Religion and Potatoes: Six Differences Between Religion and Faith

There is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. Mark 7:15


By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

Neil, bless his heart, loves potatoes.


No meal is complete without the spuds.

Have I said yuck, yet?

Every night, whether I eat them or not, he gets his potatoes. Why?

Not because he demands them, nor because he’s difficult or obstinate or surly. Anyone who knows my husband understands the gentleness of his spirit. He gets them because I know how little he asks of me and how contented he is after a dinner of meat and potatoes.

No law of marriage makes me cook something I don’t care for. No brutal demands from my spouse compel me to throw a tater into the microwave. I’m a good wife in this one area. For one reason only do I cook them: I love my husband, and he loves potatoes.

This aptly illustrates the difference between religion and faith.


Religion puts on from the outside. You do it because it’s a rule.
Faith emanates from the inside. You do it because you want to.
Religion barters for something. “I’ll do x if you give me y.”
Faith gives without expecting anything back.
Religion looks for tradition and moral loopholes.
Faith looks at the spirit of the law. It works out of love.
Religion looks at the surface. You do the activity, therefore you’re unclean.
Faith looks inside. You are unclean, ergo you did what you did.
Religion creates status, puffs one up–I’m better than you.
Faith knows we’re all lost sinners saved only through Christ’s redemption
Religion condemns
Faith loves

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  1. And there's nothing wrong with rules–but they don't save us. Grace does. No matter how good we are, another human is always better. God trumps every human endeavor.

  2. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Bless you.

  3. I think those of us of a certain age were raised with RULES. It's hard to put the rules asid for love, grace, etc.

  4. Brooke, I so wish I lived closer and we could talk about this over coffee and your baked goods. 😉
    Yes, Catholic guilt is real. And, as Christians, we have to battle the lie that we need to work to earn Jesus's favor.

  5. Brooke Secoy says:

    I initially wanted to make a crack at your broken taste buds, but this article is so accurate I felt it was far more worthy than a lame joke.

    I noticed your comment about being raised Catholic. I spent my childhood and teenage years in the Catholic church. My senior year I had an encounter with a not so kind Priest who made some rather vile statements. I never returned.

    I spent a large portion of my twenties suffering from "Catholic Guilt." The inadequacies were a heavy burden to bear. The concept of “Catholic guilt” has become a cliche, a joke, a truism. But? It’s real.

    For many of us who experienced Catholic childhood religious indoctrination, Catholic guilt is a pernicious and inescapable burden with serious lifelong repercussions. It clings to us, a dark spectre of our pasts, a cruel and vicious voice whispering to us, reminding us of the lessons of our childhood: that we are unworthy, that we cannot do anything right, that we do not deserve to be happy, that we are dirty tainted sinners who must constantly punish ourselves and atone for our sins, and that we are nothing.

    Since I have discovered faith, I have discovered joy. With faith comes relationship and, as you so simply stated, love. Faith has so little to do with religion. I wish i would have discovered that years ago.

    Boy…im just blathering on. This is the type of topic I enjoy discussing over coffee or tea!

  6. My first church would never have admitted it, but it was very rule oriented in their charismatic belief system. Having been raised a Catholic, it's hard for me to not be religious.

  7. That's right. It's not because Neil loves potatoes. It's cause you love him. As you say, religion imposes rules upon us. With faith we do it because we love Him.

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