January 12, 2012


Over the past few days, a video titled “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus” has been circulating nearly every social media platform known to mankind. I saw it posted by many of my Christian friends who are in support of the video and what is being said in it. It took quite a few reposts to peak my interest, but once I watched, my jaw hit the floor.

I am 110% offended by this video. In my opinion, Jeffrey Bethke makes a mockery of the teachings of Jesus Christ, for I do not believe that you can claim to hate religion and love Jesus in the same breath without making a complete fool of yourself. Bethke had a point to get across, which I am aware of what that point was. I am here to say that he did not effectively communicate his opinion. He convoluted the English language, used a few pretty rhymes, & spewed hatred towards millions of people both past and present. Instead of taking these issues up with Christian leaders who are not effectively teaching the Christian faith, Bethke chose a path of self-righteousness that not only humiliates himself, but sends a message of ignorance and delusion.

First and foremost, let’s define religion. Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. Religion is the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices. Religion is commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.(Webster) Pick up a dictionary and you will discover that religion is a very large beast. Religion can have everything to do with God and nothing at all. This is not a contradictory statement. This is fact.

Religion is the basis of intellectual thought for many. It is the moment when one realizes that they are not alone in their spirituality. These individuals then institutionalize this idea and it becomes religion. Religion is an order. Religion has rules, constraints, laws, and practices. Religion is created by men who have the passion & the hunger for more answers, for a better way of life, for more community, more fellowship, more accountability. Religion encompasses billions of people, thousands of belief systems, hundreds of Gods. It defines, provides, and inspires.Can religion influence wars? Absolutely. Can religion be misconstrued into a radical form of itself and become harmful? Absolutely. I am not arguing that religion is 100% positive. Some religions are full of hate & can be harmful to its followers. However, religion is not the root of the world’s problems. Our problems stem from hatred, greed, selfishness, jealousy, miscommunication - HUMAN EMOTION.

Bethke states that Jesus came to abolish religion, which is not a factual statement. Quite the opposite, my friends. Jesus came to fulfill the Law & Prophets (Matthew 5:17), not abolish them. Christianity did not exist before Jesus. Man created Christianity, which by definition is a religion. Man created the bible, which is the basis of the Christian religion. Jesus' disciples educated and informed others on who Jesus Christ was, why he was here, & what he did for the world for the sake of breaking away from the Jewish tradition so they themselves could freely practice their religion. Jesus Christ was the foundation of this religion. Without these men institutionalizing this idea, that Jesus was the son of God, a divine man, who spoke of love & kindness, ultimately dying on the cross for our sins so we could lead better lives - if this very religion did not exist, Bethke would not know Jesus Christ.

If it weren’t for religion, Bethke would not know Jesus.

The video’s title should have been, “Why I hate the immoral and unethical decisions that some religious leaders are making but love Jesus” or “Why I hate the evolution of Christianity but love Jesus” or maybe, “Why I love my religion and hate yours”. The latter seems to be what he is trying to say.

Jesus’ entire reason for existence was to preach love. If more of us practiced what Jesus preached, we might all be in a better situation than we find ourselves in today. However, believing in Jesus, trusting in God, & studying the bible does not give you the right to judge others, especially others’ religion. Judgment harbors hatred, negativity, jealousy, & greed. Judgment is what abolishes respect for not only yourself, but your neighbor.

Maybe next time Jeffrey Bethke can make a video about how love & faith can positively affect people. Sure, it won’t be as controversial, but atleast it will be based on fact.

Furthermore, we all know that voting republican does not make you a Christian. Unfortunately, this man is unaware that believing that Jesus is the son of God, who died for your sins, but was resurrected from the dead to accept his followers into heaven does make you a Christian. Christianity is a monotheistic religion based around this entire principle. It really ends there.

Maybe someone should inform him of his religion.


EDIT//Another great post written concerning the contradictions of Bethke's video. Please see here. It is truly a great read, and written by a Christian.

