The Phat Father on Jesus & Religion

January 21, 2012

At present, the video Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus by Jeff Bethke is closing in on 16 million views on Youtube.

There have been numerous video responses, but this one by Fr. Pontifex is one of the better ones:

HT: Ryan Mahoney

It’s worth noting that, following this critique by Kevin DeYoung, Bethke now seems to agree that some of his “words and delivery were chosen poorly”. In the immortal words of Ali G, “Respect.”


  1. I have to be honest, I don’t like either.

    I have had multiple people forward the original clip to me, varying from liberal to conservative, all claiming their love for it. It is funny to observe this, as they each hold completely differing views in their theologies all the while holding to the idea that, “the others”, are “the religious”. People who I would observe(right or wrong) as being very fundamentally conservative, living by a rigid theology, viewing themselves as “the non-religious”.

    The first time I watched the original, I couldn’t pin down what it was that I didn’t like, but as I continued, it soon became clear. I felt like I was back in church, sitting in an evangelical service listening to the typical message. I felt literally sick to my stomach watching this. It felt overtly Evangelical, even with it’s attempts not to be. While I understand where both creators of these clips are coming from, I feel that this will become, if it has not already, a battle of opinions(not just of their own but also everyone else’s) rather than us capturing the undercurrent of the message they so desired to get across from the beginning.

    • Philip, thanks for your input. I agree that there is a real irony in the fact that many people who celebrated Bethke’s video would fall into the category of “religious” by any reasonable definition. What I like about the Fr. Pontifex video is that it helps to correct the false dichotomy in Bethke’s video. Jesus did not come to abolish religion. He was himself a religious man who observed religious traditions and even instituted new ones for his followers.
      And most importantly, to quote Pontifex, “That Jesus said, ‘It is done,’ is absolutely true. But he also gave us a mission with many things to do.” And his chosen vehicle for that mission was his church. I think that any honest appraisal of the New Testament would lead to the conclusion, “You can’t have Christ without his Church. You can’t have the King without his Kingdom.”

  2. This is the first video response to “Why I hate religion” that I didn’t hate more than the original. (Though for some reason, images of the pope trying on Bono’s sunglasses are coming to mind.)

    “You can’t have Christ without his church; you can’t have the King without is kingdom” — easily the best line of the video.

    I guess for me, the problem w/the original is that it seems to lead to an individualistic gospel. Both Peter and Paul allude to God’s people being like a temple — and the fact that it’s primarily as a community, not as individuals, that we can picture ourselves as God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3, 1 Peter 2).

  3. There is no doubt that you can’t have a King without His kingdom, but this raises the question: Who belongs to that kingdom? Is the church of the priest who made this video? Is it the church of Jeff Bethke? Is it the church of Kevin DeYoung? Is it all of them? Is it none of them? Is it some of them?

    What if Jesus being the King means that He’s Lord of all? That would mean we’re all part of His kingdom – churched and otherwise. Then your “individualistic gospel” is the true gospel, for we are already in community and the only challenge is to obey the King even if the people around you aren’t.

  4. […] poetry, this time from a guy who Mark Driscoll would accuse of wearing a “dress.” (Thanks to Cognitive Discopants for […]

  5. Religion doesn’t save people. Jesus does. End of discussion.

  6. When Jesus said, ‘it is finished’,
    He did not at all envisage;
    the sacramental system,
    and the works of merit tradition.

    The Roman Catholic position,
    obscures the true church’s mission;
    it enslaves the Biblically illiterate,
    with a works salvation system.

    I hope this is not obfuscation,
    But a truer explication.

  7. […] poetry, this time from a guy who Mark Driscoll would accuse of wearing a “dress.” (Thanks to Cognitive Discopants for […]

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