i have heard all my life that “religion is the opium of the people,” this maybe so, but i think we all need to rethink this because the opium isn’t religion – love is the opium of the people. we need to rethink this because we need to see how this phrase relates to something we are all wired to do naturally – love. we need to rethink this phrase because, in love, i believe there’s no clear-headed lover. love confuses us all in varying degrees. the best we can do is to be respectful of love and those we love to minimize the confusion – the same is true of our love for god. when we are in love, we do some heart-pleasing things that seem confusing to others who know us to be rational thinkers. how does this relate to what i am saying about religion? religion is not the opium of the people because it is religion, religion is the opium of the people because of our love for god. the love of god, just as the love lovers believe in, can leave us vulnerable to those who understand that love confuses. so, when we believe the deceptions of those who exploit our love for god we are being taken advantage of by those who understand that love will make us do silly things – the same is true of person-to-person relationships. consider this, can you be taken advantage of if you believe in no religion but love god? god is not religion, religion is just one of the ways we reach god. you can be in love with god without any of the religions. remember god created man, and man invented religion. consider these biblical passages on what god thinks of religion: when david prays to god in psalm 40:6 he says, “sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire … burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.” and amos 5:21-22 says, “i hate, i despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, i will not accept them. though you bring choice fellowship offerings, i will have no regard for them.” i sat in a church recently (on the invitation of a friend) and heard the pastor preach about tithing using the examples of ananias and his wife. this pastor claimed god struck ananias and his wife dead because they lied about how much they got from selling their land in order not to pay full tithe. it’s ok for pastors to preach about tithing, but to threaten people (with death) into parting with their hard-earned money (i think) is beyond what god would want. as someone who respects my love for god, i stopped going to this church after that day. but i am aware there are others who think differently from me. but i am sure even they know isaiah 1:13-14 states, “bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies … it is iniquity … your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; i am weary to bear them.” a respected friend of mine rightly stated recently, “without respect love is a weakness to be exploited.” i agree totally. our love for god is our opium when we confuse those who exploit this love for god – like the lover may confuse a love for love for those lovers who exploit this love for love. just like our relationship with god cannot be found through religion, our relationship with love shouldn’t be found through anyone – because no matter how hard we try, love makes us vulnerable, and there are those with innate instincts for spotting this vulnerability. love god, but by all means don’t let this love become your opium because you believe in those who exploit your lack of respect for that love.