This message brought to you by an atheist (by definition) who will fight for religion & science until the end of time because yes, they both have a place in this world.


  1. I agree with your statement about the different title being more useful. However, I don't think Bethke meant that he actually hates "religion." The way I took it was that he doesn't agree with the way that people who claim religions do not follow the teachings of that religion. So yes, a name change probably would've been for the best, but you're right that the shock-factor would be considerably less that way.
    I really enjoyed reading your opinion of this video. It was well-written and researched. (:

    - Jaimie

    1. So what you are saying is Bethke's skit is as open to personal interpretation as the bible. This is why I can never buy into religion. Everyone just takes these open ended ideas or texts and makes them mean whatever best suites their lifestyle and asserts that they have the correct understanding. I doubt anyone alive today has the same understanding or worldview of the ancient men who wrote the bible. You guys can't even agree on what Bethke's message means. Ridiculous.

    2. That's what "Religion" does for you, Anonymous. It divides.

  2. Lileigh,

    He was talking about religiosity, in the context of man's separation of Christians by denominations and rules and regulations that the "evolution of Christianity" constructed over the centuries to control the masses.

    You might say, "then why didn't he just say that?" And I would just say that it's a matter of semantics. I think you may be using the word "religion" in a kind of legalistic way. Religion IS what your dictionary definition says it is. But the way this guy uses "religion," the meaning is obviously related to the harm that has been done through the ages in the name of religion, on a cultural, as well as, personal level.

    Religion, in the judgemental Pharisaic mindset (which he is referring to and what most of Christendom exemplifies) is a man-made system of rules that ignore the fact that Jesus made "on the spot" decisions to change the rules... always in favor of grace toward the individual. Not that we should look for an excuse to change the rules, but we should not feel bound by the regulatory side of Christianity, over the individual human side.

    A Christian is saved by grace, not by the rule book. And the world is filled with rule books that contradict each other. It's the freedom Jesus talks about. If you're steeped in the law, you are not free.

    I thought he was quite creative. I don't see the offensive side to this. In fact, to me, it's harmless wordplay, but with a message that is true. In my "rule book," anyway. Or maybe my anti-rule book. Of course, I am a rebel, so a lot of my opinion is just rattling the cage. :-) Keep the rule-makers on their toes, I always say!

  3. https://twitter.com/Wittorical/statuses/157555565244071937

  4. Religion causes problems. I actually do have a strong distaste for it, because in my life it has not created any good for me or anyone I know. It seems to drive talented, smart people to waste their time and not go after things because "God didn't want them to have it". In America, most of the time (although not all) religion is used for absolute absurdity and restricting the rights of people who disagree with religious people. Religion does wonderful things for people all over, but a lot of the time people equate religion with morality, which is one of my biggest problems with it. There are multiple ways to live life, and to me, you, and many others, the Bible doesn't spell that out for us. I didn't even bother to watch that video. I applaud you for being open about your atheism though, it seems like a lot of bloggers today are SO RELIGIOUS OMG and if you say anything about questioning Christianity or any other religion's beliefs you are unfollowed and mocked.

    1. If people misuse a religion to do worldly things is it the fault of that religion? When communist atheist Russia killed millions was it because of their atheism? People that have bad associations with religion doesn't mean they understand religion entirely. Name any problem you suggest is caused by religion, then tell me if this was something Jesus himself preached or would've promoted.

  5. MWitt, it depends on the religion. If you're Muslim and you follow a strict reading of the Quran, you may be lobbing off people's heads. I think atheism could help foster a view that could rationalize killing millions. If there's no God, then good and bad are subjective and don't matter a hill of beans. Compassion, mercy, love, even ethics come second to personal gain (especially for world leaders).

    Bad associations or good associations, understanding religion is just memorizing a list of man-made rules. Anybody can do that. Religion is an earthly way men use to try and explain the spiritual, when the spiritual is impossible to explain. Like the legal system, it's imperfect, but it's all we have.

