When Kirk Franklin announced that his 11th studio album would be called Losing My Religion, the title and viewpoints that came along with it sparked mixed reaction.
Now, Franklin is further explaining why he believes people should focus on their relationship with Christ more than anything else.
"Religion, throughout the years, has become a very oppressive thing that doesn't allow people to get to know the God it was created to try to lead them to. So basically, it's just like marriage cannot guarantee intimacy, religion doesn't guarantee relationship," the 45-year-old recording artist, songwriter and producer said on the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" recently.
"It doesn't guarantee you're going to have a loving relationship with God. So God becomes this distant person that's always pointing at my sins, always beating me up and you never know Him as a friend and as a father."
On the contrary, Franklin made a point to speak about how much God loves people, despite their sins.
"We don't have to try to be perfect. We'll never be," he said on the radio show. "It's really only one person that has lived the Christian life and that was Christ Himself."
According to the songwriter and former choir director, people should not rely on man to determine their personal relationship with God.
"We think we need man and these systems to make us right with God and it's not that. It's when we accept His gift, we're right. Right there and then, we're right," he said. "We're getting rid of the systems and all the rules, and the processes, and it's like, let's fall in love with the Father and see Him as a father that loves us, as flawed as we are."
Last month, Franklin took to Instagram to reveal the title of his first album in four years, while introducing the concept to fans.
"In the beginning religion created a MASK ... for generations church was where we went to go HIDE .... rules without relationship is empty INSIDE. ... There's room at the cross for everyone even ME ... religion is a prison, but truth sets us FREE," Franklin wrote. "The next time you THINK America, PLEASE include ME. ... The preacher isn't God, religion's first MISTAKE ... I'm losing my religion, THANK GOD ... Helping YOU lose yours is my job."
Franklin went on to reveal that his album will be released Nov.13, with the a pre-release date set for Oct. 16. His first single "Wanna Be Happy" premiered during the season eight finale of BET's "Sunday Best" music talent show that he executive produces and hosts.
The single currently holds the No.1 spot on Billboard's "Hot Gospel Songs" chart.
Although Franklin heads his own record label, Fo Yo Soul Recordings, and has his own radio channel called Kirk Franklin's Praise on SiriusXM, he is now focusing on his own music, and explained the concept of his new song, "Wanna Be Happy."
"Every human being was wired with the desire for happiness. And we will try different things all in the pursuit of that feeling. With this song, I'm saying, if you really want to be happy, you have to start with the originator," Franklin said in a statement shared with The Christian Post earlier this year. "My goal is to try to lead people to the manufacturer of their souls."