Monday, January 16, 2012

Jesus > Religion: TAKE 2

This video is spreading like wildfire! With over 12 million views (and counting) and all over facebook, this video reaching lots of people. But I've been thinking about it. And I've talked with some friends. And so, I've come to a different conclusion about its message than when I first saw it. Let's take a closer look at some of the lyrics, written by Jeff Bethke:

What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?

This is basically the whole message of the poem. But you make some BIG assumptions about religion. If religion equals self-righteous laws and working your way to salvation, then you're right on target.

But that's not what religion is. The problem is, this is what most people perceive religion as: rules and regulations and priests and institutions and hypocracy. But Jesus didn't hate religion.

Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums. See one's the work of God, but one's a man-made invention.

Jesus was not anti-religion at all. In the Old Testament, God established the Mosaic Law; God gave the Israelites' all those rules and regulations. Jesus didn't come to abolish this Law - He came to establish it on an even higher level! See the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus takes the law (thou shalt not murder) and raises the standard (he who hates his brother has committed murder in his heart). Jesus came to show us that "the law" is not an external issue - it's a heart issue.

True religion is about what's in the heart. Take James 2:27, which says, "Pure and undefiled religion is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." While I don't doubt that the "religion" referred to in this video is addressing legalism or self-righteous salvation, the well intended message may be having a not-so-good effect.

So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it. Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it.

Whoa there. That's an extreme statement to make. You resent religion? Of course, I believe you mean that you hate all the hypocritical rules that some religions place on salvation... but it's still a rather broad and bold statement to make about religion in general.

And another thing: When Jesus said those last words on the cross, was He meaning that He was ending all religion? Or was He just completing man's atonement to God? Let's be careful not to take Jesus' words out of context.

Conclusion: I think this video fuels religious skepticism. It leaves me with the feeling that Jesus hated any established or organized religion. I can see how non-believers could see this video and come to the conclusion that any kind of "religious" affiliation is hypocritical and self-righteous. In fact, I've even read that the atheists and agnostics are using this video to prove their viewpoint! While I understand that this video is meant to condemn the legalistic extreme of religion, I think it might end up steering people AWAY from its intended goal.

Just because all your Christian friends share something that they say is great, doesn't mean it's doctrinally sound. This video was a good reminder for me that I need to think more critically about what I see and hear. I need to view everything through the lens of God's Word -- and not except it just because all the other Christians do.

{See this article and this article for more analysis of the video.
To see Jeff Bethke's response to this, read this.
But this article in the videos defense is worth reading, as well.}


  1. Chloe Chloe Chloe I haven't finished reading yet but this is EXACTLY what I thought about the video when I watched it! There's that verse -- in fact I read it last night -- about Jesus saying that He didn't come to abolish the law or whatever...ah yes, just read that you said that.;)

    Thankyou sooo much for writing this. I don't know what I'd do without your blog. :D

  2. Thank you. No seriously thank you! I thought I was the only one who thought this!! You can't just bash religion. Yes people have killed in the name of Jesus but we can't rule out organized religion all together! Neither does religion save us. I think he was a bit of an extremist. Thanks for having a different opinion about this.


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