Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hate Religion but Love Jesus? Think Again!

The video 'Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus' recently went viral, with a number of my friends even falling for this anti-religion propaganda.

I was one of those who was not so quick to jump onto the 'Love Jesus but Hate Religion' bandwagon, and in an article I recently published with the Colson Center I explain why. Here is one of the points I made:
In this popular video a young man trumps out all the same worn-out arguments against the Christian religion that God-haters have been bringing forward ever since the French Enlightenment (i.e., that religion creates wars, produces hypocrites, brings bondage, etc.) The video climaxes in the claim that Jesus came to abolish religion.
While some of my friends have tried to argue that the speaker in this video is only talking about false religion, it is significant that one of the reasons so many Christians repudiate the term ‘religion’ is in order to self-consciously downplay the public and corporate aspects the term immediately brings to mind.

Another reason why the term ‘religion’ is falling out of favor is because it is considered cool to pit the relational aspect of Christianity against the structural and ecclesiastical connotations, with the term ‘religion’ being emblematic of the latter. As you’ve probably heard people say before, “Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship.” The only problem is that this false dilemma is about just as illogical as if someone were to claim that marriage cannot be a close relationship if it is also an institution. The love relationship of marriage depends on the integrity of marriage as an institution, just as our relationship with Jesus depends on the integrity of the religion in which that relationship is situated. 
If you are interested in reading further about the problems with the 'Love Jesus hate Religion' movement, you might want to get hold of some of the resources I share in the following articles:

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