Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jesus Hates Deep Fried Snickers

Photo from
Apparently there's been a popular video on YouTube, saying Jesus hates religion. It's not hard to see this guy is reading what he wants into the Bible. It's really a common problem. People latch onto a small collection of verses, and harden themselves against the rest of the scriptures instead of openly listening to the entirety of what Jesus says, and what the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostles. I've done it myself. The link above also contains a rebuttal by a priest.

I did address the religion vs. relationship issue, and addressed how the marriage-like relationship we are meant to have with Christ is expressed in our religious beliefs and practices.

Let me just examine this topic briefly from another angle, and hopefully show just how off base any claim "Jesus hates Religion" must be. Now there is an extent to which "religion" is quite hard to define, and part of the problem here is probably that the man opposed to religion means something a little different when he says the word, and because of this, I might be defending something different from what is attacking. Let's try then to at least get a sense of the word, even if we cannot define it exactly. According to Peter Kreeft, in the Handbook of Christian Apologetics, religion is hard to define, but each religion has three characteristics: "creed, code and cult," or, "beliefs, morality, and liturgy," or "words, works, and worship." Does Jesus place himself against any of these three characteristics, the defining aspects of religion? Simply, no. In fact Jesus preaches all three (And to be clear, we're using the classical definition of "cult" not the modern definition, so don't freak out on me).

Jesus gave us the root of our beliefs, his identity as God become man. If we reject the beliefs of religion we must obviously reject the scriptures in which those beliefs are grounded. Imagine if Jesus did reject beliefs. How can we begin to have a relationship with Christ without being able to even form an element of an idea of him within our mind, since that would constitute a belief, and Jesus banned belief?

Jesus consistently taught morality. He did not attack the Pharisees for "religion" but for immorality and related hypocrisy. He consistently forgave sins of the outcasts, but he also consistently exhorted, "sin no more." And he clearly taught obedience to the Commandments. It is clear then that Jesus gave us both beliefs and a code.

Then is worship the one problem? Off the bat this sounds unlikely. Can our method of worship be so outlandishly cumbersome that it is somehow standing in opposition to relationship with Christ? But that hardly matters as to the point, since we should find that Jesus has an opposition to all forms of worship, or else it will turn out he is opposed to none of the three aspects of religion. But, we quickly see that Jesus in fact teaches methods of worship! He sets the example of baptism, and the Bible teaches us to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Jesus institutes Communion, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Jesus teaches how to pray with the Lord's Prayer.

We see Jesus building upon and establishing a set of beliefs, upholding and elaborating upon the code of the Ten Commandments, and giving the Church its sacraments as the fulfillment of Old Testament worship.

One final thing. Who gave Moses the Ten Commandments? Who gave us Leviticus, with its collection of code and cult? Who told Solomon to build a glorious temple full of marble and gold and beautiful imagery? Come on, who inspired the Scriptures in general, which are chock full of beliefs, morality, and liturgy? God, the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! I can't imagine Jesus hating something he himself inspired.

Get serious. Tell me Jesus wants a relationship. Tell me Jesus hates hypocrisy. Tell me Jesus hates sin. Tell me Jesus isn't happy if we give him an hour a week, but shut him out of the rest of our lives. I'll agree to all that. Heck, tell me Jesus hates deep fried snickers. But don't tell me Jesus hates religion.

1 comment:

Nathan Cushman said...

I just watched a great video by Fr. Barron on this same topic. Find that at