Skip to comments.A thought-provoking Catholic response to "Jesus>religion"
Posted on 01/13/2012 8:47:57 AM PST by DogwoodSouth
If you've seen the video "Jesus>religion" (aka "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus"), you probably nodded your head in agreement with some of the, thoughts... er, lyrics. It has a strong emotional appeal (not to mention great video editing). But is it all true?
Bad Catholic has a thought-provoking response to the video that's burning up the ether around the net:
(Excerpt) Read more at southernfriedcatholicism.com ...
Its worth beginning with this: I agree with this guy on a lot of points. He reminds us Catholics of a striking truth; that without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, religion is a joke. He speaks the truth that Christ died for our sins, once and for all. I cant help but think, in the midst of all this, that this hating-religion-loving-Jesus thing is the logical consequence of Protestantism. For a 21st-century Protestant looking at a thousand-something churches, I imagine there is an immense temptation to say Its all a wash. I will follow Christ, not a religion, and be done with it. I empathize with him, knowing that if I were a Protestant I would be in full agreement: There is either one, true religion or there is no religion at all.
But nevertheless, there are two main problems with this video. 1. Jesus Christ would strongly disagree with it. That is to say, the creator of this video is very, very wrong. 2. Hes very, very wrong with some great video editing, good background music, a strong emotional appeal, catchy rhyme, and all in relatively well-timed YouTube moment. Hes wrong in style. When a man gains immense popularity by making blanket statements stylistically, how likely is it that his followers will read a rebuttal making specific statements prosaically? I dont know, but rebut I must, for it is the duty of the Catholic to resist fashion and fads, no matter how unfashionable he looks doing it.
So onto the first bit of silliness the idea that Jesus came to abolishCatholicism: Taking the long, boring route to Truth since 37 A.D.religion. Unforgivable. He literally said the opposite: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. What were the Law and the Prophets? Judaism. What is Judaism? A religion. What did Jesus specifically say he was NOT going to abolish? Thats right. A religion. (And you just got Kris Kringled.)
This is made apparent not only in the words, but in the actions of Jesus Christ. Whether you believe in the sacraments or not, there is no doubt that Christ established ritual. Its one thing to ignore Christs statement to eat my body. Its another to ignore his command to do this in memory of me.
Christ commanded that we have ritual. The early church followed this ritual, they obeyed his command to do this in memory of me. We know this because Paul says: Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Does the mere Christ-follower-religion-hater obey Christs command to eat his body and drink his blood, and to do it in memory of Him? I do not mean ask whether they believe in the True Presence of Christ in the bread and wine, I simply mean to ask whether they follow the ritual Christ established at all? If not, it would seem that to be a Christ-follower is to ignore the commands Christ bids you follow. And theres more of this Christ guy being ridiculously religious.
He established a priesthood in the Apostles. If that word freaks you out, Ill rephrase: He gave certain men very distinct roles.
Christ gave them the power to forgive sins: If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained. (John 20:23)
He gave men power to make decisions concerning doctrine: I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)
He built a Church: And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
He called men to the sacrament of Baptism. These are not things available to the mere Christ-follower, unless he truly believes that whatever he binds on earth will be bound in heaven, and all the rest. So knowing that Christ so clearly established a Church, with rituals, with priests, and with sacraments, our mans statement What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion? can only be answered with, What if He told you you were wrong?
If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars? says he. And honestly, thisseems to be his only real charge against religion, all else is mere personal experience. While it is true that a war may be fought over an excess of hatred, it is equally true that a war may be fought for an excess love of freedom. A man may strike another man because he is filled to bursting with bitter, archaic beliefs. He may also strike a man to stop him from killing a baby. The fact that religion starts wars could equally be held as evidence that religion is good as evidence that it is bad. For men desire good and will fight for it far more often than they will fight for bad. Did Christ not say I have not come to bring peace, but the Sword? And of course this is true, I know it on a personal level: I would not be tempted to fight the man who slanders me. I would be tempted fight the man who slanders my God. Christ brings me the Sword. Would I be morally justified in my desire to fight? Probably not. The point is simply that it is Iwho am accountable the fight, not my religion. If it is a bad thing to fight, my religion is the good for which I would forget myself and be bad. That is no more reason for rejecting religion than for rejecting your wife, who when threatened might very well lead you to kill.
Do not take away the ennoblement of the poor.
He goes on: Why does [religion] build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor. Im getting serious by-religion-I-mean-Catholicism vibes from our man. First of all, religion does not fail to feed the poor. What if you dont mind me asking is the number-one most charitable organization in the universe? The Red Cross? Nope. The Secular Humanist Aid and Relief Effort? Hahahahaha, but no. Its the Roman Catholic Church. As for the building big churches bit, I could give an entire post on how silly of an attack that is, and how insulting it is to the poor man,but I already did. For now Ill just say this: Go to a man in poverty who attends a beautiful church and offer to tear down the beauty that surrounds him, to melt down the gold so he can buy more food. You will never see a man more insulted.
