Why I Hate People Hating on Religion

by Jimmy Akin

in +Religion

There’s a new YouTube video out called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” It was released January 10th, and as I write this on the morning of January 14th, it’s already racked up nearly 10 million hits, so it’s definitely gone viral.

I’ve had a bunch of requests for a response, so here goes.

The video is quite painful to watch. Check it out for yourself . . .

The video is painful to watch for a number of reasons. For one, the creator–Jefferson Bethke of Tacoma, Washington–is not that great a poet. He uses weak assonance when he should use rhyme. He has non sequiturs, so his thoughts don’t flow from one another. And he can be unclear in what he is trying to say.

I’m not so interested in critiquing what he has to say on an artistic level, however. The main thing is the painful content.

He starts by asking, dramatically, “What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?”

This is preposterous, of course. It creates an immediate reaction of incredulity, and it causes anyone who is religious to wince. Here we go with another self-righteous, religion-bashing session.

You often hear religion dissed by people who say they are “spiritual” rather than “religious,” which implies that they are on a higher plane. Being “spiritual” is set up as a good thing, in contrast to being “religious” which is either bad or inferior by comparison. For those of us who are religious, that comes off as an insult.

This kind of claim is often made by people who don’t explicitly identify as Christians. It’s something that the unchurched or people in the New Age movement say.

Mr. Bethke does not fall into either of those categories. He’s working the “religion = bad” concept from a different angle. I don’t know that Mr. Brethke identifies himself with the “Emerging Church” movement, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he does. His whole manner of presentation suggests it, and within that context, it wouldn’t be surprising to find this kind of “Jesus vs. religion” schtick. There have been elements of that before in certain Protestant circles.

Mr. Bethke’s poem goes down a number of rabbit trails that we won’t dwell on in detail. The first occurs in the second two lines of his poem, where he takes swipes at Christians who are also Republicans. He repeats the politically liberal cliche that they identify Christianity with Republicanism. While it’s certainly true that people have a tendency to identify their political affiliation with their religious affiliation (that’s a human temptation that has been around since the days of Pharaoh or Caesar, to name just two recent god-kings), his poem really isn’t the place to go into that.

A couple of sneer-filled lines doesn’t do the subject justice, but that’s all he gives it since he immediately ditches the political discussion in favor of his anti-religion rant.

He repeats the cliche that religion starts lots of wars, which is nonsense. Religion is a powerful motivator, and thus is often invoked in wartime, but the real reasons most wars have been fought have nothing to do with it. Instead, they have to do with political control–either allowing certain political leaders to gain or remain in power (e.g., who is the rightful heir to the throne) or they have to do with gaining political control of resources (e.g., land, money, food supplies, transportation and trade routes) or they have to do with a particular leader’s ambitions (i.e., being remembered as a great man, or not being remembered as a weak man). When leaders aren’t being totally naked about those things, they dress them up with national pride or religion, but ultimately they are not at the root.

The reason political leaders invoke religion when going to war is that religion is a powerful motivator that is built into human nature, which is why religion appears in all human societies. It’s a human universal, and religion in that sense is not something Jesus came to abolish. He didn’t come to root the religious impulse out of mankind but to shape it and channel it properly (e.g., “Blessed are the peacemakers”).

Bethke’s slam on religion as the cause of war is thus a shallow, sneering cliche that fails to get to the root of the issue.

He then asks why religion builds great churches but doesn’t feed the poor.

Excuse me?

Historically speaking, the Christian Church has been the greatest, most effective charitable institution in world history! It has fed more hungry, clothed more naked, and cared for more sick than any other institution!

And if you know your Bible, as Mr. Bethke seems to, given that his speech (including in other videos) is littered with insider Christian lingo, including numerous terms and phrases from the Bible, then you know that honoring God through architecture is important as well. God has some rather particular instructions regarding the construction of the Tabernacle and the Temple. Honoring God in this way is also built in to human nature.

It reflects the love of God, just as helping the poor reflects love of man. These two goals are not at odds with one another. The Church must pursue both.

Then Bethke says “religion” tells single mothers that God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever had a divorce.

HUH???

I’d like to hear Mr. Bethke name one person who has done that. I bet he can’t. And I’m quite sure that he can’t show the existence of enough people to warrant making this a general slam on the religious community, which–to the contrary–has been instrumental in setting up crisis pregnancy centers, creating homes for unwed mothers, providing assistance to single mothers, and extending care and compassion to countless individuals who have had broken marriages–and reassuring them of God’s love!

It is unfortunate, but Mr. Bethke has chosen to repeat uninformed cliches as a way of adopting the pose of a prophet. He comes across as a spiritual poser who does not know what he is talking about as he sneers and looks down on others.

There are simply too many things in Bethke’s rant that call for a response to give them each an individual treatment, so let us look at the big picture.

What we have here is a rap-battle-inspired slam on the concept of religion in favor of what Bethke considers to be the truth, the authentic cause of Jesus.

Unfortunately, the sneering, self-important, self-righteous tone of a rap battle does not lend itself well to this purpose (not that he’s actually rapping, but that’s what he’s aping).

It’s true that Jesus did have some stinging things to say about the hypocrites of his day. St. Paul was similarly harsh with his opponents. But it’s all too easy to justify our own self-righteousness and arrogance by appealing to these passages. One is playing with fire when one goes in this direction.

Mr. Bethke’s rant against the judgmental who put on an artificial show of piety is filled with both judgment and affected piety. There’s a moment in the video where he says, “Now I ain’t judging, I’m just saying quit putting on a fake look.”

Bethke, let’s be honest. You are so totally judging.

Your whole video is filled with scorn and sneer. Each line drips venom on other people.

And as for “putting on a fake look” (a clumsy set-up for a rhyme on the word “Facebook”), your whole schtick–the rap-battle insults, the disjointed poetry, the awkward assonance, the attitude of the earnest, hip nonconformist–the whole thing is as artificial or “put on” as one could wish.

This isn’t who you really are. Not at your core. This is you giving a performance.

And it’s a performance that, just coincidentally, shows how pious and “real” you are compared to your religious peers.

Who is putting on pious show here? You’ve got some mighty wide phylacteries, Mr. Bethke.

But let’s move past that and get to what really sets people off about your video: The dissing of religion.

What is religion?

Bottom line: Religion is a set of beliefs about the divine and/or the afterlife. All religions (atheism included) make some kind of claim about one of those two subjects. Most make claims about both.

But Jesus didn’t come to abolish beliefs regarding the divine and the afterlife. He came to proclaim them.

In another sense, religion is the life and the actions that flow from those beliefs. So what did Jesus think of religion in that sense?

Well, according to the Bible (James 1:26-27),

26 If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Notice that here religion is spoken of as something positive, as something to aspire to, and something that can be pure and undefiled before God.

And it requires things of us. Bridling our tongues. Visiting orphans and widows. Keeping ourselves unstained from the world.

We needn’t quibble about these points, and we all fail in all of them, but they are things we are supposed to undertake, by God’s grace, in order to please God.

Jesus did not come to abolish these things.

And because he didn’t, the word “religion” has become part of the Christian heritage. It is something that has become part of how we as Christians identify ourselves–something that goes to the core of who we are.

We Christians have a religion. We Christians are a religion. We Christians practice religion.

So if you are a Christian, Mr. Bethke, if you love the Bible and the Church the way you say you do in your video, then who are you to overturn 2,000 years of Christian history and start ranting about how Jesus came to abolish religion and that religion and Jesus are contrary to one another.

What arrogance!

And what ignorance of the Christian heritage that has been bequeathed to you!

Now, I can’t blame you for some of that. If your YouTube username–bball1989–is any indication, you are 22 or at most 23 years old.

You haven’t been alive long enough to get a broad perspective on history, and you may well not have been exposed to or encouraged to read broadly in the history of Christianity.

Being angsty and wanting to rant against the religious hypocrisy you perceive around you is also often part of being 22. I mean, a lot of us have been there.

And many of us look back on that time in our lives with a bit of embarrassment. I know I do. As I’ve gotten older, I continually realize all the more just how much I don’t know, and how I need to be more careful in what I say and what I claim.

You are also likely to look back with embarrassment on this, only on a larger scale since you now have almost 10,000,000 hits–and undoubtedly will have far more than that by the time your video’s popularity is played out.

Things may seem awesome now. For example, you have a recent Facebook post saying:

My buddy just called me and said he was driving 60mph down the freeway and a car came up along side him and on the entire back window in shoe polish was written “YouTube the video ‘Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus” LOL God is good! Man. It’s a craze right now but He is faithful and He is my judge! It’s all Grace!

But already you are seeing some of the harm that your video can result in, as you quickly followed up with a post saying:

If you are using my video to bash “the church” be careful. I was in no way intending to do that. My heart came from trying to highlight and expose legalism and hypocrisy. The Church is Jesus’ bride so be careful how you speak of His wife. If a normal dude has right to get pissed when you bash His wife, it makes me tremble to think how great the weight is when we do it to Jesus’ wife. The church is His vehicle to reach a lost word. A hospital for sinners. Saying you love Jesus but hate the Church, is like a fiancé saying he loves his future bride, but hates her kids. We are all under grace. Look to Him.

Just as you can’t separate the Church from Jesus, you can’t separate religion from Christ and his Church.

It can’t be done, and it’s foolish to try.

