Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 8, 1955

Vain Religion Is The Worst Kind Of Religion

Robert L. (Bob) Craig, Lometa, Texas

Recently I read this statement: "The worst kind of religion is no religion at all." This was said in connection with the doing of benevolent work or caring for the needy. In the first place, the statement is absolutely false and in the second place there is no parallel (that I know of) in this person's discussion, to anything that is taking place. The accusation is made against any person who might criticize a benevolent work, that that person just doesn't believe in doing any work at all.

But let's look at the first statement. Is NO religion at all the worst kind of religion? Actually there is no comparison. The person who practices a false or vain religion will be condemned for that just as completely as the person who practices no religion at all. But, we find that they who are preaching and practicing a false form of religion hinder God's work more than anyone else. The man who professes no kind of religion, perhaps even denying the existence of God; or the ungodly reprobate that makes no pretense of hiding his meanness, doesn't hinder the preaching of the true gospel, at all. But the person who puts on a pious attitude and advertises to the world some kind of false religion and then hides behind a screen of cowardice in defending his religion, is one of the greatest hindrances in the religious world today. He has many followers and they are almost impossible to reach with the truth. He keeps them shielded from the truth. The other man, who has no religion at all, has no followers; no one wants to be like him. And he doesn't stand in the way of a gospel preacher who is trying to teach those around him. And again, just the common fellow who professes some kind of religion is much harder to approach and teach than that one who has no religion at all. No, the worst kind of religion is NOT no religion at all.

The worst kind of religion or religionist is the person who makes up his mind on a particular subject, thinking that he just cannot be wrong, closes his mind to the ideas of anyone else, and will not discuss any difference that may exist between him and others. That's about the worst kind, and I'm sorry to say, some of my brethren are like that.

There is no excuse for the person who refuses to help the unfortunate or for that person who shirks his responsibility, putting it off on someone else. Not one line can or must be written in his defense. But, let's find out who that person is; not just cast some loose accusation or accept it from someone else. Just because I, or someone else, may criticize a WAY of doing things doesn't mean that I am opposed to the thing itself. I may criticize the way some are doing radio preaching but that doesn't mean that I am opposed to radio preaching; you all know that. I am opposed to the WAY, the SYSTEM, not the thing itself. I may criticize a WAY of doing mission work, but that doesn't mean that I am opposed to doing mission work. I am opposing the WAY, the PLAN, not the work. And if I criticize the WAY benevolent work is being done, that doesn't mean I am opposed to benevolent work. We need to be fair and honorable in our dealing with one another. In that way perhaps we can learn just what it is that God will be well pleased with. Not only the WHAT but also the HOW.

The very worst kind of religion is the kind that will cause me to close my mind to the reception of the ideas of others. We just can't justify one sorry idea by an equally sorry idea. All our works must stand the examination of God's word. So why should we dread to have our position examined. Truth will stand the test. Whatever I say, what ever I do, must measure up to that standard or it must be rejected, whether by my brethren or by sectarian preachers.