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January 19th, 2012
05:27 PM ET

'Hate religion, love Jesus' video goes viral

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - With so many atheists coming out of the closet, it’s not difficult to imagine a video decrying religion racking up millions of hits on YouTube.

But a video along those lines has been viewed 15 million times and liked more than a quarter-million times since it was posted on January 10, featuring an enthusiastic young Christian from Washington state.

[youtube= http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY]

“What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?” 22-year-old Jefferson Bethke says in the video, reciting a spoken word poem he wrote. “What if I told you getting you to vote Republican really wasn’t his mission?”

“I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?” he says later. “Why does it build huge churches but fail to feed the poor?”

Bethke's video is emerging as a symbol for many young evangelical Christians who are calling themselves “followers of Jesus” rather than overtly identifying with institutional Christianity. Many of the country's fastest-growing churches are nondenominational.

“Religion is man-centered,” Bethke writes in a post accompanying his YouTube video. “Jesus is God-centered.”

In the video, Bethke talks about what he calls his own spiritual rebirth, saying he went from being a self-righteous religious person to an admittedly deeply broken believer.

The video has provoked an avalanche of response, including other YouTube videos, like "Why I hate religion but love Jesus, Muslim Version" and "Why I Dislike Your Poem, But Love God," which includes these lines:

I see where you’re coming from but there’s insanity in your vision
You overlook the fact that Christianity is religion
You’re like the van who claims to hate diets
Or astrophysicists who reject laws of science.

That response video has itself been viewed 390,000 times. Not bad.

Many religious bloggers echoed that video’s criticism on Bethke, alleging he’s trumpeting tenets of Christianity while purporting to blast organized religion. Critics called Bethke’s take on religion overly simplistic and dangerous.

“Anyone who does just a little digging on Bethke's YouTube channel or on Google will quickly learn that this young poet is a conservative Christian and member of the Mars Hill Church led by controversial pastor Mark Driscoll,” writes Patheos blogger Brian Kirk, a Missouri-based pastor. “All this seems to me an odd résumé for one who lambastes organized religion.”

Yet Kirk marvels at the national conversation that Bethke has provoked around deep questions:

Certainly one can agree or disagree with Bethke's take on religion but it's difficult not to admire the way he has stirred up those of us who may have been slumbering comfortably in our own faith without really thinking about why we do what we do. Some times the best way to wake up a sleeping giant is to poke it with a stick and Bethke has done just that.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (3,716 Responses)
  1. GET IT OVER WITH!!!!!!

    @Nonimus

    Fred's: "Religion is inextricably intertwined with our political and judicial process."

    Yours: "Not true. No religious test; Freedom of Religion clause, and Freedom of expression clause."

    No Religious Test- It's pro- religious because irreligious isn't religious.
    Freedom of religion- Absolutely pro-religion
    Freedom of expression clause- 50/50 religious and secular

    Result= 250 points religious/religion vs. 50 points irreligious/secular.

    Fred's: "The president is sworn into office using a Bible."

    Yours: Not true. The official oath, the one in the Const.itution, has no mention of
    God or the Bible. Whether the Bible, or other book, is present is at the President Elect's discretion.

    Historically, there ain't any Elected President used Dawkin's, Darwin's, Sci-fi, Encyclopedia, marvel's, or any other book when sworn in office. They used ONLY the HOLY BIBLE.

    Fred's: "People in court swear on a Bible."

    Yours: "Depends on the jurisdiction, I think, but the Const.itution uses "oath or affirmation," so I would think if it were taken to court, "so help me God" would not be required.

    Again, historically, there ain't nobody in court that swears Dawkin's, Darwin's, Sci-fi, Encyclopedia, marvel's, or any other book when sworn in office. They used ONLY the HOLY BIBLE. And...there's nobody will say "So help me Darwin"; or "So help me Dawkin"; or so Help me Batman; But ONLY "So Help me God".

    Fred's: "The national motto is, 'In God We Trust.' The Pledge of Allegiance says, 'One nation, under God...'

