Thursday, January 12, 2012

Does Jesus Hate Religion? Should You?

I have had several people ask me to comment on the following video, which has gone viral in many Christian communities. It is entitled, "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus: Spoken Word"



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.
  1. Hypocrisy is wrong and brings a false witness to Christ. True.
  2. The veneer of faith can be hidden by religious practices, while never touching the heart. True.
  3. Outward actions does not make one a believer. True.
  4. The focus of Christianity should be on the relationship with Christ, not on just following a bunch of rules. True.
  5. By grace alone are we saved. True.
  6. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day, because the didn't practice what they preached. True.
What did he get wrong then?
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:
  1. 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.
  2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects
  3. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
I can't see how Jesus would hate a set of beliefs, a moral code or ritual observances, when he came to teach us these things. The sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper, the parables, etc. all teach us these things. So, Jesus certainly doesn't hate them.

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 core
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
He 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.

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.

76 comments:

Cassi@FromaCatholicDaughter said...

Thank you SO much for writing on this. The video blew up all over my Facebook last night by friends from all different denominations. All I could think every time I watched it was no, no, no that's so wrong. Entertaining? Absolutely. Catchy? Sure! But the content? Totally misguided. I continue to be shocked at how a culture that will reject over 2,000 years of tradition that aligns itself directly to Christ can follow a rapping 20 something who has made these assumptions and accusations only from his own mind and I assume without counsel at the drop of a hat.

Brock Talks said...

Great post! I literally just wrote an article about this video here: http://talkbrock.blogspot.com/ If you aren't too busy, you should drop by and lemme know what you think.

George @ Convert Journal said...

Good stuff!

Rhetorical question: How could one hate the Church Jesus created and still love Jesus?

The Frat Pack + Me said...

Thank you for this!

Justin Michael Schwartzbeck said...

I think that the "I'm not religious, I love Jesus" approach is an attempt to appeal to the secular crowd, but it doesn't really work because secular people can see through this pretty easily. The fact is, the people who say this are very religious. They believe in God, and a specific set of doctrines about him, they believe in a holy book (the Bible) and they believe in an afterlife. All of these constitute a religion. This is what secular people understand religion to be, and saying that Christians aren't "religious," and "religious" is a redefined term here, it really confuses people I think. To say "I'm not religious, I just love Jesus" would really mean, in proper context, that you don't subscribe to the beliefs of Christianity but have admiration for Jesus' moral teachings.

Kevin said...

No rhyming commentary?

catholicreligionteacher said...

SO glad you posted on this! I had an 8th grade student (I'm a teacher at a Catholic school) point how it "awesome" this video was. Couldn't decide if I was going to try and spend the brain power to explain why it was wrong or be happy for her for learning that hypocrisy isn't acceptable. Maybe I should do both. Thanks for the encouragement and words of wisdom!

Juanki said...

This is lovely. I think Justin Michael's comment is on point. I Can see the pattern of people that are re-posting this.

http://juanknation.blogspot.com

Serendipity said...

thank you!

Todd Fogle said...

I am protestant. Christianity will always be defined as a religion and will be a religion but should also go further toward the relationship aspect. As far as the religion aspect goes, "empty religion," might be a better phrase that makes much more since in all of the lyrics.

As for big churches I don't think an argument can be made against being "big." The problem is so many "big" churches aren't just big buildings to fit the people. In my own denomination for instance I have known of churches who buy ornate "stage sets" for sermon series when that money could have been spent better to tell other people about God's love and what Jesus did at the cross.

Another message I was picking up on which might be included under 'hypocrisy' is the judgmental view. As Christians its hard to tell other Christians of our sins although the bible does say to share our burdens. We all have sins that I am sure we haven't been able to let anyone know because of fear of judgement.

Thanks for the blog. I will try to remember to check back to follow the comments as well.

j0nj0n said...

thank you so much for posting this. like everyone else this youtube video was on Facebook. I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty amused with his statements, mixing truths and false accusations of why religion is wrong. I will be sure to share this with others.

aloha,

John

petrus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Graciano said...

