The "I Hate Religion but Love Jesus" Guy Answers 5 Tough Questions


In the poem, you say, “Religion is behavior modification.” Doesn’t a relationship with Jesus modify our behavior?

Yes. I 100% agree with that sentiment. That’s something that I wasn’t expecting to hear back. But as I say in the line [in the poem], “Religion is just behavior modification, like a long list of chores…” because Jesus isn’t just behavior modification; he’s also a heart change that leads to behavior modification. Religion picks the bad fruit off the tree when Jesus just plants a new tree. That’s essentially the crux, the root, and the core of my poem.

Do you think Jesus hates religion (as you define it)?

I think there’s a spot of hatred, because any of those things in regards to legalism, self-righteousness, or justification are saying, “Jesus, your sacrifice was worthless; what you did had no reason and has no purpose,”…so people who try to earn it are slapping and spitting in his face and dragging his sacrifice through the dirt. I think that’s why he has a problem with it.

In your poem, you say, “The church is a hospital.” What about the other functions of the church: gathering for worship or the role communion and the preaching of the word?

I’m 22 years old. I’m not an expert; I don’t have a doctorate in theology. I have an extreme passion for Jesus. He saved me about four years ago. I love spreading his word. But I can tell you in four years I’ve only touched the surface of the character and nature of God and what he’s revealed about other things in Scripture, like the nature of the church. The church is the body, which means that we are to administer not only healing but also forgiveness. Also the breaking of bread and wine, also the gathering of saints—the fellowship of believers coming together because there is a unity and a different kind of spirit when we all come together rather than individual, American Christianity…I think 1 Corinthians is the perfect study of what the church is because it also shows it can administer church discipline and restoration and healing. The church is the manifest body of Jesus, and that encompasses a wide range of activities, roles, and responsibilities, but they all collide with the one purpose of making Jesus famous and holding Him up as supremely more glorious than anything on this Earth and in heaven.

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Ray Hollenbach
Ray Hollenbach, a Chicagoan, writes about faith and culture. His devotional book "50 Forgotten Days: A Journey Into the Age to Come" is available at Amazon.com He currently lives in central Kentucky, which is filled with faith and culture. He's also the author of of "The Impossible Mentor", a deep dive into the foundations of discipleship.