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Jefferson Bethke Versus the Amazing Atheist: A Tale of Two Worldviews

A recent You Tube video by Jefferson Bethke has garnered an amazing 10 million plus hits in four days.  It is a poem in verse in which the artist compares Jesus to manmade religion. Religion, he says, is man-made and hollow, binding us up as slaves, while Jesus he reasons is God’s Son who has come to set us free. You can see the video and get the lyrics below.

As you can imagine, there has been a lot of talk about the controversial video from all sides. Many theologians argue that there is nothing wrong in fact with the Christian religion, it is just the framework with which we worship the Son of God. Many say that Bethke is being inconsistent in the poem in this regard.

I’m not so interested in what theologians have to say as much as I am interested in the non religious among us. An interesting, if vile, counter-argument has been made on You Tube by a gentleman who calls himself the Amazing Atheist. (I use the term “gentleman” loosely here.) In a You Tube rant included below he breaks down the poem line by line. (Warning: strong language content including the F-bomb every third word or so.)

While I think it is true that Jesus did in fact establish a new religion rather than oppose all religion, I find the Amazing Atheist’s commentary so vulgar and hard to watch that he smashes his own argument to pieces. All told there is a reason why Bethke’s You Tube poem has over 11 million total views as of this writing and the Amazing Atheist’s rebuttal only has a little shy of half a million. Bethke’s amazing message is positive and that’s what people want to see. The Amazing Atheist is a potty- mouthed freak who is easy to disregard.

But don’t take my word for it. Judge for yourself. I went to The Atheist’s Facebook page to find out more about him, and found myself unable to click the like button. That’s one FB friend I really don’t need.

See the Amazing Atheist at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBo7Z_abiLE&feature=related

Jefferson Bethke’s poem is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY&feature=player_embedded

The Amazing Atheist

 

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Poet Jefferson Bethke

 

 

 

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About Jeremy Griffith

Jeremy Griffith is conservative blogger and retired officer of the United States Army Reserve. He writes for his own blog at www.AmericanMillenniumOnline.com

29 comments

  1. Since I have my religious tenets & you yours, I try to avoid theology discusions like the plague. Yet here we are a year & 5 days since this post hit & it’s now a language-profanity exchange.

    I’m not Pollyanna & an expletive has come out of my mouth more than once…WHY? Because I didn’t think before I spoke…& for the moment I disregarded how others in earshot might feel…I put ‘Me’ first.

    A deliberate & repeated of words someone KNOWS are profane indicates, #self absorbent-disregard of others # low self esteem or IQ #too lazy to increase vocabulary beyond gutter language.

    If 10 yr olds know & use profanity, one of the above probably describes the parenting (or lack) Need to get someone’s attention? Use a LOUD VOICE (caps can be used or #@&*@# will do. Frankly, tune out any message that is surrounded with this language & I don’t believe I’m alone.

    Of course this is an ‘opinion’ exchange & all prespectives are welcomed. But Jeremy puts alot of thought & time into his posts, as do the others. Can’t we all at least respect that & gear our comments accordingly?

    BTW This site invites new contributor’s to feature & if you have a strong (solid) opinion on issues that’s an idea open for you.

  2. What I get out of all, is that I would rather live my life believing there is a God, die and find out there wasn’t one, and not live a life like there wasn’t one die and then find out there really was one. No offense to anyone.

    • Good point.

      • Terrible point.

        What if you worship the wrong god and just make him madder and madder all the time?

        Thats more likely than your specific god being true, thus there were more gods in men’s history that yours.

        • Thanks. Feel free to leave more comments when you can make complete sentences.

          • What exactly about that sentence was incomplete? Also, just telling me, not a native speaker of english btw., that my english is not as perfect as yours (which is, overall, quite bad), is not an argument for anything except for your ignorance.

        • if God is love and merciful, if God really know what’s in my heart, then I know, He will not do what you think He’s gonna do.
          But if He doesnt care about it,then it’s all His fault.

  3. Yep, that’s the way to peaceful coexistence in this world! Things like this: “The Amazing Atheist is a potty- mouthed freak who is easy to disregard.”

    Please note my HEAVILY sarcastic tone. Ugh. Come on. A few curse words upset you? Most 10 year old children have worse conversational language than this guy. Sure, F bomb here, F bomb there, F bomb everywhere. But what do you prefer? Kittens and sunshine?

    People don’t want to see “nice” or “positive” things. They want something convincing. If you could calm your apparently queasy stomach long enough, you might actually listen to his arguments, which are pretty sound and based in reason and logic. I dunno, maybe try some of that for a change… you might find yourself a wee bit less squeamish over time.

