, according to this verse, has nothing to do with eucharist, prayer, liturgy, or any other rites or supernatural claims. “Pure” religion is merely being a good person and looking on the bright side of things.
If this is pure religion, then Christianity is obviously doing it wrong. Although Christian groups are heavily involved in charity, they muddle the purity of their religion by transforming it into a shattered window of opportunity, each shard claiming its own methods, none of which do anything good for the world that can’t be done without god.
In other words, if this is “pure” religion, I’m sure many atheists would be joining the church. In fact, I already have. I have an impressive log of volunteer hours. And just like James says, I didn’t need god to do it.