If you want to rant against legalism and hypocrisy then call them by their names. Don’t go on a futile quest to get people to start using the term “religion” in an unfamiliar way that is, frankly, contrary to the way it’s used in the Bible.

Religion is something very, very important to people, and telling them that Jesus opposed religion is not only preposterous, it’s offensive–particularly the way the claim is presented in your video.

So ditch the sneer, ditch the mocking, self-righteous attitude toward your fellow believers, and show some consideration for them and for their feelings regarding the word “religion”–feelings which are, frankly, more attuned to the way Scripture uses the word than yours apparently are.

May I suggest an apology?

 

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{ 149 comments }

captjeff January 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Well done, sir.

BTW, love the new site!

KenColombini January 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm

One response, by a priest:

http://vimeo.com/35046708

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm

@KenColombini

Ken,

Thank you for the video. I wonder if Bethke will have the guts to watch it!

TomBalistreri January 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I noticed he allowed his video to be monetized by Youtube. I’m not criticzing him for this, I just find it interesting under the circumstances of the subject.

noelculbertson January 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Well said. I found so many contradictions in the video that parts were almost laughable at the sheer ignorance of history.

EdwardMCurtis January 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Jimmy, I first heard the idea that “Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship with Jesus” when I was in college, about 20 years ago, and involved with Campus Crusade for Christ.

Perhaps, in a way, it’s a blessing that Mr. Bethke made this video. It gives Catholics a teachable moment, to understand why the “religion vs. relationship” dichotomy is a false one.

ianmartinsax January 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm

dude come on. god’s not real, religion is fake. the monomyth has been proven for years. everyone knows religion was instituted to seek and keep control of a people. get real. this guys a boss. even tho jesus is no son of god

Loganx January 14, 2012 at 11:50 pm

@ianmartinsax Time to close up shop Catholics. 2000 years have just been undone by the sheer brilliance of ianmartinsax and his, um “post”.

cllewis1 January 15, 2012 at 3:05 am

@Loganx@ianmartinsax Can you prove Jesus is no son of God?

Sheena Karr January 15, 2012 at 6:04 am

@Loganx@ianmartinsax Pagan and Wiccan religions have been around a LOT longer then 2000 years, that makes christianity infantile…maybe if the ‘Church’ did not lie and hide TRUTH from the people they claim to want to bring to TRUTH, this mess would never happen.

D_Finn January 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

@Sheena Karr pagan religions yes, wican no – wica is a 20th century invention

HRW January 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

@Sheena Karr @Loganx @ianmartinsax
A timeline layed out for you by Theologist, Dr. Bob Schihl Ph.D:
http://www.catholicapologetics.org/Slides/General%20Church%20History%20Timeline_files/frame.htm

Loganx January 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm

@Sheena Karr@ianmartinsax

Using all caps to write “truth” is not like, totally, really, awesome argumentation, like, ummmm, like, not really.

Sheena, I think the toast I burnt this morning can make a better case for truth. I’ll stick with Jimmy Akin, thank you very much.

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

@Sheena Karr@Loganx@ianmartinsax

I know of the existence of Pagan and Wiccan religions but I could care less, and for sure, I would not want to go into any of their forums and attack them. That would simly be very idiotic and not classy at all!

JaysonFranklin January 15, 2012 at 6:14 am

@Loganx@ianmartinsax

JRobH1988 January 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm

@Loganx@ianmartinsax

“Time to close up shop Catholics. 2000 years have just been undone by the sheer brilliance of ianmartinsax and his, um “post”.”Best. Comment. Ever!!LOL

D_Finn January 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

@ianmartinsax troll alert

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm

@ianmartinsax

Dude? Wow, very profound! If you don’t think God is real and religion is a fake, why don’t you just leave us along and live in your ignorance. If you truly believe God does not exist and religion is a fake, why are you here in this forum and why is an atheist reading Jimmy?

ianmartinsax January 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm

i also really like how this jimmy akin idiot is suddenly a poetry critic. thats what i like

cllewis1 January 15, 2012 at 3:05 am

@ianmartinsax I really like how this “ianmartinsax” is suddenly a critic of Catholic apologists. That’s what I like.

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm

@ianmartinsax

Well, you don’t know how educated Jimmy is and perhaps he knows a lot about poetry, but that was not the main point of his commentary. right?

wmichael January 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm

What’s interesting in this is that (a) Good works supposedly have nothing to do with true Christianity, but (b) Religion is bad because it doesn’t feed the poor. Well, which is it?

cllewis1 January 15, 2012 at 3:04 am

@wmichael Keep in mind that they constantly say “you don’t have to do anything at all in order to get to heaven. all you have to do is accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.” The irony is lost on them.

wmichael January 15, 2012 at 3:46 am

@cllewis1@wmichael I know, I know. The endless self-contradictions, if it weren’t a serious matter, would make for great comedy.

wmichael January 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I said elsewhere that this shows us where the minds of Americans are at…many millions will think this is actually a “great” message with “awesome” points. THAT is what’s amazing.

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 8:20 pm

@wmichael

Yes, I can already hear my students tell me what an “awesome” message they just saw and heard!

GaryVanHorn January 14, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Very sad!

JohnE January 15, 2012 at 12:03 am

If truth is not received, it must essentially be made up, which is relativism, which is no truth — a deceptive form of atheism. I see religion as supporting the attitude that truth is received. “Spirituality” is the arrogance of believing that truth comes from oneself.

bluecheez January 15, 2012 at 12:34 am

I was raised by a single mother who was rejected from a protestant church for being a “broken home.”

Also, just because the christian church has the largest total “number of people helped,” this does not imply that it is an efficent institution. We say this statement is true only because the church has been existent for thousands of years. If they help 10 people per year for 2000 years, and the red cross helps 2000 people (with a trillionth of the funding), by your definitions they’d still be equal in helpfulness.

99.9% of the donations you give your church will:

1. Pay expenses for chruches existance (which could’ve been used to house the poor)

2. Pay your paster and staff to tell you every how you’ll live forever and that you’re better than everyone else.

3. Not help the poor.

Lilac_Lily99 January 15, 2012 at 1:06 am

@bluecheez

Perhaps you should check out the Catholic Church? I’ve only encountered gentleness and charity. Project Rachel reaches out to mothers who’ve had abortions and want healing.

Regarding charity, It’s not just based on not just how much we dole out directly from churches, but also how many groups and programs we run. Like all the crisis pregnancy centres, homes for unwed mothers, soup kitchens, orphanages. As an example, in one diocese, Catholic Charities operates a number of programs, including a shelter for women and families who need to get out of abusive situations. There is also a public diner which provides one meal a day to anyone who needs it, no questions asked. It’s operated as a restaurant, not a charity, though no one pays. It’s able to continue doing this because they have nearly 6,000 volunteers. There is a medical clinic which provides health care to those who are uninsured or under-insured.

These things occur every day in Catholic dioceses throughout the nation. No one remarks on them because it is taken for granted that this is part of what we do.

The Knights of Columbus just released their numbers for last year and they gave somewhere around 160 million dollars to charity, and volunteered over 65 million work hours to different charities. I don’t think you will be able to find all charitable organizations operated under the auspices of the Catholic Church listed in one place. Every diocese has charities; there are also national and international Catholic Charities. Try a google search for Catholic Charitable Organizations.

Sheena Karr January 15, 2012 at 5:57 am

@Lilac_Lily99@bluecheez the vatican has a net worth more then the UK and the US combined… and now they are starting to make sants of the once ‘soulless heathens’ and ministry workers they once turned their backs on and abandoned. They are trying very hard to make up for the sins of their own dirty bloody and shameful past… and is why I stay away from them all… the organized churches are responsible for more worldly bloodshed and lost cultures and non christian religions then any government could hope to.

Elaya January 15, 2012 at 8:11 am

@Sheena Karr@Lilac_Lily99@bluecheez Dear Sheena Please suport you Claim ” the vatican has a net worth more then the UK and the US combined” with data…

The papal state has previously run budget deficits and obtains much of its money from international donations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Vatican_City

The annual operating budget of the Vatican City State is $270 million, comparing that with the annual operating budget of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., which is $1.2 BILLION.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2788322/posts

According to a press release, the Church has “117,000 health care facilities, including hospitals, clinics, orphanages,” as well as “18,000 pharmacies and 512 centers” for the care of those with leprosy. Catholic hospitals comprise one quarter of world’s healthcare.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/catholic_hospitals_represent_26_percent_of_worlds_health_facilities_reports_pontifical_council/

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

@Sheena Karr@Lilac_Lily99@bluecheez

Your statement sounds very anti-Catholic and your statement also shows a very poor understanding of what Catholicism is all about. I’ve been a Roman Catholic all my life, I’m 62, and I can tell you for sure I don’t know how much money the Vatican is worth nor do I care. I do know the Vatican is a patrimony of all humanity, not just Catholics. I’ve been there 5 times in my life time and I see thousands of pilgrims and tourists come to pray at the tomb of St. Peter, the man appointed by Christ to lead His Church.