He then gives himself away. [Religion] tells single Moms God doesnt love them if theyve had a divorce. Alright. This is one of those few times I actually get annoyed. First of all, unless youre the WBC, there is not a single Christian denomination that says that there is any possible way you could get God not to love you. This is a basic premise of Christianity. We are never unloved. We may reject God, but He never, ever, ever rejects us. So Ill take his God doesnt love bit to actually mean religion is against divorce. But there is only one major Christian denomination that is opposed to divorce: The Roman Catholic Church. So when this man says religion in this case he means The Roman Catholic Church. And its true, we have the terrible habit of believing Christ meant what he said:
They said, Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away. It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied. But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
So once again, I must ask, why is it that following Christ while disdaining religion leads to the direct contradiction of Christs teachings? Its a silliness of modern Christianity, to love Christ partially Ah yes, he saved me, died for me, opened the gates of Heaven for me, and I accept him as my personal Lord and Savior, but not what he said about that whole no divorce thing. That was just whack and unloving.
A common theme throughout the video is our mans complaint that religion is just behavior modification, a list of rules to follow, and thus doesnt get to the core of the matter the call to love Christ as a response to his sacrifice on the cross. First of all, this is an absolutely valid critique of what religion should not be. If it is just a set of rules and not a love affair, it is dead. You cant have works without faith any more than you can have faith without works. But the idea that following rules is inherently contradictory to loving Christ flies in the face yet again not of religion, but of Christ. He says, If you love me, keep my commandments. Love of Christ requires obedience to his commands. You cannot have one without the other.
Our man then clarifies He loves the Bible. This is interesting. Did Christ hand out Bibles before he ascended into Heaven? No. The Bible is the product of a religion. A religion is called Catholicism.If Jesus came to your church, would they let him in?
Um, yes. We actually snagged a picture.
So this is awkward.
But in all seriousness, the last part of the video is awesome. Its a darn good explanation of how Christ died for our sins, how we are saved not by our own merits, but by his Grace. Im not sure why it goes against Christ to be a religion that teaches exactly what our man is teaching in this video.
Because I believe that when Jesus said It is Finished, he meant it. When Jesus said it is finished he died, and yes, without a doubt, his sacrifice was found acceptable to God. It truly is finished nothing can take away the fact that we have been redeemed. But we can choose to reject this redemption. Thats why after the Resurrection, Christ appeared to Peter upon whom he had said he would build His Church and told him feed my lambs. Christ knew we would need instruction, guidance and example. Jesus established a Church to proclaim to the ends of the earth that It is Finished. He established a religion to make known his salvation. I reject the videos message, not simply because it wades in the shallows of theology, forever fearing to plunge into the depths of what Christ actually did here on Earth, but because it is lonely. It is a call to figure out the mysteries of God on ones own, with nothing but a book one must deny was given to him by religion. No, this is silly. God gave us a Church to aid us on the journey, so that we might be one. To love Jesus and hate religion is equivalent to calling upon a doctor and smashing all his instruments when he arrives.
This my basic critique. It is not a true defense of the concept of religion, which I defend not so much as something good or bad, but as an urge as primordial and wonderful as sex and song. It isnt a small thing that we seek to understand, it is the framework of our universe, by which we understand everything else. But as usual, the Internet isnt big enough for all that. Still, its only fair that if we started with a stylized, anti-religion video, we can end with a stylized pro-religion video:
A brief example:
The author writes, "He established a priesthood in the Apostles..."
The Bible teaches, Christ established the priesthood of all believers.
St. Peter in 1 Peter 2:9 writes to all receiving the epistle: "You are a royal priesthood and a priestly kingdom..."
Full disclosure: not Roman Catholic, but Catholic. Not Orthodox, but am orthodox. Not Protestant, having nothing to protest.
Even in this next Sunday’s Gospel we have Christ calling the Apostles. They were the first priests.
Christ conferred that on them by breathing on them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”
I will post the other two segments next week.
Very nicely written, and thought provoking for young adults adrift and awash in information revolving around Self. You know who he is, I bet, Self? Thanks for a great post. Again.
"explaining the doctrinal basis for the Christian community" You are interpreting it as a personal thing -- YOPIOS, it is merely the doctrinal explanation.
your a Protestant right?
You choose to follow men who instituted a “church” in the 1520s, who protested against the Church which had been in continuous existence since about 37 AD (the Catholic Church).
Well that Church you doth protest has since the time of the Apostles laid-on-hands to men found holy by the then priests in authority and were given the authority of the priesthood.
It is something that all Catholics understand - you can't possibly accept that what you reject - the proper ordination of men as priests by the laying-on-of-hands by a Bishop who is in a direct line of authority from Peter.