Definitely a good rebuttal with some really interesting and valid points... I can't say that I am deep into religion or spirituality but I am into people, society and "trends"... I personally believe that people are just so eager to see or hear something different from what is "common" or what is "tradition" that they flock to anything that anyone says against anything including the church... I agree with both sides, the church and religion is something in place to numb peoples brains into thinking for themselves and be socially pressured into doing or not doing things. I also think that religion and church has saved many lives of

petrus said...

Otherwise, thanks for the analysis! I haven't had the chance to see the original video, but I am reposting your take.

Katelin Kuhlwein said...

I think this young man is just finding his way to Christ and sharing his journey. I've seen another video by him and I truly think he is making a difference with young people. How about rather than nit-picking and degrading HIS views, try to be more supportive that he is YOUNG and still has a new relationship with Christ. No, his views may not be perfect... but are any of ours? We are all imperfect Christians trying our best to INTERPRET and live to the best we can according to God's word. This guy still has time to grow. Remember... you aren't the authority.. He is. :)

Marcel said...

Are we supposed to look past inaccurate doctrine, false dichotomies, and bad reasoning because he is a good guy? I don't think so.

Otherwise, you could have overlooked my post too.

Jamie said...

I love this post! Very clear and direct - thanks for posting!! I love George @ conversion journals comment!!

Jamie
For Love of Cupcakes

PS New follower! :o)

Kevin Cotter said...

Fantastic post. Great job!

catholicreligionteacher said...

Marcel, hope you don't mind, but I just posted the following to "bball1989's" channel comment section and also directly e-mailed it to his YouTube e-mail. Keep up the great work!

In Christ,
Greg

Subject: From one brotha to anotha

Though your "Why I Hate Religion" video contains a LOT of truth (of which I appreciated and thought was very cleverly portrayed), its main premise and following conclusion are dead wrong.

Have an open mind? Please read on: http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2012/01/does-jesus-hate-religion-should-you.html

deusnobiscum said...

I also rebutted this thought in a recent post.

http://deusnobiscum.com/2012/01/11/faithfulness-ceases-to-exist-without-religion/

Great job AggieCatholic!

Blake said...

Exactly what Katelin Kuhlwein said. The bottom line is the video is pointing the lost (including people hurt by the church, or who have had bad experiences with "religious" people)to JESUS. He's also encouraging believers to keep their eyes set on Christ. People that watch are not over analyzing or nit picking (nobody is perfect or preaches perfect doctrine), rather they are being inspired to look into following Jesus. That's the point, and its being made with compassion.

Faithopelove said...

Great job! I watched the video and all that I was thinking was no no no, he does not understand. Thank you!

Marcel said...

Jesus without religion is like a bird without feathers - it can't do what it is intended to do.

Jesus is not seperable from the teachings and practices he gave us and never intended himself to be so.

"I came NOT to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them."

Katy said...

Here is another great response to this video.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/01/why-i-hate-religion-but-love-jesus-the-smackdow.html

Marcel said...

Blake - I don't get it. You can nitpick and analyze what I wrote, but I shouldn't nitpick or analyze what he says?

Sincerity and compassion are not being questioned. Yet, neither make someone correct or good.

Janny said...

The problem is, when his video goes viral, other young people think he's right. And instead, all he's doing is misleading them. Is he going to put up a rebuttal video later? Anyone want to bet on THAT going viral? Yeah.

Justin Michael Schwartzbeck said...

@Katelin: The concerns outlined in Marcel's post are legitimate ones, hardly nitpicking. The "anti-religion" mentality has become very popular among evangelicals. This is a very irresponsible form of evangelism, because it confuses people. It takes the word "religion," redefines it as hollow, empty ritual, and attacks this new straw man in order to appeal to the secular crowd. The problem is that most people rightly understand religion to include a legitimate worship of God. Naturally this often confuses people and sends the completely wrong message.

Marcel said...

Janny - this post is going viral as well (not as fast, of course). So, share as much as possible.

Janny said...

Marcel-

I put it up on Facebook to answer all my evangelical friends oohing and aahing. :-)

Hebz said...

