Actually, “clanging cymbal” is probably  a too-generous descriptor of this video (“Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus”), which has been ricocheting across the Internet of late, racking up somewhere in the neighborhood of six million views in just three days.

What captivating here, aside from the evangelical street smarts on display in the young speaker’s (rather well-executed) quasi-verse monologue, is that some of his message is : “an absolutely valid critique of what religion should not be. If it is just a set of rules and not a love affair, it is dead. You can’t have works without faith any more than you can have faith without works.”

But where the young man is wrong, he’s exquisitely wrong. He doesn’t criticize organized religion so much as he absolutely dismembers it, spurns it on principle (it’s “the infection,” creating “slaves”). No reform would be good enough for this young man, so religion must be abolished completely as, he ludicrously claims, Christ intended. While some of his lines may sound like standard Protestant accusations against Catholics (the denunciations of elaborate church architecture, the implication that those who follow “rules” don’t understand that Christ’s work is “finished”), he goes far beyond even the most austere Christian denomination’s theology (and far beyond the pale) when, by the admission of the video’s own title, he descends into outright hatred.

I won’t attempt to deconstruct any more of the video’s argument here, as it is an infuriating task, and has (thankfully) been done on countless other blogs already. A balanced, charitable-but-firm rebuttal can be found at Patheos’  “Bad Catholic,”  which combs through the video’s claims and attempts to separate the intellectual wheat from the chaff, of which there is much.

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