What is religiosity?

Question: “What is religiosity?”

Religiosity can be defined as “the exaggerated embodiment of certain aspects of religious activity.” Religiosity is characterized by excessive involvement in religious activities. Religiosity usually entails extreme zeal and affection outside and beyond the norms of one’s faith or beliefs. Often, religiosity reflects one’s individual beliefs more than those of the religious organization itself. Another term used for religiosity, though less often, is religiousness, or the state of being superficially religious.

To summarize, religiosity is a term used by Christians and non-Christians alike to refer to religious activity in the extreme. Religiosity is an inappropriate devotion to the rituals and traditions of a religion. Religiosity is something that should never be true of a follower of Jesus Christ, but sadly, it sometimes is. Whenever a Christian takes his/her eyes off of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, religiosity/religiousness can be the result. It is often easier to observe the rules, rituals, and traditions of a religion than it is to maintain a passionate relationship with the Lord.

How can religiosity be avoided? It is a matter of perspective and priority. What is the priority? Is it worshipping and following the Lord Jesus Christ, or is it fulfilling the rituals of a religious organization? What is the perspective? Do we serve God in order to “earn” His love or to be seen and admired by other people, or do we serve God because we love Him and are grateful for the wonderful salvation He has provided? Religion, ritual, and tradition are not the problem. The attitude behind the religious practice is the problem.

Recommended Resource: The Church: Why Bother? by Philip Yancey.

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