What I got from his video is that you don't need a religion that sets rules and guidelines for you to follow, you just need jesus. I'm not saying youre wrong either or that he is completely right. But he has a message that a lot of us want to say but are too scared to do so. I don't need to be in a church to feel one with god. I enjoyed your article but as I always say, everyone is entitled to their opinion and obviously this guys opinion is communicating with a lot of young adults and I see no problem with that.

Marcel said...

Hebz - that makes no sense. You can't have Jesus if you don't take the rules and teachings he came to give us. The two are not separate, but one.

You might not need to go to Church to be one with God, but if you are all alone, then you are making a god of yourself and your own inklings, not the true Jesus.

So, I do see a problem with that.

Anonymous337 said...

What the video says, pretty much, not exactly

"I love Coca-Cola, but I hate soda"

Blake said...

No, you have the right to nitpick and analyze what he says. However, I just feel like you're overlooking the overall message that it's sending to people (which is also a reason it has gone viral). I don't think people are watching that video and walking away thinking "this is such a false premise!" or "how dare he set up a false dichotomy!" Rather, I would be willing to bet non believers walk away encouraged and intrigued to check into who exactly Jesus was and what he stood for. I would also bet followers of Christ walk away encouraged that a young man, although off base in some aspects, is proclaiming Christ to the world. His take in the video wasn't perfect, just as your analysis of it isn't perfect, but I'm sure his intent was good.

This post ends with "His premise and conclusion are therefore wrong." Although some of that may be true, God is judge, and not you. I'm sure this post was well intentioned and simply wanted to correct the minor details in which you feel he was off base. However, even with acknowledging what was good about it, this post comes off to some as your words being the self appointed jury and judge of the video with your analysis. Let's not forget that this video is part of God's plan. He is going to use the video and the results of it for His glory. I would just rather see us trusting in Him, with this whole situation; and rejoicing in the fact that a young man (with much to learn) is proclaiming Jesus to the world! Rather than attempting to market it as the post above says "this post is going viral as well (not as fast, of course). So, share as much as possible."

Devin said...

What disturbs me is the fact that many of you that are criticizing this video are being extremely hypocritical and are in fact proving the point that he is making. He is simply saying that he hates the people that go to church on Sunday and live a Christian Sunday but from Monday-Saturday they think they can live however they want. He isn't attempting to denounce religion just the hypocrites that say they are Christian but don't live it. Instead of criticizing him, I would suggest examining your own faith life and improving on that instead of pointing out the flaws of others.

Jonathan said...

I think everything you write is true. I also think we are scared for some reason to face the incredibly accurate challenges this guy is proposing. There is still a huge moralistic bent in the Church, and that is undeniable...and sad.

Joanna said...

If he is trying to reach Christ with what he knows then I think God would honor him because God would see him trying. Like jenny was saying He going to lead people the wrong way. Well if that we all should keep our mouth shut because we all might believe something not the correct and then we might mislead other people. So in my point we don't need to live a life of religion. god is not religion. He is about personal relationship. God gave us the Bible to help Us know what he wants us to be like. I've lived a life of religion all my life and it has gotten me nowhere until this year God broke my heart and opened my eyes to more of Him. It's about walking with Him. It's not about His rules. It's about wanting to be like Christ.

Belinda said...

Bless you and bless you again! Well done!!

Miss Sarcastic said...

Marcel - Please expand on how just because you don't go to church, that you're then making a god of yourself and your own inklings?

Because, I happen to disagree...

Diana Leslie said...

Check out this guy's response as well:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/01/why-i-hate-religion-but-love-jesus-the-smackdow.html

P.S. His blog is awesome.

Justin Michael Schwartzbeck said...

So Hebz what you are saying is "you don't need rules and teachings you just need Jesus." What if I said "well I believe in Jesus, but all this stuff about abstinence before marriage, and homosexuality, etc., I can do without that." Do you agree or disagree with this sentiment? Do you think it is in line with what Jesus teaches or out of line with it?

Also, church is a very biblical thing. If you look in the scriptures you can see how important the church is to your faith.

He may be communicating with young people, but that doesn't necessarily mean what he is communicating is correct.

Raymond Gurries said...

Thank you so much Marcel for blogging in response to this video! Yesterday I was looking in your archives to see if I could find anything to respond to it and sure enough you come out with something today! God answered my prayer! Thank you for your witness to our faith. You blog is one of my favorites! God Bless you

treedude1992 said...

