I originally saw this video on Hiram’s (link goes to Hiram’s column and the original video) column and I admit it’s powerful and well presented. I also admit I found myself shaking my head in agreement when I originally watched it. That doesn’t happen much when I watch religious propaganda tools, which this one undoubtedly is.
However, since then, I’ve watched it several more times. Maybe the glamour wore off or maybe I just started to look at it critically instead of emotionally (I don’t know) but there are some glaring problems with the video. I decided to write out the lyrics and take a look at them without the presentation and here are my thoughts on it.
What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion
What if I told you voting Republican really wasn't His mission?
What if I told you republican doesn't automatically mean Christian
And just because you call some people blind doesn't automatically give you vision
Mr. Bethke (the writer of the video) gets started with some great points. Jesus wouldn’t have known what a Republican was. Hell, the entire idea of a democracy would probably have been completely foreign to him.
Be that as it may, Jesus never advocated for building a church in the first place. I wonder if he’d be horrified to see the bloated corporation that has been built around his word. In the Bible, Jesus also acts more like a socialist than a Republican. He wasn’t a fan of the rich and was more concerned with spreading his message than earning serious coin.
So I have to give kudos to Mr. Bethke for starting the video off strong. Let’s see how he follows it up.
I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor
Tells single moms God doesn't love them if they've ever had a divorce
But in the Old Testament, God actually calls religious people whores
I’m still with him. The church has caused many wars and I think continues to put forward ideas that cause deaths on a daily basis, including the promotion of not using condoms, which leads to more AIDS cases, more venereal disease and probably more abortions or unwanted children, most of which could have easily been avoided with the use of contraceptives.
There’s no denying that some of the world’s greatest conflicts and mass murders can be related in some way back to one religion or another. Many churches do indeed live in opulence while the poor continue to go hungry and the faithful continue to give their hard earned money to them.
And some church groups do tell single moms that they’re whores if they divorce. Sometimes they exert pressure on couples who are struggling and in bad relationships to continue with their marriage anyways or face being ostracized from the church group.
Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice
Tend to ridicule God's people, they did it to John The Baptist
They can't fix their problems, and so they just mask it
Not realizing religion's like spraying perfume on a casket
See the problem with religion, is it never gets to the core
It's just behavior modification, like a long list of chores
Like lets dress up the outside make look nice and neat
But it's funny that's what they use to do to mummies while the corpse rots underneath
Not a bad job up till now. I’d say they could fix it, but that just might be my optimistic side coming out to play.
Personally, I think there are more than one problem with religion, but let’s stay on topic, shall we?
I think it never gets to the core because many religious people rely on the church to tell them what their book says. Maybe part of the problem is that lots of religious people go to church, listen to a Minister drone on about one verse or another (usually feel good stuff instead of some of the more barbaric genocidal scenes that can be found in there too) and go home thinking their job is complete. You’d think if you’re basing your entire life around some philosophy or religion, you’d know it inside out and backwards, but this is rarely the case.
Now I ain't judging, I'm just saying quit putting on a fake look
Cause there's a problem if people only know you're a Christian by your Facebook
I mean in every other aspect of life, you know that logic's unworthy
It's like saying you play for the Lakers just because you bought a jersey
You see this was me too, but no one seemed to be on to me
Acting like a church kid, while addicted to pornography
See on Sunday I'd go to church, but Saturday getting faded
Acting if I was simply created just to have sex and get wasted
See I spent my whole life building this facade of neatness
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness
Mr. Bethke up to this point has made some pretty good observations. He’s still not answered HOW Jesus and religion are different though.
Come on, man! Give us the goods.
I also take exception with him saying ‘logic is unworthy’. Does he mean we should just walk around being illogical as much as possible? I think logical is preferential to illogical no matter how you cut it. And ‘no one was on to you’ because they’re probably the same as you and doing the same things you are.
Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean
It's not a museum for good people, it's a hospital for the broken
Which means I don't have to hide my failure, I don't have to hide my sin
Because it doesn't depend on me it depends on him
Okay, if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean thing is way overboard. I mean, your entire premise is that Jesus is different than the church and you’ve condemned the church so why would you expect it to be an ocean of anything besides greed?
And of course you don’t have to hide your failure. You’re a human and we’re prone to failure. But don’t Christians believe that if they believe hard enough, they’re sins are washed away?
And it does depend on you according to your own theology! You have to believe that Jesus died for your sins with no proof whatsoever besides your Holy Book. If you don’t, then you’re sent to an unpleasant place called Hell forever. It very much depends on you.
See because when I was God's enemy and certainly not a fan
He looked down and said I want, that, man
Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools
Don't you see so much better than just following some rules
Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the bible, and yes I believe in sin
But if Jesus came to your church would they actually let him in
See remember he was called a glutton, and a drunkard by religious men
But the son of God never supports self-righteousness not now, not then
Wow. Here’s where he seriously contradicts himself all over the place.
He loves the church, he loves the Bible and he believes in sin – how the hell is this NOT religion!? Isn’t that an accurate description of what religion is?
Come on Mr. Bethke, you can’t take what you just said seriously…can you?
And if Jesus hated religion, than why the hell do you profess to love the church? If Jesus hated it, that should be enough reason (by your own admission) to stay as far away from the church as humanly possible.
Not only was he supposedly called a drunkard and a glutton, they hung him on some sticks for blasphemy. No wonder Jesus disliked the church. I’d dislike any organization (group of people or person) that hung me from some sticks too.
No. This entire verse doesn’t make sense.
Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention
How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrum
See one's the work of God, but one's a man-made invention
See one is the cure, but the other's the infection
See because religion says do, Jesus says done
Religion says slave, Jesus says son
Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free
Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see
And that's why religion and Jesus are two different clans
Yes, by all means, get back to the point. You’ve still failed miserably to explain how Jesus is any different than the religion that you simultaneously say you hate and love. Please, explain.
Jesus isn’t on the opposite spectrum of religion. He is the bloody spectrum. The guy had twelve apostles that followed him around to spread his word. That’s religion!
The only thing right here in my opinion is that religion does indeed put you in bondage. But in the case of Christians, that wouldn’t be possible without freaking Jesus to begin with. Did he not know that he was going to be used to build opulent palaces called churches?
Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man
Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own
Not based on my merits but Jesus's obedience alone
Because he took the crown of thorns, and the blood dripped down his face
He took what we all deserved, I guess that's why you call it grace
And while being murdered he yelled
"Father forgive them they know not what they do."
Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you
And he absorbed all of your sin, and buried it in the tomb
Which is why I'm kneeling at the cross, saying come on there's room
So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it
Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it
So we end this beat poem without ever figuring out how or why Jesus is any different than religion. The equation is left unanswered.
Mr. Bethke, your supposed salvation does rest on your merits. Again, if you don’t believe, then you are according to Christian doctrine, going to Hell. If it doesn’t rest on you to believe, then who does it rest on? God?
If it rests on God, then you have no free will. You’re just a robot and God chooses to save some and not others and we have no say in the matter.
I very much doubt that a guy who has been hung on some sticks with nails driven through his feet and hands to die a horrible, painful death was thinking of me personally. I hadn’t been born yet and I didn’t ask for him to sacrifice himself for me. Feel free to take back your sacrifice on my behalf. Your Heavenly Father might need a scapegoat to forgive my sins 2000 years after your death, but I don’t want any part of such barbarity.
And last but not least, if you’re kneeling at a cross, you’re breaking the whole idolatry thing. You might want to stop that.