A while ago (and by a while, I mean a month ago. It’s the internet, it’s practically been a year), I saw this video called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would encourage you to do so now.
Let me start off by saying, I really like this video. A lot. This post is not the anti-thesis to an argument, but rather the dessert after the meal. A dessert that has a few issues with some of the points the pot roast made, but was overall happy with the message of said main course. I’m getting my metaphors mixed up. In any case, I’m really glad it’s got almost 20 million views at the time I’m writing this. I think that it was really refreshing for a lot of people to hear, particularly for a demographic of people I believe is prevalent in my generation: those who were raised by Christian parents, but have no idea where they stand. To be able to separate a man whom they were told is perfect from an institution that they know isn’t can be quite a relief for those people.
No, religion isn’t perfect. Of course it’s not. It’s a man-made thing; it really doesn’t have a choice. However, I don’t think we should throw away the entirety of religion because of these imperfections.
I liken it to government. People complain about the government all the time. It’s the hip thing to do. One thing you don’t hear though is “I hate government”. Anarchists aside, most people realize that government has the potential to be extremely effective at what it was designed to do. The complaints are related to how it is implemented; the suggestions are for improvement, not removal.
My main issue with “I hate religion” is how general it is. Since the video was specified Christianity, I’m going to refer to Christianity too (however, I think that these arguments can be applied to a number of religions). I don’t think there’s a person out there who believes that every church, every Christian organization, every Christian has been perfect since its inception. My own church doesn’t think it’s perfect. This does not mean we should throw out the idea of church, or the idea of Christianity.
If it were not for religion, if it were not for Christianity, if it were not for my church, I would not know of Jesus, or what he did for me. I would not know God. I would not know of an eternal unconditional love. Though this is not how everyone came to know Jesus, I believe those statements are similar for many others who consider themselves Christians. This imperfect institution, while having done some awful things, has also saved lives. Not just in the eternal sense either. Through religion, people have been saved from suicide after finding purpose in their lives. Through religion, mission teams have built hospitals and orphanages in third-world countries. Through religion, people who were once violent are now compassionate. The sheer amount of good that has come into the world as a result of religion means I can never hate it.
It is because I love Jesus that I love religion.