I find it interesting this guy has become what he hates. He, as man, is defining the rules on how Jesus wants to be worshiped thus he has created a new religion.

Sarah Dean said...

I agree entirely with Marcel's analysis.

Why can't (or hasn't) someone do the same thing this guy's doing but with the sacraments? He's passionate, sincere, well-spoken. The video is well-produced. It has immediate emotional resonance. The way he feels about his "emergent" spirituality is the same way I feel about receiving Christ's forgiveness in the sacrament of Reconciliation, and receiving His body and blood in the Eucharist. I pray people might see Jesus in the same way there as they do when this fellow's giving a testimony.

Andi Rae said...

"A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion."

"First off, let me say, religion in and of itself is not a bad thing. Religion simply means “habit.” In fact the scriptures use the word religion in very positive light (James 1:27). For the sake of juxtaposition though the word in this article will primarily hold its cultural/current definition. Religion in this article is primarily defined as the set core beliefs that Jesus specifically railed against in His day. In fact, some of the most heated debates Jesus had were with religious people (people who knew the Law the best, who gave the most, and who externally acted the best). It is sometimes weird to think that the people who almost all the world saw as representing God were actually the ones most responsible for killing Him. So in this article we will look at the abrasive differences between Jesus and “religion” (or “Cultural Christianity”)."

Jeff Bethke (the guy in the video) wrote the first sentence. It is located directly beneath the video on Youtube along with a little "about."

Bethke also wrote the paragraph. It is located in an article highlighting the main differences between Jesus and Religion on his website, a website that he and another guy put together to try to encourage, educate, and/or convict people.

http://chiselseason.com/?page_id=121

http://chiselseason.com/?p=537

Clarke said...

I think it all just comes down to how you define religion. I believe his intentions were clear throughout the video, and for the Body of Christ to become divided over this is pointless. The true religion mentioned in James 1:27 is clearly not what he was talking about. He was talking about the type of "religion" that is essentially a system of works and self righteousness that leads people to a false sense of right standing before God and superiority to others. It is the type of religion that was practiced by the religious leaders of Jesus' day. For the young man to speak in the video in terms to which people can relate isn't a bad idea. Jesus spoke in parables that were easily understood by His audience. 2 Timothy 2:23. We're on the same team here.

peskemom said...

One thing's for sure. This guy has thousands of people thinking about these ideas so we have to give him credit for that.

As a Catholic it is rather strange to separate belief from religion. The word religion means 'being bound' and clearly,following Paul, we are bound to Christ...literally 'religioned' to Christ.

Also we are part of God's family,adopted as His child through Baptism. So if you say you believe in Jesus but eschew religion you've just called yourself an orphan without a spiritual bond to God.

Give me Jesus AND give me our thousands of years 'Ole Time Religion'

Marcel said...

I want to remind those who want to comment about the rules for comments on this blog. You can find them here - http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2007/06/comments.html

There are a number of different comments that did not pass muster. If you feel you want to comment, then do make sure you aren't attacking, but making a sound argument.

We have had everything from "all we need is Jesus" to "the Catholic Church is evil" comments. Be careful or do it somewhere else.

As for the argument that this guy gets people thinking about God, I agree that is good. But, our goal isn't just to think about God, but do so in the right way. Furthermore, definitions are important. I am using "religion" in the proper understanding of the word. The guy in the video is using it in an emergent church movement sense of the word, which sees religion in a hostile and negative sense. It is a new re-definition of the word and not helpful.
Why?

Because he makes other Christians the enemy, not their actions. Thus, he becomes what he is trying to fight.

Marcel said...

"If you love Me you will keep my commandments"

JustJohn said...

People hate religion because it forces them to associate with the unlovely. It forces them to work and play well with others. It forces them to accept the weakness of others, to tolerate, to bear with, to forgive, to love, when all they want to do is have it their own way. They hate religion because they don't want to follow Christ as a suffering servant. Jesus said, "he who would be the greatest among you, must be the servant of all."

svonhaney said...

