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Why does Jefferson Bethke hate religion?  Jesus never claimed to hate religion.


Why does Jefferson Bethke hate religion?                                   Jesus never claimed to hate religion. 67

Why I hate religion, but love Jesus (OVER 14 MILLION HITS ON YOUTUBE) is a poem written by a man, who while  endorsing his own form of religion, speaks against religion. This man of course is not coming from the Bible, but from a particular tradition that speaks against religion and sees it in opposition to Jesus and the Bible. This is not the first time I have heard this. I have heard the Jesus versus religion scenario many times. Some traditions only use the word religion in a negative context; however, they error because the Bible uses the word religion in a positive context as well.  The people who use the words, Jesus and religion, in opposition to each other don't seem to be aware of the parts of the Bible that speak for religion, for example James 1:27, and Timothy 3:14-16.

RELIGION that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world (Jm 1:27).

In the poem itself, Jefferson speaks against religion. In the commentary below his poem, he does make a reference to false religion; however, he never actually defines what is false religion.  The false religions in the Bible are pagan religions, who worship other gods and not the one true God;  you shall have NO OTHER GODS before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God... (Ex 20:3-5).

If you love Jesus, shouldn’t you love His religion that is in the Bible? Why would you hate it? Jefferson says, Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This sounds very nice but of course the statement is not in the Bible and is in conflict with the Bible; Religion that is pure and undefiled before God (Jm1:27). If religion is man centered, then why is it endorsed in the Bible?

He says; Jesus can abolish religion. Why would Jesus abolish religion when He established His religion with a promise; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it (Mt 16:18).

He asked; Why does it build huge churches [Jm 2] but fails to feed the poor? He makes a false dichotomy here by implying that building huge churches has something to do with not feeding the poor.  Which huge churches is he talking about?  Is he talking about Lutheran or Catholic or one of the other major denominations?  Perhaps he is speaking against his own Church?  He doesn't say.  What he fails to understand is that large churches are necessary for large numbers of people attending them.  He does mention feeding the poor, which is something very good and Biblical.  However, he fails to acknowledge that this is specifically the religion spoken of in James 1, care for orphans and widows.  And Jesus talked about helping others in need as well.

Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty... In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me (Mt 25: 44-45). 

Jefferson makes many statements against religion; here are some of them.

  • See one is the work of God and one is a man-made invention.
  • One is the cure but the other is the infection.
  • Religion says slave Jesus says son.
  • Religion makes you blind while Jesus makes you see.

If you look at most of the statements that he made, there are some things, that are at least partially true and so when Christians look at it without discerning, they believe these things are both true and fully Biblical.  For example, notice the bottom statement of his; Religion makes you blind while Jesus makes you see.  Jesus makes you see is a true statement and so some people accept the whole thing as true.  However, the first part of the statement, religion makes you blind is not in the bible and not true see James 1:27. 

Look at the next statement he makes; One is the cure but the other is the infection. Jesus is the cure; however is religion really the infection?  This is another failure of his Bible alone concept.  It doesn’t say that in the Bible. My point is that some Christians read part of the statement which they know to be true and yet fail to realize that part of the statement being made is false.  Neither Jesus, James or Paul refer to religion as an infection.

Jefferson goes on to say; See one is the work of God and one is a man-made invention.” James did not say that religion is a man-made invention.  He said, Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world (Jm 1:27). 

Jesus and religion are not on opposite spectrums. For example the apostle Paul writing to Timothy didn’t see Jesus and religion at odds; he saw them in the same camp.  Without any doubt, the mystery of our RELIGION is very deep indeed (1 Tim 3:16).  If Jesus and religion are not in conflict in the Bible, then why would anyone put them in opposite spectrums? 

Without any doubt, the mystery of our RELIGION is very deep indeed: He [Jesus] was made visible in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory (1 Tim 3:14-16).

In the event that you should run into someone who claims to hate religion, while loving Jesus, ask them this question.  Where, in the Bible, does it speak for religion?  Most people who speak down to religion will not be able to answer this question.  If they do not know the answer, then answer it for them.  If they can answer the question, then compliment them because now you are both Biblical and on the same page.

The man who came up with the poem, I am sure, did not realize how his presentation failed. I believe that, he is a man of good intention, coming from a specific Christian religion, who simply believed what his tradition was telling him.  The great irony in all of this is that he misses the simple fact that Christianity is religion and religion is in the Bible.  Jefferson, didn’t realize, that part of what he was taught in his tradition, was corrupt. 

TO KEEP IN CONTACT go to: Seek first the Kingdom of God (Mt 6:33), https://www.facebook.com/groups/Seekfirstthekingdomofgod/?ref=br_tf  Or contact me at: lennyalt1@att.net