It is hard to know exactly what Asthon Kutcher said yesterday at CTIA2013 in the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. The reports are not entirely clear.

But, whatever he actually said, or meant to say, Kutcher raised the prospect of a connection between Facebook and religion.

Stephen Lawson reports at Computerworld that in his “fireside chat” on Thursday Kutcher said,

“Facebook is the new religion. It’s a deeper trust bond that I have with someone.” Mass religions rose along with large cities and became a way for people to trust neighbors they didn’t know, Kutcher said. Facebook creates trust by turning strangers into “friends of friends,” Kutcher said.

Facebook religion as Kutcher understands it seems to have something to do with enabling people to connect.

Kutcher is right, connection lies at the heart of the religious enterprise. Religion serves to renew the human awareness of our connection with God and to facilitate meaningful healing connections between people across the many barriers that so often seem to separate us.

Kutcher also points out that connection requires trust. But here is where Mr. Kutcher’s Facebook religion may be headed into trouble. Kutcher views Facebook apparently as a tool for creating trust between people.

There are two things you can always trust about people. All people will let you down and all people will hurt you, just as you will let down all people and hurt everyone with whom you ever make a meaningful connection.

Human relationships hurt.

While it is important to do what we can to keep ourselves safe from undue harm, it is equally important to be honest about the fact that human beings hurt each other. That is just what we do. Being in human relationship means being in pain. If you cannot bear the pain, you will always be alone.

If the appeal of Facebook is that it enables us to maintain some sense of connection with other people while pretending we can connect without pain, it will fail as a legitimate religion. Nothing that enables us to walk away from people simply because they cause us pain, has any legitimate place in true religion.

At the heart of the Christian story is the acute awareness of failure, betrayal, and the inability of human beings to live up to our highest calling. Our story is rooted in a community of failures. All Jesus’ first followers let him down. They failed one another and went on to create communities that inflict suffering on their members. (nb: just as there are no people who do not cause pain to other people, there are no communities that do not cause pain.)

But, of course, failure and pain are not all that the Christian story has to say about the human condition. The Christian story also affirms that, at the heart of every human being, deeper than any hurt, resides an enduring strength that, if we can stay connected to it, has the capacity to transcend every human betrayal and  to rise above every human failure.

The real purpose of religion is not to cause us to trust people, but to enable us to trust the reality of the love that is stronger than death and the light that is stronger than dark. When we find within ourselves that presence of divine faithfulness, we will be able to enter boldly into relationship with people even though we know they will hurt us and we will hurt them.

Church is not the place where you will never be hurt. But it is the place where you will always be called to return to the awareness that you are more than the hurts you have experienced or the pain you have caused.