This is a line-by-line evaluation of the viral video, “I Hate Religion but Love Jesus.”
Though this young man may have had good intentions, he did not square what he wrote and performed with Scripture. He did not consider the definition of religion and lumped true religion in with false religions. Worse yet, he took the criticisms of the world against the church and validated them ad hoc.
He makes no allowances for mans’ fallen condition and makes no allowance that even true believers will wrestle with sin. Denying his own hypocrisy, he exposes it and gives the impression he believes himself to be wiser than those who have gone to church before him. There is little to commend in the lyrics and part of it is evil – good intentions cannot overcome bad doctrine.
What this young man did is catchy and this caters to those who “feel” about their faith – rather than abide in Christ. Rather than defend the truth – and encouraging others to do the same – he has missed it severely. To follow Jesus Christ with all our heart, soul and mind is religion – pure and simple.
Lines are unmarked. They are by the author, unchanged and uncorrected. Comments are in brackets [ ]:
What if I told you, Jesus came to abolish religion?
[Jesus did not come to abolish religion. He said not one dot of the "i" or cross of the "t" will be done away with (Mat 5:18). The Bible tells us Christ came to save sinners; to seek and save the lost; to do the Father's will and speak the words of the Father. Never once do the Scriptures even imply, let alone state, Christ came to abolish religion. So, if you told me Jesus came to abolish religion, you would be lying.]
What if I told you getting you to vote republican, really wasn’t his mission?
[Why would you tell me this? Which Christian ever claimed this? And why is political affiliation the first subject about religion, in this context? It is interesting he targets Republican, which appears to be his purpose. The majority of the Democratic Party also claim to be Christian and the Christian left forcefully urges the government to be the savior of the oppressed. By discrediting the right, did the writer imply the left was accomplishing Christ's mission? - that the state is the fulfillment of Christ's mission?]
Because republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian,
And just because you call some people blind, doesn’t automatically give you vision.
[First line: True, but again, who even makes the claim? As for the second line, is the writer claiming those who stand for Biblical principles and call for a return to God in the political arena are calling others blind, or being judgmental? Granted, some people come across judgmental but do we lump all who hold to this message as being in error, or hypocritical, for the sake of the few with poor attitudes? And, on the other hand, is the intolerant right more hypocritical than the intolerant left? And why does this have anything to do with religion, in this context? Implicitly, this young man is calling those who stand for truth to be blind and he tells them, as the lyrics progress, he has the vision. He is what he has judged.]
If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
[Total inaccurate view of history: the implication is majority and the charge is initiation. That many wars were joined by those who viewed their mission as an obligation toward God - whether misguided or not, the fact is, these wars were not a majority and often they were begun by opposing nations. Furthermore, there is good Biblical basis that all wars come from God. And as long as there is evil in the world, there will be wars. So, are we now justified to discredit God for originating and directing all these wars? If the religious are guilty, is God more guilty?]
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?
[So what does it matter if a church is large or elaborate? Who are you to judge whether these buildings are erected for the glory of God or not? This is God's business. Did Christ condemn Herod's Temple? Doesn't the Bible praise Solomon's Temple? Nonetheless, most these same churches that have beautiful buildings are also feeding the poor. To make his point, the young man judges and defames those who are doing good works for the sake of the few that don't.]
Tells single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever been divorced
[That some who are religious are legalistic is no cause to discredit all who are religious and especially not those who are truly religious. Furthermore, finding those guilty of this line are fewer in our day than in days gone by. This is more of a straw man than a popular practice.]
Yet God in the Old Testament actually calls the religious people whores
[False. That some of the people accused may be religious does not imply God accused all who were religious. The accusation of whores was not due to being religious but was due to the accused's efforts to please man rather than God, or glorify themselves rather than God. You could say this is the same sin this young man is guilty of because little in these lyrics lines up with Scripture and, thus, cannot please or glorify God. It can only glorify himself and increase his own fame.]
Religion preaches grace, but another thing they practice,
[What religion preaches grace besides the Christian religion? Thus the writer lumps Christianity into the religion pool. And once again, that some are legalistic, he discredits all. That most of the religious are not Christian is ignored because it does not help him make his case.]
Tend to ridicule Gods people, they did it to John the Baptist,
[False religions will ridicule God's people but so does this young man in the lines of this poem, or rap.]
