When this deeply misguided young man grows up to be a mature Christian, he will be embarrassed by his “Why I Hate Religion”video

January 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Since a number of folks have asked my opinion of the new “Why I Hate Religion” video, here it is:

The video is a jumbled mish-mash of biblical error and fashionable non-denominational Protestant jargon. No substance. No coherence. Zero credibility. When I watched it, my heart went out to that zealous but woefully misguided young man, Jefferson Bethke. When he grows up and becomes a mature Christian (please God he will), his embarrassment for having mouthed such cant will be acute.

For those who want actual truth on the subject of “religion,” I’d suggest starting with Fr. Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” Project.

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19 Responses to “When this deeply misguided young man grows up to be a mature Christian, he will be embarrassed by his “Why I Hate Religion”video”
  1. MissJean says:

    My take on it is that Mr. Madrid is exactly right in calling it “non-denominational” jargon. For most of this last year, I was intrigued by Christians down-talking churches on Christian radio and online – I was going to point out NotReligion but that site is now defunct and tracking to a Bible-reading course. Sometimes they were doing exactly as you said, Meri: encouraging Christians not to think that attending church services was all there is. But a lot of times they were using the word “religion” as if it were a putdown; e.g. “It’s just religion.”

    Here’s the rub: Behind every takedowns of “just religion” as in traditional churches, like Methodist, there’s usually a group of people looking for someone to join their own movement. (I was going to include a link to notreligion.com, but I see they’ve shut down and are now linking to a Bible study program site.) You might get the Methodist to leave his traditional church, but what are you offering him – another church, the same religion of Christianity. It’s a terrible witness, really.

    I’ve gone to services in an up-and-coming church that has worship services with a lot of singing and individual witnessing. It shocked me when some of the young people leaving “religion” and following Jesus, as if the two were mutually exclusive. It was also ironic, since their nondenominational church had instituted many of the same traditions as other “just religious” institutions, like mission trips to foreign countries and asking for donations of money and food to support various charitable acts. But they’d gotten it in their head that church=good/religion=bad.

    • Deb says:

      not true at all…you didn’t really listen to what he was saying…he was talking FALSE RELIGION! You can go to church all you want and NOT be a
      true Christian, or, in other words, a follower of Christ.

      • MissJean says:

        Yes, I did listen – which is why I wrote about it being a very common message. Hence my writig “encouraging Christians not to think that attending church services was all there is.”

        Maybe you found my examples confusing. If so, I apologize for my lack of English skills. It is my concern that people switch churches for the live band, the mission trips, the charismatic founder but those are not what makes a church Christian.

        Does that make more sense to you?

        • MissJean says:

          Ah, and I should restate perhaps more clearly:

          I have heard young people who go to new churches trash-talk “religion” like Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran churches because they have histories and traditions. The re-kindling of their relationship with Jesus is good, but they don’t see that using the word “religion” in a derogatory manner is a terrible witness to the world. Many atheists use “Religion” as a boogyman and a synonmym for stupidity.

          Do you understand now? If not, I will ask my friend to type for me in English. :)

  2. Hugh Beaumont says:

    There was nothing new about this idea. It’s very “John Lennon”. And Lennon was very Voltaire. But it’s appealing. No religion; no rules. No rules; no sin. No sin; no guilt. So you’re left with, “Jesus is love. It’s OK.” It’s enough to make you teary eyed. But it’s false. Jesus said that some hear His voice and some don’t. Will Jefferson Bethke? I don’t know, but don’t kid yourself; he knows the deal.

  3. Meri says:

    I was referred here by a catholic man who saw the video. Sadly, I get the idea that even the priest who rapped to the gregorian chant doesn’t understand he was not talking about the Roman Catholic church. Any evangelical knows he was talking about growing up as a fake Christian in an evangelical environment and thinking if he did the right thing on Sunday that was good enough. He reallzed all his “rightness” didn’t cancel out his sins, and he rejected “religion” (and he specifically says he loves the “church and prayer and Bible”) but he means the act of using any church to mask a belief that is not from the heart.

    It is a lot easier to criticize people than to say something on your own. Sadly, if he is a new Christian, his first wounds came from others who follow the Lord but misunderstood him. When will we stop shooting our own?

    • Deb says:

      I agree with you on this.

    • Christopher says:

      Meri,

      Here is the problem with this video. You may have taken it the way you did. Some have taken it the way they did. The point in the matter and this also proves the point of all misguided souls today, people interpret things incorrectly because of how it is learned and by saying things in an incorrect way. That is the reason why there are so many 1000′s of different Protestant Denominations and only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Things are said in a way that leads souls incorrectly as this young gentleman did if he said it the way you think he said it. If he was saying it the way you thought, then why didn’t he make himself truly clear? He said things that could lead anyone in a different direction. He has given some false doctrine and that is very evident and that alone shows that he lacks the ability and know how to say what he needs to say. I’m sorry, but he just persecuted Jesus in his little video and what Jesus stood for!

      Chris

  4. Roberto says:

    Moreover, when one sees a mish-mash of errors, misconceptions and unreflected regurgitation, how should one describe it? Should one say it is intelligent and profound when it isn’t? Please…

  5. Roberto says:

    Jen: Please read again, carefully, what you wrote. Do you really think that there is no separation among Christians? That there is no difference in the intellectual and theological traditions of Catholics and Protestants? That a lot of misguided opinions about Catholics among atheists is based on wrong Protestant concepts that are foreign to the Catholic Church? Do you think that seeking Christian unity includes accepting all theological opinions as valid? If so, where in the Catholic teaching did you get such ideas?
    That we are all Christians, I think we all agree, as well as the fact that God loves all of us, including atheists. But when it comes to theological concepts, there is a difference, a big one!

  6. Anil Wang says:

    The problem is, he’s more likely to become agnostic than become mature. Jesus said, seek and ye shall find, but since he doesn’t think there is any answers, he won’t seek and thus will not find without outside influence.

    I speak from experience as someone who was taught a liberal/Arian version of Catholicism and left the faith in grade school since it seemed less inspired than Platonic/Stoic/Confucian Philosophy. Since I “knew” Christianity didn’t have any answers, I never bothered to check if what I “knew” was actually true, so settled into what I “knew” was good enough. I would not have bothered to investigate Christianity ever again if I didn’t marry a Christian.

  7. Jen Kubik says:

    P.S. I am a practicing Catholic.

  8. Jen Kubik says:

    Patrick Madrid’s response is proving true the claims made in the “Why I Hate Religion” video. His first mistake is calling out “non-denominational Protestant jargon” which creates a ‘holier than thou’ mentality. This response is the hypocritical message that the video preaches. Catholics and Protestants are ALL Christians. There is no separation. Christ is in the center of both Catholics and Protestants. Madrid is making it sound like Catholics are better than Protestants and in that claim he is entirely in err. Making generalizations only lead to further tensions between religions. Where was Madrid when the Holy Father asked us to strive towards Christian unity? Yes, there are differences between Catholic teaching and different Protestant teachings, but that in no way gives him the right to generalize and create stereotypes between different belief systems. God loves saints and sinners, slaves and freedmen, males and females, Catholics and Protestants. Perhaps, EWTN should reconsider their spokesperson if he is going to be so bigoted.

  9. Javier says:

    Excellent video response by a priest…..http://vimeo.com/35046708

  10. BillyHW says:

    Watching Bethke’s video makes me cringe.

    Nothing is less hip than trying to be hip. And whenever someone says they “are not judging, but…”, get ready for some judging. I’ve never seen a more self-righteous condemnation of self-righteousness.

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