By now, you’ve probably seen that “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” video. I’m not going to link to it, but I will describe it: basically, through the magic of good video editing, a young, good-looking Evangelical pontificates in verse near a neat location about why religion is terrible, but Jesus is just great. Basically, he’s just getting “real” about religion. If you haven’t seen it, that’s pretty much all you need to know. But, do watch it if you want to be insulted in substandard poetry with predictable rhymes; I assure you, he breaks no new ground.
I know that my readers are intelligent enough to spot a false dichotomy when they hear it (especially when it is performed in bad verse) so I won’t point it out. I also won’t point out that his desire of a “religion”-less Christianity is still a religion. Nor will I point out the fact that he unknowingly steals a quote from one of the former Archbishops of Canterbury, because he’s not aware that the only things the Archbishops of Canterbury love more than “religion” are sherry and unmanicured eyebrows.
Anyway, this young, good-looking Evangelical (aren’t they always in these sorts of things?) gives a slight reference in the video to how he was freed from his addiction to pornography. And, if you watch some of his other videos, he actually gives his testimony in fuller detail. So, in response to his testimony and his “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” video, I only have to say: “Praise the Lord! God delivered you from pornography, but you’re still an asshole!”
Now, yes, “religion” has a bad history of wars and crusades. My entire “religion” was founded because a certain King had some problems in the bedroom; my “religion” likes to treat their Saints with abuse and imprisonment, only to canonize them hundreds of years later (“Sorry ’bout that, Joan of Arc!”). My “religion” has a hard time paying their bills, even though we’re the second wealthiest denomination in America! Yes, there is plenty wrong in “religion”.
But, I’m convinced more and more that being a Christian is nine-tenths putting up with the asshole sitting next to you, and one-tenth singing/tithing/being-an-abstinent-obstinate. Or, as St. Augustine once put it much better, “The Church is a whore, but she’s my mother.” And, yes, I love this “religion”; I love the whorish Church because Our Lord Jesus Christ loves her and entrusted his sacraments to her. And, if Jesus Christ loves all the little assholes of the world, so, too, must I — even the one in the pew next to me.
So, I wonder, sir — and all of you who proudly say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious” — do you feel this way because you hate “religion” or because you love weakly? As St. John once wrote,
Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.
Oh yes, it is easy to love God when you’re being “spiritual” there all by yourselves, you deep contemplators of eternity, wandering alone above the mists! You love Jesus whom you haven’t seen, but hate “religion” (or, the Church) whom you have! You have a weak love because your “spirituality” doesn’t require you suffer in community with all those false-religion-practicing, hypocritical assholes, like myself. I say your “spirituality” is weak, so get off your damn high horse of pandering, poetic prophecy and grab a seat in the pew with the rest of us assholes. I promise I’ll even share my hymnal with you.
But, I really don’t worry about him, because when his anger against “religion” burns out in a few years, he’ll either end up as an Atheist or a Unitarian, slightly embarrassed that he was once so passionately angry, so full of hate. His disembodied love of Jesus can make some cool internet videos, but will probably not be enough to sustain a life of discipleship. But, he always could continue as a crusader against “religion” — who knows what the future holds?
The good news is that the Second Coming will put him in his place.
. . . and by his place, of course, I mean that God will probably have him sitting next to me at the Supper of the Lamb. But, by then, we’ll both be perfect and we won’t care that he once posted a ridiculous video that said he detested the vast majority of his brothers and sisters who clung to “religion”. We won’t care that he wrote some truly awful poetry that said he detested the faith of the other 98% of people in heaven.
In fact, we all might even have a good laugh about it. But, until that glorious day, why don’t you stop being an asshole.