    Yours: " Both were added, if I remember correctly, in the 1950s in response to the fear of atheistic Communism and has little to with the fundamentals of this country.

    It only means one thing, that there are some mistakes in the past that need to be corrected. And American leaders didn't realized it until 1950s. Fortunately it wasn't too late. Thanks God!

    And lastly but not the least,

    Fred's: "Congress opens with prayer."

    Your's: "Not sure that this means anything."

    It clearly and significantly means (combined with all the facts above), this country is unarguably, udoubtedly and undispuably a religious nation. And since it isn't Islam, buddist, taoist and majority of its countrymen are Chriastians, THUS, AMERICA is a CHRISTIAN NATION.

    January 24, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • YeahRight

      "THUS, AMERICA is a CHRISTIAN NATION."

      Nope, it's why we have separation of church and state. There are other religions and atheists in this country so this is NOT a christian nation. The proof is not everything in your bible are laws in this country and for good reason, people like you are delusional.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      GET IT OVER WITH!!!!!!
      If you want to play that game then you have to accept that, since Roman Catholicism is vastly the largest Christian denomination here, then the USA is actually a Catholic Nation. Majority wins, right?

      January 24, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  2. IslandAtheist

    Jesus who?... do you mean that dude with the landscaping business? ... he's married.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  3. gimarie

    It's crazy how we are so hungry and desperate for truth, that we get angry and scream at each other over these blogs. If we really believe what we believe, whatever or whoever that may be then believe and be at peace. If you agree with what the young man is saying then Amen, if not, keep moving on and believe what you believe whatever that maybe.

    January 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Iris

      Thank you, Gimarie, I couldn't say it better myself.
      I wish there were more people who are comfortable with their own beliefs that they are willing to let others have their own beliefs without any screaming & insults. Whether you believe in a church or not, it's your choice and no one on this planet has the right to throw the first stone or any stones for that matter!!!

      January 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  4. md2205

    Everyone in this world has a choice of what he is going to believe and what he is going to do, every second of the day. That is not taken away from him. A person who believes that G-d gave the Torah to the Jews thousands of years ago still has a choice of thought, speech and deed, as does everyone else. Nothing is taken for granted. But it might come more natural to someone who knows that he had a grandfather, whose grandfather told him G-d gave the Torah to his ancestors, whose ancestors were told G-d gave the Torah to their ancestors, and so on, each year, generation after generation, from then to now, that person would think about the time that G-d did give the Torah. And, by the way, believing Christians and Moslems do believe that G-d gave the Torah to the Jews on the mountain those thousands of years ago. The Torah was passed down meticulously from one generation to another to this day. There are people who can trace their family line very far back, to two thousand years ago. In addition, there are people who know their lineage from Moses' time – in fact, it is in their genes. Only the male members of that family line has a certain gene. Once you get back to that beginning where G-d gave the Torah, and you realize G-d created the world, and G-d put me in it, and G-d did so obviously with a reason, then we don't start saying, well I don't want to do what G-d wants. (Well, maybe we do.) But we might want to try our best to live up to the plan He has. Even if we do only one thing every day. For some people, it might be having these kinds of discussions. For others, it might be adding more to their lives and the way they live it. Even if we only think about the idea of G-d, that is good.
    There is so much to be learned about G-d, His commandments, His desires as to how He wants us to live, and the overall plan He has for the world, etc. People spend their whole lives learning about it. It is actually interesting – fascinating. It is like trying to describe colors to someone who can't see. I can't describe the colors to you. As a matter of fact, there are new nuances that come out regularly. That is because each generation, each couple of years, actually, the world changes and new aspects of the Torah are strengthened, or revealed.

    January 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • md2205

      I meant the above as a reply to quite a previous blogger.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  5. musician

    I have had many of these same thoughts myself. Man corrupts everything. And man`s religions have a very long history of intolerance, violence, cruelty and distortion. I don`t need some other person/religion to tell me how to respond to the story of Jesus. I can figure that out myself, as we all have to eventually.