Cant fix their problems, so they try to mask it,
Not realizing that’s just like sprayin perfume on a casket
[This is true for all human nature - not just the religious are guilty of this. However, those who practice true religion are free from this because they understand though they wrestle with their human nature, as Paul describes in Romans chapter seven, there is no condemnation because of the work of Christ Jesus, as described in Romans chapter eight.]
Because the problem with religion is that it never gets to the core,
It’s just behavior modification, like a long list of chores.
Let’s dress up the outside, make things look nice and neat,
Its funny that’s what they do to mummies, while the corpse rots underneath,
[This is true for false religions. True religion abides in the core - Jesus Christ.]
Now I ain’t judging I’m just saying be careful of putting on a fake look,
Because there’s a problem if people only know that you’re a Christian by that little section on your facebook
[This is a good admonition for true believers. Jesus said if you are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of you. But this is a mute issue to anyone else, regardless of religion. And, once again, he lumps Christians in with the religious. So, I am wondering, when later in the lyrics he claims to love Jesus, is he NOT a Christian? Has this young man risen above Christianity?]
In every other aspect of life you know that logics unworthy
Its like saying you play for the lakers just because you bought a jersey
[The first line does not make sense. To say using logic is like mixing apples and oranges (Lakers and jerseys) does not make sense. However, this young man has mixed apples and oranges in confusing all religion with true religion and lumping Christianity in with bad religion.]
But see I played this game too; no one seemed to be on to me,
I was acting like church kid, while addicted to pornography.
I’d go to church on Sunday, but on saturday getting faded,
Acting as if I was simply created to have sex and get wasted.
Spend my whole life putting on this façade of neatness,
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness.
[Good confession and it is true that many, even those who practice true religion wrestle with sin. Paul describes this in Romans chapter seven and in the next chapter he tells us how we overcome it.]
If grace is water, then the church should be an ocean,
[Bad mantra. The church is not the source of grace. God is and Paul describes this in Romans chapter eight, among other Scriptures.]
Cuz its not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken
[This is another popular mantra and it helps promote victimhood mentality as opposed to accountability to abide in Christ. The Bible never describes the church this way. The church is described as a fellowship of believers who worship God and encourage each other. And in the bigger picture, the church is the bride of Christ. does Christ come to the hospital to marry His bride?]
I no longer have to hide my failures I don’t have to hide my sin,
Because my salvation doesn’t depend on me, it depends on him.
[The second line is true, however the first line is vague. Many profess to be Christian and live openly in sin. This line seems to allow this but Jesus said, "Go and sin no more."]
because when I was Gods enemy and certainly not a fan,
God looked down on me and said, “I want that man!”
[This is true. Jesus said no man comes to Him unless the Father draws Him. He also said, "You did not chose Me but I chose you" (Joh 6:44; 15:16).]
Which is so different from religious people, and why Jesus called em fools
[This is confusing. Is he saying religious people were not enemies of God, and if so, why would Jesus call them 'fools'? Or, is he saying God did not look down on the religious and draw them to Him? If the second is true, and we are using this young man's definition of religious here, what about the Apostle Paul and other Jewish leaders who truly received Jesus Christ? This young man does not understand what the Bible tells us about religion, nor does he understand the plain definition of the word - and the mess gets worse as the song rolls on.]
Don’t you see hes so much better than just following some rules?
[This is true according to his definition of religion. Nonetheless, the Bible is clear, you cannot follow Christ without adhering to a basic set of rules: believe He was sent by the Father to die for your sins and give eternal life; abide in Christ and sin no more; love God with all your heart, soul and mind; love your neighbor as yourself; love one another and do not forsake the assembly; take up your cross and follow Me, etc. Remember, Jesus said, "My yoke is easy" but it is a yoke, nonetheless.]
Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the bible, and I believe in sin
[He has spent many lines denigrating what he claims to love, namely, the church. He has demonstrated his willingness to ignore the Bible to make his case against religion. Thus, it is not far-fetched he believes in sin.]
But my question, is if Jesus were here today, would your church let Him in?
[Good question. Given that most professing Christians are not and thus most, or at least many, churches are in the control of worldly men. It is no wonder the popularity of churches and church leaders who denigrate the Word. There is an easy way to determine which churches would listen to Christ and which would not: Those who receive the Word of God in toto will; those who deny the authority and power of the Scriptures will not.]
Remember He was called a drunkard and a glutton by “religious men”
[He was called a drunkard and glutton by Jewish leaders, who were religious. But their religion was practiced to please man, not God. This young man has set up the straw man whereby he can condemn all religious men even though not all religious men agreed with the assessment of the Jewish leaders.]