    Jesus did not create a religion. Man did that after Jesus left. Then claimed that God organized the scripture. If you read early Greek and Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament, it's obvious translations have modified meanings here and there to justify religious control over people's lives by the early church. For example, the Great Commission, Matt. 28:19, supposedly says "Go into all the nations making disciples, etc." But the earliest manuscript in Greek says more accurately, "As you go through life, make disciples..." Which is much different than, "Go out there and make Christians out of everyone or kill them if they don't accept Jesus," which is what the early church did at one point, justified by the command to "Go and do it!" That's what the Inquisition was all about. They burned unbeliever's at the stake. Even believers who were Christian, but not Catholic.

    "Religion" is a word that has not actually changed meaning over years, but the definition is now understood more clearly as people struggle with religious people in power (like the Pharisees) that want to control people with religion's rules. A relationship with God is not a religion. If your faith and walk is based on that relationship and not the rule book, then "religion" is irrelevant. Jesus said that when asked what the greatest commandment was (or the most important "rule"). He said, "the greatest is to love God with all your heart. The second greatest is to love your neighbor like yourself." He never brought the "rule book" into his answer. Because if you do those two things, religion is a mute point. You've covered everything that is important.

    1. EarthGuest, the two great commandments are a reiteration of the Old Testament's Ten Commandments, the first four regarding God, the rest pertaining to others. So, in a sense, Jesus did bring "the rule book" into His answers. However, He made it clear that the Law does not save man, but condemns him; it is salvation through Christ's death and resurrection and baptizing by fire and of the Holy Spirit which saves.

      Jesus did not come to do away with religion. If you really study Scripture and the culture of the times closely, you will find that His teachings were deeply steeped in Jewish religious thought and practices. The now-common phrase that "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion" is false; it is a relationship with God Most High, but it is also a religion with a belief system, set of rules by which to adhere, and so on. The Jewish and Christian faiths have a lot of rich history and teachings in both the Old and New Testaments which should not be ignored in an effort to "have a relationship with God" while willfully setting aside the writings of His followers. All too often, people who lead such a life end up preaching so-called Christian beliefs which are not supported by Jesus or His closest followers, and thus aren't having a true relationship with the Judeo-Christian God.

      Lileigh, thanks for the well-written, insightful post. I hope many people get to read it. It's nice, for once, to read something written by an atheist which doesn't violently exclaim, "Away with all religion!!! It is the bane of man's existence!" How is that any less hateful than those who misconstrue religion toward violent means...?

    2. Kriztoffer, I understand where you are going, but you're missing my point. Every time Jesus was confronted with religious concepts, he switched the focus to spiritual concepts.

      Of course His twisting of the commandments (with His "two greatest commandments" analogy) were connected to the 10. I never said they weren't. But he deliberately took the focus off the "law" to illustrate what was more important... love. If you grasp His meaning and do what He said... love, the law was automatically fulfilled. Plus, the individual's heart was put in the loop, to make it mean something richer and more fulfilling. Not just a blind going down the list to see if you'd fulfilled all the letters of the law that day. It meant something deeper. Jesus was about love and compassion, and fulfilling the law in a different way… not with fear and anger, but with love. That's why he was always forgiving people rather than condemning them, as the "religious" Pharisees did (the official religious leaders).

      When the apostles were hungry and they were walking through the wheat fields on the Sabbath, he twisted the "law" and told them to pick and eat the wheat, even though it violated the religious requirement of the Jewish law. He said "Didn't David eat the sacrificial food when he was hungry? Man wasn't made for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man!" He broke the religious rules for the sake of the human condition.

      When he was faced with the prostitute who was about to be stoned, he again confronted them by twisting the law. According to the "law" she was due a stoning, but he authoritatively forgave her, suspended the law, and challenged her fellow sinners with their own sin. He was focused on the spiritual side of the imperfect "law," which was the point I was making. He said, "I have come, not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it."

