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Why I can’t hate Religion for Jesus

January 19, AD 2012 8 Comments

Jeffrey Bethke

Does this sound familiar?

What if I told you, Jesus came to abolish religion?
What if I told you getting you to vote republican, really wasn’t his mission?
Because republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian,
And just because you call some people blind, doesn’t automatically give you vision.
If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?
Tells single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever been divorced
Yet God in the Old Testament actually calls the religious people whores

These are the very words of a Poet on YouTube that has taken the Internet by storm. . . almost 🙂

My initial response to this poem is on my blog entitled Does Jesus Hate Religion Too? I’ve found some other interesting counter-responses to this poem that I’ll like to share over here and add some further comments. Hope you’ll enjoy this. Thank you.

The Infection:

Jeffrey Bethke’s controversial poem entitled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

The Disinfection:

An equally young and energetic Catholic guy called Trent Horn has come up with this brilliant response to Mr. Bethke’s video. I think it’s the best I’ve seen so far.

Mr. Russ Rentler has made an awesome response entitled “Response to ‘Why I hate Religion and Love Jesus’

Fr. John Hollowell has an excellent response too.

Another priest has come up with a more appealing response

First Aid to the above infectious poem

This is what makes religion and Jesus two different clans,
Religion is man searching for God, but Christianity is God searching for man.
Which is why salvation is freely mine, forgiveness is my own,
Not based on my efforts, but Christ’s obedience alone.
Because he took the crown of thorns, and blood that dripped down his face
He took what we all deserved, that’s why we call it grace.
While being murdered he yelled “father forgive them, they know not what they do”,
Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you
He paid for all your sin, and then buried it in the tomb,
Which is why im kneeling at the cross now saying come on there’s room
So know I hate religion, in fact I literally resent it,
Because when Jesus cried It is finished, I believe He meant it.

Mr. Bethke’s whole argument lies on the final line of his poem “So know I hate religion, in fact I literally resent it,
Because when Jesus cried It is finished, I believe He meant it.” The main word to note is “It is finished.” GREEK τετελεσται

It’s now my turn. I’m not going to rap or scribble some poem. I’m going straight to the BIBLE. Here we go. . .

And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:50-53 RSV)

Mr. Bethke thinks “It is finished (tetelestai)” did away with rituals. Let’s observe critically what Jesus Christ commands after saying “It is finished (tetelestai)”

We should ask ourselves whether “It is finished (tetelestai) mean that all the Laws, Traditions, Rituals as well as the now infamous word, RELIGION, is done away with?

Open wide your eyes as the truth is revealed! Everything shall be in reference to “It is finished (tetelestai)” said by our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:17-20 RSV emphasis mine)

What? What happened to “It is finished (tetelestai)?” Jesus says they should baptize? Baptism? A ritual? Was this an error from a copyist or what? Look again, this sounds too CATHOLIC! Jesus shouldn’t be saying that? Why baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?” Saint Peter who wrote after Christ’s saying of “It is finished (tetelestai)” says:

“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.” (1 Peter 3:21-22 RSV)

This verse is literally similarly to what Christ said concerning all powers in heaven and on earth given to him. Saint Peter adds more clarification of what Baptism (a ritual) really does. Hmm!

Jesus again privately to the Holy Apostles minus Saint Thomas(probably he was gone for vacation — just joking)

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. (John 20:19-24 RSV emphasis mine)

Does this sound like the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation popularly referred to as Confession to you Mr. Bethke?

Saint James gives a hint here:

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. (James 5:16 RSV emphasis mine)

Saint Paul who according to the tone of your video should also disdain religion and tradition also had some few things to say after Jesus’ “It is finished (tetelestai)” See for example:

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you. (1 Corinthians 11:1-2 RSV emphasis mine)

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15 RSV)

Last but not the least, Saint James religiously remarks:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27 RSV)

Was the Apostle James lost or what? God bless you.

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. ~St. Augustine of Hippo

“Jesus is your friend. The Friend. With a human heart, like yours. With loving eyes that wept for Lazarus. And he loves you as much as he loved Lazarus.” Saint Josemaría Escrivá — Godwin Delali Adadzie is a Catholic living in Ghana, West Africa. A former smoker (Fish smoker now a Vegetarian) but still loves to drink a lot (of water). He attempts to blog at the Fair (HubBlogs with GADEL), the Good (Blessed Virgin our Mother Mary Immaculate), the Bad (GADEL Said What?) and the Ugly (Catholic Fiction: Responding to Myths & Half-Truths)

About the Author:

Godwin Delali Adadzie is a Christian living in Africa. He is the founder of CATHOOLIC. Most people know him for his work Let’s talk about the Rosary. He can be reached on his Twitter handle @Apologetics.