Is Religion A Crutch?

How often have you heard this — “Religion is a crutch that only weak people need?”

Much of our journey in this life is spent walking, and sometimes we need help with that. Catching the Breeze, original and print, by Steve Henderson

If you’re not religious, your first thought may be, “That’s right!” If you are religious, your first thought may not be very charitable.

But stop for a minute — what’s the offense?

I know a woman with one leg, and she gets along remarkably well with a crutch — to the point that you don’t realize she has one leg. Without the crutch — she would hop.

So is this woman weak? Five minutes in her presence hammers it home to even the densest brain (and mine can be pretty thick before my morning tea) that this woman is intelligent, resourceful, creative, and kind. If you can get her to talk about her background — which is difficult because she spends more time asking you questions, and listening to the answers, than she does talking about herself — then you are humbled by all that she has been through. The loss of the leg pales in comparison.

This woman uses a crutch because it enables her to move around — and move around she does indeed. Quickly, energetically, joyfully, and well.

My own crutch — hers too, incidentally — is a strong belief in God, and I unabashedly acknowledge that, without Him, I wouldn’t get very far.

The best views require the most climbing. On the Solid Rock I Stand poster by Steve Henderson

Those of you who read me regularly know that (or you should by now) I consider myself intelligent, creative, hardworking, strong, and innovative. No false modesty here; if you’re honest with yourself, you probably realize that you have the same attributes, and then some.

But regardless of how amazing you are, or I am, there is a limit to what we can do. We get tired. Discouraged. Sick. Sad. Most of us, run over by a pick-up truck, wouldn’t come out the winner. And pick-up trucks run over us in more ways than just physical ones.

At some point, you realize that you are not intelligent, creative, hardworking, strong and innovative enough. If you extol your cleverness and believe in it (isn’t this a crutch, actually?), it takes you longer to get to this point, if you ever do. But if you’ve ever reached a brick wall too high to climb, too long to get around, and too sturdy to knock down, then you realize that you’re human, mortal, finite, and limited.

Enter God — immortal, infinite, unlimited and strong. You bet I want to get to know This Person.

And not only do I want to get to know Him, I want to walk with Him — side by side or Him in front — because his tank never runs out of gas. When I lean on Him — my crutch — the loss of a limb doesn’t hinder me. And when I’m tired, I can just . . . lean on Him.

You know, He welcomes us as children, and invites us to lean into His protective arms. The Least of These poster by Steve Henderson

I suppose some would say that, if the woman I know got fitted with a proper prosthetic device, she wouldn’t need a crutch.

True — but she would still be relying upon something external, something outside of herself and her resources — to enable her to walk each day.

Is religion a crutch?

Yeah, probably.

Is that a bad thing?


This article was originally published in

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5 Responses

  1. Amen!
    That a refuge we need
    Is quite certain indeed
    In this age of such sorrow and strife.
    Every man has his way
    His own pain to allay,
    And to bury the hurts in his life.

    There is nowhere to hide,
    Where my soul would abide,
    But in Christ, who gives comfort and rest.
    Though men other ways try,
    Yet they cannot deny
    That their efforts are vain at the best.

    Every other defense
    Is a tottering fence,
    But the rock of my refuge is sure.
    A safe harbor He forms
    In the wildest of storms,
    And I’m lodged where my soul is secure.

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