Religion = Hypocrisy?

Someone sent me this video and asked me comment on it--

I think this is an interesting work by a young man who raises a lot of valid points but also has some things that are convoluted as well. Let's take it apart--

It seems his main topic of argument is that religion in general is toxic and hypocritical- that religion is man-made and not something God intended. This young man is making some broad generalizations here but also mentions some good points.

He mentions that we don't become holy by playing dress up and pretending that we are "good people" just because we profess a certain faith. He talked about going to church on Sunday but being addicted to pornography. Many people are caught up in that facade and think "well, I will just go to Church on Sunday and I will be a good person."

Often people hide behind a version of religion to look down on others and judge them and this is surely not what Jesus wants. He exposed the hypocrites in his day and called them "white washed tombs" who "look beautiful on the outside but are full of dead man's bones" (Matt 23:27)

It is true that religion- a systematic belief- will have little effect on the transformation of our lives until we open our hearts to a living encounter with Jesus (daily, not once when we were 12 years old) that Pope Benedict so often speaks of.

However, Jesus did not hate religion and never promoted individualistic beliefs that vary from person to person. He tells St. Peter, "You are Peter and upon this rock, I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt 16:18) and in St. Paul's letter to Timothy, he writes "the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth" ( 1 Tim 3:15)

So, it appears that we must look deeper into this reality. We cannot hide behind a name and say we are Catholic, for instance, when our daily lives profess an opposite belief (been there, done that) but we cannot say that religion is evil and we have no need for it.

It seems to me that a lot of people, when they are "anti-religion", are often struggling with something they don't want to give up and so rather than convert and be purified, they would rather condemn religion so they can do what they want.

I don't know which church this young man was referring to in his negative appraisal of religion, but the Catholic Church is one of biggest philanthropic organizations on the face of the earth. It wouldn't be true at all to say that the Catholic Church doesn't give money to the poor or feed the homeless. Most of the biggest pro-life movements are also within the Catholic Church- we do help unwed mothers and stand in defense of life from conception to natural death.

Here's the deal- all of us, every single person on earth has some measure of hypocrisy within them. We all have some measure of being a "pretender on stage". An ongoing personal encounter with Jesus combined with a solid and authentic belief system will transform us and the world.

We can have the House and Senate filled with pro-life people and have the President praying in front of Planned Parenthood but until we as individuals decide to seek healing, live in the truth, and undergo conversion nothing much will change. No one can live for us. We must intentionally decide to say yes and travel along the journey.


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