    January 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Well, technically entropy corrupts everything. Man is subject to it just like everything else in the universe.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  6. Lee

    I'm sure this has already been brought up, but belief in Jesus=Christianity=Religion. This guy is a moron.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Drew

      Completely untrue, thats like saying Reagan = trickle down economics. It doesn't make any sense.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  7. Dave

    For all those miss quoting and paraphrasing Matthew 16:18

    Let’s read the quote in context: Matthew 16:15-18 NASB

    “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”

    “this rock” is not referring to Peter himself or a physical rock. It is referring back to the other “this” in that same passage, which is the revelation Peter had concerning Jesus being the Christ.

    The church is not built on Peter but on Christ! The church is the Body of Christ and is entirely outside of religion.

    “which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
    -Ephesians 1:20-23

    January 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Respect others' freedom from religion and keep the sermons in the the church where they belong. Otherwise you'll just encourage other crazy people to publish their personal children's fantasies.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  8. Bri

    OMG SHUT UP!!! We all have have our own opinions and life experiences that makes us believe and react in the ways that we do. This is the same damn reason we have so many wars and conficts because we can't just keep our opinions to ourselves without offending someone. Bethke expressed how he felt, leave the man alone whether you agree or not.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  9. Wendy

    Too funny, its like being agnostic...."i Believe in God, but not Religion" what you are really saying is, I dont want to go to Church, Study the Bible and worship the way the bible tells you to, but as long as I still say I believe in God, then I am covered....just in case he is real....what a joke! Being agnostic is to some degree worse than being an atheist.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Nunnery

      Wendy,

      He is not an Agnostic. Agnostics do not believe one way or the other in the existence of a god. In most cases they chose to stay out of religious affairs and live their lives without religion all together.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • One one

      This guy is no agnostic. He is really saying "I love religion but pretend to hate it because that is what's hip for young Christians to do now".

      January 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • md2205

      The only thing that G-d wants people to do are Seven: To believe in One G-d, not to blaspheme Him, not to steal and kidnap, not to murder, not to do adultery, etc., not to eat the limb of a living animal (animal cruelty) and to set up effective courts of justice.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  10. Jamie

    Hmmm, I love dumbeddown mass media.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  11. Joshua the Agnostic

    Christians center their entire lives based on a book that they haven't read.

    January 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Gee

      Not......Stop generalizing all Christians...

      January 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • No

      "Stop generalizing all Christians"

      Stop generalizing Atheists.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  12. DCW

    In the end we will see who was right but until then we all need to get along. We all talk about how religion does not feed the poor but what is wrong with us doing it? Do you need a physical building to help others? I think most religions would not let Jesus in if he knocked at their door because they would not recognize him. We have these grand Ideas that Jesus is coming back as this great an powerful light but that is not how it works. He will come and he will look just like you and me and those that have a relationship with God will know who he is. This will weed out the true believers for the ones that just give lip service to fit in.

    January 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      January 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Wendy

      Aside from the obvious...Christianity is be belief in ONE GOD and that Jesus was the son of God. That covers just about every religion except the Jewish and Muslim Faiths. Catholics are just one of MANY religous faiths that believe Jesus was the son of the one true god. Over all, Christians, Jews and Muslims all believe in the SAME ONE TRUE GOD. Do I need to give you references or can you just go re-read those books you claim to have read?

      January 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      DCW
      "In the end we will see who was right"
      Ah, not really. If we atheists are right none of you believers will have the time to realize that you spent your whole lives believing in a fantasy. Likely you will also die without seeing Jesus return, as every generation has since the beginning. Such a waste.

      January 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Reality

      Wendy et al:

      From above:

      ...................................
      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.) For example:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      o
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  13. 116cliqueforever

    Removing religion from the government was the beginning of a downward spiral. Christianity has become a facade that many people hide behind, and this isnt what God intended. I am a proud follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. How can a world be formed without an all knowing being? How could have this world survived the past hundred years without the guiding hand of God. The natural disasters that are happening now are just God's reminders to the human race that HE IS GOD. To bad we're to ignorant to realize it......

    January 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "Removing religion from the government was the beginning of a downward spiral."
      Sorry, when was religion part of the government? (which country?)