Lilac_Lily99 January 15, 2012 at 1:12 am

@bluecheez Just in terms of outside-the-church-building Catholic charities, Catholic charities rank highest, like on this list: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2005/14/Revenue_1.html

Just Catholic Charities, Food for the Poor, Catholic Relief Services, St. Jude’s, and America’s Second Harvest alone total $5,570,000,000, which is greater than #1 on the list for America. Keep going down the list and you find Father Flanagan’s homes, Catholic Medical Mission Board, Covenant House, and more. Add the thousands of other charities, from Missionaries to the Poor, Amigos for Christ, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, to religious orders (like Missionaries of Charity) & individual parishes who often do their work in anonymity, and you will see some of the charitable works of the Catholic Church.

cllewis1 January 15, 2012 at 3:02 am

@bluecheez You know, over 84% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Also, if you know of a priest telling people that they’re better than everyone else, the please report this to the local bishop.

ElizabethCarpenter January 15, 2012 at 4:22 am

@cllewis1@bluecheez I heard it was 99.9% of all statistics were made up on the spot.

Elaya January 15, 2012 at 8:13 am

@cllewis1@bluecheez AHHAHAH you suport your prove of flaws of Statistics with a Statistic… Thats really Funy

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 8:16 pm

@cllewis1@bluecheez

“You know, over 84% of statistics are made up on the spot.” The Catholic Church, worlwide keeps up very good statistics. It’s part of the organizational mindset we inherited from the Roman Empire. Now you are free to make wild accusations, and we are trying to provide for you statistics that prove what you stated is dead wrong. Either you accept those statistics or you continue to make up wild accusations based on your prejudice mindset against Catholicism. And BTW, you are doing so at a Catholic site. What does that tell you about the Church and the virtue of patience?

ElizabethCarpenter January 15, 2012 at 4:16 am

@bluecheez It appears that you not only failed English class, but math as well.

“If they help 10 people per year for 2000 years, and the red cross helps 2000 people (with a trillionth of the funding), by your definitions they’d still be equal in helpfulness.”

10 (people helped/year even if that is an incorrect number) * 2000 (years) = 20,000. 20,000 is more than 2000. Perhaps “we” are just being nice saying they are equal.

BTW, even though the Red Cross isn’t a “religious” organization, its still the Red *CROSS*. In Muslin countries its know as the Red Crescent (a symbol of Islam).

CalSpy January 19, 2012 at 9:22 am

@ElizabethCarpenter@bluecheez But you can’t put a figure of worth on the number of people that have been brought to Christ through the Catholic Church. Red Cross and Red “Crescent”, not so much work in that regard.

Ismael January 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm

The Church is being RIGHT NOW the most charitable institution, no need to count ‘the whole 2000 years’.

The Catholic Church is still on top on helping the poor compared to all other organizations and it collaborated al lot with other organizations (ie. w. the red cross).

Funny how you give a ‘statistic’ that is the fruit of your own imagination.

Also regarding the points:
1- The Church exists for the poor as well. So maintaining its existence is not hurting the poor.
A church is often the only place where the poor feel equal: many people from very poor countries today (or very poor europeans in the past too) often feel that in church it is the only place where they can feel uplifted.
Also there they are able to admire beautiful things (like art) for free.

ALSO: the Red Cross also has a maintenance cost. You thing that the cars, planesm hospitals and resources they use (not mentioning the whole beaurocracy behind it ) is free? Wake up.

2 – Priests give a service and they receive compensation for it, since they also need to live.

Red Cross doctors also get paid, they do not do it for free since they need to eat too.

3 – On the contrary as 1 and 2 shows it goes towards the poor, the only problem here is your overly simplistic and childish view of things.

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

@bluecheez

It’s unfortunate your mother was rejected from a Protestant church because she came from a broken home. Just because an idiotic pastor made a mistake, that does not mean we should condemn “all” Protestant churches! I would not be surprised if a pastor in a Catholic parish were to do the same, but that does not mean one condemns 1 billion Catholics, all the bishops, priests, deacons and Pope for what one idiotic person did, right?

As for what Christians do to help the poor, statitics show that no government, no United Nations, no Red Cross, help as many people worldwide as does the Catholic Church and I suspect our brothers and sisters in the Protestant, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox churches do the same and we all do it in the name of Christ.

mendezjb January 16, 2012 at 4:59 am

@bluecheez Hey cheese, you were able to post these comments on a computer or phone with Internet access. Those cost money. You didn’t use that money to help the poor. Let’s cut everything from your budget and help the poor. Nothing you do can cost money, not even rent or a house payment. You must live 100% in self denial. Of course you don’t do that, those standards are only for Catholics me thinks.

Mondabi2000 January 15, 2012 at 2:04 am

I am truly grateful for your response to this viral video. I’ve seen so many reposts of it. It’s so important that people look beyond what initially appears as “hip” and “cool” and that we realize the impact of our words as well as our actions.

timothyputnam January 15, 2012 at 2:30 am
lukesomma January 15, 2012 at 2:49 am

Religions cool and all, but its also man made. You see, this Jesus in the Bible wasnt a man who was definitively religious. Yeah he followed the law and came to restore it, but his whole purpose on the cross was to basically say “Yo hold up, now if you wanna get to the father theres nothing you can do! You cant do nothin’ on yo own. But heres something to cool you down: COME THROUGH ME.(1) Abandon everything you’ve got (2) and COME THROUGH ME”. That being said, and since Religion is a man made self-satisfaction to feel important and mushy inside because you can do a good thing in your life, maybe we should instead give God the glory? (1) John14:6(2) Matthew 16:24-28 And as for your sneaky comment about the “Emerging Church” movement, its called “Revival in the Holy Spirit” Blessing brothers and sisters in the New age of Christ Jesus! May his name be lifted high in all you do, may peace find its way within you. Shall the Holy Spirit guide us, or shall we neglect its works? Luke Somma,

cllewis1 January 15, 2012 at 3:00 am

@lukesomma I get it, you’re pretending to be the guy in the video. I see what you did there. That’s cute.

ironerd January 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm

In what way does bashing and insulting the church or the the religion that jesus himself established qualify as allowing the holy spirit to guide you? If anything the holy spirit guides the church and its members, not those who attempt to abolish what jesus started

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm

@lukesomma

Gee, when you write, “Religion is a man made self-satisfaction to feel important and mushy inside…” I guess you missed Jimmy quoting James 1: 26-27. Also, Jesus was very religious, so much so many called him Rabbi.

You seem to separate Christ from religion or from the Church he founded. Church = community and when Paul heard the voice of Christ on his way to Damascus, Christ said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Paul could have replied, “I’m not persecuting you, I’m persecuting the Christians,” but when Jesus said “why are you persecuting Me, he was not just talking about His person, he was talking about His body, the Church, the community. Christ Himself did not separate Himself from the Church he had founded, but that’s what you and lots of people do.

I work in a school that emphasizes sports. I rarely talk about that subject becuse I admit my limitations with the little knowledge I have of sports. I just wish you and so many others would acknowledge your limitations on the knowledge of religion and stop trying to play “theologian” in the INTERNET!

wmichael January 15, 2012 at 4:02 am

To think that saying “Religion is man-made” makes an argument is silly when Jesus was a man, unless you can prove (not say) Jesus didn’t make it. He is the one who picked 12 men to lead…something. He was the one who taught those men to go into the world and make disciples and to baptize them…into something. He created the rituals, the rules and the hierarchy…for something. He DID NOT appear one afternoon, say, “COME THROUGH ME.” and then fly back up to heaven. He spent 33 years on earth, 3 of which he spent training men for…something.

The apostles were a visible group of men who were known by name as the leaders of the Christian Church and they told all other Christians what to believe and do. That’s why we have epistles written BY the apostles to other Christians in other places…telling them how to (a) start Churches, (b) ordain leaders, (c) administer rituals, (d) care for the needy, (e) discipline churchmembers, etc..

Therefore, to try and pretend that the “Me, God and my Bible” stuff came from Jesus is impossible.

wmichael January 15, 2012 at 4:07 am

P.S. Every time someone wants to pretend that what they’re doing is super-important and it cannot be proven to follow Scripture or history or reason, it is blamed on the Holy Spirit. In the 1600s it was “Sola Scriptura”…now it’s “Solus Spiritus”. The ONLY truth is the “Holy Spirit” which means that anyone can do anything they want and pretend God made them do it. Why not just be honest and call it what it is: “Sola Voluntas Mea”…”my will alone”.

wmichael January 15, 2012 at 4:09 am

P.S. Every time someone wants to pretend that what they’re doing is super-important and it cannot be proven to follow Scripture or history or reason, it is blamed on the Holy Spirit. In the 1600s it was “Sola Scriptura”…now it’s “Solo Spiritu”. The ONLY truth is the “Holy Spirit” which means that anyone can do anything they want and pretend God made them do it. Why not just be honest and call it what it is: “Sola Voluntate Mea”…”my will alone”.

Sheena Karr January 15, 2012 at 5:48 am

so it is Chrisian to kill off language, other cultures and religions and to amass GREAT wealth beyond reason from the very people who look to you for salvation. I don’t hate religion I just can’t stand organized churches who use the bible and the names of GOD and Jesus as if that makes anything they demand right… my god the Vatican jailed Galileo because he dared to say the earth orbited the SUN.. the ‘church’ has THAT much power.. open your eyes.. they run a lot more then you think,

Elaya January 15, 2012 at 7:38 am

@Sheena Karr That’s a Common Misbelieve that story of Galileo , The Fact is that Copernicus (a Chruch man ) much earlier declared the Heliocentric Universe, and he lived very fine and was respected for this . The Reason why Galileo gat into truble

is because he pissed of fellow Aristotelean Philosophers in Florence… In Fact the Pope at that time was a good friend of Galileo and they dinned together while the Trial went on.

