So, is there anything wrong with his message? Absolutely. In fact, there are a lot of things wrong with it. But, let us start with what is good about it.
- Hypocrisy is wrong and brings a false witness to Christ. True.
- The veneer of faith can be hidden by religious practices, while never touching the heart. True.
- Outward actions does not make one a believer. True.
- The focus of Christianity should be on the relationship with Christ, not on just following a bunch of rules. True.
- By grace alone are we saved. True.
- Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day, because the didn't practice what they preached. True.
Well, he starts with a false premise - that religion is the root of the problem and therefore Jesus hates it. This is false.
We must define our terms before we go any further.
Religion can be defined in many ways, here are a few:
- a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
- a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects
- the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
Furthermore, Jesus wouldn't want us to be taught these things and then not follow them or observe the practice of them.
So, the problem isn't with religion, but hypocricy - saying you are a Christian and living far from him. This is a different argument.
Jesus certainly didn't come to "abolish religion". You might say he came to complete it, purify it, raise it up, etc. He certainly didn't want to do away with it. You might remember Jesus saying "I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them." -Matt 5:17
What this young man has done in the video is set up a false dichotomy, which is rooted in modern Protestant evangelical thought (esp. in the emergent church movement). This thought tries to "re-package" the Gospel for modern man, which isn't a bad idea, but they have the wrong diagnosis - religion isn't the sickness that needs to be cured. The video's implication is that a person who has religion is someone who isn't a "real" Christian. Hence, the quote:
Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice
Tend to ridicule God's people, they did it to John The Baptist
They can't fix their problems, and so they just mask it
Not realizing religions like spraying perfume on a casket
See the problem with religion, is it never gets to the coreHe also makes the argument that "religion has started wars" and "Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor". This is another false dichotomy. People have certainly misused God's name to fight wars, but that doesn't mean the faith and practice of religion caused them. Also, Christians provide more for the poor than anybody else, so why make this argument? We can do both - build beautiful churches to worship God (and proclaim His glory) and feed the poor.
It's just behavior modification, like a long list of chores
Like lets dress up the outside make look nice and neat
But it's funny that's what they use to do to mummies
While the corps rots underneath
Religion gives form and structure to faith and there is nothing wrong with it as such. It is the whole "spiritual but not religious" argument, which is another false dichotomy.
It all has to do has to do with the perception that there is a rigidity and a formalism that doesn't translate into true transformation of hearts in religious practice. Certainly someone can go to church (any church) and not have a relationship with Christ. But, religion doesn't have to be the cause of such problems. Thus, this video (and other's who believe this line of reasoning) believe religion is an institutional and man-made construct that keeps us from a true relationship with God. False.
His premise and conclusion are therefore wrong. Thoughts are appreciated in the combox, but please remain charitable.