      January 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Amanda

      "To bad we are too ignorant to realize it"..... ignorance is a two way street. Our government NEVER included religion. Our country was founded on the idea of religious freedoms.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Steachent

      Do you have evidence for what you propose to be a correlation between natural disasters and a supernatural being? Your evidence for why we have existed for the last hundred years is simply to ask the reader, "How could have this world survived the past hundred years without the guiding hand of God."? You make a lot of statements without supplying just or any evidence. In fact your entire opinion seems to hinge on the variable of a possible all power being as a creator. If it is salvation, enlightenment that you crave then you need to look inward. Mr. Bethke is saying that you are already saved, enlightened and that you don't need the hierachial structure of a church or its dogma to ascertain the beauty and flow of existence.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I think everyone is focusing on the wrong part of the original post.

      "The natural disasters that are happening now are just God's reminders to the human race that HE IS GOD."

      I'm not a believer for this and many other reasons. If there really is a god like this I deny him fully. Petty, vengeful, and vain as hell. 116cliqueforever I hope you have fun with your god, personally if a being like that is real I want no part of it.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Reality

      Just in case you missed this update:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      January 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Joshua the Agnostic

      Yes because we all want Obama or Romney as our spiritual advisors.

      January 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • glennrobert

      You want religion in your government, move to Israel or Iran and enjoy!

      January 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  14. teddy

    This kid is stupid that made this video–and so are the poeple that "like" it.
    Jesus came to abolish religion? HELLO? Did this kid ever read the bible? He wanted Peter to build his church on the rock! Religion is man-made? Sorry, kid, your opinion of religion is man-made and egotistical–Religion is not. Being Christian is following a Religion....

    This world is so full of uneducated poeple that are so ignorant. I wish poeple would do a little more research about a subject before spewing lies like this boy has.

    January 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • DCW

      Teddy the rock that God wanted his church built on was the love of his believers not an actual rock. you are the one that is ignorant.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • DCW

      one more thing Teddy a rock can be destroyed by if you truly have faith in God and Love him that is unbreakable.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • fluffybear

      The Pharisees practiced religion.... So no, Jesus was not promoting religion. He was promoting a personal relationship with God, not a structured life dictated by rules...

      January 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • durundal

      bwhahahaa keep quoting like it actually means something

      January 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Steachent

      Your comment is filled with ego and hate and thus is the least Christian thing you could do.

      January 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • glennrobert

      Jesus was just a good Jew trying to get other Jews closer to the faith!

      January 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  15. Bahareh

    Lord Heavenly Father In Heaven:

    Name to moghadas bad...padeshahi-e to biyabad..eradeye to hamantor ke dar aseman ejra mishavad dar zameen neez ejra shavad...naneh roozaneye mara emrooz be ma bedeh..khatayaye mara bebakhsh ...chenan keh ma neez khatakaraneh khod ra mibakhshim...mara dar vas vaseha nayavar bal keh ma ra az shareer rahayee deh..zeera padeshahi-o ghodrato jalal ta abad-ol abad az aaneh tost..

    Amen

    January 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bahareh

      This is the Lord's Prayer taught by Jesus in Luke 11. It is translated in Persian.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Worf

      And here it is in Klingon 🙂

      vavma', Qun qo'Daq SoHtaHbogh
      quvjaj ponglIj
      ghoSjaj wo'lIj 'ej bIQapqangchu'jaj
      qo'majDaq 'e' rapjaj Qunqo'Daq
      jaj Soj ghonob 'ej
      QuvHa'ghachmeyvo' manobchuqHa'
      'e' rapjaj QuvHa'ghachmeymajvo' ghonobHa'ghach
      tlhu'ghachDaq ghoDevQo'
      'ach mIghvo' ghotoD

      January 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Tom

      cool!!

      January 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Tom

      I meant to say Cool to Bahareh!! I know a little Persian! That was beautiful 🙂

      January 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  16. Jonathan

    I think that the video makes some very good points, in a lot of modern Christianity there's a lot of do this and do that but very little in the way of teaching what I think Christ wanted us to be. Where Christ once taught "Judge not, that ye be not judged" and "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost", now instead there is a rife stank of the self righteousness that perhaps the Pharisees that crucified him had. I especially like the question near the end "If Jesus came to your church, would they actually let him in?" I think that says plenty about most "Christian" churches out there today.