The Son of God not supported self-righteousness, not now, not then.
[True. Christ condemned self-righteousness and pride.]
Now back to the topic, one thing I think is vital to mention,
How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums,
[Over and over, Christ admonishes us to abide in Him (John 15, et al). This is true religion - God, as revealed in Scripture, is our object of worship and we live to please Him and glorify Him with all our heart and soul and mind. When Christ pointed the way to true religion, how can He be on the opposite side of it?]
One is the work of God one is a man made invention,
One is the cure and one is the infection.
[It is true false religions were created by man and sometimes by demons. However, true religion is the work of God. God has declared He is a jealous God and we are to worship no one else but Him (Exo 20:5, et al). To claim this is an invention of man is blasphemous.]
Because Religion says do, Jesus says done.
[Most false religions are built upon mans' work and requirements for his salvation. When Jesus said, "It is finished," He was talking about the payment for our sin. While we are saved by grace, Jesus still commands us to do: abide in Me, follow My commands and while the New Testament makes clear the true believer is Christ's slave, Jesus assures him His yoke is easy and burden is light. James tells us to be doers of the Word. Certainly, we know we are not saved by anything we do (Eph 2:8-9) but the Bible makes clear we must still do (Eph 2:10) - this is our religion: abiding in Christ and glorifying God in every area of our lives.]
Religion says slave, Jesus says son,
Religion puts you in shackles but Jesus sets you free.
[Jesus said all who sin are a slave to sin (Joh 8:34). Paul affirms this in Romans chapter seven, et all, and tells us we are slaves to sin or we are slaves to God's law. - yes, the Bible still affirms our obligation to God's law. The New Testament has many references to our status as slaves of Christ and, as mentioned above, Christ tells us His yoke is easy and burden is light (Mat 11:30). If we truly believe, Christ sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2; Heb 9:15) and for us He fulfilled the requirements of the law (Gal 5:1). Now we are free to live a life of obedience in reverent worship of our Lord and Savior (Rom 12:1-2).]
Religion makes you blind, but Jesus lets you see.
[If our religion is in Christ, then we will see (Joh 9:35-39). Without true religion, we cannot see.]
This is what makes religion and Jesus two different clans,
Religion is man searching for God, but Christianity is God searching for man.
[First, we already established the Bible teaches true religion. Christ cannot be opposite of this. Second, the Bible tells us no one seeks after God (Isa 64:6; Rom 3:11). Therefore, false religion is man rejecting God - not seeking Him - by substituting His worship. It is true, as mentioned above, God draws man and not the other way around,]
Which is why salvation is freely mine, forgiveness is my own,
Not based on my efforts, but Christ’s obedience alone.
Because he took the crown of thorns, and blood that dripped down his face
He took what we all deserved, that’s why we call it grace.
While being murdered he yelled “father forgive them, they know not what they do”,
Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you
He paid for all your sin, and then buried it in the tomb,
Which is why im kneeling at the cross now saying come on there’s room
[Aside from a few journalistic liberties, these lines are true and mostly sound.]
So know I hate religion, in fact I literally resent it,
[Religion is the object of our worship (Act 17:22). Our religion is manifest in whom or what we honor and obey - who we glorify with our lives. If we abide in Christ, we are practicing true religion - anything else is false.]
Because when Jesus cried It is finished, I believe He meant it.
[When Christ cried, "It is finished," Hw was stating the payment for sin was complete. Our obligation to live in obedience to Him had just begun.]
So this young man hates religion – he has spent the entire poem on it. He has lumped in true religion, condemning it and has even denigrated Christianity. The second line from the end, he reveals his resentment. This is probably the key to this video going viral: there is a generation of bitter young Christians who resent the hypocrisy they watched growing up.
This generation does not realize hypocrisy is a human condition. And, like the legalists whom they condemn, they have no grace to see their brother through the eyes of Christ. The problem stems from the way we have raised a generation of Christians to assess the world around them by how they feel – not by critical comparison to the Word of God.
They do not understand we are in a war – much like the generation before them, they want their life to be comfortable. Because their faith is based upon feeling, they validate the deceptive complaints of the enemy. And, while claiming to love the General, they gun down all His soldiers.
This is the fruit of teaching a generation of Christians to love Jesus but failing to teach them how to abide in Him.
I hope this has been helpful.