Recently I have seen a certain video circulating around facebook. I’ve watched it a few times, seen the discussions folks are having about it and…. I am troubled. I am tired of rants by Christians about other Christians. I am tired of one party telling another party how they are right and how everyone else is wrong. I’m super tired of the religion versus relationship conversation. But right now, I’m very concerned about the “truth” of the I Hate Religion but I Love Jesus video. (If you haven’t seen it, you can view it here.) Can we thoughtfully walk through it?
“What if I told you, Jesus came to abolish religion”
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt 5:17–20.
“What if I told you voting republican really wasn’t His mission?”
So does that mean Jesus is a Democrat? All jokes aside, I have no arguments here. Jesus is not Republican, Democratic, Independent, Leftist, Rightist, Centrist, Communist, Socialist, Statist, Monarchist anything-ist.
“I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?”
Let’s actually look at some real figures from the past 150 years: (These figures come from this site. For a complete breakdown of the wars battle by battle, and for specific academic references, please visit the site.)
- Congo Free State (1886-1908): 8 000 000
- Mexican Revolution(1910-20): 1,000,000
- First World War (1914-18): 15 000 000
- Russian Civil War (1917-22): 9 000 000
- Soviet Union, Stalin’s regime (1924-53): 20 000 000
- 1st Chinese Civil War, Nationalist Era (1928-37): 5,000,000
- Second World War (1939-45): 66 000 000
- Post-War Expulsion of Germans from East Europe (1945-47): 2,100,000
- 2nd Chinese Civil War(1945-49): 2,500,000
- People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong’s regime (1949-1975): 40 000 000
- North Korea (1948 et seq.): 3,000,000
- Korean War (1950-53): 3,000,000
- Rwanda and Burundi (1959-95): 1 350,000
- Second Indochina War (1960-75): 4 200,000 (This includes Vietnam War (1965-73): 1 700,000)
- Ethiopia (1962-92): 2,000,000
- Nigeria(1966-70): 1,000,000
- Bangladesh (1971): 1,250,000
- Cambodia, Khmer Rouge (1975-1978): 1,650,000
- Afghanistan(1979-2001): 1,800,000
- Sudan(1983-2005): 1,900,000
- Kinshasa Congo (1998 et seq.): 3,800,000
More people have died in the 20th Century in conflicts started by stateists and those obsessed with their own power than all those who died in the centuries prior. The statistics simply do not back up this false statement. There have not been more wars started by Christians/Religion and I am embarrassed that a Christian would buy into that thought.
“Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?”
This is a strawman argument. Are there big churches? HUGE churches? Yep. There are tiny ones too. Are some of those churches inwardly focused and don’t give two cents to what happens outside of their walls. Definitely. Are there churches making huge differences in their community and around the world? Definitely. If you were to remove all of the Christian hunger charities from the world, world hunger would be a significantly bigger problem. For every miserly church you show me, I can show you more that are feeding the poor. Oh and by the way, James 1:27: 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.
“Tell single moms God doesn’t love them, if they’ve ever had a divorce? But in the Old Testament God actually calls religious people whores.”
Here’s what I love about the Old Testament. God is speaking to specific groups of people in specific times and places. So did God call His people prostitutes? “Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.“ Je 2:20 (NIV) Most definitely, but what was the context? Was it because they were all caught up in religiosity? It looks more like they were saying “F* You!” to God and doing their own thing. As a nation Israel had decided to go their own way, do their own thing and weren’t really even TRYING too look like the people of God. And the reality is that God says in the Old and New Testament that He hates divorce. Does that mean He hates the people who have been divorced? No. But the pain, anguish, anger, bitterness, resentment etc, etc, etc that divorce causes was not part of God’s plan for humanity. God hates what divorce does to people.
“Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice. Tend to ridicule God’s people. They did it to John the Baptist.”
I’m not sure what he is saying here. Who are “they?” Who are “God’s people” in this sentence? Best I can figure he referring to the Jewish Leaders who maligned John the Baptist. These weren’t comments coming from inside the Christian community. One thing that seems to be clear is this is incendiary language meant to inflame. How is that gracious?
“They can’t fix their problems, so they just mask it, not realizing religion’s like spraying perfume on a casket. The problem of religion is that it never gets to the core, its just behaviour modification like a long list of chores. Like lets dress up the outside make it look nice and neat. It’s funny that what they used to do to mummies while corpse rots underneath.”
Ok here I give “partial credit.” While it is true that people use their faith to mask their pain, fear, doubt, sin, [insert other descriptive here], we ALL do this out of pride, not religion. And as individuals we have the ability to take our faith as deep as we choose. I can’t blame my local church community if I choose to be shallow. My faith is my responsibility, not my pastor’s.
