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"Why I Hate Religion, But I Love Jesus" video + Orthodox rebuttal

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by GTAsoldier, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. GTAsoldier

    GTAsoldier Inquirer into Orthodoxy

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    A couple of days ago, spoken word poet Jefferson Bethke uploaded a video on youtube entitled "Why I Hate Religion, But I Love Jesus". Since then, it has gotten millions of view. He's basically attacking the entire notion of religion in itself based on the hypocrites of today (e.g. American Evangelical leaders) while still promoting Jesus claiming that he came to abolish religion. Here are the lyrics:


    And here is a rebuttal of that video made by an Orthodox priest.


    What say ye?

    - GTA
     
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  2. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    I'd say his thoughts are the new religion of today and the future. I need to watch the rebuttal video. :)
     
  3. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    Many thanks for posting the video and critique of it. I actually saw this 2 days ago due to one of my friends wanting me to check it out..and although I thought it was excellent on many points, as the rebuttal notes, many things can easily be taken the wrong way if the proper context is either forgotten or lost in translation when terms aren't defined.

    There are some things I didn't really agree with on what the author noted, as I think some things were read into more than necessary...and without understanding the context of how words are used in a given culture, one may assume something uncessary. For many, when they speak of "religion" or "rules", they are often using the term the way others have when it comes to defining it as organization that's divorced from the Work of Christ in justification/sanctification and truly sharing His love with others. The audiences familar with the vernacular--especially in young adult cultures--don't automatically assume all rules are bad since following Christ entails following a certain set of rules when it comes to His commandments...and the same theme is seen in the early church when they were guided by the commands of Christ/scripture as the boundaries while not being like the other religious leaders of the day in how they often made rules with their traditions/made things WAY more complicated than necessary. The artists goes to an organized church, to my knowledge, and thus I don't think it'd be fair to assume he's speaking against all forms of rules since that wouldn't match the context he lives out daily.


    When the Spoken Word artist speaks of salvation and Christ saying it's "Done", the context was that of seeing how many churches emphasize works to the point where they go counter to what Paul noted in Galatians 2-3 with our righteousness not being something one can earn by merit alone----whereas many churches exalt what they do and make it seem as if Christ didn't really have to do anything for them to be righteous. Additionally, there are many churches that are organized in such a way that Christ would never need to be focused upon in order for Church to continue...and what they say doesn't match what they believe. Thus, it's why the spoken word artist spoke so much on hypocrisy--and I can definately relate to this when it comes to many churches only being able to condemn....yet never willing to be like the Good Samaritan and help.

    That said, there were alot of things I think the artist/poet may need to consider. For religion isn't the best term to describe what it is that he was trying to convey. As James 1:26-27 notes"
    James 1:22-27

    New International Version (NIV)



    22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Also, for another..
    1 Timothy 5:4
    But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
    1 Timothy 5:3-5
    There is the reality that certain forms of religion were beautiful to the Lord...one that loved justice and mercy and kept oneself from spiritual compromise with worldliness.



    There are other scriptures noting the reality of how false religion is worthless--especially when doing all of the outer aspects of what the Lord requires and yet completely missing the Spirit, such as when the Lord rebuked his people for doing as he commanded with sacrifices/temple worship and yet they couldn't care less for the Lord since they tolerated idolatry and injustice in the land...and to them, it was all good ( Jeremiah 7:1-3/ Jeremiah 7 , etc ).