Study your History before you accuse others…

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

@Sheena Karr

Even if you “hate” organized religion, if you are a non-denominational Christian, your theology or understanding of God comes from “organized religion.” The young man wanted people to feel he is superior because he is “spiritual” as opposed to being “religious,” and now you are doing the same, “You one billion Catholics who belong to organized religion” are not as pure as me who hates organized religion.

As for Galileo, why don’t you read what Blessed John Paul II had to say about the actions taken against Galileo.

CalSpy January 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

@Sheena Karr The wealth you speak of is in assets (Churches, art, etc). The Catholic Church has very little cash wealth. So, ok fine, they can sell it all off and then have no connection to the great art that is a testament to our faith. Then you’d just find something else to dislike the Catholic Church for. Like the golden items prescribed by God in the Temple, the expensive perfume poured on Jesus and throughout the sacrifices of the Old Testament, we can spare no expense in what we give to God. Hence, Churches are grand and ornate. But with what is left over, the Catholic Church gives far more than any other organization to charity. It is in fact this teaching on the necessity of charity and giving that causes many protestants to dislike Catholicism. Which way do you want it?

Dankestmango January 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm
anilwang January 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Personally, I love heretics. Without it even our saints would be struggling to explain the Trinity and most average Catholics would be Arians. In short heretics help us explain and know our faith better. As an example, here’s one very good response in the same style that addresses all points and would not be listened to if not for the challenge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AwetTNAGC44

As for “He then asks why religion builds great churches but doesn’t feed the poor.”. Yes, the response the Church gives far more than any non-Church organization is true, but personally I usually give a one word answer to Christians, namely “Judas” (see John 12:1-8 for context).

jaimekidv January 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

“Why I Hate People Who Hate People Who Hate on Religion As A Witnessing Tool.”Because some people like emotional, basic gospel messages instead of the history of the Catholic Church.

Antoniobadilla January 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm

@jaimekidv

I teach the history of the Roman Catholic Church and I am convinced that if every Catholic knew the history of our Church, we would all be informed Catholics!

CalSpy January 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

@Antoniobadilla@jaimekidv As many converted protestants such as Cardinal Newman, G.K. Chesterton, Jimmy Akin himself, Tim Staples, Scott Hahn, Dr. Francis Beckwith, etc would all attest, learning the history IS to become Catholic. Protestants had to toss out all of history and hence 1500 years of Biblical hermeneutics in order to break from the Church. As a matter of learning, I have spent some time in protestant Churches and find it interesting that even some of the non-denominationals are now taking more and more of a Catholic view on things such as losing salvation, the Eucharist, etc. It took over 300 years for early Christianity to develop enough interpretation and theology to define things such as the Canon of the New Testament and the Holy Trinity. It therefore is not surprising that even some protestants are starting to curve back to some Catholic doctrine albeit much slower because they allow their prejudices to stop them when they start feeling uncomfortable. One protestant told me one time that they stopped researching the history of the Bible because it made them question their faith. Truth can’t contradict truth — so learn people!

kmac2534 January 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Thank you Jimmy!!! Keep sharing the truth!!!

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I love it. Talk about putting some folks in their place! Some folks think they know it all, and then they open their mouths and the whole world can see how foolish they are!

PatScott January 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Very well put. I would like to read your commits to my tiny Apologetics class (young teens) art our parish. It may be of use to them in the future.

PatScott January 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I meant to say “comments” not “commits” Rushing too fast.

Antoniobadilla January 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm

@PatScott

Be my guest. Use my comments with the kids anytime you wish!

warand January 15, 2012 at 7:46 pm

You have schooled Mr. Bethke by holding up a mirror to him.

May he have the courage to accept your fraternal correction.

“To be steeped in history is to cease to be Protestant.” – Blessed J.H. Cardinal Newman.

SouthCoast January 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Basically what “I hate religion” comes down to is the puerile cry of “You’re not the boss of me!”

OhioMom January 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thank you for posting this. I have been so disturbed by how many of my VERY good, Christian friends are posting this on Facebook and lauding his efforts.

Thanks for setting the record straight!

Antoniobadilla January 16, 2012 at 12:04 am

@OhioMom

I knew many would listen to the young man and be impressed by nothing. It takes a brain and years of experience to see that what he wrote has been written by various dissenters for centuries, and better expressed.

JadieMatthew January 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Sadly, many seem to want Jesus on their own terms. It seems to me to be quite presumptuous to let the Creator of the universe know on what terms He’ll be acceptable to us, rather than striving to please him in any way He might possibly want. Although organized religion has its faults (because of the humans involved), it is the pathway set forth by God to do His will and someday live in His presence. I’ll stick to my religion and pray for this young brother.

owenswain January 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Jimmy, thanks for your well written response. If being like this fellow is what following Jesus gets a person then, no, I don’t want to follow Jesus. I wrote about not being a follower of Jesus here. http://luminousmiseries.blogspot.com/2012/01/confession-i-am-not-follower-of-jesus.html

jaimekidv January 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

All these complaints are subjective indignation. There is not a requirement to how an artist craft his piece. I find it funny because the academic writers like the above, whose work wouldn’t be readily understood or read by most people, will be trampled by one young man who made a catchy video. It’s as comical as Walmart putting out a press release about how empty a locally-owned store is compared to Walmart’s shelving. It goes to show the pure jealousy and intent of the writers. (The idea that, if you make a video which in any way could be taken as pushing aside Papal authority you are an anathema.) I think it’s comical – how much you rely on people fearing the authority of the Catholic Church that, if ever a piece if published which could in any way be taken as an assault on the Papal authority, it must be brought down.Glad to know that the gospel message can be spread without the wax seal of the Pope.

jaimekidv January 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm

All these complaints are subjective indignation. There is not a requirement to how an artist must craft his piece. I find it funny because the academic writers like the above, whose work wouldn’t be readily understood or read by most people, will be trampled by one young man who made a catchy video. It’s as comical as Walmart putting out a press release about how empty a locally-owned store is compared to Walmart’s shelving. It goes to show the pure jealousy and intent of the writers. (The idea that, if you make a video which in any way could be taken as pushing aside Papal authority you are an anathema.) I think it’s comical – how much you rely on people fearing the authority of the Catholic Church that, if ever a piece published could in any way be taken as an assault on the Papal authority, it must be brought down.Glad to know that the gospel message can be spread without the wax seal of the Pope.

monicast January 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm

@jaimekidv

Sorry, I think you’ve missed the mark here. This isn’t about a requirement as to “how an artist crafts his piece” but about “what he’s crafting in his piece”… and what he’s crafting in his piece is simply false and misleading. I’m not sure where your anti-catholic sentiments come from but I don’t recall Mr Akin writing anything about anathemas, papal authority, or the catholic church anywhere in this article. He is simply exposing Mr Bethke’s unreasonable rant against religion.

Bobert432 January 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

@jaimekidv This idea that “artists” are beyond reproach is just absurd. The “artist” made a video rife with fallacies, misstatements of the Bible, untruths, half-truths, non-sequiturs and contradictions. He sets himself as the high water mark for true belief in Christ, and glorifies his own enlightened approach to Jesus (which is totally unhistorical, New Age approach) then bashes others for their hypocrisy and hubris!! What?? Then, people like you want to retort with empty criticisms about criticizing an artist. Is their requirement for how “academic writers” respond to non-sequiturs? You obviously think so, otherwise you wouldn’t be criticizing Aiken’s criticism.

If an artist make a portrait of the Virgin Mary with cow dung, or paints Obama with a crown of thorns, or wears one himself on Rolling Stone like Kanye West, or sings about loving Judas like Lady Gaga, or simulates sex on an altar like Madonna, etc, etc, do I get to criticize the artist? Or art untouchable, and above criticism? What if this artist wrote his “poem” and published it in a scholarly journal? Could Aiken and other criticize it then?

Antoniobadilla January 16, 2012 at 12:28 pm

@jaimekidv

Who is talking about the authority of the Pope? Obviously the young man who did the video has no regard for truth nor accuracy, so why get the Pope involved on this matter?

Any Christian worth two cents can come to the defense of Christ. One need not be a “Catholic” to defend Christ and Christianity against false premises, so, what on earth, are you writing about?

And, how we stooped this low that we call a rebellious rapper an “artist” just because he states a few stupidities on a video? Well, move over Michelangelo, someone is greater than you!

jaimekidv January 17, 2012 at 2:04 am

@Antoniobadilla@jaimekidv You may have not seen this, but this is a Catholic blog…so the Vicar of Christ’s words matter in conjunction with the elders of the RCC for “doctrinal preservation” (hence why the author has indignation that someone criticize pompous piety through the use of the word “religion). The guy’s video focuses on hypocrisy in the Church. Funny how 2,000 years later, the Catholic elders do the same things the Pharisees and Sadducees did. Read Matthew 24 to see where they’re going.

Antoniobadilla January 17, 2012 at 8:59 pm

@jaimekidv

I do know this is a Catholic blog and that’s why it is surprising to see people here insulting Catholics and what they hold sacred.