    • Use of that kind of language doesn’t add to the conversation, that’s what you people don’t understand. It doesn’t diminish me, it diminishes you.

  4. You should probably stop being so fucking sensitive. Curse words are nothing more than words. YOU are the one that has the problem, not the words themselves, nor the communicator of those words.

    Whether I say (1): I love this fucking video, or I say (2): I love this freaking video, there is no difference in the intent behind my words. So why would most overly sensitive people get offended by (1) but not by (2)? Because the problem is in their own fucking perception. Get the fuck over yourself.

    • Why do you use that kind of language? Aren’t you intelligent enough to use descriptive language other than trailer talk to make your point. If you are so ‘evolved’ then why sound like an animal?

  5. As someone who is conservative, I find this post really pathetic. You act as if because someone says ” 2 + 2 = fucking 4, that somehow invalidates the math behind the problem. Like so, because TAA uses vulgar profanity, his argument and points crumble?

    And, of course, people watch to watch a positive video where it’s a “nice message”. People always want to hear that. It’s not about how has more views, it’s about critical thinking and learning. Something you need to learn is profanity does not invalidate points someones makes.

    Just my food for though.

    ~Daniel

    • I’ve read this post several times now, and I am convinced more than ever that Repzion is smoking something good. You should not do drugs and write at the same time. It doesn’t make you smarter.

  6. I liked the Amazing Atheist video because it actually makes more sense than you do on your article. I know people usually attack someone when that person has in some way insulted one’s beliefs. Some truths required strong language to show and express real emotion of what a person is talking about. The use of the F-bomb is often required to put more emphasis on any given phrase.
    That poem kid just sees the world where it can only get better through jesus. It’s time for him to realize that we should lend each other a hand instead of “jesus or god will help you” This article is completely ridiculous.

  7. I’m going to attack this article with the same qualities this article attacks its subject matter.

    I wonder how many views this article has compared to the hundreds of thousands that TheAmazingAtheist video had. Also he capitalized way too many words that I disagree with.

    I can understand intolerance of vulgar language but to make that your main point against it is lame. None of your arguments even made it past half of grahams hierarchy of disagreement.

  8. Wow! I love all the comments! I need to write more Worldview pieces in the future! In fact, I plan on it. God Bless!

  9. @Anonymous. Nobody said I didn’t have my own opinion. You’re looking at a conservative news blog. Did you expect to find an opinion similar to the Daily Kos? How logical would that be? We have our own worldview here. If you don’t like it that’s fine. It’s still a free country. Thanks for your comments.

  10. That…and half a million views versus 10 million…well, it obviously has to do with the validity/popularity of their respective points. It couldn’t possibly be that one went viral and the other simply has hundreds of thousand of subscribers. One is an up-and-coming moron of a poet who randomly became internet famous. The other is an individual consistently making content that brings back a large audience because they like listening to his ideas.

  11. You do realize that the only reason his delivery “smashes his own argument to pieces” is because people won’t consider the substance, right? Isn’t that literally judging a book by it’s cover? Don’t we all recognize ever since kindergarten that prejudging something based on such superficial criteria is not reasonable? That we should judge something in full? If so, in this case, we should focus on the actual argument, no matter the language. And anyone who doesn’t can plug their ears so they don’t have to hear those nasty combinations of vibrations coming out of his mouth, sure; but they shouldn’t assume that it negates anything he says.

  12. How this qualifies as ‘journalism’ is beyond me. Dismissing valid arguments because you don’t like how they’re delivered is nothing short of retarded. What an objective and well-balanced article…fail!

  13. Corrected version: Made a few errors; lol
    I understood what Jefferson meant, but his point I think was largely misplaced. Religion becomes this trigger word that has all sorts of negative connotations, but the word as plainly defined is a categorical term. Going by this term makes Christianity a religion whether you like it or not. If you have an interconnected set of doctrines and beliefs held by an a body of individuals who practice and express those beliefs ritualistically, well my friends; THAT IS A RELIGION. However TJ’s critique was not very valuable either. TJ went on a polemic of his own, taking a passage (Matthew 34-37) out of context. The passage reads as the following:

    34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    35″For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;

    36 and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.

    37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son and daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

    38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of me.”