Most people don't like authority, especially when it tells them they're wrong. Careful not to be so prideful that you can't admit power and fault when they're appropriately placed. Now, authority that is abused is definitely wrong. But when the authority is right (true & just), there is nothing better.

Joanna said...

Well I just go back to God is not a religion. But about a personal relationship. Talk to God like you talk to your best friend. Walk with God like He is your best friend. When you are daily walking with Him you find yourself more like Him and wanting to keep His commandment. When you read His Word daily you will know more of Him. If you like a guy or girl what do you do? You want to know everything about them. We should want to know our Heavenly Father intimately. We should want to know everything about Him. That's why we should daily talk to Him. God is a God who wants to live life with you personally just like your best friend.

Bonsai57 said...

As with most things in life, there is nothing wrong with religion (and yeah, Jesus would not hate it) what is wrong is the 'organized formal religion as instituted by Man' - meaning it is not religion that is offbase but the manner in which SOME folks practice it (hypocritically) ... I also think that the big thing this kid is proably really angry about is that the religion getting media attention and grabbing headlines is (usually) the flash and bang, hypocritical, bad stuff ... which has nothing to do with God at all ...

Marcel said...

Still nobody has EXPLAINED why it has to be Jesus OR Religion rather than Jesus AND Religion...

Clarke said...

I found this on preceptaustin.org. I think it does a better job of articulating what I was trying to say earlier:

Epp has the following devotional on James 1:26-27...

When Jesus Christ is really indwelling a person, it will result in true religion. The word religion as used in James 1:26,27 is not synonymous with the word salvation. James used it in the sense of an outward expression of that which is inward. The inner faith in Jesus Christ as one's personal Saviour results in salvation; expressing that faith outwardly is one's religion, according to the way James used the word.

When one has faith in Jesus Christ, it is only normal and natural for this faith to express itself outwardly. There will be a new motivating power within, and that new desire is an evidence that you are a child of God.

The manifestation of Christ's life through an individual is proof that that person is rightly related to Jesus Christ by faith. In other words, faith in Christ will result in love for others, and this is what James referred to as pure religion.

The Lord Jesus Christ showered His love on those who could not help themselves and who could not, or would not, return His love at that time. When we know Him as personal Saviour, we will have this same kind of love. We will love those who are helpless and unable to return our expressions of love. It is relatively easy to be friends with those who are friends in return or to give to those who give in return. However, our Christianity is woefully deficient if we give in order to receive or if we give and expect an even larger gift in return. This is not pure religion. So when a person is rightly related to Jesus Christ--when he has pure and undefiled religion--he will express the love of Christ to those who are in dire circumstances and unable to return similar expressions of love.

Marcel said...

Clarke - you are making distinctions that the video did not. If your exegesis of James is correct, then the problem comes that the video lumps all "religion" in the same boat. Pure or not.

Clarke said...

If you'll go to the youtube page with the video, it says, "A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion." in the description.

Joanna said...

Why is Jesus always considered a religion? Does the Bible say I am a religion. It does not say I am a relationship either but it does say follow me and I will make you fishers of men. It did not say follow all these rules and I will make you fishers of men. Why do people think of Jesus as a set of rules? Jesus gave us the Bible so we can know Him and His heart better.

ssnyder01 said...

Completely disagree with that for the following reasons:

1) You can have Jesus the second you put your trust in Him. He came here to save us, to be the light we need in a dark world and to be the strength we need to get through each day. He loves us absolutely unconditionally. If you put your trust in Jesus, then you will have an inner desire to please Him, which means you probably will want to live your life to glorify Him. You can either be a part of a "religion" in the sense that he portrays or just a follower of Him to do this. He loves each of these people the same.

2) Humans are imperfect; hence the reason why people say they "hate religion" or why it is so difficult for us to understand that God wants us to love people, and I mean every person and leave the final judgments to Him. Anyone that believes in an incredible God and that Jesus was His son who came to this earth as the most loving and unselfish man to die for our sins is a Christian. And anyone who is a Christian is a brother and sister in Christ. So, to the person who wrote this and the person who wrote the message in the video: I think God would want us to remember that all Christians are His sons and daughters. He is our father. Together, united as one body in Christ, all of his followers can make a difference in this world. He wants us to love each other.

