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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 cliché 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

I bet he can t. but that s what he s aping). the Christian Church has been the greatest. 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. and religion in that sense is not something Jesus came to abolish. just as helping the poor reflects love of man. He didn t come to root the religious impulse out of mankind but to shape it and channel it properly (e. clothed more naked. Bethke name one person who has done that. as Mr. given that his speech (including in other videos) is littered with insider Christian lingo. and cared for more sick than any other institution! And if you know your Bible. The Church must pursue both. sneering cliche that fails to get to the root of the issue. Honoring God in this way is also built in to human nature. so let us look at the big picture. and extending care and compassion to countless individuals who have had broken marriages and reassuring them of God s love! It is unfortunate. HUH??? I d like to hear Mr. These two goals are not at odds with one another. Excuse me? Historically speaking. Then Bethke says religion tells single mothers that God doesn t love them if they ve ever had a divorce. but Mr. self-righteous tone of a rap battle does not lend itself well to this purpose (not that he s actually rapping. There are simply too many things in Bethke s rant that call for a response to give them each an individual treatment. most effective charitable institution in world history! It has fed more hungry. the sneering. 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. Bethke has chosen to repeat uninformed cliches as a way of adopting the pose of a prophet. providing assistance to single mothers. the authentic cause of Jesus. Unfortunately.. creating homes for unwed mothers. He comes across as a spiritual poser who does not know what he is talking about as he sneers and looks down on others. God has some rather particular instructions regarding the construction of the Tabernacle and the Temple. Bethke s slam on religion as the cause of war is thus a shallow. which to the contrary has been instrumental in setting up crisis pregnancy centers. . He then asks why religion builds great churches but doesn t feed the poor. Bethke seems to. then you know that honoring God through architecture is important as well. It reflects the love of God.g. Blessed are the peacemakers ). including numerous terms and phrases from the Bible.universal. self-important.

Keeping ourselves unstained from the world. He came to proclaim them. as something to aspire to. 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. Paul was similarly harsh with his opponents. 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. One is playing with fire when one goes in this direction. the awkward assonance. You are so totally judging. Mr. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction. just coincidentally. So what did Jesus think of religion in that sense? Well. Mr. All religions (atheism included) make some kind of claim about one of those two subjects. the attitude of the earnest.It s true that Jesus did have some stinging things to say about the hypocrites of his day. and to keep oneself unstained from the world. Each line drips venom on other people. Now I ain t judging. Bethke s rant against the judgmental who put on an artificial show of piety is filled with both judgment and affected piety. But it s all too easy to justify our own self-righteousness and arrogance by appealing to these passages. and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart. and something that can be pure and undefiled before God. . the disjointed poetry. Bethke. let s be honest. In another sense. But Jesus didn t come to abolish beliefs regarding the divine and the afterlife. Notice that here religion is spoken of as something positive. And it s a performance that. Who is putting on pious show here? You ve got some mighty wide phylacteries. 26 If any one thinks he is religious. Most make claims about both. Bridling our tongues. hip nonconformist the whole thing is as artificial or put on as one could wish. I m just saying quit putting on a fake look. Your whole video is filled with scorn and sneer. Not at your core. And it requires things of us. This isn t who you really are. There s a moment in the video where he says. shows how pious and real you are compared to your religious peers. this man s religion is vain. St. according to the Bible (James 1:26-27). religion is the life and the actions that flow from those beliefs. Bethke. Visiting orphans and widows. This is you giving a performance.

Things may seem awesome now. and you may well not have been exposed to or encouraged to read broadly in the history of Christianity. if you love the Bible and the Church the way you say you do in your video. 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. then who are you to overturn 2. and how I need to be more careful in what I say and what I claim. And many of us look back on that time in our lives with a bit of embarrassment. And because he didn t. I know I do.We needn t quibble about these points. I can t blame you for some of that. only on a larger scale since you now have almost 10. and we all fail in all of them. We Christians are a religion. We Christians practice religion. It is something that has become part of how we as Christians identify ourselves something that goes to the core of who we are. you are 22 or at most 23 years old. For example. I mean.000. As I ve gotten older. Being angsty and wanting to rant against the religious hypocrisy you perceive around you is also often part of being 22. Bethke. Mr. Jesus did not come to abolish these things. the word religion has become part of the Christian heritage.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. a lot of us have been there and I M not 22. by God s grace. You are also likely to look back with embarrassment on this. So if you are a Christian. but they are things we are supposed to undertake. I continually realize all the more just how much I don t know. 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. but Love Jesus LOL God is good! Man.000 hits and undoubtedly will have far more than that by the time your video s popularity is played out. as you quickly followed up with a post saying: . in order to please God. If your YouTube username bball1989 is any indication. What arrogance! And what ignorance of the Christian heritage that has been bequeathed to you! Now. We Christians have a religion. You haven t been alive long enough to get a broad perspective on history.

