By Erica Dunigan
Staff reporter

One of the hardest and sometimes most controversial topics to talk about is religion. In the last eight days a video has been floating around that gives religion a different perspective.

Jefferson Bethke, a spoken word artist, posted a YouTube video on Jan. 10 and it became a hit overnight. Bethke’s video titled “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus,” has over 14 million hits and over 60,000 comments, which recently he took the comments off the page.

The question is though, “Who is he? And why did his video become a hit so fast?” It’s not because of the intense background music, or how he matches the location with the message. It’s through the powerful words that are spoken through the message he speaks.

Bethke’s poem tells a story behind a story. It highlights the main differences between Jesus and in Bethke’s opinion the term false religion. The poem also tells Bethke’s journey to find the truth behind the main idea of the poem, “religion is man centered, and Jesus is God-centered.”

He starts the four minute YouTube video by saying, “What if I told you that Jesus came to abolish religion? What if I told you voting Republican really wasn’t his mission?”

These two questions are very powerful and many may agree with the Republican part. Throughout the poem Bethke makes it seem that Jesus hates religion and how religion is a man made invention and an infection, “See because when I was God’s enemy and certainly not a fan, he looked down and said I want. That. Man. Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools.”

Before the comments were taking away there was a sense of fustration from viewer’s comments. Many thought he was encouraging people to hate the church and abandon their faith in God. In reality he didn’t hate the church, he just wanted them to take a more spiritual outlook at religion.

In Bethke’s favor he makes many honest points within the poem. He is right when he makes his points about what the church has become in society and that sometimes it may stray away from the teachings of Christ and not the will of man.

I can relate to this video and the message because in society there are many that feel uncomfortable in church. There have been many small groups formed that have their own private meetings or they hop around to different church’s hoping to find the sense of family.

After hearing Bethke’s poem several times it sounds like he has issues with the church and people that go there. The main point that came across to me, from his message, is that all a person has to do is follow Jesus and all other things that are created by man for how a person should worship, or where a person should worship are inconsequential. Truly, all a person has to do is love Christ, follow his example, and rely on grace, “Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean. It’s not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken. Which means I don’t have to hide my failure, I don’t have to hide my sin.”

Bethke also has another YouTube video, “Sexual Healing,” with a strong message that is gaining popularity with viewers.

Erica Dunigan is a senior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at erica.dunigan@sckans.edu