3) If there were no other person left on this earth than me, I would still trust in God. Does this then imply that I am "making a god of [myself] and [my] own inklings"? Not at all. It means that although I have no material things or means of fulfilling a traditional way of glorifying Him, my faith is all I need to bring Him true glory. This shows me that yes, Jesus did leave us a set of rules and teachings to follow, traditions passed on through years, but the greatest thing that pulls us close to Him is our faith. Any way of praising God, as long is it is completely for Him and not at all for selfish reasons like power, etc., are praising the "true Jesus."

Love is God's greatest gift to us. It's good to remember that. As Christians, we should go into this world and shower it with love. Some of Jesus' truest friends were the outcasts. I think we should reach out to everybody and ultimately remember that anyone who believes in our God and Jesus Christ are our brothers and sisters. God wants us to be united and be able to push these minor differences aside in order to create a grand and beautiful group of Christians, one body of people in Christ, to be a light in the world.

DDJ said...

I do not know if people have stated this already, but here is my two cents: The guy in the video has passion and is definitely trying to bring out the need for internal conversion to Christ. The problem I see though is the comment on Religion. Religion is a tool and can be used for both good and bad. You can't say religion is the problem, because that is like saying guns are the problem in terms of people killing each other, or the internet is the problem in terms of pornography. The truth is that we as human beings are imperfect and will use these tools as we see fit. As techies sometimes say, don't blame the system for user error.

Furthermore, to say that you can do it alone or without structure is to gravely misunderstand and idealize the human nature. It would be awesome for us if we could just do it, but we can't. We are social beings that require our thoughts and actions to be co-ordinated with others. There is no way for a single person to comprehend all that God has to offer us. With that said, it is nearly impossible for multiple people to work together without a standard set of rules, laws, structure etc.

Those are my two main thoughts; religion is not and will never be the problem and we as humans do need a community of believers.

Travis said...

I don't think he was literally saying that religion is bad, he was using it to demonstrate the parallels between "religious people" during Jesus' time who just followed the rituals and prided themselves on it, but only did it for show and "religious people" today. We all know people like that. Their "church" lives and their "outside" lives do not align at all. People that judge others for looking poor or dirty when they try to come in the church. People who gossip and whisper about other church members.

Clearly his "Jesus hates religion" is a metaphor. Jesus didn't hate anything or anyone. He is obviously also not using your definition of religion and I think it is disingenuous to use it since the context doesn't match up. A lot of people think that just going to church and participating in the rituals and voting Republican makes one a Christian, but it doesn't. It used to be that a lot of Christians voted Democratic because they supported aiding the poor and elderly but somehow it got twisted and people are only concerned with looking out for themselves and not others. It is this selfishness and hypocrisy that the man in the video is denouncing and what I think he is referring to as "religion". We are not saved through works but through faith; however, if one is not compelled to DO something then it is clear that one should reexamine their life.

This video was aimed at Protestants, Evangelicals, and people who are lost. I really don't think it was aimed at Catholics. I and probably most protestants don't even understand some of the things you are referring to because I/we were not raised as a Catholic.

I think you should take a step back from taking yourself so seriously and maybe realize that you have taken this way too literally.

I've spent way too long on this comment I hope it actually flows correctly. I'm sorry if it doesn't.

Marcel said...

Clarke - thanks. I didn't see that. I am sure that 4 million other viewers didn't either...

Marcel said...

"If you love Me you will keep my commandments" = Keeping rules...

Marcel said...

If you can find in the Bible a place where Jesus says any of his teachings / rules / commandments / morality are considered "minor differences", then we can have a discussion about Christian unity being something that ignores doctrine.

Christian unity does not sacrifice truth at the altar of holding hands and ignoring our differences.

Andi Rae said...

http://mattdabbs.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/why-i-hate-religion-but-love-jesus/

This guy has a good point and has a better way with words than I do so I'm just going to copy an excerpt from his article.