    January 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  17. Courtney Odom

    I find his poem to be inspiring. He shows the power of the pure belief that a child would have in Jesus without the corruption that some churches bring with it. As a christian, I do not claim a denomination because, like him, I see my faith as a relationship with God. I am not ashamed of being Christinan. I am not afraid of the ridicule of other people. I am a seventeen year-old girl finishing high school and have more courage than many older Christians when it comes to defending what I believe in. My path is my path. Your path is your path. That's all there should be to it. Nothing more.

    January 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  18. Whisky

    +

    January 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  19. sterling strong

    I can completely agree with jefferson bethke! and I understand his message because I also have thought the same for many years.Im a 19 year old African-American male and I've attended church (Free Will Baptist) my whole life.I never understood how so many people can stand in front of a group of people and say "They believe in Christ",however, they do not have a relationship with him.I've learned the music can be good and so can the shouting and the preaching,but if your heart deflects that it is all useless.Many who attack jefferson are not attacking jefferson,but they are attacking Christ by defending their religous practices becuase they are very well comfortable with their secret sins or there great satuses they carry.Paul also says in james that "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.Many religious people are this way,because they are focused only on themselves,when clearly Christ wanted us to put others before ourselves."Remenber all scpritures are inspired words from God,my point is,Jesus wants us to be more than religious,but obedient.Jefferson is just stating that American Churches have become more corrupted with its religious practices that they have forgotten about jesus along the way.The church has taken scriptures and have use them according to what is pleasing to themselves.Jesus wants us to forget about what is pleasing to ourselves and follow him,be like him,love him(means be obedient to him) and ignore what we have known as religion.I define religion as jefferson is using in the video as an act of man pretending or decieving himself into believing that he know God and that he is better than others.He shows that by what he know/pratice not really whats in his heart and by serving how we choose which is pleasing to us,so we use God as a vessel praticing holy rituals teaching what we have made tradition and we have a eternal life with God.God created religion in order for us to remenber him and have a personal relationship with him through his son regardless of the many mistakes we have made in the past.We need to remenber God Forgets our past "he sperate our sins from us as far as the east is from the west".Jefferson in his many words is todays paul by basically testifying to a lost society by preaching "The heart"that is what God wants not the shell which will rott away.I can stand with this truth until the day I die because I also have had disagreements in my church about this same topic.I dispise religion and encourage salvation which come from having a relationship with Jesus.Many may ask how do i have a relationship with him?by simply asking God through prayer,not what we know as pray but simply given up and telling God he win.That is what being righteous means saying "lord your're right and i will believe and obey that.Last i will like to thank jefferson for this clip,becuase for so long I have been feeling like todays churches in not like the first churches.They are stuck into their four cornered walls preaching to those who already obtain the word and people who already think they are perfect,but what about the weak and the sinners who we are suppose to love,go after,preach to,help and deliver the same way as Christ camed for the sinners so do we also be like him.Jefferson basically telling all us young people and old no matter who have suffered in the world,the church,or no matter what party or the past that there is hope and "God wants that person" not the sin but the person.Jefferson wants us to know that God can become personal with us and we do exist or can exist in the christian world not because we are perfect but because "he is perfect and he saw our broken spirits and rescued us!

    January 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Jeebus

      I'd suggest you watch the Zeitgeist and use ur time productively/learning something useful rather than spend hours of your life praying to a mythical figure whom you will never meet or talk to or have any type of dialog with.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Fred

      Hey, Jeebus...I recommend you use YOUR time to learn to write intelligently. "Ur?" I believe you meant "your,"
      but I'm not betting the farm on it.
      You like to make suggestions? I'll make a suggestion to YOU: read a Bible. Learn something first, run your mouth later.
      Works better that way, trust me.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Jim Thorpe

      Sterling, only 4 people took the time to read your chunk. It doesn't post until you hit post. Go ahead and throw a few line breaks in there.

