Religion vs. Jesus?

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve likely had a friend post the viral video entitled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.

Fact: I love Jesus.

Fact: I do not hate religion. I have a lot of problems with “religion,” and it’s certainly flawed, but I don’t hate it.

Fact: This video made me so uncomfortable that I wasn’t able to watch it all the way through the first time.

I understand the point this young man is getting at; I know he’s talking about false religion, about the faults of the church, comprised of human, fault-filled individuals, about the injustices perpetuated at the hands of “the church” over the last two thousand years.


I think there are serious problems with a Christian openly hating on religion like this.

Many thanks to Kelli for pointing me to this article that thoughtfully breaks downs the issues. His point number 5 is a bit sticky to me: we ARE saved by grace alone, but what he says is true:

Absolutely, it is Jesus’ faithfulness to the Father that is the mechanism for our salvation, but we cannot willfully continue in sin and claim to have accepted this free gift.

Watch the video, go read the article in response, and come back here and respectfully tell me what you think!

10 responses to “Religion vs. Jesus?

  1. Wow…thanks for getting my brain moving on a Saturday morning! I’m inclined to agree with the article. Yes, this kid makes some truly valid points, but I feel he is extremely flawed in blaming “religion.” It’s not religion creating these problems; it is the way many people interpret religion. Coincidentally, I was just watching a show about the Westboro Baptist Church last night (aka “The Most Hated Family in America”…the ones who picketed U.S. soldier funerals with signs that read “God Hates Fags”. And all I could think was, “What happened to the idea that God is love?” That’s what I was always taught. I’m sure this kid who wrote the poem would say the Westboro Baptist Church proves his point, but I disagree. It proves he is wrong. He says that we should be free to worship Jesus without the confines of religion. Well, the Westboro Baptist Church has sure had their own freedoms with interpreting God’s word. Religion is based on God’s word, and God’s word is pure; the flaws come in the ways we live out that word, because we are flawed beings. That is going to ring true whether you are following “religion” or “Jesus”.

    This also strikes a chord with me as a Catholic. The Catholic Church takes a lot of punches. I realize it is not a perfect institution. But I really have a problem with people branding “Catholocism” as problematic. Because it is not. People focus on the beaurocracy of the religion, or those who who tend to interpret the religion in an extreme fashion, or those who only pick bits and pieces of it (for example, those who preach against homosexuality because of a line in the Bible, but conveniently neglect the fact that Jesus accepted all people). Again, that is not Catholocism. MY Catholocism is a religion of love, of forgiveness, of acceptance, of social justice, of good works, of community…as I believe most other religions are at their cores. When I look at the people I know who I consider to be men and women of my faith (priests, nuns, religion teachers, etc), who truly live by the RELIGION, not one of them fits the description of religion in this poem. They are people with open hearts, open minds, and a deep commitment to actions that better our world. They don’t “turn people away at the door.”

    So I guess this was a really round about way of saying this guy doesn’t have a problem with religion. He has a problem with religious posers. If all Christians truly lived by our religion, we WOULD be living by Jesus. Essentially, this is a case of don’t hate the game, hate the player. Or really, just don’t hate at all. That would be a good start.

  2. P.S. Great post Nicole!

  3. Wow, Kelly that was an amazing response. I worry when videos like this are passed around as ultimate truth. I saw one person actually post the video with the statement by it, “Truth, Yo. This is why my family has left the institution of church and is walking is true freedom.”

    My biggest beef with the video is the whole idea that Jesus came to abolish religion. That is simply not true. People are misinterpreting Jesus’ words and message left and right with this mentality. I see this movement of people leaving “the institution” and they all point to Acts as their guidebook for how the Church should really be working. I’m not sure where the idea came about that the early believers in Acts didn’t visit the temple because Acts plainly tells us that while they continually went from home to home breaking bread together, they also visited the temple regularly to pray.

    Jesus spoke harshly against self-righteousness and legalism. He never once spoke against religion, though. That is false teaching and it needs to be called out as such.

    I appreciate this kid’s heart and I appreciate his passion. But his message has dangerous ramifications. Has the institution of Church failed in many ways to honor and glorify Christ? Yes. Have they failed in every way? No. Some church, like Kelly mentioned, are horrible, horrible places but honestly why do we even site such atorcities of the faith? Westboro Baptist is shameful and would easily fall into the brood of vipers category.

    I think the problem with this movement is that it fuels this idea that Church is supposed to do something for us. The what’s in it for me mentality is dangerous. If we all, instead, chose to ask How can I best serve within and outside of these walls to the honor and glory of God, the Church might look very differnt.

    I think it’s provided some excellent commentary and it’s definately a lesson that we should all be wary of false teaching. The package may be pretty, but it doesn’t make the message truth, yo.

    Thanks, Nicole! 🙂

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Kelli…must be the name. 🙂 Especially the idea of “what’s in it for me?” mentality. WE are the Church…the Church is not us. And yes, this is another great example of how our society is so swayed by the packaging without REALLY delving into what is inside.

  4. Oh dear. I finally watched the video from the link in your post Nicole (I was avoiding it on FB) and read the article from your link too. While I find the video flawed (ie. the dig against Republicans, the overtones of social justice theology, the background music), I find the article to be flawed in some significant ways too (ie. point 5, the dig against Luther, the strange argument about the Bible being a product of religion).

    The article actually made me empathize more with the young man in the video. As several comments on the article pointed out, this young man’s definition of “religion” is probably very different than Webster’s. Obviously his experience of “playing church” has not been positive; I can say that bc neither was mine.

    To get to the heart of what the poet’s really saying, we need to understand his vernacular and his audience. I think what he’s ranting against is legalism and shallow, fake Christianity, but he’s calling it “religion.”

  5. Hi, it’s me again. Here’s a link to another commentary that I found through the comments on the last commentary (oy vey):
    Conclusion from this author/pastor: good stuff and bad stuff all mixed together in this poem.

  6. Wow… This is very thought provoking and one I have struggled with greatly. I personally have had a run of really bad luck with churches in my lifetime. That has skewed my views to a degree, but I maintain my hope that I will find a good one someday. The ones that I regularly attended early in life were crooked. (Like literally, not an IMO type thing.) and so my start with church painted my reality. For someone like me, I have learned to have a wonderful life with God and plenty of “church” regardless, but some folks I can understand not being able to make that leap. If they had bad experiences as I did and never found their way….I don’t know.

    I think we all are colored by our own reality and especially so when it comes to God.

    Very thought provoking post though! Love it!

  7. I believe in the value of religion and a higer being. I am sitting at work where I am not able to view this video but after reading the comments above, I have to agree with Kelly and Kelli. The value of believe in a higher being and in religion is what I try to live by. We value friendship, we value our families and we should value love which Jesus is love and religion is a value to teach of Jesus’s love. Just my two cents without watching the video – yet ; )

  8. My mother-in-law just emailed this to me today: It’s a response from a Catholic priest to the video, and it is TREMENDOUS. And he brings up a very good point: while the young man in the video blames religion for turning people away, the priest notes that religious groups, by far, provide the most worldwide relief for the poor, the broken, and so on. Just thought I would share this.

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