    The book of Amos is rather blunt on that issue, if seeing how much the Lord spoke through that prophet to declare how he was tired of buisness as usual/making a mockery of the religion he instituted:
    Amos 5:21
    “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
    Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them.
    23 Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
    24 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!
    Amos 5:20-22

    Amos 8:10
    Hear this, you who trample the needy
    and do away with the poor of the land,

    5 saying,
    “When will the New Moon be over
    that we may sell grain,
    and the Sabbath be ended
    that we may market wheat?”—
    skimping on the measure,
    boosting the price
    and cheating with dishonest scales,
    6 buying the poor with silver
    and the needy for a pair of sandals,
    selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
    7 The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
    8 “Will not the land tremble for this,
    and all who live in it mourn?
    The whole land will rise like the Nile;
    it will be stirred up and then sink
    like the river of Egypt. 9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD,

    I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.
    Amos 8:9-11
    Also, with religion, there's no escaping ( as Paul noted in Acts 26:4-6 / Acts 26, Hebrews 10:10-12 / Hebrews 10 ) that Christianity was connected to it. And not all forms of religion were bad




    Thus, the author of the rebuttal you gave was very much on point when it came to acknowledging that religion isn't the same as being hypocritical in the ultimate sense----but when one doesn't care to live up to what they profess to believe, that's indeed a deadly religion.



    Additionally, as the author of the rebuttal notes, it was never the case that the Lord was against all aspects of the religious leaders of His day.

    As he said:
    When one understands the historical backdrop of who Christ is, the reality is that He often spoke directly IN line with the religious leaders of his context. On the issue, you may find this of interest:

    Also, one can consider articles such as the following:

    I do not find the Lord to be against all aspects of the religious teachings of the Pharisees/Rabbinic teaching at all. I find that he is arguing with the schools of thought and hashing out what is and is not the correct interpretation of following G-d. Nothing more, nothing less Christ actually referenced the "Seven Types of Pharisees" within the Talmud when denoucing them in Matthew 23...for he was not coming up with new things altogether since he actually had many of his beliefs line up fully with the Pharisee system. As said elsewhere, many of the things Christ said in Matthew 23 were not really NEW......as much of what He said came DIRECYTY from the Pharisees own teachings. For the Talmud reveals that hypocrisy was not unknown among the Pharisees...as a famous passage in the Talmud denounces six types of hypocritical Pharisees (BT, Sotah, 22b), which speak of many of the same faults pointed out by Jesus. The Talmudic literature clearly condemns pretense and hypocrisy (JT, Berakoth f. ix, 7; 13 ), and from this there can be no doubt that these vices constituted special problems for Pharisees. This is an important point because the literature of the Pharisaic tradition in no way sanctions hypocrisy. It is, in fact, in agreement with Jesus...and we must not make the mistake that the early writers of the oral tradition were all corrupt and blind. For though there can be no doubt that hypocrisy existed among the Pharisees during the time of Jesus, the reality is that Jesus was not simply coming up with things out of the hat when denouncing them.

    For more info, one can go online and look up a source under the name of "Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sotah " ( //come-hear.iahushua.com/sotah/sotah_22.html ). As said here...


    Of course, to say that he was fully a Pharisee wouldn't make sense since he had differences with them on a couple of points--and as said best at Essenes | That the World May Know - Follow the Rabbi and Sons of Light - Follow the Rabbi, others have noted that that Christ (alongside John the Baptist) had significant connection with the Essene party on a host of levels. A good analogy for it would be someone saying that they support the Republican party..as just because they happen to have Republican beliefs doesn't mean that they support all aspects of the party..nor would it mean that they cannot support aspects of another party. They're support of a party would be be mutually exclusive of their ability to still have their own mind/thoughts..



    There are other scholars with much valuable information which may be beneficial for anyone wishing to review further. For a good read on what Jesus may've held to, one book that may be a blessing to investigate is entitled "Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus" by Harvey Falk. He did an excellent job on discussing the reality of what has often been said in Judaism when it came to the Noahide Laws. To see snippets of his work, one can go online/research an article that can be found under the name of "Khirbet Qumran, the Essene Community along the Wadi Succacah near the Dead Sea -- The Essenes, the Hasidim and the Righteous Gentile of the Nations”"and here to Rabbi Harvey Falk defends “Jesus the Nazarene’s Mission to the Gentiles: Divine Mission to Bring the “Good News” to the Gentiles











