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What is religiosity?

Question: "What is religiosity?"

Religiosity can mean “piety” or “the state of being religious”; however, for the purpose of this article, we will consider the secondary definition of "the exaggerated embodiment of certain aspects of religious activity." To be religiose is to be “excessively or sentimentally religious” or to practice one’s religion in a meddlesome way. Thus, religiosity is characterized by excessive involvement in religious activities. Religiosity usually entails extreme zeal outside of and beyond the norms of one’s faith. It is more than affection for religion; it is affectation in religion. Religiosity usually reflects one’s individual beliefs more than those of the religious organization itself. Another term for religiosity, though less common, is religiousness, “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 a characteristic 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 worshiping 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 Master’s Plan for the Church by John MacArthur

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