Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus

Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus

At 10,587,270 views at 11 pm on only the fifth day since it was posted, the “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” YouTube video can officially be dubbed viral.

It’s amazing to me that 685 words with the right video editing and some perfectly timed musical swells can attract such a flash flood of attention. The entire video lasts but a brief 4 minutes and 4 seconds.

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Reducing God to a Magic 8 Ball

We’re all guilty of doing it.

It’s easy to reduce God to a magic eight ball.

As we approach crossroads in life, we remember, “Oh yeah, I’ve got God.” So we ask our question, shake really hard, and optimistically turn our magic 8 ball over.

Don’t reduce God to a computational machine.

But you may say, “What about knowing God’s will for me? What about knowing what I’m supposed to do? What school to go to? Who to marry?” These are all legitimate concerns no doubt. But they are not all there is to God.

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Regeneration and Continuing in the Really Life

Our experience of regeneration determines our subsequent experiences of life.

The experience of regeneration initiates something that continues for eternity. Regeneration orients us for the rest of our life and becomes the standard by which we evaluate all other life experiences. When we are awakened to what transpired within us at the time of our salvation, we begin to value “that which is really life.”

…lay hold on that which is really life. –1 Timothy 6:19

Regardless of how apparently real or contributory others’ lives are without Christ, they live in a psuedo reality, a virtual world. They may be successful. They may be an activist. Their life may tell a compelling narrative. Yet in God’s eyes none of it is real, in a relative sense. Yes, it actually happened, but it happened all in the realm of shadows- pointers to another reality in Christ (Colossians 2:17).

Regeneration is a point of embarkation. It confers on those who experience it a prize and an authority (Colossians 2:8, John 1:12-13). The prize- we become among those privileged to enjoy Christ as everything. The authority- we have the right to continue in this all encompassing experience until Christ is all to us. He is our food, drink, breath, clothing, house. This doesn’t mean that we withdraw from the physicality of existence and become a hermit or nun. It means that every life event becomes a dual experience. We eat our breakfast and are reminded to eat Christ (John 6:57). We take a deep breath and simultaneously maintain our spiritual life pulse by calling on the Lord’s name (Lamentations 3:55-56).

However, it’s possible as Christians to live outside of the continuing experience of our regeneration. We should not receive this new life and then remain in our old context with life as usual.

4 views on the experience of regeneration:

1.  Remedial

You’re bad and need to have a change or improvement. This may be likened to having bad eyesight and getting corrective lenses. Regeneration then is a life-saver thrown to you in the sea of moral depravity. Regeneration is described as a washing but also as a birth. The cup is cleansed but also filled. This is the objective only view.

2.  Transient

As long as you  behave, do good works, and remain in God’s favor then this experience is yours. But just as it came, it could go. There’s no feeling of stability, power, or safety. This is the reversible birth concept.

3.  Nostalgic

You have your ticket to heaven. You received everlasting life but plan to live a long life, maybe until 80, and then at the end when you need it, this life will kick in and cause you to live forever.  This was an event in time past with no durative consequences. A distant moment of glory. Your come-to-Jesus moment. He came into your heart, but stays inert, the same, unchanging with passive indifference, like a lump of graphite embedded under the skin. Later you’ll say, let me recount to you my experience 20 years ago.

4.  Dynamic

This is what I tried to describe at the start. Another life, Christ Himself, enters your spirit and begins a revolution. This life is not static or inert. It moves, grows, and transforms you from within. This life becomes a realm in which you conduct your existence. This life is incorporated into all your daily ventures so that your experience of what you received at the time of your regeneration is as real and vibrant years after. Everything becomes a reminder and an opportunity to continue in your experience of regeneration.

This fourth description makes for a compelling and exciting Christian life. Being Christian then is not boring, blasé, or dull. And it is not merely a new title we adopt to commemorate a one time experience. It is a progressive and expanding endeavor of experiencing the divine life that we received, all the time.

The Ineffable Lightness of Being

“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you for a share of the allotted portion of the saints in the light; who delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”

-Colossians 1:12-13

Your portion as a Christian is “in the light.”

Gothic architecture may have been founded on similar theological notions, but the religious, creative mind of the day, in its attempt to materialize this truth in concrete terms, stripped it of its full import. Beautiful stained glass windows diffracted light into a kaleidoscopic metaphor of God and a whole new genre of religious art flourished. Medieval man’s experience of this ‘lux nova’ was confined to basking in the colorful glow of physical light. The resultant concept was that man could rise to the contemplation of the divine only through the senses- a physical experience of an immaterial abstraction.

The far reaching ripples of this objective or physical experience of God lap upon the shores of modern Christianity.

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