by KRISTOFER COSTI Staff Writer
Twenty-two year old Jefferson Bethke uploaded a viral video January 10 about his views on Christianity, and shares his ideas and virtues. His main point in the video is that people should stop putting their faith in religion and put it in Jesus Christ. According to Bethke, religion consists of multiple concepts and ideas, but Jesus consists of just a handful of ideas. When the two ideas come together, religion and Jesus, one of them becomes masked. “Religion is man-centered,” Bethke says in his video “Jesus is God-centered.” Bethke’s video provoked a series of video responses, such as, “Why I hate religion but love Jesus, Muslim Version” and “Why I Dislike Your Poem, But Love God.” Some responses to the video include one from username influxrift saying, “He hates religion, but he loves Jesus, except a religion was formed around Jesus” Several religious bloggers have also joined the conversation by criticizing Bethke’s video. Bloggers said that Bethke’s grip on religion is excessively simplistic and dangerous. “Jefferson Bethke delivers what seems to be a critique against the institutional Church and in favor of a spirituality focused simply on the saving grace of Jesus Christ,” writes Patheos blogger pastor Brian Kirk. “So, yes, I have some problems with the video, even as I resonate with the need to call the Church out when it fails to focus on what really matters.” Bethke’s video got about 16 million viewers including freshmen Monique Smith and Justine Nesti. Their reaction at first was confused, but as Bethke went on, they become more interested; they even laughed when Bethke said “There’s a problem if people only know you’re a Christian by your Facebook” In Bethke’s opinion he was only seeking to make Jesus famous, but Smith said“[Bethke was trying] to tell people that it doesn’t matter what religion you are, were all equal” and then added “I think it was very inspiring” Nesti also agreed that the video was motivating, “It is very moving… [Bethke was very good at] getting the point across and not being boring.” Both girls are Catholics, but considered themselves non-religious. Nesti also mentioned how Bethke got her to change the way she thought about her own religion. Father Edward Beck told Bethke on CBS this Morning, “If you say you hate religion it means you’re also saying you hate all the good religion does” Father Beck believes that Bethke does not mean to say that he hates religion, but instead the hypocrisy of religion. Bethke replied saying, “[Religion] has a very negative idea…man-made religion [is] bad, so hate is a very neutral word and you have to interpret and understand the author’s intent before you try to judge.” Bethke says his final point in Father Beck and his conversation is that his generation wants authenticity because his generations has been blinded by the hypocrisy of religion, and that he was just trying to undo that with his video.