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67 Why does Jefferson Bethke hate religion? Jesus never claimed to hate religion.


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"Why I hate religion, but love Jesus” is a poem written by a man who is endorsing his own form of religion.  This man of course is not coming from the Bible but 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. 

“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 that is in the Bible?  Why would you 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?  

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 Lutheran or Catholic or one of the other major denominations?  He doesn’t say.  Perhaps he is speaking against his own Church?   He does mention feeding the poor, which is something very good.  However, he fails to acknowledge that this is specifically the RELIGION spoken of in James 1 and also Jesus talked about this; "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?  

In the poem itself, he seems to be speaking against all religion.  However in his commentary below his poem he does make a reference to “false religion.”   I say, amen to this, because there is such a thing as false religion.  But, of course, what does he call false religion?   

Here are some of the statements where he speaks against false RELIGION.

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 says slave Jesus says son.

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.  At the time of this writing, on YouTube, there have been 14,720,000 people who have listened to his presentation (Why I hate religion, but love Jesus).   And there are 255,000 likes and 37,000 dislikes.  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.  On the next statement up it 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 really the infection?  This is another failure of his “Bible alone” concept.  It doesn’t say that in the Bible.  

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 writing to Timothy 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 am sure, 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.  He didn’t realize that part of what he was taught in his tradition was corrupt.