Friday, January 13, 2012

Guest Post: A Response to the Video "Why I hate religion, but love Jesus"

Joe Young is a member of Communion Presbyterian Church and a pretty sharp guy! He jotted down some thoughts on the video "Why I hate religion, but love Jesus" which is making the rounds right now on Facebook and other social media sites. You can watch the video here. I think Joe makes some good points, and especially appreciate his call for "deep thinking" about important issues as opposed to just repeating tired old cliches (but, hey, they are set to music and the film is shot so well, it must be true!). I hope you find his post encouraging.

Thank you, Joe for your response!

A response to the video "Why I hate religion, but love Jesus"

Sadly I don't have the cool video effects or catchy soundtrack to go along with what I have to say.  However I think some points of clarification are in order.

1.  Jesus came to abolish religion - What does that mean?  In one sense yes he did.  But this all depends on your definition of religion.  I have always understood it as reverence for the sacred.  So I would say in this sense Jesus came to totally uphold true religion.  And the "religious" leaders in his day were using it to attain power, wealth, and influence.  Not as humble servants of the people directing them to God.  I think this is a statement used to be provocative, and not get to the truth.

2.  Republican doesn't automatically mean Christian. - Of course it does not.  Who makes this argument?  Every Christian I talk to who does vote Republican does so because that party best exemplifies their values. I think the vast majority of Christians would be ecstatic if both parties supported pro-life, traditional marriage, limited government, and religious liberty.

3.  Just because you call some people blind doesn't automatically give you vision. - I think the point he is getting at here is there are Christians who are very judgmental and not full of grace.  So therefore what?  Should we be ungraceful back to them?  Should we mock them and ridicule them to score points with non-Christians?  I know some Christians who say they don't judge, but I think they really use that a pretext not really have to think deeply about an issue and not get truly involved with other people.

4.  If religion is so great why has it started so many wars? - This is such an over simplification and glossing over history I don't know where to begin.  Books could and have been written on this subject.  I will try to winnow my thoughts down to a few.  Is war something that can be totally abolished or is it part of the human condition?  What if some tyrant is exterminating people like a Hitler.  Is war justified then?  The most deaths in human history have been caused by secular movements not religious ones such as communist Russia and China.

5.  Why does the church build huge churches but fails to feed the poor. - I think there are millions of missionaries, doctors, ministers, and other people who would disagree with him.  There are lots of organizations that work tirelessly to feed the poor and help those in need.  But I would say we have been giving up on some of our responsibility to help our neighbor and have given it up to the state to hand out charity.  Also just as people need food to live they need spiritual food as well.  I think people need beautiful things to experience and behold.  Some of the greatest art throughout the history of the world have been churches.  Does he want to just get rid of them?

6.  Tell single moms God doesn't love them. - Who makes that argument?  No responsible minister I have ever seen has made that argument.  Of course there are jerks out there who might say something like this.  But what do we do?  Hunt them all down and excommunicate them?  Shouldn't we be just as loving and respectful to jerks as well as to single moms?

7.  Religion might preach grace but another thing they practice.  -  What is better, preaching something that you don't live up to or living a life where you don't even try to improve yourself?

I could write more but this is a few thoughts I had just on the first minute of the video.

I would like to conclude with this: I am sure this guy has his heart in the right place.  He clearly has a conviction to see the Gospel spread and teach people about Jesus which are both good things.  However, I think using slogans, cliches, and half truths doesn't help spread the Kingdom.  I don't mean this in any way to be a jerk to him or any people who may agree with what he is saying.  All I want to do is encourage deep thinking and digging into God's Word.


  1. Why are you "sure" that the guy in the video has his "heart in the right place"?
    I would think that a guy with his heart in the right place would have talked to his pastor and elders before posting the video. Joe in Florida

  2. Watching this video pushed me closer to Jesus....good, right? Christians are never going to agree 100% on every theological detail and that's OK! As long as Christ is being preached....let's rejoice! I think it's great that a video preaching Christ is quickly gaining so much popularity....why put so much effort into "critiquing" this???

  3. Hi this is the author of this article. Thanks for your responses!
    Joe - It may be a flaw on my part but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. All the best of intentions in the world though don't count if one is not actually accomplishing good.

    Anonymous - that is a good thing if it drew you closer to God. However just because some good results from some event it does not mean the thing in itself is good. But I would also say that he is leaning dangerously towards antinomianism. This critique was done out of a spirit of love to warn people that not everything he said was good.

  4. My mother was single when I was a young girl (never married my father) and as much as I hate to say this, I was treated very poorly by people at the church. Particularly older members. (the Pastor was always kind, but his assistants were not). This guy has a point. But then again, maybe we just shouldn't have gone to that church..