Hate Religion But Love Jesus?

What would I say to people who say they hate religion but love Jesus?

I've heard this so many times from Christians. There was actually a really popular YouTube video about a year ago from Jefferson Bethke.

He did this whole slam poetry sort of thing about how he loved Jesus but hated religion. And the church was bad, but Jesus was good.

And, you know, look, hey, if you hate religion, we're on the same side here, because I'm not a fan of it either.

So, I'm glad we're on the same page there. But I do take issue with this idea of you following Jesus, and yet you try to disavow yourself from saying you are a Christian. Because let's face it, those are the same thing.

You're just trying to make yourself sound better. And really, what does it mean to say you're a follower of Jesus, but you're not a Christian? What's the difference? You know, what's the separation between the two?

Because when you put, you know, a Christian and a follower of Jesus next to each other, they look pretty much the same to me. But if you want to be a follower of Jesus, let's talk about some of those things that he talked about because he never talked about creationism; he never said the world was 6,000 years old.

He never said we ought to teach the Bible in science class. Jesus never talked about homosexuality or that it was wrong, or a sin, or anything like that.

Jesus never said women weren't allowed to have abortions and that we ought to protest outside of Planned Parenthood, or anything like that.

Jesus didn't tell you to vote republican either. And I would almost bet a lot of money on the fact that a lot of those followers of Jesus vote the same way as Christians, like who would have thunk? And Jesus never said, you know, you have to be abstinent before marriage, and that's the way it is.

Like, so, Jesus never said those things, but a lot of Christians do. So, the first thing I want to know from this person who says they love Jesus but hate the church is, like okay, which of those things do you also do away with? Which of those things would you get rid of?

Because usually there's not a lot of Christians, and there are some, but there are not many Christians who say Yeah. No, homosexuality is fine and I support a woman's right to have an abortion and yeah, I think science class should be taught with evolution because that's just the way it is.

I overhear enough Christians saying things like that. I really would like to know what the difference is between the two because they seem to believe in a lot of the same things. Even if it's not social issues, you know it is certainly a lot of religious beliefs.

Jesus' followers believe in sin. They believe in prayer and that God's going to make everything better. They believe in evangelizing. That I, as someone who doesn't believe in God, and certainly doesn't accept the resurrection of Jesus, think I'm someone who needs to be saved.

That happens whether you're a Christian or a Jesus' follower. They believe in the resurrection like that Jesus' followers believe that. They believe in miracles. There's no evidence for any of this, but if you're a Jesus' follower, I'm supposed to what? Let that go?

I'm supposed to be okay with you believing that nonsense, but not the other nonsense? But it comes down to it, what a lot of people I think mean when they say, "I believe in Jesus but I'm not a fan of the church", I think what they're trying to say is that Jesus cared for the poor, he cared about the less fortunate people.

And you know what? That is an important value to have. I think you ought to care about those things. But you know what?

If you care about the poor, and the hungry, and the weak, you don't need to believe in Jesus, you don't need to follow Jesus to try and fix those problems. You don't need to believe in Jesus to volunteer or to donate your money to worthy causes.

And all I'm saying is, "let's cut out the middle man". Because there are a lot of us who don't accept Jesus, who are not followers of Jesus, who want to help and fix and solve all those same problems. And there's no difference between us if that's what we're interested in.

So, stop trying to align yourself with Christian beliefs and just say, "Okay, you know what? Forget the church, and I'm going to throw Jesus out with the church too".

You don't need Jesus to do good. So, I'm interested in what your actions are, I don't care what rhetoric you use. I'm not really interested in you saying... It's not like I'm going to not be friends with the Christian but, "Oh, you're a follower of Jesus? Cool! We're buddies now."

That's a conversation that's never going to happen. But, if we're interested in those same things, then we don't need Jesus to do all of them. So, let's just forget about Jesus. Let's do good because kindness matters.

Because we can actually help people in this lifetime trying to get through the day. That's way more important. So, it doesn't matter what you want to call yourself.

I'm interested in what your actions are. And unfortunately, from what I've seen, usually the actions from people who say they hate religion but love Jesus, their actions are not very different from the Christians that we stereotypically come to know.

I wished they were more like atheists in which they would say, "Okay, while I don't believe in any of that nonsense, I'm going to do good because this is the only life I have and what other choice do I have? Why would I want to do anything but help other people?"

It's also important to know that you don't have to be a Christian to say you're a follower of Jesus. A lot of atheists could easily say they are followers of Jesus as well.

And say, you know, "Hey, I too want to care for those less fortunate". And you don't have to believe in all the miracles and supernatural parts of his story; his methodology to do all those things. So, it's very easy for atheists to say, "I want to believe in this idea of Jesus".

But, you know, and even if you want to argue that he was a historical figure, that he actually existed, okay, fine, we can all emulate people that we think did amazing things. We all have role models. For a lot of Christians, Jesus may be the role model.

For a lot of non-Christians, they may have other people that they look up to, that they want to strive to be like. And that's fine and all well. The difference for me is that it's not like Christians are ever just saying, you know, "I want to be like Jesus".

It's never just that. It always comes, you know, hook and sinker with all these other beliefs that I don't agree with, that I don't believe in; all the supernatural stuff.

Because you can't just follow Jesus when you say that. you got to believe that he was born of a virgin.

You got to believe that he was resurrected. You got to believe all this nonsense that there's no evidence for. And I wished followers of Jesus would just say you know, "forget all that stuff". "The idea I have of him in my head is this really cool guy, "this, you know, sandal-wearing hippy who went around and helped people. "I want to be like that!"

If they just said that and dismissed all the other stuff, I would totally get on board with it.

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Originally published by Hemant Mehta on the Atheist Voice. Published on Fadewblogs by Dave Martin.

Disclaimer: This article is published on Fadewblogs with the permission of the author.

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