"In the video he says that Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums. I guess that is why Jesus and Paul both went to great lengths to observe the law during their lifetimes? Maybe that is why Jesus said that he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17). Hardly a statement describing the “two different clans” he says divides Jesus and religion. Also, how much of the sermon on the mount was about practicing pure religion from the heart rather than going through the motions and rationalizing sin. My point is, Jesus believed that religion could be good and lead to good things when understood from God’s perspective and true to God’s intention for religion.
If you look at the description he wrote of the video, he nails it. He just never explains this in the actual video!

'A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it's core Jesus' gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can't do your own list of rules and feel "not good enough" for God. With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you, you don't represent yourself and His sacrifice is perfect putting us in perfect standing with God!'

Now that is a little better. I would add a third option to what religion ends in. Religion can end in pride, despair or in a closer relationship with God. It ends in the later when religion is understood as a part of approaching God in all of his holiness and obeying his commands out of a response to God’s grace. Once religion becomes all about earning things or about self it becomes false. But there is such a thing as pure religion. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27. I wouldn’t call that an infection and I am sure he wouldn’t either."

Marcel said...

Travis - the problem is that he does not say that it is a metaphor at all. He is quite seriously going after it.

It might have been aimed at a different audience, but that doesn't mean we can't critique it.

I do take truth very seriously, because Christ did.

Marcel said...

Some other commentary on this video:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2012/01/why-i-hate-religion-but-love-jesus-the-smackdow.html

http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=24948

http://roadsfromemmaus.org/2012/01/12/why-i-love-true-religion-because-i-love-jesus/

http://youngandcatholic.net/2012/01/why-i-love-jesus-and-religion/

Clarke said...

Marcel -

My intentions in this discussion have not been to win an argument or prove someone wrong for the sake of being right or proving some sort of greater knowledge of Scripture. I'm really coming at this from the position of a brother in Christ, and I'll just be honest. This whole debate is not a matter of truth. It is the matter of how one defines the word religion. Jeff, the man in the video, has defined it in such a way that it is often understood in today's culture. That definition essentially includes holding to book of rules and viewing oneself as holy on account of that act. This leads to a lack of furthering the Kingdom of God on earth.

The word religion is translated different ways, even in Scripture. In the book of James, it is used in the sense of describing one's acts as an outflow of a relationship with Christ (true religion). In the book of Colossians (2:23), it is used to describe a set of rules. This is shown if you compare to NKJV and NLT versions of the Bible:

NKJV: These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

NLT: These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

I think it is clear that Jeff was referring to this second definition. As a complete body of Christ, regardless of denomination, we need to be building each other up and striving to have our eyes continually fixed on Christ. This type of back and forth discussion can often breed division among believers. I do also believe that Biblical truth is key, but there are some gray areas of Scripture that should not be turned into stumbling blocks. Romans 14 does a good job of addressing this.

I really hope you are seeing my heart in this and aren't thinking I'm trying to tear you down. I do agree that Jesus said those who love Him will keep His commands. I'm almost positive Jeff would agree with that too, based on viewing his other videos. The thing that he is driving home is that this love for Christ comes first, and that our works and service are an outflow of that. No amount of works will ever makes us right before the judgement seat of Christ. Coming from this angle, which is very Biblical, Jesus is in fact all we need. He is our Provider, Sustainer, Savior and so much more, and our lives should reflect that if we believe it to be true.

This isn't about being Catholic or Protestant, this is about being a unified church for Jesus Christ who is our lead. This life is about Jesus and that's how we need to approach it. I by no means have it all figured out, but I feel like He has been showing me this Truth. I hope you understand my heart on this one.

Marcel said...

I don't ever question anyone's sincerity. But, I don't think it is clear that the video is using a definition of religion that is merely one in vain. He certainly doesn't make the proper distinctions if that was his goal.

Look, if you read my post again, I point out that there are some valid points he makes. But, there are great flaws in it as well. Sincerity can't overcome those flaws.

We have to be careful at believing that Christian unity is some human construct that comes by us all feeling good about each other. It is born out of faith in Christ AND his teachings. Another both/and not an either/or.

Mikey said...

