January 20, 2012

Why I Love Religion

So this guy posted a spoken work piece on the topic of ‘hating religion but loving Jesus’ that has been fairly popular on the interwebs. Here is a link to it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY.

It is a symbol of everything that I find weak and shallow in American evangelical movement. In fact the amazing atheist points out its many shortcomings in his follow up video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBo7Z_abiLE&feature=related (a warning for his explicit language).

But the purpose of this post is to highlight another video response by a Catholic priest who offers up his own spoken word version of why religion, though broken as it is, has value for the followers of Christ. Plus how often do you get to hear a priest kindof sortof rap. Enjoy.


Heath said...

I love the priest's video, but I am curious what you mean by this 'American evangelical movement'? Word meanings tend to change throughout time. All the original video was trying to get at is that it is not works that save but faith - something I didn't hear until 2 years ago. What exactly do you mean by weak and shallow?

Jacob Haynes said...

My brother,

Thanks for taking the time to inquire on my meanings. I warn you that in order to even begin to explain myself I am going to need a lot of words (which is why I didn’t expound on them in the first place). Sorry for the length but it takes what it takes (and I could have written a whole lot more).

To begin I do not doubt this guy’s good heart or intentions. He is just repeating the current phases and metaphors that are making their way through American Christianity. When I say the ‘American evangelical movement’ I am broadly lumping together the churches in America that are protestant, conservative, and practice a ‘low church’ approach to living out their faith. There are many things this group gets right but I am coming to see that there are real problems in how they express their faith. And many of the problems stem from them not being entirely wrong per say – but not seeking a mature and strong foundation for their beliefs (hence the weak and shallow comment). That you grew up in the church and didn’t hear that Christianity is faith not works based until 2 years ago, shows that there is a serious problem in how evangelicals go about maturing their disciples.

Onto the actual video. Word meaning does change over time but there is a difference between natural linguistic evolution and forcing a new definition atop a word. The term ‘Religion’ has not changed so much as to only describe the works based aspects of Christianity. Evangelicals are trying to force that definition onto it.

They are doing this because it is an easy way to distinguish themselves from both works based Christianity and all other religions at the same time. In our culture we receive much contact with other faiths and amidst this multi-faith landscape there has been a growing need to set ourselves apart. “No we are not like Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or Atheists and this is why…”

However redefining religion to provide this distinction is problematic for many reasons. First it is forcing a definition meaning it is at best not entirely accurate and at worst absurd. Second it gives no subtlety to how Christianity actually interacts with the various other worldviews. Christianity’s strength compared to say Hinduism has different nuances than how it compares to Judaism or Atheism. Third (and most importantly) it throws the baby out with the bathwater. In distancing itself from religion it pushes away baptism, the Lord ’s Supper, prayer, corporate worship, the gathering of believers, etc. It might not mean to do this but this is the natural outflowing of discarding ‘religion’. There are religious practices woven into what it means to be a believer – Christ came to redeem religion not abolish it.

Heath said...

Thanks for the lengthy response. I wish there was some kind of translator that would translate the big words to small words for me.

I agree, maybe forcing a definition shouldn't be the way. However, what I see with guys like this as well as many others popping up in this country parallels with Moses and Joshua. When one generation is not willing to fight all the battles, when they want to go back to Egypt, or back to bondage, God makes them useless, and waits for a new generation that is willing to go on.

I hope with men like this guy, as well as others that this is what God is doing. I hope that you are able to see God at work, and maybe where others start rising up with variance from Bible doctrine, encouraging them like Priscilla and Aquila did Apollos (Acts 18).

Really, I understand your point, but if God is at work, and He is, then lets be a part of the action, and not just bystanders, where thinking rules and action doesn't.