The Vicar of Christ, I assure you, has no idea this video exists. See, he is too busy running the government of 1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide and does not have time for adolescent stupidity. We don’t have “elders” in Roman Catholicism, we have bishops whom we consider to be the successors of the Apostles and for doctrinal preservation we have an official catechism and the guidance of the Magisterium of the Church. We don’t need to be told what is in Matthew 24 or any other part of the Scriptures because we were the ones that canonized the 72 books of the Scriptures, and the Protestants who came into the historical picture one thousand five hundred and seventeen years later, should be thanking us for preserving those Scriptures for all Christians, Catholic or not.

When all is said and done, we, as Christians, have the right to react to a video that attacks religion, precisely because we are Christians!

CalSpy January 19, 2012 at 8:50 am

@jaimekidv Hey, at least you capitalized Pope and Catholic Church! If his video ends up bringing non-Christians to Christianity, great! If his video is intended to draw people away from organized Christianity and the Catholic Church, that is a problem. Disunity among Christians is most certainly NOT what Christ intended and it is quite clear from history and yes, even the Bible itself, that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church established by Christ. As St. Ignatius and other Church Fathers said so well, schism and disunity is the beginning of all evils.

KirkO January 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm

This video is a form of the Anti-Christ. It was my first thought, when I tried to watch it, and It is even more so now since I see there has been over 11 million views. I actually couldn’t watch the whole thing. I got about half way before I was ready to cry for all of the souls lost to this sham of the truth.

Antoniobadilla January 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm

@KirkO

Apparently there are now 13 million hits, not 11, so it is very sad indeed.

We live in a society where many people know sports so they are qualified to talk and write about it. Many are into Science and they are qualified to talk and write about it. Many know medicine and they are qualified to talk and write about it. Many are experts in technology and they talk and write about it, but when it comes to religion or theology, “everyone” is an expert and everyone has an opinion, including millions of young people who know about religion as much as I know about trigonometry, nothing! That’s why there are now 13 million hits and lots and lots of young people “inspired” by the rapper.

desertmaiden January 16, 2012 at 12:09 am
BillyHW January 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Registration? Say it ain’t so Jimmy, say it ain’t so! :_( *sniff*

Jimmy Akin January 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

@BillyHW The comments system is still something I’m figuring out and configuring. (Go figure!) It’s behavior is not entirely to my liking. Stay tuned. . . .

BillyHW January 15, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Registration? Say it ain’t so Jimmy, say it ain’t so! :_( *sniff*

deljallan January 16, 2012 at 3:27 am

Thanks Jimmy! A fantastic synopsis of this lame video.

GodwinDelaliAdadzie January 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Mr. Akin my response to this video of Mr. Bethke is at http://www.gadel.info/2012/01/does-jesus-hate-religion-too.html

ColleenRoca January 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Good response Jimmy. However, as Youth Director, we asked for a show of hands Sunday night at youth group, and most hands went up – it’s now almost 13 million hits, and I’m looking for something of the same presentation that refutes this well (AND charitably!) to show the teens. I did see the Gloriatv piece, which is very reasonable, but the guy is too nerdy – can we not make something comparable in quality, but with the correct information for teens?? Please, can ANYBODY help me reach the 13 million teens who’ve seen this thing??

Antoniobadilla January 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

@ColleenRoca

You are a Youth Director, I’m a theology teacher, and I can tell you that this video will cause lots and lots of damage because young people who accept the message, are as ignorant of their faith as the original rapper. I can stand in my class, show the video, and then show Jimmy’s answer and it won’t make any difference because many of the ideas the rapper has, is exactly the way many of our young people think about religion. The rapper merely confirmed for them what they already believe, and the only cure is to send them to the World Youth Day and talk to other young people who have another perspective.

I really hope there is a teenager out there who raps well and can answer this guy but the problem is, only a well-informed teenager in the faith can do that, and I hate to tell you, I haven’t found one.

ColleenRoca January 17, 2012 at 3:32 am

@Antoniobadilla Found a couple good ones; see responses to RaymondGurries

Antoniobadilla January 17, 2012 at 10:01 pm
ColleenRoca January 18, 2012 at 2:09 am

@Antoniobadilla@ColleenRoca Antonio, I did read it when you sent the link, and, although I agree with the content, this is too high above the sensibilities and understanding of most modern teens, not to mention vitriolic. What we need is a modern day St. Paul, who will not mince words, but will also show them how Christ AND His Church meet their needs – not to pander to them, but to draw them in, peek their curiosity, arouse in them a desire for more truth, beauty, and goodness. I am so grateful to have found a few really well-informed teens who have made attempts to respond to this. Here are a few:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKDVXuwWjBY&feature=share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dqnfz4y8uA

Antoniobadilla January 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm

@ColleenRoca

I don’t remember what link I sent because there has been such an explosion of new videos answering the man that I have lost count of how many videos there are out there. The latest one I saw was the Fr. Barron’s video, the author of “Catholicism” but that video is directed at us as catechists and teachers so we can understand the issue at a deeper level, It is not for teenagers. I’m now reading “Catholicism” and enjoying it. If you have a tablet, you can download it and it even has videos on it.

CalSpy January 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

@ColleenRoca I understand the sentiment to try and refute through other youthful, non-nerdy, and exuberant expressions of faith, but sorry, that just seems to be further affirmation that we are propagating the culture of walking more by sight (hence our senses) and not by faith. I hear this so often among my Evangelical (non-Catholic Evangelical that is) type friends and other young people embracing Evangelical movements that priests are just not as enthusiastic and well-spoken as pastors of some of these protestant churches. Putting the miracles aside, I would be willing to bet that Jesus’ style of teaching would be an absolute bore to today’s youth. It is just sad that we are rely more on the presentation and not the message.

Antoniobadilla January 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm

@CalSpy@ColleenRoca

Collen you stated, “I would be willing to bet that Jesus’ style of teaching would be an absolute bore to today’s youth.” I fully agree but I think it takes a “mature” mind to begin to understand what Jesus was saying, at least His words in the Gospels. A teenager is too young to grasp the words of Jesus but we have to “introduce” those words to them until they begin to grasp a bit of it.

In my class we read passages of the Scriptures and some kids react by saying “I think He is wrong.” I think that type of answer tells me, clearly, a young teenager does not grasp who Jesus really is, and that a Christian, if he knows who He really is, can’t possibly say, “I think He is wrong!”

ColleenRoca January 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I want to see a Catholic rap artist go viral!!

RaymondGurries January 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

@ColleenRoca Check out this video, it is spot on and the rapper is actually good. Short and to the point, spot on!!!!! Thanks Jimmy for the great post! http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SejuPK4M330

Antoniobadilla January 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm

@RaymondGurries@ColleenRoca

I saw it, but not being young and not having any concept of what rapper music is, I can’t make any judgments on whether this was a good answer or not.

The problem is, we need a young person who is well educated in the faith, and frankly, I don’t know any.

I know one thing, a young person messed it up and young people will most likely only listen to a young person fixing the mess. Many young people agree with the original video because they are as ignorant on their faith as the original rapper. Jimmy gave a very good answer, but young people won’t listen to him because he is no longer a very young person. Sorry Jimmy, don’t take it personally!

ColleenRoca January 17, 2012 at 2:45 am

@RaymondGurries@ColleenRoca Thanks, Raymond; this is much better. I hope this guy will do it again and respond to each attack made by Bethke.

ColleenRoca January 17, 2012 at 3:31 am

@RaymondGurries Hey, found another pretty good one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dqnfz4y8uA

KyleEdwards January 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I feel like you’re missing the point. Jesus’ “bride” is his church… his followers… his believers, not just anyone who chooses to proclaim themselves as Christian just to have a label. Saying that it is “foolish to try” to separate Jesus from the Church, an institution, is more foolish itself. If he would have tried to separate you and your faith from Jesus, he would have overstepped his bounds. But separating Jesus from what has largely become a judgmental, yet highly profitable machine isn’t so difficult. Jesus came to freely give salvation to all, not just Christians, so it is not our right, nor our place, to EVER take a self-righteous stance about it.

Antoniobadilla January 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm

@KyleEdwards

“But separating Jesus from what has largely become a judgmental, yet highly profitable machine isn’t so difficult…” I presume by “machine” you mean the Roman Catholic Church, right? If you are, are you not becoming what you accused the Church of being, “judgmental?”

If Jesus founded the Church, and practicing Catholics have no doubt that He did, did He found a “perfect” Church devoid of any of the imperfections of humanity? Now, to accuse the Church of being highly profitable while those of us who go to Mass often contribute to it, is the height of arrogance, in my view, particularly by accusers who never contribute a penny to it.

KirkO January 17, 2012 at 3:18 am

@KyleEdwards “Jesus came to freely give salvation to all, not just Christians…”. Where do you get that from? You have to be a follower Christ for salvation. Now yes the invitation is open to everyone but once accepted one has to live by the laws (not because they are made to but because they WANT to)

ColleenRoca January 17, 2012 at 3:30 am

OK, found another good one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dqnfz4y8uA

imadethissoicancomment January 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

Hey Jimmy, it seems like there’s a lot more hate within this blog and the comments than in the video itself. To quote the Black Eyed Peas, “where is the love?” If you don’t get the reference it’s probably because your high-brow I-pod only plays Gregorian chant and hymns pre-dating the dinosaurs. I guess that makes you superior to the rabble who might appreciate this video, stylistically.

Yes, I’m being deliberately facetious, much like you are in titling your post. But you know, there isn’t one right way to worship, and there isn’t one right way to be an apologist, and there isn’t one right way to share the gospel and share your faith.

