For some reason it has become popular to characterize all ‘religion’ as carnal and to insist that Christianity is about relationship with God. This fallacy itself is of man. It might be rooted in Luther’s error of faith alone doctrine. It might be related to the touchy feely, subjective approach to faith that dominates today. But this is a false dilemma being set up and it’s not good. There is another option between generalized religion and relationship which is summarized by James as the “pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God”, Jas 1:26. Therefore all religion is cannot bad. If you are living like Christ by being good to your neighbors and by living a holy life, you are practicing the “pure and undefiled religion” in God’s sight. The right religion “visits orphans and widows” and the right religion “keeps oneself unstained from the world.” This is what God says. But even James’ characterization is challenging to the “it’s a relationship” crowd because they have been condition to bristle at the thought of “religion”. They have been conditioned to see it as fleshly. They have bought into the false dichotomy that either you believe in relationship or you believe in cold, man-made religion. As always, the truth is in the middle. Pure and undefiled religion is relationship with the Father in heaven. We should not exclude what God has included. Be encouraged.