There seems to be a lot of people here that did not attend Catholic schools most of their life. Having strictly gone to private Catholic schools until college, I can see where all of this comes into play. There were so many kids in my high school that talked all about being proud of their faith but would always have stories of getting drunk or the girls they fooled around with. Meanwhile the teachers praised them for their intelligence and wisdom, thus stroking the behavior and issue addressed. Many Christians treat church like their museum with the "I go to church therefore am more learned and better than you". Sure, his use of the word hate is perhaps misplaced, but when the root does seem to be coming from self righteous and hypocritical Christians, then I feel it is a righteous anger and therefore justified. Also many walk the walk until something comes up. After a family divorce, the devoted Catholics of the family alienated one of the involved persons in my family. Yet the bible teaches tolerance and being non judgmental. Similarly, political parties force you to choose and vote which in turn leads us to judge people in order to vote on their rights.
Overall, this video should be seen as a wake up call to quit putting on a front and actually be a christian or stop. Not straddle the fence or hide behind facebook. "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters."-Luke 11:23
We are falling to the message of society little by little. "oh well maybe just this once" "Well i have to vote. its my duty!" Its time to pick our heads out of the clouds and set it straight. Lets not try and shoot this guy down too quickly or feel too threatened by him. *cough cough cassi* Personally, I agree with him, but lets try to use this for the better and prove him wrong rather than argue him wrong on the internet.

Actions speak louder than words and like me, im sure there was some event or events that he has been involved in or witnessed that back up and make him feel the way he does. Again lets try to see this as a formal complaint to the Church and make things better by working to better ourselves and continue living life and proclaiming His word through our everyday actions.

Doubledad said...

I never understood this mindset of "I love Christ, but hate religion". Too often I have found that it is because that person wants to decide for themselves what is a sin and what is not. They don't want some church telling them how to behave. This is why Adam was cast out of Eden, for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and taking onto himself the ability to decide what is sin and what is not. A choice only God is fit to make.

Cynthia said...

Thank you Janny. Yes Katelin, we can praise the fact that he is young and support the fact that instead of wasting his life away, he is presenting a more positive way to live to our young people. But I also believe that this video was purposely done, and as a youth minister, when my young people come up to me excited about this video that is all over FB, it is my duty as the adult authority to inform them of the TRUTH. I do not think anybody here is degrading "HIS views," but clarifying the many ways he contradicts himself and can mislead others to do the same. And like Janny said, will he put a rebuttal video later? I also think NOT.

Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

"I continue to be shocked at how a culture that will reject over 2,000 years of tradition that aligns itself directly to Christ can follow a rapping 20 something who has made these assumptions and accusations only from his own mind and I assume without counsel at the drop of a hat. "

That says it all, Preach it!

Erin said...

AMEN! Very well said Blake! Thank you. Jesus has to be the center of our lives....not the institution (church, religion...however you want to put it) From experience I can say that going to church, receiving all my sacraments....etc etc, there was still a deep hole in my soul.....and until I truly was on my knees asking Jesus to enter my heart....did I begin to understand that only He can fill that hole. I agree with the person who wrote about that inner desire to please God. For me that inner desire only began after I began to truly seek Him.....not just follow the rules

MSP said...

Katelin, I appreciate it. I struggle with the fact that they are taking a piece of art that is spoken from the heart and analyze it like it is a journal article in a theology class. I believe this man has written and spoken this poem as an expression to his own feelings. The reason it has blown up is because other people are able to relate and co-sign what he's artistically put into words. The person who wrote the article above clearly is an educated and well versed person, especially on Christianity and its faith but even if you can articulate it, compartmentalize arguments, and defend a counterpoint, doesn't mean that this man isn't feeling exactly what he is expressing. The feelings are coming from somewhere... A better use of our time would be spent asking why this person feels this way and what caused it so we can come to a solution as opposed to trying to undermine his feelings and minimize his experience... make sense?

theresagnes said...

72% of the millenial generation describes themselves as "spiritual but not religious" More than blog posts and critiques of this video, this trend needs to be responded to both aggressively AND compassionately among all Christians and I know this is happening at Texas A&M so praise God. My take on this - this video doesn't need to be refuted, these kids needs to be engaged. I would love to have a beer with Jeff and have a real dialogue: http://pursuedbytruth.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-i-hate-religion-but-love-jesus-beer.html

joshvhunt said...

Great video response here - http://youtu.be/SejuPK4M330