Even if you wanted to do as He commands and “Eat His Body” - you could not since yours is a “religion of men” with a Bible interpreted by men.
Very insightful commentary.
Do you mind if I copy your apology and forward it on to my sons with some particulars which apply to them.
A book called Martyrs Mirror clearly exposes your argument as myth. In the 1520's, the Catholic Church was killing anyone who disagreed with them - which shows they were no longer connected to Christ.
2 Timothy 2:15 "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth
It is also a misunderstanding of the very passage it claims to be based upon - using a false interpretation of a passage to deny the command of another passage.
II Peter 1:20, 21 "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Peter's inspired message about the origin of the prophecies about salvation is that they came not from the prophets, but directly from God Himself. It no where says we are not to study to show ourselves approved.
“your a Protestant right?”
At this point, you veered off the road, careening down a cliff-side, while making the rest of your point...I suggest you reread my post where I say I am not a Protestant.
“They were the first priests.”
I posted nothing that disagreed with your statement.
“It is finished” includes using religion to justify oneself before God.
Wow! This is logic thrown over the cliff. It is the Church that authenticated the books that form the Bible. To authenticate one must have authority. An authority transmitted to the Apostles and their successors. “Go forth and teach ye all nations.” You can’t teach several interpretations as Truth. What historians recount the actions of some Catholics in 1520 (bit of an exaggeration eh? “killing anyone who disagreed with them”) has nothing to do with Catholic doctrine, belief, and sacred tradition and ritual. Uninformed Protestants and Evangelicals have this habit of using a little bit of (mis)information to distort the one Church Christ founded (Mustard Tree) The rest are all splinters or wild mushrooms that sprout in the garden of weeds.
a little bit of revisionism by omission..
what do your think the protestants were doing to the Catholics while this “killing of anyone who disagreed with them” was going on?
You forgot the wholesale carnage brought about by Henry on Catholics, not to mention his confiscation of everything Catholic.
you think Catholics were the only ones playing that game?
if you do - then you are naive in the extreme.
So your saying the wholesale slaughter of Catholics brought protestants legitimacy and connected them to Christ?
wow, just wow.
“I say I am not a Protestant”.
well you sure fooled me.
You could go undercover at any protestant church and blend right in.
I specifically wrote that I was not Protestant in the post you responded to ... Not sure what else i could do. Perhaps if I didn’t quote a verse from the holy Scriptures?
I think that what lurking is getting at is this:
If you’re a Christian and you’re not Catholic or Orthodox, then you are Protestant. Whether you claim to be or not. You might be a denomination of one, but you’re just another in a looooong line of dissenters from the historic Catholic/Orthodox Faith.
Come to think of it, I guess you could be a member of the Assyrian Church of the East, but - for the sake of argument - we’ll classify that (along with the Oriental Orthodox Churches) in with the Orthodox.
Now... that covers everyone: Catholic/Orthodox (i.e. historic, Apostolically founded with an unbroken, organic connection to Christ himself) or all other Christians. You’re either in one camp or the other (if you are a believer). If you’re in the second camp, you’re a Protestant.
Thanks for your note. I believe that from a RC worldview or Orthodox worldview, you are singing the only thing they know. That doesn’t make it so. It is just what they can see from where they sit. I understand and wish them all blessings in Christ.
Yeahh.. didn’t mean to imply that you’d necessarily agree with that system of classification, just explaining the breakdown from Catholic/Orthodox perspective.
I understand entirely.
Blessings in Christ to you.
There’s no “Catholicism” in the Word Of God. Nothing even close.
Even if your premise were true (and it's an oversimplification), your conclusion doesn't follow. If Christ had founded a church that lost all connection to him when its leadership sinned, it would have lost that connection long before the 1520's. Around AD 33 and a couple of months, in fact.
Not only that, but to this day, they persist in reading from it every time they get together. Why do you suppose they'd do that?
“A book called Martyrs Mirror clearly exposes your argument as myth.”
No, actually it doesn’t. It never could since there is no myth involved.
“In the 1520’s, the Catholic Church was killing anyone who disagreed with them - which shows they were no longer connected to Christ.”
False. Not only was the Church not killing everyone who disagreed with it, but even such killing occured it would not be proof or demonstration of a wholesale loss of connection to Christ by the Church’s members. First, the Church killed no one for it had no authority, ability, or power to take human life. Second, even if Catholics, whether representing the Church, or representing the state, took human life (whether justly or unjustly) this in no way shows a single Catholic doctrine to be untrue or removes proper authority from the Church. Third, there were plenty or obvious saints, holy men and women, recognized as great saints who loved God and were favored with great grace and miracles, throughout the Protestant Revolution.
Martyrs’ Mirror is a wonderful piece of anabaptist propaganda, but proves nothing about Church history other than the fact that people - even baptized Christians - are sinners.