I Hate Religion but Love Jesus - Total Contradiction!
This hub is in response to the sentiments of a poem on You Tube by Jefferson Bethke entitled, Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus. It went massively viral. At the writing of this hub it is nearing 19 million hits! The premise of this poem is that religion and Jesus are in opposition, and that having a relationship with Jesus is completely different than being religious. I disagree with this premise. I will be including quotes from Jefferson Bethke's poem and my opinions about them to clarify as to why.
Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus Poem by Jefferson Bethke
“What if I told you, Jesus came to abolish religion?”
It would be nice to hear that from Jesus. I don’t like getting my facts from second hand sources, so let’s see what the Bible has to say about that … Nothing. The Bible actually says absolutely nothing to that effect. Jesus did not come to abolish religion. As a matter of fact, He came to do the opposite. He came to establish a religion: Christianity.
"Jesus Hated Religion, and He Called them (Religious People) Fools."
Really? Let’s check the scripture on that. Nope, no statement from Jesus saying that he hated religion and that He called religious people fools. He only hated those who were pretending to be religious: “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” - Matthew 15:7, 8.
Jesus “was Called a Drunkard and a Glutton by Religious Men.”
Once again, it is important to remember that the religious men that were doing this were hypocrites. It is not fair to negatively stereotype the concept of religion because of the hypocrisy of some so-called religious people.
“Jesus and Religion are on Opposite Spectrums. One's the Work of God, but One’s a Man-Made Invention.”
Christianity is a religion, and it is not a man-made invention. It is the work of God—Jesus. Without Jesus, there would be no Christianity.
“Religion is Man Searching for God. Christianity is God Searching for Man.”
Christianity is a religion:
noun, plural -ties.
1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
- Google Search
“Religion, I Hate it. I Literally Resent it. Because when Jesus Said, ‘It is Finished’, I Believe He Meant it."
Jefferson Bethke makes it sound like Jesus was speaking about religion in His statement here; but that is completely false. Jesus was talking about His plan of redemption on earth being completed. Moreover, the Bible actually has some good things to say about religion: “Pure religion, undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” - James 1:27
In the biblical sense, I try and live a religious life. A religious life is nothing to be ashamed of. If you are a religious Christian, you are helping others and fulfilling God’s Word in your life. That is why I find it such a contradiction when Christians say, “I’m not religious, I’m Christian.” It’s the same thing, biblically speaking.
The Dangers of Rejecting Religion
I feel that there is a subtle danger in rejecting the notion of religion. Statements to the effect of, “I don’t believe in organized religion.” are becoming more and more common. So what do you believe in, unorganized religion? The Bible indicates that there is a true religion (Ephesians 4:5; John 10:6). The idea of rejecting religion can cause people to end up lost because they don’t recognize the church Jesus is leading and fall out of step with it.
Many people who reject the concept of religion also don’t feel the need to be a part of a church family. I believe this is another mistake, because we need the support and advice of our brothers and sisters in Christ to keep us on track and grow in our relationship with God. This reminds me of a story that I heard from my pastor:
A man attends worship less and less until he all but stops coming to church. The pastor visits him to encourage him to return. The two of them sit near a fireplace, with a pile of red-hot coals burning. The pastor uses some tongs to take a coal from the burning pile and lay it aside. Within a short time, it goes out, while the rest of the pile continues to burn red-hot. The man says to the pastor, “I’ll be back in church next week.”
Without the warmth and support of fellow Christians, we are in danger of becoming cold and indifferent, among other things.
Anti-religious sentiments seem like they're getting more and more popular. However, Jesus was in support of the concept of religion. He even started a religion of His own: Christianity. To reject the notion of religion is dangerous, because the Bible indicates that there is a true religion. Moreover, not fellowshipping with other believers on a regular basis could cause us to lose our bearings.
All Scripture references from the 21st KJV Bible.
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