      January 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  20. PaulCV

    After reading all of these comments one thing is certain, Thomas Jefferson was 100% correct when he removed religion from governemnt.

    January 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Fred

      First, Jefferson did not remove religion from government. Read a history book, that never happened.
      Religion is inextricably intertwined with our political and judicial process. The president is sworn into office
      using a Bible. People in court swear on a Bible. Congress opens with prayer. The national motto is, "In God
      We Trust." The Pledge of Allegiance says, "One nation, under God..."
      Read a book make comments later, please.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Reality

      More on T. Jefferson et al:

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      And the day will come,
      when the mystical generation of Jesus,
      by the Supreme Being as His Father,
      in the womb of a virgin,
      will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva
      in the brain of Jupiter.

      - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
      Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Reality, it looks like you are quoting wikipedia but I can not find the reference text, can you please help

      In the 16th century, Martin Luther initially considered it to be "neither apostolic nor prophetic" and stated that "Christ is neither taught nor known in it",[32] and placed it in his Antilegomena, i.e. his list of questionable doc.uments, though he did retract this view in later life. In the same century, John Calvin believed the book to be canonical, yet it was the only New Testament book on which he did not write a commentary.[33]

      January 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • bobcat

      under god was added in 1953 by evangelicals, in 1862 in god we trust was added as propaganda. Alexander Hamilton said it best:The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power. The Farmer Refuted (1775)

      January 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Fred,
      "Religion is inextricably intertwined with our political and judicial process." Not true. No religious test; Freedom of Religion clause, and Freedom of expression clause.

      "The president is sworn into office using a Bible." Not true. The official oath, the one in the Const.itution, has no mention of
      God or the Bible. Whether the Bible, or other book, is present is at the President Elect's discretion.

      "People in court swear on a Bible." Depends on the jurisdiction, I think, but the Const.itution uses "oath or affirmation," so I would think if it were taken to court, "so help me God" would not be required.

      "Congress opens with prayer." Not sure that this means anything.

      "The national motto is, 'In God We Trust.' The Pledge of Allegiance says, 'One nation, under God...'" Both were added, if I remember correctly, in the 1950s in response to the fear of atheistic Communism and has little to with the fundamentals of this country.

      January 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Fred, I feel like I have to repeat this a thousand times but "In God We Trust" is taken from the Quran. (Quran 7: 89) So doe that mean you are part of a nation under Allah?

      January 23, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Shakaray

      @ashrakay

      Try to search the word "Allah" in the dictionary that you maybe brought back to your senses.

      And..."thousand times" is not a joke. So be resourceful next time that you may not be misinformed and extremely misguided.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Reality

      Jefferson, Thomas (1854). H. A. WASHINGTON. ed. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Being His Autobiography, Correspondence. WASHINGTON, D. C: TAYLOR & MATJRY. pp. 395. Retrieved 2008-07-13.

      http://books.google.com/books?id=1mIFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA395&lpg=PA395&dq=no+more+worthy+nor+capable+of+explanation+than+the+incoherences+of+our+own+nightly+dreams&hl=en#v=onepage&q=incoherence&f=false

      January 24, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Reality

      http://etext.v-ir-g-inia.edu/e-tcb-in/to-cc-er-new2?id=Je-fLe-tt.sg-m&im-ages=im-ages/m-odeng&da-ta=/te-xts/en-glish/m-odeng/par-sed&ta-g=pu-b-lic&part=269&di-vis-ion=div1

      Keeping in mind the following which has ev-olved since the days of TJ:

      . JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Reality

      If you try to access the previous reference from the University of Virginia, remove all of the hyphens first.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Mike from CT

      I have removed all the hyphens still no luck

      January 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Shakaray, Thank for that oh so informative comment. I do know what Allah means to the readers of the quran, as I know what god means to the readers of the bible. You seem to take issue with what I said, personally criticize me, but do not point out any error in what I've said. Are you saying that the people who worship god and those who worship allah believe they are worshiping the same thing? Please be more descriptive in your posts.

      January 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.