Christianity is not a religion

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The Christianity is not a religion is an argument made by some Christians that Christianity is unique. Most of the justifications for this are based on red herring arguments.


The claim is supported by various justifications:

  • Christianity is a relationship with God
  • Christianity is a moral code
  • Christianity is a philosophy [1]
  • Christianity is based on faith not works [2]
  • Christianity requires faith [3]
  • Other religions are man made to explain the world, Christianity is from God. [4]

None of these arguments preclude Christianity from also being a religion.

Another interesting argument is that Jesus was against religious institutions of his time. Therefore, Christianity is anti-religious. Therefore, Christianity is not a religion.

"What separates Christianity from other religions is the fact that it's actually not a religion. Jesus was the most anti-religion person that ever lived. [5]"

An argument from the etymology of the word "religion":

"The Latin word from which the English word "religion" is derived means "to bind up." Jesus did not come to bind us up in rules and regulations or rituals of devotion, but to set us free to be man as God inended. [sic] [3]"

Counter arguments[edit]


Christianity fits any normal definition of religion. The argument that Christianity is not a religion revolves around equivocation over the word "religion". Attempting to redefine the word "religion" is intentionally misleading.

Christians refer to Christianity as a religion[edit]

Most Christians and the New Testament refer to Christianity as a religion. Christians often seek tax exemptions based on their religious status.

"The Christian religion was moreover commonly charged with being the cause of the calamities that so frequently befell the State"

Pope Leo XIII [6]

"For, true religion is that by which the soul is united to God so that it binds itself again by reconciliation to Him from whom it had broken off"

St. Augustine
"Yes, Christianity is the one true religion. [7]"

"[...] where the Holy Ghost dwelleth, He will not suffer a man to be idle, butstirreth him up to all exercises of piety and godliness, and of true religion [...]"

Martin Luther

"Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world."

James 1:27 Bible-icon.png

John Calvin wrote a book titled Institutes of the Christian Religion (originally Institutio Christianae religionis).

Responding to "Jesus was anti-religious"[edit]

This is simply explained by Jesus being against some aspects of religion - specifically institutional religion. To say he was anti-religious is a hasty generalization.

Also, Christianity generally ignores the teachings of Jesus when it comes to religion. For instance, public prayer is condemned by Jesus Matthew 6:6 Bible-icon.png. Even if true, the supposed fact that Jesus was anti-religious does not prevent Christianity from being a religion. For this reason, Christianity is one of the most hypocritical religions.

Argument from the etymology of the word "religion"[edit]

The etymology of a word is irrelevant when we are discussing the current meaning of a word. In fact, the argument is known as the etymological fallacy.

Other religions make this claim[edit]

Christianity's claims to uniqueness are ironically shared by other religions:

"Buddhism is not a religion because, first, the Buddha is not a 'supernatural being power.' [8]"


See also[edit]

External links[edit]