I was in no way intending to do that. Religion is something very. You're not willing to give it a try and burn something and be embarrassed. is like a fiancé saying he loves his future bride. plan a dinner party. you can t separate religion from Christ and his Church. frankly. it makes me tremble to think how great the weight is when we do it to Jesus wife. what kind of religion have they been offered to consider? The state of Christianity in the United States is so dire. and show some consideration for them and for their feelings regarding the word religion feelings which are. make a mess and have to clean it up. You love food but hate cooking? That means you can't be bothered to learn to cook. They are too smug and shallow and immature to ever regard anything greater than themselves as greater than themselves. It can t be done. Don t go on a futile quest to get people to start using the term religion in an unfamiliar way that is. self-righteous attitude toward your fellow believers. it s offensive particularly the way the claim is presented in your video. I'm not surprised any punk kid with half a brain rejects it. I ll take it further. You can't be bothered to study food and a meal and how it all fits together. spend some money and cook for them.Saying you're spiritual but not religious is like saying you love food. Look to Him. frankly. If you want to rant against legalism and hypocrisy then call them by their names. If a normal dude has right to get pissed when you bash His wife. and it s foolish to try. "Spiritual but not Religious"? They have dismissed religion before they have even seriously considered it or studied it. A hospital for sinners. The church is His vehicle to reach a lost word. take a risk.If you are using my video to bash the church be careful. and even if they have had a chance to consider it. The Church is Jesus bride so be careful how you speak of His wife. Why is that? Because you have known some bad cooks in your day? Because you were brought up on junk food? Because you have never had an Italian five course meal? Because a chef once offended you in some way? Because you tried cooking from a cook book once and you failed? Because your friends think good food is snobbish? Because how can you eat a fine meal when there are hungry children in the world? Because some people eat better than you do and they understand fine food. very important to people. . more attuned to the way Scripture uses the word than yours apparently are. ditch the mocking. No wonder they reject religion for religion requires commitment and hard work and wonder and fear and self sacrifice and guts. You're not willing to burn your fingers. May I suggest an apology? . They are too lazy to learn what it means to be truly religious. contrary to the way it s used in the Bible. and telling them that Jesus opposed religion is not only preposterous. but hates her kids. Just as you can t separate the Church from Jesus. Saying you love Jesus but hate the Church. So ditch the sneer. but hate cooking. We are all under grace. The culture encourages passivity and being a spectator. "Spiritual but not Religious?" This just means the person is too lazy to look beyond their young bias. My heart came from trying to highlight and expose legalism and hypocrisy. and it makes you look bad? All of these and many more reasons can be given . You can't be bothered to read cookbooks and learn how to make a recipe.. You're not willing to invite friends.

a denial of the sacraments. It is a denial of the importance of the physical world.. My Church matters. "I can love Jesus without going to church. Paulicians and Cathars." "What can we say to him!?" they wailed. Every argument is a theological argument. Fr. The incense and the candles and the books and the bells.. for that is subjective Protestantism's logical conclusion. Church doesn't matter. My rosary and my books of theology and my Infant of Prague and my plaster St Therese and my Our Lady of Lourdes that matters. a denial of the incarnation. And so does the Blessed Sacrament which is the focus of the presence of God in the physical. It is the product of Protestantism. If it is only about me and Jesus. . My body matters for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit."Spiritual without Religion" is subjective Protestantism taken to its logical end point. if it is only about me and my "personal relationship with my Lord" what is the point of going to church? I will be clear: "Spirituality without Religion" is not a product of atheism or agnosticism or secular humanism. Anthony had a Protestant woman came to see him about her teenaged son who was a pretty smart kid who stopped going to church. It's where individuals in a Protestant culture will end up. Holy. Because he was physical matter. The saints and their suffering matters. and so does my starving neighbor and my friend with a headache and my sister who needs a hug and a listening ear. human flesh matters. matter matters. In fact. Apostolic Church--the Catholic Church with all her institutions and history and paperwork and bureaucracy and canon law and dogma-all of it matters. "Spiritual but not Religious" is therefore a denial of all that is real and physical in God's interaction with the world. they didn't have an answer. The physical church building matters. It is a denial of the church. . They all matter. Catholic. Because he took human flesh. and is therefore a most noxious heresy. He said to his parents. They matter. Protestantism with its denial of the visible church and its emphasis on eternal security and salvation by faith alone (therefore what you do doesn't matter) and it's often otherworldly Puritanical denial of this world and all that is 'worldly' is Manichean. and given the starting point it makes sense. Because the Lord Jesus Christ--the only begotten son of the Father--took human flesh he therefore sanctified the physical realm.and because of this I kneel to adore. No. So what is the underlying theological problem? A distrust of the physical world. The belief that the physical world is either evil or it doesn't ultimately matter. The One. The kid was right. and it is no mistake that the historians of the Protestant movement see their pre cursors as the Bogomils.