    More could be shared...but again, many thanks for giving out the article/food for thought. Very insightful:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  4. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassador

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    I thought some of the comments given in response to the rebuttal were interesting. As one poster noted:

    ., your main response to this video, which is evident every time you used “religion” in quotation marks, is that the person in the video doesn’t adequately define religion. But in a sense, I don’t really think he had to. At 3:08 in the video, he says “Religion is man searching for God. Christianity is God searching for man.” Although this is untrue because Christianity is God COMING for man AND man searching for God, I see more significance in this statement. Here he doesn’t define religion, but he defines Christianity (even though he didn’t do a good job at it) as something MORE than religion, right?

    I don’t agree with you using the original definition of the word “religion,” because words in today’s society have continuously evolved (or devolved) to mean different thinks. Here, he speaks ill of religion, whatever he means by the word, but perhaps the important thing is that he doesn’t include Christianity as a religion (in the sense he’s speaking of).
    As another noted, I most certainly believe that Jefferson Bethke did the youth, the church, and many Christians a huge favor by making this video and opening the eyes and hearts of many--and it's true, IMHO, that one cannot take his poem word for word and expect it to make perfect sense. For it's a poem---and unless one actively works with the people the poem was spoken to or understands what the creator of a poem thinks when he explains his views/shares where he attends fellowship (which I didn't really see the author of the rebuttal do fully), one will end up having more assumptions than real facts...

    But indeed, there should be caution for others seeing the video and not knowing fully what's meant. For when considering all the evidence we have from the earliest years of the church, it seems apparent that what was present were people who loved rituals given by the Lord, with a highly developed and complex liturgical life, one led by bishops, priests and deacons and centered on communion. And as it concerns Orthodoxy, I've loved seeing it in action as well as other places when it comes to allowing others freedom to practice/express religion that brings life---be it the Ethopian Orthodox or Eastern Catholic Jewish or those who are Coptic Orthodox/suffering for the faith...be it the Church Fathers or the Desert Fathers/Mothers..be it with serving in the community/being in the homes of others or being in the fellowship surrounded by the beauty of icons/symbolic worship
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  5. truefiction1

    truefiction1 Fool

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    Religion, minus true repentance, is just another human social construct; a cultural, symbolic hero system to give self-esteem to all of its constituents. The young man's criticism, despite it's inaccuracies, has its truth and its merits. We should take it to heart and repent.
     
  6. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    He's just another nihilist. I'm sick of these young ignorant fools parroting what hollywood tells them. What wars did religion start???? There has NEVER been a religious war fought in the western hemisphere but El Salvador and Honduras did go to war over a soccer game in the late 60's. The United States and the former Soviet Union fought and funded wars all over the planet in the 20th century and none were over religion. NATO was formed to defend itself from communism while promoting democracy.

    Neither of the two world wars were fought over religion. The massacres in Rwanda were over tribal allegiances not religion. The crusades were an attempt to take back roman lands inhabited by greek speaking byzantine citizens stolen by the arabs. The notorious Mongol Dynasty did not start out to spread Confuciousm, it was simply their version of manifest destiny.

    And if he doesnt think Jesus was religious then he should read the new testament, you know something about the tradition of the elders awaiting a figure called messiah.
     
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  7. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    religion is man's attempt to reach God. Christianity is God reaching down to man. or as Fr Schmemann would say, "Christ did not come to bring religion, He came to bring the Kingdom."
     
  8. MKJ

    MKJ Contributor

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    I don't think he's a nihilist, he's a born again Christian.

    If you look a bit into some o his responses to the respoonses to his (rather bad IMO) poem, it becomes clerer that his use of the word "religion" is very specific and not what most people mean by the term. He seems to belong to a group (not a formal group but one that has connected influences) that equates it quite narrowly with religious hypcricy. It doesn't necessarily mean organized religion in the larger sense or the Church as an institution even.

    It's pretty bad theology and historically naive, but I think it's also been widely misunderstood to mean something the young man wasn't trying to say (which I suppose makes it pretty bad art too.)
     
