Here is the original video that got everyone talking:
Here is a response:
It all hangs on how we use the word "religion." For the first guy "religion" = mere concern with outward appearance and not about relationship with God or heart-motivated holy living.
Of course, if that is what "religion" means then obviously Jesus hates it. On that definition then the first guy is right.
And he does make a lot of good points about the importance of inward religion and how Jesus hates hypocrisy.
But I am worried.
The first guy turns Jesus' critique of hypocrisy and double-standard religion into a general critique of "religion."
Jesus was not against institutional religion any more than the prophets in ancient Israel were. Criticizing abuses from within is not the same as rejecting everything. Do remember that Jesus was a torah-obedient Jew (albeit at the liberal end of the interpretation of the torah)! He celebrated religious festivals, took part in religious rituals, and followed religious laws.
The problem is that guy 1 defines "religion" as "mere appearance" (making the word into a negative word) and then simply applies that negative definition to anything that has seen itself as "religion" (i.e., against the institutional church).
Jesus is against hypocritical religion; he is against mere outward religion; and he is against heart-less religion.
He is not, however, against religion nor even against outward behaviour and religious rituals. He is for godly religion.
The church will ever need its prophets to offer critique from within (so I value a lot of what guy 1 says) but this critique has moved beyond its limits as a reasonable and valid critique into a over-fast dismissal of institutional Christianity based on a caricature of it.
Nevertheless, rather than rejecting it as mere rhetoric I think we can filter it and reappropriate it as a helpful critique from a Christian of some problems within churches.