The video that sparked it all. I am so grateful for everyone that has liked and shared, and helped to make my own and other contributors have their teachings spread around the world. We are not and were not aiming for fame, or for anything to go “viral”… but only to touch those who need it the most.
Over the years, we have gotten countless discussions and testimonials (below) and appreciate all the feedback we get.
The more I think about your video the more I realize how uncharitable it is:
1.Jesus came to abolish religion. No, he did not. Jesus did not came to abolish religion but to fulfill it:
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill”.
2.Jesus hated religion. No he did not hated religion, he pointed out the hypocrisy of people who wear religion on their sleeves. Moreover the apostles recognized religion and its witness of God’s mercy:
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (Jas 1:27).
“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Tim. 3:16).
3.Religion starts wars. Really? The root of most bellicose conflicts is a struggle for power, goods and territory not religion. Political leaders have used religion as a motivation because it invokes powerful sentiments of national identity and so on. This is very far from your implication that religion causes war.
This is an old cliché used by un-informed people to bash religion such as Richard Dawkins (see his many Religion bashing, atheist professing books).
4.Religion built great churches but do not feed the poor. Excuse me? If you study history there is no question what so ever that Christianity as a world religion has fed and clothed the poor more than any other human institution. History is full of saints that gave their life for the sake of the poor. It is truly sad that a so-called follower of Christ can make such an assessment.
5.Religion tells single mothers that God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever had a divorce.
Just to mention two examples out of many:
I don’t know where you get your facts, but that is not the witness that my religion has given me.
I don’t want to question your intentions nor your zeal for Christ but to confuse religion with man’s meekness and failures is misguided (at best) and dangerous (at worst) witness to the secular world.
David Land replied…
Caleb, I think what you two (you and Jeff) are considering in your arguments is a matter of semantics. I was raised also to distinguish religion and Jesus. I’m 55 years old, and I totally get his point about what is Christ-oriented and what is religion oriented. In a general sense of the word, Christianity IS a religion, but mainly so named by the “world”. Some think you have a cafeteria of religions that you can just choose the one you think is right and practice it. However, even the Scripture you pointed out mentions “true” religion is this: to see after orphans and widows and remain unstained by the world. A HUGE amount of religion came out of Jesus’ teachings, the very first perversion being the Roman Catholics. MEN, HUMANS made religion of Jesus teaching, corrupting it with all manner of evil, making war, holding up priests and bishops and a pope over the poor and ignorant population. That church, a religion, depended on the ignorance and fear of the population, resulting in all the distortions we have seen throughout the centuries, even to this day. Jesus never authored any of this, and his teaching stands firm, regardless of what mankind DID with it. Even the writings of the New Testament show continued teaching and conflicts that arose in early church. The message of Christ is constant and unwavering, while human intervention, interpretation reveals fallacies humankind develop because of a wrong spirit or action. Christianity is not merely a religion. It is truth of God revealed to all of us in one GodHuman, Jesus. I think that you are making an argument where there really is none. My humble thoughts, but convictions!
Caleb’s last response…
Thank you for your response. I understand your point of view and I very much appreciate it. There is a clear distinction between criticizing religion and those who practice it. Notice that in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector Jesus did not condemn the Jewish religion but the hypocrisy of those who practice it:
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14).
In my humble opinion Jeff did not made the distinction between religion and those who practice it in his video and that is the core of my argument.
Moreover he made some claims that at face value are un-biblical and untrue:
“Jesus came to abolish religion”
This is un-biblical and dangerous especially if view through the prism of a non-believer. It accentuated a secular understanding of spirituality: “I am not a religious person but I am spiritual.” That is code for I am the sole authority of what is good and what is wrong. This is the core of moral relativism. I understand that Jeff by no means was trying to give credence to this world-view but his video can be easily misinterpreted by someone who is not well grounded on the teachings of Christ as a license not to follow any authority but his own.
If there is no religion or earthly authority to interpret the bible then everyone is his own authority. This translates into thousands and thousands of denominations with there own scriptural interpretation (sometimes contradicting each others) but all claiming to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus established all but one Church with power to bind and to loose on earth:
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mathew 16:18-19).
Notice that he says my Church not churches, moreover it say the gates of Hades will not overcome it because the Holy Spirit will be there to guide and protected her until the end of times. Moreover it gives her authority and he prays that she may be one:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:20-25)
Jesus is referring to the militant church on earth. So by the example of “complete unity” within the Church people may come to belief that he was sent from the father to proclaim the Gospel of Salvation!!!
Now responding to your comments pertaining Catholicism:
I will like first to clarify I small but somewhat important point. There is only One Catholic Church. It has about 20 different rites (one of which is the Roman Catholic rite). Since the reformation many Anglicans like to draw a distinction between their Anglican Catholicism and the Pope’s Catholicism (i.e. Roman Catholic). It was meant as a denigrating description…
Secondly, you launch on a full-scale attack on the Catholic Church without any historical proof to back up your claims:
“MEN, HUMANS made religion of Jesus teaching, corrupting it with all manner of evil, making war, holding up priests and bishops and a pope over the poor and ignorant population. That church, a religion, depended on the ignorance and fear of the population, resulting in all the distortions we have seen throughout the centuries, even to this day”.
When has the Catholic Church depended on the ignorance and fear of the population? These lines of arguments make me sad because it reveals a profound ignorance of history and prejudice against the Catholic Church. As Cardinal Henry Newman, (an Anglican covert to the Catholic Church) said: “to be deep into history is to cease to be protestant”. He became Catholic by studying history and the early fathers of the Church, people who knew the apostles and preach the gospel as it was passed to them…needless to say that they were very Catholic in their doctrines…
The Catholic Church as been madly in love with “logos” that is reason:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning”. (John 1:1-2).
This is self evident in the writing of the Fathers of the Church from Saint Justin Martyr, Origen, Tertullian to Saint Augustine to St. Thomas Aquinas…all have shown deep love of Scripture, Christ and Evangelization and made profound contribution to western civilization though.
Remember what St. Augustine said:
“I would not believe in the Gospels were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church” – St. Augustine
It is easy to forget that it was the Catholic Church that gave us the bible to trust the Catholic Church is to trust the bible. There are many other contribution of the Catholic Church to the development of Western Civilization that argues against your point that the Church depended on fear and ignorance…if so why so a totalitarian church produce the University System (founded 70 before the reformation and 50 after the reformation), nurture scientist such as Fr. Mendel who founded modern Genetics, Fr. Nicolas Steno who founded the principle for Geology, or Fr. Lemaître who propose the theory of the Big Bang?
Yes, there has been scandal in the Catholic Church through history, but none greater that the betrayal of Judas. I am Catholic and the moment I enter into the Church it seized to be perfect because of my own imperfections (and there are many!)…I solely depend on Christ’s grace to be acceptable to God and his mercy nothing else. The difference is that I believe that those graces can normatively be found through the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.
Please pray for me so that one day we both can meet in heaven in the Glory of God and I will pray for you.