  9. Kyprian

    Kyprian Guest

    Saying 'I hate religion but I love Jesus" is rather like saying "I hate dairy but I love cheese". Saw it on facebook, had to say it.
     
  10. Monica child of God 1

    Monica child of God 1 strives to live eschatologically

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    I love the rebuttal.

    M.
     
  11. Macarius

    Macarius Progressive Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    The whole problem with the video, though, is that it is an argument constructed from a GIANT fallacy of changing definitions. He starts by condemning "religion" (which is a word with a general meaning), by which he comes to mean THOSE FORMS OF RELIGION HE REJECTS. He NEVER defines the term religion, but tries to attach ALL negative connotations of organized religion to it while retaining the positive aspects of organized religion for himself.

    Because he switches definitions throughout, first using religion in the broad sense (to bring in the listener rhetorically) but then really meaning very narrow things by the word (e.g. the negative connotations of religion) he commits the fallacy of changing definitions.

    It would be more proper for him to say that he doesn't like empty ritualism. That doesn't have the rhetorical ZING, but then again, he's more interested in using sideways attacks and fallacious inuendo against traditional Christianity (which he seems, erroneously, to view as empty ritualism), than in actually making a coherent argument.

    When low-church folks start attacking religion, what they mean is all the negative stuff (empty ritualism, formalism, etc.). They then connotatively attach that to whatever group they reject (catholic, orthodox, etc; high church folk) and claim that THOSE groups are "religion" while THEY, of course, are not.

    Its the same changing definition issue that a lot of Protestants have with tradition. Tradition, simply defined, is a belief or practice handed on from one generation to another. Protestants have traditions. But when confronted by that, they change definitions so that "tradition" becomes synonymous with "doctrines I reject that other groups hold" and their own traditions become merely "teachings" or "the word of God."

    It is deeply frustrating, because he's not being intellectually honest. He sets up a massive strawman (catholics and orthodox also both reject empty ritualism; and also both, despite being highly religious organizations, are massive outlets for charitable works), then has fun burning it. He achieves the strawman through a changing definition.

    All the while, he himself is a religious person, but wouldn't admit that because he's changed the meaning of the word "religious" to suit his personal vendetta against traditional Christianity.
     
  12. ikonographics

    ikonographics In patience I waited patiently on the Lord

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  13. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 Byzantine Eastern Catholic Orthodoxish kinda guy

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    ^_^:p

     
  14. Joseph Hazen

    Joseph Hazen The Religious Loudmouth

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    Yeah I had to share this on Facebook. I have a friend who is constantly making comments about how I shouldn't be "religious", or how "it's not about religion it's a relationship" and refuses to acknowledge when I say "BOTH!"

    That group started by taking the hypocrisy and legalism which can be found in organized religion and then believing that it automatically is a part of it. That's the frustration. Yeah there can be problems with it, but those problems are not inherently a part of The Faith. They believe it is.
     
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  15. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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    Finally got around to reading Fr. Andrew's rebuttal. Very good. While I was reading the transcript of Jefferson's, I couldn't help but think this guy is an ex-Catholic or something. I don't know, but I do agree that he's mixing up religion with hypocrisy. He also touts that familiar it's only me and my Jesus alone line (not exactly, but says it in so many words) which isn't even Christian. We are saved within the Body, not alone. There's no such thing as a lone Christian.
     
  16. Blackknight

    Blackknight Servant of God

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    That video would make some great fertilizer for my garden.
     
  17. GTAsoldier

    GTAsoldier Inquirer into Orthodoxy

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    ^ ^_^:D
     
  18. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member

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    hahaha
     
  19. GTAsoldier

    GTAsoldier Inquirer into Orthodoxy

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    From Jeff Bethke's Facebook page:

     
  20. ikonographics

    ikonographics In patience I waited patiently on the Lord

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    But how does he understand "the church"?