But let’s get to the real meat of the issue: your article is assuming and misplaced, as are almost every article in response to this video. Bethke isn’t attacking the RCC. He isn’t attacking the Church. He isn’t attacking tradition or ritual. And hear me out, he isn’t attacking religion. Not the way you’re defining it.

It’s almost comical how every critic has included a statement in their critique, paraphrasing: “If he meant legalism, moralism, hypocrisy, he should have said so”. I think you’re bright enough to know that’s precisely what he meant. In fact, I know you know that’s what he meant. Why? Because he DID say so, and you read it. Problem is, your angsty critique doesn’t function without the definition you are determined to pin on him. The definition he expressly does not embrace. In the description of the YouTube video (that’s the text located directly beneath the video, in case you are having trouble finding it, in which case you may want to make an appointment with your optician) he writes:

“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!”

Bobert432 January 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

I guess criticizing what someone listens to on their ipod puts you right in the critic’s camp with Akin and Bethke. It’s almost comical how every critic of the critics include a statement in their critique that is critical; indeed, mocking as well. Now that it’s settled that we are all critics, perhaps we can move on to the subtance of Bethke’s non-sequitors, fallacies and mistatements of the Bible. It’s also, almost comical, how every critic of the critics include a statment in their critique about how Bethke “isn’t attacking religion.” Pardon? The video’s title begins with “Why I hate religion.” These are just mindless word games we’re playing. When Lady Gaga released a video last year for a song titled “Judas” wherein she declared her love for Judas, the reaction was offense and indignation. In response, everyone in her corner said “No, but you don’t understand…it’s art! She’s not saying she loves Judas, she’s got this bigger meaning behind it all that you just don’t understand!” Now, we’re supposed to do exactly the same thing with Bethke: Don’t pay attention to the actual, specific and demsontrable clear-English words he is using; you’ve got to look at his true message.

imadethissoicancomment January 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm

@Bobert432 I’m all for discussing substance instead of just repeating the line that the substance supposedly includes “non-sequitors, fallacies and misstatements”. I didn’t hear any of those things. To compare this video to Lady Gaga is absurd. Have you ever read anything with a definitions section? If you have, you would know definitions are the most important part, not the word in the title or within the text. I’m repeating myself, but again, Bethke defines religion in the description of the YouTube video as FALSE RELIGION. He’s talking about legalism. He’s talking about hypocrisy. God hates false religion. Jesus hates false religion. As Christians, we have a duty to resist and expose false religion. James 1:27 expressly notes that there is religion that is pure and undefiled–the obvious implication being there is also religion that is impure and defiled, that is false. My apologies for the mocking. It was not the best approach.

Antoniobadilla January 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

@imadethissoicancomment@Bobert432

You did not hear “non-sequitors, fallacies and misstatements,” but do you think Jimmy “heard” them or just invented them?

Do I think the young man was talking about legalism hypocrisy, false religion, yes, but that is not obvious to many “hearers” and that’s Bethke’s problem. He is the one who chose to make a video to transmit his ideas, so is it perfectly reasonable for the viewing public to expect accuracy and clear ideas?

Ultimately, my quetion is, who is the young man to lecture us about spirituality and religion? I know very little about sports, rap music, much of pop culture, so, would I be the best person to express views on those subjects? No, well, perhaps the young man should stick to what he knows, but once he makes a video, he has to accept the heat of those of us who find his video offensive and an attack on religion in general.

Bobert432 January 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

@imadethissoicancomment@Bobert432 Exactly, and people like Akin or persons like myself who agree with him felt incline to expose the false religion Bethke is preaching. I don’t deny that he himself is religious, I’m saying he’s contradictory in his terms, and is preaching a false and narcissistic individual-centered religion. He has arrogantly, at age 23, decided that theology be damned because he has his Bible and that’s all she wrote. Never mind that the Bible came from…somewhere (a Church?), and was written/compiled by…people (religious adherents called Christians?). Forget all that stuff, Bethke just solved the mystery of the age, and everybody else is a legalistic hypocrite. Oh, and did you know nobody is charitable too? Maybe the video should’ve been “Why I Hate Humility, but Love Jesus”–it would’ve been just as contradictory on its face.Here is an example of a fallacy and a misstatement of the Bible: That Christ did not like religion because He came and called religious people “whores.” First, Christ never called anybody a whore, anywhere, ever, not even a little bit. Second, Christ was a religious Jew who preached in the temple and knew the law better than anybody (mainly because He IS the law). So, the notion that Christ, a Jew, must not have liked religion because he rebuked some rabbis is fallacious. Christ said He did NOT come to abolish the law, and one of his final acts in Scriptures is the establishment of a Church, complete with 12 authority figures gifted with special charism of preaching the Word.

Bobert432 January 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm

@imadethissoicancomment What you’re asking is exactly what defenders of Lady Gaga and others who have created offensive “art” at the expense of religion and the Church, asked. Namely, that we should approach with the “artwork” with an unreasonable degree of deference to the artist’s true intention. He didn’t make a video titled “Why I Hate Legalism and Hypocrisy,” but perhaps he should have. Moreover, he clearly ridicules “organized” religion. Never mind that Christ Himself selected 12 apostles and commanded them, specifically, to preach the Gospels; and created a Church: demonstrating Christ’s clear sense of organization and authority. In any case, he does condemn the notion of a demonstrable Church with designated clergy and practices. So, unless you think all organized religion is “false,” Bethke is clearly going beyond just the “false religion.” He is promoting his own view of religion which is disorganized and individualistic; and he is doing so ignorantly, and with a patronizing tone. Now imagine a Catholic taping his poem lambasting the concept of Sola Scriptura, and those who believe that the Bible is an authority, independent of the Church. He could call it “Why I Hate Bible Studies, but Love the Church.” And instead of presenting a humble, well-reasoned argument, he declares himself perfectly enlightened and condemns all those poor misguided Protestants who think they can self-interpret the Bible by themselves.

imadethissoicancomment January 17, 2012 at 7:52 am

(cont. from below) Bethke’s talking about false religion. He’s talking about legalism. He’s talking about hypocrisy. Definitions of false religion that are not at all unfamiliar to most, nor contrary to the way false religion is used in the Bible. God hates false religion. Jesus hates false religion. As Christians, we have a duty to resist and expose false religion. James 1:27 expressly notes that there is religion that is pure and undefiled–the obvious implication being there is also religion that is impure and defiled, perhaps we could call it false? Unless the Catholic Church is guilty of impure and defiled religion, there isn’t any reason to launch an aggressive attack against this young man. There’s even less legitimacy in calling him sneering, self-righteous, spiritual poser, talking down to him, and demanding (I’m sorry–suggesting) an apology. Spiritual poser? You tread on thin ice. God is judge of his spiritual status, not you. Even if you are still convinced you are right in your awful summary of him–how terribly unloving.

Evidencing that Bethke is the opposite of self-righteous (he may be sophomoric, but he’s not self-righteous) is the fact that the poem highlights his OWN journey. It is inherently personal, and his hatred is a hatred of something he was once guilty of. In his testimony, which I encourage everyone to watch, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjmnoUKXaZM&feature=related) he explains he put on a face on the outside but had nothing to show for it on the inside. He confesses “[I was] the most religious hypocrite on this earth”. After giving his life to Jesus, he said sin was still dominating him. He continued to party, enjoy women, alcohol, etc., and one day, immersed in that sin, felt God say to him “I love you”. That message, that God still loved him despite his failures, was life-changing. With that insight, it is pretty clear the hypocritical faith he formerly touted is the religion he “hates on” in his video. (much akin to Paul’s “rant” in Romans 7). The video is inherently a personal one–tied to his own faith-walk. The verbal lashing he’s getting is unfortunate, and is a poor representation of how Jesus treats his Beloved.

imadethissoicancomment January 17, 2012 at 7:52 am

(cont. from below)

“Your whole video is filled with scorn and sneer. Each line drips venom on other people.”

Sub “video” with “blog” and that’s how I feel about your piece. Now Jimmy, if all this is really just a rant against Protestantism, own up to it. This blog is dripping with resentfulness towards Bethke, toward young people, as well as Christians who are not Catholic. Taking cheap shots at his “bad” poetry, at his YouTube username, and ripping off the title of his video? Perhaps you should examine who the arrogant one really is. Here’s a quote from a guy that might help you reflect on that: “As I’ve gotten older, I continually realize all the more just how much I don’t know, and how I need to be more careful in what I say and what I claim.”

NatalieSwartzendruber January 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

Jimmy… ‘I need to be more careful about what I say,’ you are right. Here you talk condescendong to this artist who is trying to show Jesus is about love not religious ritual…Jesus flipped tables, Jesus called out the hypocrits….thats what his piece is doing. If all of the ‘religious’ people tithed their ten percent, gave ten percent of their time to helping others…world hunger would end, no widow would be left without help, no orphan would go without love and no human would not of heard of Jesus. His piece calls all of us out to actually live it out. The church is messy, so very messy, but it is Christ’s bride that He protects and loves, but Jesus wants more from His bride. We are called as brides to love our husband, and how we love Him is by following and obeying Him and serving others. If we live only by ritual and religion there is no relationship with Christ, and with no loving relationship the drive to serve dies…so I believe he is pointing out in his poetry for us to fall in love and be moved to action.
Just watch you article…because we will be judged by the standard we judge others…and from my observation of your article, you are falling quit short of the standard you placed over Bethke.

