Religion: Love it and Hate it

Discussion going on about a YouTube video released this week with 10 million hits already. “Why I hate religion but love Jesus” by spoken word artist¬†Jefferson Bethke, was also the most watched video on Facebook. Jeff seems a nice guy and his message sounds like mine when I was his age. Some people are confused by his take on religion and statements that Jesus came to abolish it. Here’s my take:

There is such a thing as dead, empty, powerless religion which God rejects.

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.” Amos 5:21

And there is also religion done right.

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. James 1:27

In my youth, I tended to reject the word ‘religion” outright as always negative and something to contrast the way of Jesus against. But now in my fourties, I tend to embrace the word more and try to redeem it by showing and attempting to live religion done according to the way of Jesus.

I probably agree with Kevin DeYoung who had some email exchange with Jefferson and  . . . well . . . its all good, bro!

Interesting sidenote. Back in the day, the word “religious” was only used to describe monks. Later on the meaning widened to include non-monastic believers in Christ. These days, we argue whether the word is helpful at all.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


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