Just over one week ago, a handsome and allegedly humble Christian unleashed upon YouTube a performance of spoken-word audaciously titled, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” that he wrote “to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion.” After its seventh day of infecting the Internet, the video’s YouTube page now has over 14 million views. If you have not already smirked at, or at least noticed, just how peculiarly stupid the words quoted above are, I encourage that you YouTube it yourself.
It’s usually quite visible on the surface why a video on the Internet has “gone viral.” For it to garner such wild attention so rapidly it must either be of extreme hilarity, outrageous stupidity or impossible genius. The first two reasons are most common and are usually paired together. And when it comes to religious viral videos, especially this one, their popularity seems invariably due to how funny it is listening to someone speak about the truth of their wacky beliefs.
The Christian, within the first seconds of his video, makes his core message clear, laying over a black background bold, white text that starkly reads: “JESUS>RELIGION.” I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more asinine than this idiotically sinister proclamation. It’s idiotic because it’s a plain contradiction — it’s akin to “APPLE>FRUIT.” It’s sinister because the Christian wants to impress on others that he’s not really a Christian at all. He must think this is an ingenious strategy: If people reject Christ because they think religion is false, then let’s just say that fawning over Jesus is not a religion! Imagine: “I’m not religious; I just have been transformed by Christ’s love and sacrifice on the cross that was necessary to save mankind from sin.” Yeah, right. If you want to distinguish your hallucinatory relationship with Jesus as unique and unassociated with contemporary Christian sects, okay; but, realize what you’ve done is to start a new cult in which you are the only member. Have fun with that.
At least one could appreciate the skill required to craft the video — the editing, style and graphical effects are exceptional and well-executed; I’ll even grant that the Christian’s got some game in his wordplay and delivery, and I wish him success in what looks like a budding rap career.
Brian Gallagher is a fourth-year philosophy major.
Sadly, there are no tests for intellect, poetic capacity or logical reasoning that precede the upload of a YouTube video. As a result, a poem entitled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” surfaced recently. Here’s the gist: The poet comes out strong against religion, but then, hypocritically, follows it up with praise for his favorite flavor thereof.
This guy, whose name I’ve purposefully forgotten, is pulling a perfect “No True Scotsman” fallacy. The infamous (il)logical structure comes from the parable about a Scot who hears about a grisly murder and proudly declares that “no Scotsman” would do such a thing. However, he then learns that the murderer was born-and-bred in Glasgow. The listener stubbornly revises his earlier statement, saying instead that; “Well, no true Scotsman” would do such a thing.
Our aspiring laureate does, at least, recognize the horribly detrimental effect that religion has had on individuals and the progress of humanity as a whole (As he puts it, “If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars? / Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?”). But just as the Scotsman is faced with the reality of the murderer’s nationality, the poet must face that it is the same people who sit right beside him in the pews and pray to Jesus who then go home and exorcise the “demons” from an epileptic, or pray by the bedside of a child who screams and sweats in pain with a broken bone or gasps as pneumonia squeezes the air from his or her lungs.
This self-righteous idiot can only feebly insinuate that no true follower of Jesus would do those things. Except that they do. And he is one of them. One of those who takes a child’s mind, so full of possibility, and fills it with the fear and self-loathing of original sin (“…I love the church, I love the Bible, and I believe in sin”), telling that child that he or she is evil and broken and deserves to burn for eternity for the crime of being born. One who ritualistically hacks off parts of a little boy or girl’s genitals, and denies homosexuals the right to marry, adopt or receive in vitro fertilization, and kills abortion doctors. No, those people aren’t like me, he says.
And he’s right. They, at least, have read their Bibles.
Connor Oakes is a fourth-year political science major.