Bobert432 January 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

And Jesus, as well as His officially-appointed apostles like Saint Paul rebuked and admonished people when they got their theology wrong. Love and logic are not mutually exclusive. Bethke’s screed was illogical, fallacious and littered with misstatements of Scripture and misstatements of facts/history. Perhaps a lot of it was unwitting and due to his ignorance. That’s fine (not to mention, highly likely). Nobody said they hate Bethke personally (the title of Akin’s article is why he “..Hates People Hating on Religion.”). It’s just that he is manifestly wrong on most of his assertions. Christ gave us His Church, and He gave us leaders of the Church before He departed after Pentecost. That same Church gave us the Bible. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that this Church was not the Catholic Church (I believe it was and always has been the Catholic Church), but that really isn’t the point–even Protestants are obliged to believe there is A Church; and that this Church propounded the Bible. And no one who seriously calls himself a Christian thinks that Christ came to abolish religion: Especially since His last official act on Earth was to create a Church, complete with 12 authority figures to guide it. And since he specifically stated that He was not abolishing the law.

Anyway, watch out, because you just judged this article.

Antoniobadilla January 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

@NatalieSwartzendruber

Why do you create a dichotomy between religious ritual and love for Jesus? As a matter of fact, Jesus is at the very heart of what we called “ritual” during the Mass. Is it true that there are people who use empty “rituals” instead of having a personal relationship with the Lord? Of course, that happens, but that does not mean there is something wrong with “ritual.” Jesus was indeed a Jew, who was called a Rabbi, and what do you think he did at the Temple? Yes, he did Jewish ritual because somehow the abuse of ritual never prompted Him to abandon “ritual” but to purify it.

You write very much as a Protestant, and a Protestant that supposedly cares about the needs of the poor, and ending world hunger, yet, your understanding of Christianity is that salvation has nothing to do with good works, but isn’t helping the poor and feeding them, and tithing excluded from salvation as you understand the concept?

You are in a Catholic forum, so, what makes you think we, the Church, the community, don’t help the poor or the hungry? Isn’t that attitude a bit arrogant?

ToddMurphy January 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

Well said Brother!

haroldcrews January 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I’ve never understood the distinction some make between religion and faith. I’ll encounter it ever now and then on FaceBook. They’ll contend that faith is found through a personal relationship with Christ not constrained by rules. But I’ve never encountered any personal relationship even the most intimate that did not include rules. It’s a false dichotomy. I’ll definitely remember the passage from James. Thanks Jimmy excellent article.

Antoniobadilla January 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

@haroldcrews

Not only is it a false dichotomy, but it is very much in keeping with a certain Protestant theology. After all, if all we need is a relationship with Jesus, why would we not think the Church is superfluous? Who needs the Church if we have Jesus, right? That’s the logical conclusion of what some people came to believe in the 16th century.

MichelleCanard January 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm

See I took his phrases to mean something entirely different and actually MORE pro-Catholic than this page does. EX: “He then asks why religion builds great churches but doesn’t feed the poor.” I took to mean Evangelical TV Pastors usually Protestant that are well known for abuse of their financial donations. I, in no way, associated this with Catholic use for Cathedrals.

Antoniobadilla January 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm

@MichelleCanard

” I took to mean Evangelical TV Pastors usually Protestant that are well known for abuse of their financial donations. I, in no way, associated this with Catholic use for Cathedrals.”

It’s possible he meant Protestant Pastors and not the Catholic Church, but, in either case, what does he really know about finances in both, Protestant and Catholic Churches? Also, it is arrogant to me, to have people complain the churches do not help the poor when, in fact, they do. So many poor people depend on help from churches, not just from governments, and yet, in order to paint religion as ugly as possible, many criticize the churches at the same time that many condemn “good works” because, supposedly, that has nothing to do with salvation.

Antoniobadilla January 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Some wonderul priest wrote in his blog aabot the same theme we have been discussing,

http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/2012/01/spiritual-but-not-religious.html

KirkO January 18, 2012 at 2:17 am

There are two things that jump out at me when I watch the video. First and format this thinking is of the anti-Christ. This man is white washing sin and saying no need for a church. If that is n

Antoniobadilla January 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm

@KirkO

The more one watches the video carefully, the more one begins to get a sense that the author of the video is not Catholic, but seems to be a Protestant fundamentalist. Now, why do I say this? 1. Simple, his understanding of Christ is very different from what mainline Protestant denominations believe about Jesus. His understanding of Christ is also different from an Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Roman Catholic perspective. 2) As Catholics we tend to see the Church as a historical institution born in the first century and founded by Christ. We see the Fathers of the Church as formulating the teachings of the Church in a systematic way, we see a Church guided by a hierarchy, by the successors of the Apostles and the Successor of Peter, we see the historical development of seven sacraments, we see failures and glory in the history of the Church, councils that guide the People of God, etc. A Protestant fundamentalist sees all of the above as a “barrier” to Christ, not as the incarnation of Christ through history.

KirkO January 18, 2012 at 2:25 am

If that is not of Satan then who else. The Church is the only place to receive Jesus and be forgiven of sins. Secondly why does he bring up the subject of being a republican? What is the real purpose of the video? Could this really be a democratic tool to try influence people away from listening to the teaching of the Church on moral issues?

Taylorr_Alex January 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm

You shouldn’t hate anyone, the title of this first says “why i hate people hating on religion” you shouldn’t hate anyone, especially if you’re trying to spread the word of God, you’ll be taken as a joke, that’s very hypocritical, sorry, but hatred and God don’t mix, and never will. I think he did an awesome job of explaining this i watched the video several times, and it’s so true, and btw, church isn’t the only place to recieve Jesus, that’s why we have people going over seas to minister. (missionaries) That’s in response to KirkO, I only joined this “club” to you all what’s up.

haroldcrews January 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm

@Taylorr_Alex Jimmy didn’t say he hated people WHO hate on religion. It is the hating on religion that he hates. Big difference. At least that is how I understand him.

KirkO January 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

@Taylorr_Alex
I hate to tell you but just as you are wrong about the video, you are wrong about one can receive Jesus out side of the Church. You say you are new here maybe God lead you here so you can HEAR the Truth. When we Catholics receive the Eucharist we are receiving Jesus’ body, his Flesh and Blood. The Catholic Church is the only church that can offer that. They are also the only church that believes that.

Taylorr_Alex January 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

@KirkO @Taylorr_Alex Okay, no, I was at school when I said “Jesus, I need your help.” God lead me to here, so I could let you all hear the truth, Jimmy personally messaged me himself saying there was stuff outside of the Bible I needed to read, and well, I don’t hate to you or anybody else this at all, but in John 1:1 God’s word is the truth. Nothing can be added or changed, I’ll bring it back to the Bible everytime. And if you’re trying to tell me I need to read outside of the Bible to find God’s truth, we must be talking about a different God. I’m done here. God bless. I will be praying for all of you.

KirkO January 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm

@Taylorr_Alex please read this from the Bible. You have probably read it before but never saw it before. You may think you are here to help us but many of us here were once where you are. May God bless you on your walk with Him.

http://mobile.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%206:%2041-&version=NKJV

CalSpy January 19, 2012 at 7:29 am

@Taylorr_Alex I believe you completely misunderstand Jimmy’s personal request to read outside of the Bible. John does say God’s word is the truth, but what is God’s word? Paul says that what we are to hold true to is both the written AND spoken word (1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Thess. 2:15, 2 Thess. 3:6). The Bible itself also tells us that not all of Jesus’ teachings are in there (John 21:25). But to Jimmy’s point, what he is telling you is that the Apostles entrusted their written and spoken teaching to their disciples (2 Tim. 2:2) and that much to the ignorance of many of today’s Christians, they actually wrote things as well. Their writings are not meant to trump scripture but help you interpret what the Bible says. Just as an example within your own faith, if you think you have the true interpretation, you might want to run your beliefs by some other protestant denominations adhering to the Bible alone (which I presume you belong to). With over 30,000 denominations, not even all protestants interpret the Bible the same way. Even though I pray you at least take the time to research, I presume you may not, so just as a taste of these writings, Clement of Rome (surely a disciple of Peter and/or Paul and mentioned in Phil. 4:3) wrote of schism as an abomination and that submission to the presbyters (priests and hence the Church) is to be in the flock of Christ. Additionally, to quote Ignatius of Antioch (most likely a disciple of the Apostle John and writing around 100 AD):

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God.”

I guess your position is that these men are wrong and the modern protestant interpretation (1500-2000 years later) is far superior? If so, I caution you with what St. Peter says in 2 Peter 3:15-18. To “grow in your knowledge” is to learn. If you only believe what parts of the Bible you want and reject what you don’t like, it isn’t the Bible you believe in but yourself (to paraphrase another Church Father).

KirkO January 19, 2012 at 8:23 am

@CalSpy well said

Antoniobadilla January 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm

@Taylorr_Alex@KirkO

Hi Taylorr,

Christianity is composed of Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Protestants and Anglicans. Then, there is a whole group of Christians who want to be known as non-denominational Christians. Then we have JW and Mormons who are not accepted by normative Christianity as Christians because of their defective understanding of the Trinity and therefore their defective ritual of baptism. How are these things related to what you said, “And if you’re trying to tell me I need to read outside of the Bible to find God’s truth, we must be talking about a different God. I’m done here.” Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics and most Anglicans would read the Bible and outside the Bible for truth.

