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Why does Jefferson Bethke hate religion? The Apostles never claimed to hate religion!


Why I hate religion, but love Jesus is a poem written by a man who is endorsing his own form of religion.  This man is coming from a particular tradition that speaks against religion. This is not the first time I have heard this from people. I have heard, Jesus versus religion, many times and I always wondered why they seem to be so unaware of James 1:27, and Timothy 3:16. I also wondered why some people would actually speak against religion when religion is referenced in a positive sense in the Bible.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jm 1:27).  If you love Jesus, shouldn’t you love His religion? Why would anyone hate it? 

He says, “Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered.” This sounds very nice but of course the statement is not in the Bible and is in conflict with the Bible; Religion that is pure and undefiled before God…” (Jm1:27).  If religion is man centered, then why is it endorsed in the Bible by James and Timothy?  

He says; “Jesus can abolish religion.” Jesus made a promise; “and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it (Mt 16:18).” Why would Jesus abolish religion, when the religion, He founded was in fact embodied in His Church, with a promise that the gates of the netherworld would never prevail against it?  

He asked the question; “Why does it build huge churches [Jm 2] but fails to feed the poor?” He makes a false dichotomy here by implying that building huge churches has something to do with not feeding the poor.  Which huge churches is he talking about?  Is he talking about one or more of the large Evangelical churches or perhaps his own Church? He does mention feeding the poor, which is something very good and yet fails to realise that this is in fact the pure and undefiled religion before God. The religion spoken for in James 1:27. Jesus speaks for in Mathew 25:45.  

"Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty... In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me" (Mt 25: 44-45). And so why again would Jesus want to abolish religion?  

Here are some of the statements where Jefferson calls religion false.

Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums.

See one is the work of God and one is a man-made invention.

One is the cure, but the other is the infection.

Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free.

Religion makes you blind, while Jesus makes you see. 

So far I have pointed out in detail how his presentation is actually in conflict with the Bible. Presumably most of the people who watched it are Christian and believe the Bible. This begs the question, if this presentation is in conflict with the Bible, then why are so many Christians agreeing with it.   

If you look at most of the statements that he made, there is at least some things, that are at least partially true and so when Christians look at it without discerning, they believe these things are both true and fully Biblical. For example, notice the bottom statement of his; “Religion makes you blind while Jesus makes you see.”  “Jesus makes you see” is a true statement and so they accept the whole thing as true.  However, the first part of the statement, “religion makes you blind” is not in the bible and not true. 

The next statement up says, “Religion puts you in bondage while Jesus sets you free.” Jesus does set us free and so people believe the whole statement. However, religion putting you in bondage is neither Biblical or true. My point is Christians read part of the statement which they know to be true and yet fail to realize that part of the statement is false. 

Look at the next statement he makes; “One is the cure but the other is the infection.” Is religion the infection? This is another failure of his “Bible alone” concept. It doesn’t say this in the Bible. The Bible says that the religion of taking care of orphans and widows in their affliction is pure and undefiled before God in James 1:27. The religion, the Apostle James calls pure and undefiled before God, Jefferson calls infection.  

Look at the next statement; “See one is the work of God and one is a man-made invention.” James did not say that religion is a man-made invention; he said Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jm 1:27).  

And here is the next statement; “Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums.” 

The apostle Paul didn’t see Jesus and religion in opposite spectrums.  He saw them in the same camp.  “Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed: He [Jesus] was made visible in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory” (1 Tim 3:16).  

If Jesus and religion are not in conflict in the Bible, then why would we put them in opposite spectrums? The man who came up with the poem, I believe, did not realize how his presentation failed Biblically. I believe that, he is a man of good intention, coming from a specific Christian religion, who simply believed what his religion was telling him. Perhaps, the great irony in all of this is that he misses the simple fact that Christianity is religion. Part of what he was taught in his tradition was in fact corrupt. 

Why doesn't Jefferson speak for undefiled religion before God (Jm 1:27)? He very possibly does not know that there is such a thing as true religion in Scripure. Jesus, James and Paul spoke for this undefiled religion.