      He was constantly "breaking the rules" in favor of compassion towards the individual, rather than a corporate lemming-style adherence to religiosity. Religion is, as you say, a set of beliefs. But do you believe in something because you fear breaking the rules? Or do you believe in something because you find love, forgiveness and compassion there? Don't forget, this Jewish law that you refer to Jesus keeping, was the what the Pharisees oversaw. Jesus had a sarcastic and cynical side. And I love that, because he knew the religious people didn't give a crap about their fellow men, they only wanted people to see them as perfect for following the "law."

      So Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are (by heaping rules and regulations on his back).

      Jesus called the religious leaders fools and hypocrites. That's what he thought about keepers of the "rule book" in His day. This is why many people are turned off to Christianity today. Because so many Christians are arrogant hypocrites, judging and condemning. They've got their new "Christian rule book," and they've gone Pharisee on us. Jesus' philosophy stands apart from religion. It's beyond religion. It's much better than religion.

      Jeffrey Bethke was just considering the definition of "religion" the way Jesus did.

      Love & Peace

  6. With all due respect, as an atheist you can't speak on this topic with authority as the very point of the video went straight over your head.

    This "religion" he speaks of is a mindset that keeps man from truly knowing God, which for you as an atheist is not real or possible. He is not criticizing any religion as a group.

    This is why you are so offended...because he claims we can really know God. He threatens to puts a dent in your neatly packaged "religion has it's place in this world" mentality and you're exposing your own heart on the matter by how you've lashed out. While you may be genuinely defending freedom of religion(which really is a noble thing), I believe your criticism is much more personal than that.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. On the contrary, I find her opinion on the matter and grasp of the English language as an atheist to be more knowledgeable than a lot of my fellow Christians...

    3. Anonymous - First & foremost, I do have a religion. It is called atheism, which by definition is religion. I am not at all offended if someone wants to claim to know God. This used to be something I felt very jealous of because I was concerned why I didn't know God & why God didn't speak to me. I take great offense in you telling me what I can & cannot do, which is actually something that you do not have the authority to speak on. Your comment was spoken disrespectfully, at best.

      Being an atheist does not discount my opinion. I might also raise the idea that maybe I haven't been an atheist my entire life, but maybe I have. You are not aware of this. I was raised in a conservative Christian family. I have studied religion my entire life both in my personal life & at the collegiate level. I was a church-goer for ten years & visited many different churches of different faiths over that time period. This is something that most Christians, & other religious people cannot say for themselves. I have challenged my faith my entire life & despite being an atheist, I will continue on this path.

      Furthermore, One can claim to know God but one will never be able to prove the existence of God.

    4. Lindsey, your honesty is admirable. I don't tell anyone what to do, so I hope you weren't offended by my musings. I would encourage everyone to challenge everything in life. As an imperfect human, with limited knowledge of the universe and all of its intricacies, I have many doubts. But faith is a decision, based as much on what I DON'T know as it is on what I DO know. When we cross over, I'm sure we'll all be wrong about something. Which is comforting in a way. I'm so glad I don't have all the answers. It would take away from the wonder of it all, once I finally understand. Unless, of course, I just melt into the blackness of space, another floating chemical element, incapable of understanding anything. But then I'd still at least be a part of the universe. If I'm wrong and have faith in nothingness, well, at least it was my decision. If I'm right, it should be a fun ride. Either way, I can't lose!

  7. For everyone commenting on this blog entry, thank you. The criticism & praise is both appreciated. I am truly enjoying reading people's reaction to the video as well as the reviews its been getting.

    This entry is 100% spoken from my heart. I tried to come from a place of fact, not fiction. Of course my emotion shows, but I think that adds to the honesty of this post. This is my blog after all!

    I hope that everyone reading will challenge their faith again & again & again throughout their life. Never stop asking questions because the world has alot of answers to offer up.