Antoniobadilla January 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm

@Taylorr_Alex@KirkO

Part 2. These three branches of Chrstianity would say the Bible is the sacred book of the Church, it is God’s word but understood within the context of the Church. Most Protestants would say, we have every thing we need for salvation in the Bible and we don’t read truth outside of it because that would be wrong. Someone is wrong, someone is right, and your task would be to explore which position is correct, but certainly your position is at odds with Catholic Christianity, thus the reactions you get in this forum. The rapper is coming from a Protestant point of view and, of course, his point of view clashes immediately with anyone who is an Eastern Orthodox, a Catholic, or an Anglican. Most Protestants, especially those that are fundamentalists, would find agreement with his video.

CalSpy January 20, 2012 at 4:22 am

@Antoniobadilla@Taylorr_Alex@KirkO And I would actually argue so does Taylorr. If her Bible has commentary in it, those are words added by later scholars to help her interpret. Many protestants will read all sorts of other books that talk about scripture and further their understanding as well. Same principle. All we are saying is why not try the earliest Christians who actually knew the Apostles rather than limiting oneself to just contemporary writers far removed?

Antoniobadilla January 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm

@CalSpy@Taylorr_Alex@KirkO

I wasn’t writing about people who do commentaries about the Scriptures. I was writing about a historical reality that divides Protestant from Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians to this day. Beginning with Luther, Protestants see the Bible somehow disconnected from a historical organized institution called the Roman Catholic Church. Tney take the Bible out of its proper context, the Church that canonized it, the Church that decided which books are canonical and which are not.

Antoniobadilla January 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm

@CalSpy@Taylorr_Alex@KirkO

Protestants tend to see the Church as a community of believers guided by the Holy Spirit but have a hard time seeing that the Church is also a physical, tangible, reality in this world with its own government and the authority to teach and sanctify. The young rapper is Protestant and therefore he sees Jesus outside of the context of organized religion with rituals, a sacramental system, a hierarchy, magisterial teaching, etc. That’s what I meant. Sometimes it is hard to convey these truths in writing. Fr. Barron is excellent is communicating in writing, I’m not!

lawlizard January 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Linked is an exceptional critique of the “Jesus/Religion” video. The best example of rebuke/correction I have ever seen one Christian write to another. A teachable moment for all of us. If this video struck you at all–one way or another I urge you to read it, as well as the linked follow up conversation the author Kevin DeYoung had with Jeff Bethke. It might change your opinion about the video as well as your view of Bethke. I know it did mine. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/01/13/does-jesus-hate-religion-kinda-sorta-not-really/. I realize I’m in a Catholic blog, and this article is from an evangelical Christian, but he is fair-minded, and really addresses the theology line-by-line, without any name-calling, sneer, or the like. Extremely gracious.

The follow up can be found here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/01/14/following-up-on-the-jesusreligion-video/. For those looking to hear a clarification or apology from Jeff, you may really appreciate what he has to say to this author!

lawlizard January 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I just wanted to say I really appreciate your article man. It hit me hard. I’ll even be honest and say I agree 100%. God has been working with me in the last 6 months on loving Jesus AND loving his church. For the first few years of walking with Jesus (started in ’08) I had a warped/poor paradigm of the church and it didn’t build up, unify, or glorify His wife (the Bride). If I can be brutally honest I didn’t think this video would get much over a couple thousand views maybe, and because of that, my points/theology wasn’t as air-tight as I would’ve liked. If I redid the video tomorrow, I’d keep the overall message, but would articulate, elaborate, and expand on the parts where my words and delivery were chosen poorly… My prayer is my generation would represent Christ faithfully and not swing to the other spectrum….thankful for your words and more importantly thankful for your tone and fatherly like grace on me as my elder. Humbled. Blessed. Thankful for painful growth. Blessings.

Grace and Peace,

Jeff

KirkO January 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm
Antoniobadilla January 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

@KirkO

I saw Fr. Barron’s video and found it excellent, but then again, I’m not totally objective in my view of Fr. Barron because I’m now reading his book Catholicism and will soon buy the DVD’s that comes with it.

KathrynMcGehee January 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Bethke’s bad poetry is not from the Emerging Church movement, but instead the party line espoused by the neo-Calvinist church network Acts 29 stationed out of Mark Dricsoll’s Mars Hill church in Seattle. Years ago, at the invitation of a friend, I checked out a church in the same network in my area, and had this EXACT viewpoint pushed down my throat every Sunday. The entire time…thinking…..Isn’t THIS religion? After a while, I quit playing at religion and came back the Eucharist in my childhood faith, and it was like a voice of Clarity. I was actually sickened and reminded of my experience when this video went viral. He, and they, mean well. But you can’t be throwing out the babe with the bathwater.

Antoniobadilla January 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

@KathrynMcGehee

You stated that you had “this EXACT viewpoint pushed down my throat every Sunday,” but I wonder why you did not leave the first time it happened so you would not feel someone was pushing down a viewpoint down your throat? Then you stated “I quit playing at religion and came back to the Eucharist in my childhood faith, and it was like a voice of Clarity.” I presume you came back to the Catholic faith, but in the words of the rapper, isn’t that coming back to religion, for the Catholic Church is truly a religion but a religion inseparable from Christ, its invisible Head? Don’t get me wrong, I do like what you did, I am just trying to understand your thinking.

KathrynMcGehee January 20, 2012 at 9:33 pm

@Antoniobadilla@KathrynMcGehee

To be honest, I went to the church at the invitation of a friend, and went for as long as i did (about 6 months), because I was giving the place and the people an honest try. While in most cases, the very young pastor tended to mean “false religion”…..however the implications that came with it eventually pointed to any institutional religion that was not theirs. It was very subtle at first. After a while, I got tired of it and the hypocricy of their words (saying they were anti-religion when this was clearly a religion was just one of many I found.)

When you grow up Catholic, a church service consisting of singing along to CCM, then a sermon, then unblessed white bread feels more like going to a Christian Rock concert than the acknowledgement of the sacred and reverence of the Mass. I had issues with the appeal to emotions in such a manner and longed for the alter, the eucharistic blessing, the incense. That may be personal preference. I felt closer to Christ’s commands when back home in my Catholic faith.

I very much disagree with the rapper that you can have Christ without religion. Man’s relationship with God IS religion. Just because humanity has messed up Christ’s commands, doesn’t mean that we should turn our backs on those commands.

Antoniobadilla January 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm

@KathrynMcGehee@Antoniobadilla

“I very much disagree with the rapper that you can have Christ without religion. Man’s relationship with God IS religion. Just because humanity has messed up Christ’s commands, doesn’t mean that we should turn our backs on those commands.”

Welcome back home, I came from Latin America long ago and never thought of leaving the Church and that’s why I find it hard thant any Catholic could leave the Church because to me, that would be like leaving home, but I’m glad you found your path back to Mother Church. You are correct, just because we don’t have a perfect institution, one does not abandon it.

writegina2 January 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm

The guy from the video is from Mars Hill Church of Seattle (Mark Driscoll’s church). First let me say, I can NOT stand Driscoll and he is a conservative-super-Republican, so it is ironic that this retort is from someone who assumes that the poet is liberal (he is simply repeating what he learned in Driscoll’s church). At any rate, when I first saw this video, I thought that the guy had some really valid points and I liked it- it resonated with some pain I am still dealing with from being disillusioned with a church I trusted. But then an “emergent” pastor (I have been to her church and when I move back to Denver will go to her church) explained her pov on it and I tend to agree with her. Many emergent church leaders have come out against this “poet” so I would say that they are in more agreement with you than you know. Here’s a response from an “emergent” church. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2012/01/why-i-hate-religion-but-love-jesus-a-response/ Beyond that, this “us vs. them” garbage needs to stop. Seriously, we all love Jesus.

JoelPlato February 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I see where you’re going with this article but you are taking his meaning of “religion” too literally. When he says religion, he is talking about how it is viewed in general by people outside of it. Often people outside of religion view it as a bunch of self-righteous, judgmental, hypocrites who think they are better than everyone else because they follow a bunch of rules and regulations. This naturally reflects badly on Jesus who was none of those things. So when Jefferson says “Jesus came to abolish religion”, he is partly right because although it wasn’t Jesus’s primary objective, it was along the lines with what Jesus did. In that day and age the Pharisees were considered the elders of the religion and Jesus was very clear about his opinions of them. Also, the term “Christian” means Christ-like so the idea of Christianity is to follow Jesus’s example and not “religion” as defined by what was/is generally associated with the term.

I’m not sure if anything I said will make sense to anyone but what I’m trying to say is that in this video when Jefferson says “religion”, I believe he is referring to all cliches and bad images that are associated with religion by the general public. His point of the video is to let people outside of religion know that all the bad things they think of when they hear the word “religion” are not what Jesus was all about.

ElizabethCarpenter February 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

It appears Bethke is back at it…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=I4OK9DmLpCY#t

You know you could sell that stained glass artwork behind you and feed the poor. Looks like this was filmed in a church – would you welcome Jesus into that church?

Antoniobadilla February 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

The young man was successful spreading error with his first video and he probably thinks he is spreading the truth, so why not make another one given that there are gullible young people enthusiastically supporting him and some adults also.

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