“Now I ain’t judging, I’m just saying ….”
“… quit putting on a fake look. Because there is a problem if people only know you’re a Christian by your facebook. I mean in every other area of life that logic is unworthy. It’s like saying you play for the Lakers because you bought a jersey.”
“See this was me too, but no one seemed to be on to me. Acting like a church kid, while addicted to pornography…I spent my whole life creating the facade of neatness, but now that I know Jesus I boast in my weakness.”
Kudos to you. This is a great testimony!
“Because if Grace is water than the church should be an ocean. It’s not a museum for good people, its a hospital for the broken.Which I means I don’t have to hide my failure, I don’t have to hide my sin. Because it doesn’t depend on me, it depends on Him.”
“See when I was God’s enemy and certainly not a fan, God looked down on me and said I want that man. Which is why Jesus hated religion, and foreword he called them fools. Don’t you see so much better than just following some rules?”
I am not sure how the second statement (Which is why …) depends on the first. And ignoring the fact that Jesus never said He hated religion. We are called to more than mindlessly following the rules. We are called to be part of God’s mission of redeeming the world.
“Now let me clarify: I love the church, I love the Bible and yes I believe in sin. But if Jesus came to your church, would they actually let Him in? See he was called a glutton and a drunkard by religious men. But Son of God doesn’t support self-righteousness not now, not then.”
I don’t honestly see much love for the church in what this man is saying. He has been criticizing the church from the beginning of this video. In fact the entire tone of this video, to me, seems to be self-righteous and all knowing. The reality is this: if we saw Jesus in the flesh, ALL of us would be ashamed to realize where we have missed the boat. Only when we see God face to face will we truly understand the depth to which sin corrupted us.
“Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention. Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums. See one’s the work of God and one’s a man-made invention. See one is the cure and the other is an infection.”
Ok fine. Religion is a man made TERM. Christians are the only religious group in the world who have a hang up about the word. We seem to conflate it with legalism. But to the rest of the world it means:
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creationof a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involvingdevotional and ritual observances, and often containing amoral 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: the Christianreligion; the Buddhist religion.
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
“See religion says do. Jesus says done.”
This one concerns me. A lot. ”Jesus says done.” Yes Christ’s death and resurrection was a one time thing. He doesn’t need to do it again to forgive sin. But the story of salvation isn’t over yet. Jesus is coming back and we will live in eternity. It’s an ongoing story. We’ve barely gotten into the story. It’s not done. Not to mention that this whole poem is about what we should do.
”Religion says slave. Jesus says son. Religion puts you in bondage while Jesus sets you free. Religion makes you blind. But Jesus makes you see.”
I finally get it. The word he’s looking for here is SIN not religion!! We were slaves to sin. We were in bondage to sin. We were blinded by sin. Now Jesus calls us brother and God calls us child. The holy Spirit sets us free from the chains of sin through the salvific act of Christ. However, we are bound to Jesus and in the words of Paul, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God.” (Rom 6:22a).
“And that’s why religion and Jesus are two different clans. Religion is man searching for God. Christianity is God searching for man.”
The search is a mutual endeavor, however it is the power of God that draws the convert.
”Which is why salvation is freely mine and salvation is my own, not based on my merits but Jesus’ alone. Because He took the crown of thorns and the blood dripped down his face. He took what we all deserve, and I guess that is why you call it grace.”
“And while being murdered He yelled “Father forgive them, the know not what they do. Because when He was dangling on that cross He was thinking of you. And He absorbed all your sin and he buried it in the tomb. Which is why I’m kneeling at the cross saying com’mon there’s room.”
I honestly don’t know what Jesus was thinking when He was hanging on that cross. This guy doesn’t know either. The scriptures don’t tell us. They do tell us why He was on that cross — for the redemption of humanity. I’m not a fan of the image of buried sin, because what is buried can be found. Jesus didn’t bury sin, the word images used in Scripture are that He washed it away or that He destroyed it. He didn’t hide it.
So for religion, no I hate it. In face I literally resent it. Because when He said “it is finished”, I believe He meant it.
I get that you hate religion. You’ve been saying it throughout this video. But I wonder if this is what you mean, for the seeds of hate and discord are not of Jesus. We shouldn’t be fighting a war over the word religion. The reality is, this is an “inside” Christianity fight. I don’t know how many folks who don’t already follow Christ care about how the word religion is used. I am concerned that videos like this do more to fuel the anti-Christianity crowd than to further the work of Christ. If you know people who have issues with “religious” folks, live your life in such a way to show them different. Christ says they will know we are different by our love. Let that shine.