    Jesus in Matthew 34 is addressing what kind of effect his message will have on families. Just imagine what most Jews did to other Jews that converted to Christianity. They stoned them. Family members would be at odds with one another. And people that were previously opposed to one another like Roman and Jewish converts would find fellowship with one another as referenced in Matthew 36. TJ made out this passage as if Jesus is going around with a machete, pairing off family members against one another. lol I could imagine Jesus going up to a father and son and asking; Are you two father and son? They both answer in the affirmative. Jesus clears his throat, getting ready to speak and yells; FIGHT! Yeah………..right……*sigh*

    The passage in question in Matthew 37-38 is an attempt to make a cutting edge statement on the nature of sacrifice. It means not to put earthly things above Christ. It following up with a passage commenting on counting the cost of sacrifice one must make to pursue Christ. To deny one’s self. The ego is seen as a major obstacle to the individual. Christian theology holds that through Christ we must discipline ourselves in all that we do. Furthermore, we hold to the notion that God is the very ground of our being so denying that foundation by implication would be a negation of ourselves. Existentially you do a disservice to your family when you attempt to deny the source of what gives you the ability to love and act as if you affirmed them. In doing this we think we affirm them, but the Christian notion of the ontological nature of sin would imply that we would be negating them. TJ says that he would not turn to Christ even if he believed that Christ did do all those things that he said he has done and would do. Clearly this is not true. If TJ really did believes all the concepts that I elaborated on, then there would clearly be no conflict logically. Rather, TJ reads a verse that pisses him off and then he goes on a rant. I don’t really take too much issue with this, but then he gives a peace sign. HOW CLICHE. Really TJ?! I expected better from him then that. Oh well. Neither of them did too well. Both their speeches fell short of being any sort of well constructed argument. Flowerly language and polemics do not go well in a public forum. It only causes conflict. So much for peace then I guess. *sigh*

    • Anthony, thank you for your thoughtful analysis! You make good points and I appreciate it!

      There is only one line I disagree with. You said that if TJ believed that Jesus’s accomplishments were true then he would have no logical argument against it and you implied that he would then believe. I take TJ at his word. I think he would reject Christ regardless because it doesn’t fit his world view. Remember, Satan knows who Jesus is and knows his accomplishments are true, but he rejects him regardless because of his pride.

      Again Anthony, thanks again for your thoughtful and logical post. I enjoyed reading it.

    • @Anthony Watson

      So you’re saying TJs argument wasn’t much better than Bethke’s simply because he dedicated a small part of his video to one bible verse that he arguably took out of context?

      I say arguably because most Christians seem to be pretty big on being able to select which biblical verses are allegorical, literally true or anything in between.

      For arguments sake I’ll grant you that TJ messed up and made an invalid point right there.
      So what? It doesn’t invalidate the rest of his video, much (NOT all, in case someone decides to misquote me) of which is based on what seems to be infallible logic.

      If you compare that to a video with entirely misconstrued “arguments” and say that they’re on the same level, you’re fooling yourself.

      Bethke didn’t make a single logically valid “point” in his video. He didn’t point out what the actual difference between religion and worshipping Jesus is, and why one is better than the other. The whole “Religion says X, Jesus says Y” charade is, as TJ said, based on empty declarative statements.

      Vulgarity doesn’t take anything away from the strength of his arguments. Whether it’s appealing to you or not doesn’t matter to anyone but yourself, it doesn’t make TJ less credible.

      The “peace sign” TJ made is in no way relevant to what he or Bethke said, it’s part of his standard “outro” to nearly all of his videos. Watch a couple of them if you don’t understand what I mean.

      Some points TJ made that haven’t been refuted yet:

      -The thing “Jesus” is said to save you from is the punishment for breaking the rules that God himself created. He created the problem

      -You can be a good, helpful person without believing in Jesus, unlike what Jefferson seems to be claiming

      -Eternal punishment is infinitely worse than finite crimes, let alone the lack of belief in a God with no evidence to support its existence

      -It’s ridiculous to claim that humans are sinful by virtue of their existence alone, let alone claiming that this “sin” can be forgiven by believing in a 2000 year old story

      -the alleged divinity of Jesus alone, doesn’t make him worthy of worship. Especially when he DEMANDS it to grant you “forgiveness”.

      As a side-note, if Jesus is currently in heaven, then what did God really sacrifice? Jesus got off pretty well, and there was no need for a barbaric human sacrifice to forgive “sins” that hadn’t even been committed at the time.

  14. If you’re going to ignore perfectly good arguments because someone uses bad words, then you are missing out on a lot of good arguments and points of view.

    I mean, I could understand if you were uncomfortable with what The Amazing Atheist was saying if he was yelling HEIL HITLER every third word, but his vulgarity is nowhere near as frequent as you make it out to be.

  15. Sometimes, the truth hurts… and can be hard to hear. Sometimes people get angry over the stupidity of religion, and I can’t say I blame them. Get your panties out of a bunch.
    I love the Amazing Atheist!

  16. Bethke did a wonderful job: John 3:16

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