Therefore, not only do we have to be suspect of those who come along with clear intentions to destroy with nothing to build up in its place, but we must also be on guard against those who would destroy what we already have and build something inferior in its stead. The apostolic teaching from Saint Paul was that Jesus Christ IS the foundation and that all we have to do is build upon it. “According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each one must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11).
Before I get into demonstrating the clear fact that there was an organized Church built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, of which is He is the head and Bridegroom, and that Church, which was erected by the Apostles nearly 2,000 years ago, still subsist today in the Catholic Church, I want to first define and explain the purpose of the religion that has been ordered and promoted by the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
What Religion is NOT
What religion is NOT is what has been popularized in a Youtube video – gone viral – called “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” by Jefferson Bethke. According to this young man Jesus came to abolish religion, religion has started many wars, religion does not practice what it preaches, it never gets to the core, is on an opposite spectrum than Jesus, it enslaves and shackles people, makes people blind, it is a system of man searching for God, and is something to be hated rather than loved. Cloaked behind a clever arrangement of poetry, music, and visual theatrics, Mr. Bethke has revealed himself to be a demolition expert – a tool of Satan. His sophistic poem is riddled with lies, false interpretations, and misrepresentation of the authentic gospel of Christ Jesus.
We saw his kind before in the “I’m not religious – I am spiritual” movement. And what these people rely on is a false understanding of what religion is. Their man-made definition of religion has nothing whatsoever to do with the divine definition of religion – nor does it stand up to evidence in sacred Scripture that God loves the religion that He established.
The History of God Defining Religion
In a normal and healthy relationship husband and wife can communicate with each other openly – face to face, but when problems arise in the marriage when they can’t communicate or dwell peacefully in each other’s presence the couple may seek outside help from a pastor, counselor, or even a lawyer to help them get back to where they once were.
In the first couple of chapters in the book of Genesis we see a normal and healthy relationship between God and man – they dwell in each other’s presence, but after an episode sin (disobedience) occurs the relationship becomes broken and in need of great repair. Not to be deterred by the insolence of humans, God continues to be very interested in healing their relationship and begins to take definitive steps with Noah, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob to facilitate an eventual reunion. Then after 400 years of being enslaved by the Egyptians and being influenced by their false polytheistic religion, God works with Moses to not only bring His people out of Egypt, but also to establish a religion through which the sin that damages their relationship with God and with each other could be atoned for.
Just by reading the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus we learn that it was God Himself who established an entire Temple life full of laws, precepts, worship, and sacrifices. It was God Himself who ordered the dimensions, materials, and placement of the tabernacle, ornaments, candles, veils, and etc. It was God Himself who establishes a priesthood, along with their uniform and accessories. God created His own religion!
Also from this we learn that the original purpose of the religion established by God was to facilitate means through which His people could obey His command for them to be holy (Cf. Lev. 11:45, 20:7; Mt. 5:48; 1 Jn. 3:3). To holy is to be free from sin. To be holy and free from sin is what allows us to be in a perfectly healthy relationship with God – where there is nothing about us that offends Him. Religion defined by God is a divinely expressed and humanly administered system with the Holy Spirit to facilitate a reunion with God.
Jesus Establishes a New Covenant Religion
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). That is, nothing has ever changed in God’s desire for us to be holy or His desire for us to be in complete union with Him, and neither has sin gone anywhere. For these reasons Jesus established the fulfilled religion of the New Covenant – His One Church. “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
In fact, it is absolutely ridiculous to think that Christ Jesus gave His apostles and disciples such a broad mission to make disciples of all nations, to Baptize them, to teach them to observe all that He commanded (Cf. Mt. 28:19-20), and to forgive sins in his name (Cf. Jn. 20:22-23), but was not responsible enough to establish for them the organized means to do so. Obviously, those who knew Jesus understood this, and that is why in the first chapters of the book of Acts do we see the Apostles erect the Church and begin to establish a communal life, full of ritual, sacraments, liturgy, beliefs, moral codes, and tradition.
From sacred Scripture we see that the three duties of the Church established by Christ are to:
- To proclaim the word of God;
- To celebrate the Sacraments; and
- To exercise the ministry of Charity.
Moreover, it doesn’t seem to be the case that the Apostles had a problem with religion. Writing to Saint Timothy, St. Paul wrote, “Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds, who are deprived of the truth, supposing religion to be a means of gain. Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain” (1 Tim 6:3-6). “In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). James wrote, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jas. 1:26-27).
The Hand of Satan in the “I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus” Movement
It is not a paradox to say that the Church is Holy and full of sinners. Christ Jesus is the Head of the Church, He is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit – simultaneously we are members of the Body of Christ (the Church) of which He is the Head and we are sinners. Mercifully, the Holy Spirit dwells in us and we are sinners. Again, the problem is not the Church or the religion (a divinely expressed and humanly administered system with the Holy Spirit to facilitate a reunion with God) – the problem has been and always will be us.
The religion established by Christ Jesus is not the problem. The problem is people like Jefferson Bethke. People like Martin Luther. People who are quick to tell us everything that is wrong with the Church or religion, but do nothing to build it up or look inside their own hearts to see if they themselves are the problem with the Church. They tear down and build nothing or tear down and build something inferior. They are tools of Satan.
The only Church on the face of this earth that Christ Jesus established Himself and has protected and preserved with the full apostolic teaching for the past two millennium is the Catholic Church. It is this Church that Satan has waged war against from within and without to no avail. He will never be able to destroy the Catholic Church because Jesus promised that He wouldn’t, but he has had much success against the unprotected Protestant Church, which continues to divide into more and more unscriptural denominations. I hope that I am not the only one that has noticed that the older Protestantism becomes the further it moves away from sacred Scripture, it’s Catholic roots, and Jesus Himself – even while it believes that it is drawing closer to these things.
To Love Jesus is to Love the ONLY Church that He established through His Apostles, which is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
It wasn’t enough for Satan to divide the people of God or continue to divide the Protestant community. What he desires is complete annihilation of that community, but what Satan doesn’t see is by tearing down the structure and construct of Protestantism so that there is nothing but the person of Jesus the closer our brothers and sisters will finally see Jesus again in the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist. They will look for nothing but Him and find Him where they least expected – in the Catholic Church. What Satan meant for evil is being used by God to bring about the greatest good. One Faith, One Baptism, One Lord, One God – true Religion (Cf. Eph. 4:5-6).
– – – – – – –
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
by the Divine Power of God –
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
– – – – – – –
Other Articles on the ‘Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus/Freedom from Religion Movement’
- A Response to “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus” – Nicholas Hardesty
- Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus — The Smackdown – Marc @ Bad Catholic
Some people consider an online degree when they want to advance their knowledge of religion.