Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus – A YouTube Phenomenon

by Christine Sine

This video that was posted just a week ago on Youtube has taken the world by storm with over 15 million viewings in just over a week. It certainly made me think and has obviously made others think too. I found the responses that I looked at as thought provoking as the original video and have chosen some of those I thought the most interesting, especially as they made me grapple with the video from diverse perspectives.

It has also provoked a number of responses from a variety of viewpoints. Here are some of the responses that I thought were the best or the most challenging at least.

This from a catholic perspective:

And here is a very compelling response from a Muslim

This a rather angry response from someone who does not seem to be too sure what he believes

So what do you think?


Ron Amundson January 20, 2012 - 4:16 pm

I thought it was really cool, but I think a number of folks placed themselves into a demographic of which it really doesn’t app;y.. Ie folks who believe he is bashing the church, and other who get hung up on the religion/relationship semantics are outside the scope of its intended audience… at least that’s my best guess.

There is nothing earth shattering in the content, Paul came down on legalism and hypocrisy, Pope Innocent 1 came done on it, the reformers came down on it… and a vast majority of pastors today come down on it today as well.

What is earth shattering is its viral path… it is reaching folks hearts, there are a number who had written off church of any form who now seem willing to give it a go again. I think that’s pretty cool.

No doubt the great presentation plays a roll… he had an earlier version of this which was just him speaking it with a drum set and other music gear in the background. It was also a whole lot edgier and even offensive in parts… but it never went viral.

Christine Sine January 20, 2012 - 5:08 pm

I agree. It should make us stop and think. How do we communicate what we believe. Some of the responses have had hundreds of thousands of hits too and they aren’t even very interesting.

marshmk January 20, 2012 - 5:40 pm

Christine, here are a couple of other responses,
1) http://romans8v29.blogspot.com/2012/01/jesus-without-religion.html and 2) http://roadsfromemmaus.org/2012/01/12/why-i-love-true-religion-because-i-love-jesus.

I think the second one is really well thought out. Bethke seems to strike in people a deep desire for authenticity. I am not sure, however, that he offers that authenticity.

Peace, Mike+

Christine Sine January 20, 2012 - 5:42 pm

Thanks Mike. I couldn’t believe how many responses there have been and I think that your impression that Bethke strikes that desire for authenticity is very helpful

Bosco Peters January 20, 2012 - 8:04 pm

Christine, there’s a lot of good points in the video. The gender-biased language, of course, is unhelpful. You may be able to help me with my greatest concern though, is this free viral advertising for a watch company?

Looking forward to hearing your or others’ comment on that.



earthma January 21, 2012 - 1:31 pm

I watched the original clip, I’ve yet to watch the responses. I thought his sentiment was basically good, although it’s a real shame his experience of ‘religion’ is so bad. Granted, man has misused the name of God badly and continues to do so. But the warmth and feeling of acceptance of love I get from strangers in my church is something precious. the people I know there don’t claim to be better because they attend mass, but agree that church is for sinners. I suppose it depends on your experience and I know that some people’s are very negative, God Bless them and pray that they can still find comfort in God (I’m immediately thinking of those children abused within any church system).

Bosco Peters January 21, 2012 - 4:28 pm

What I’m wondering is: is this a very clever, viral watch ad? See my post here: http://liturgy.co.nz/wanna-serve-jesus-buy-this-watch/8428 What do you & others think?



Christine Sine January 23, 2012 - 11:13 am

Bosco Peters in New Zealand has been trying to add a comment to this post but for some reason it is not posting. So I wanted to link to his very helpful comments here – evidently something that all of us have missed is that this is actually an add for a watch company – what do you think?

Matt Richard January 23, 2012 - 12:19 pm

Has anyone stopped to ask the question, “Why do people hate religion, but love Jesus?”


Jim January 23, 2012 - 11:22 pm

“THOU ART PETER….”Sounds like Our Lord set up an institution complete with structure, ritual and rules. Then He promised that it would never fall into the vary errors this video asserts it has. Young Mr. Bethle would have no knowledge of Jeus ever having even existed if not for the Catholic religion preserving the Gospel in scripture and Tradition. He is just parrotting what his guru, Pastor Mark Driscoll ( lapsed Catholic ) of Mars Hill cult church spouts. This is just the natural devolution of protetantism over time. Luther laid the egg. Driscoll and Bethke are juust hatching it.

earthmaNik January 25, 2012 - 2:20 pm

Excellent comment, touche!

Bob Wheeler January 29, 2012 - 2:52 pm

When Jesus said, “Thou art Peter. . .” how did He create “an institution complete with structure, ritual and rules”? Most churches didn’t have liturgies until the late 4th Century!

Stephanie Detering Lewis January 24, 2012 - 11:58 am


I’ve been out of touch with your blogs for a while and am so glad God called me to read this one today! Above all, I praise Him for stirring up the waters and allowing this amazing forum for so many millions of people to discuss Him, even if some of the points are not 100% in line with His heart and attitude toward His people or the rest of the world. I really appreciate all the responses by you and the other readers who have commented. After the note above about Mars Hill, I had to do a bit more research, and I found this clip from CBS News: http://www.christianpost.com/news/hate-religion-love-jesus-poet-jefferson-bethke-takes-jesus-center-stage-67747/ . Hearing him speak on the show, he sounds more humble and less confrontational than the video comes across, which makes me think that his intention was definitely to ruffle some feathers, hopefully to stir questions in nonbelievers who had written God off because of negative experiences with believers. I believe the ripples of all of this will be felt for quite some time, and God is bringing so much more good than we can see right now.

This inspires me even more than I have been in the past to ask God what message He wants us to put into video, because the stage is set for His messages to go viral using technology that’s already available. At the same time, the challenge is clear to be careful about what we say, so we don’t tarnish our message with flippant words that can be taken wrong…unless we see the controversy as a strategy to increase the reach of the message…still torn on how God sees this (and the watch thing makes me furious in the midst of it all, especially as a business major who is focusing on how God wants to use marketing principles in positive ways).

Thank you for sharing!

Blessings, Stephanie

Christine Sine January 24, 2012 - 12:35 pm

Stephanie, thanks for your thoughts. It is interesting to see the discussions this has sparked from whether or not this really is about religion vs Jesus to whether this is a subtle add for a watch company. If it makes us think about God and what it means to be a person of faith, no matter what the original intent was it seems to be worth it

Leave a Comment