Jimmy Akin Hates People Hating on Religion

He’s perfectly right of course. When people say junk like “I’m spiritual, not religious” or “I love Jesus, not religion” what they really mean is “I want Jesus, not his body the Church”. It’s the classic gnostic impulse to pit the spiritual and the physical against one another. It was definitively rejected by Jesus himself when he appeared to Saul of Tarsus (as he breathed out threats and murder against the first members of the Catholic religion) and said not, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting my followers?” but “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me”. Jesus totally identified himself with his body the Church. He doesn’t need to be liberated from his body. Indeed, somebody already did that to him once–by crucifixion. Because the separation of body and spirit does not give you purity. It gives you death. The whole point of the story of Jesus is that the body matters–and so does the Church, the body of Christ.

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  • Babs

    Best rebuttal yet. So pleased to read this consice rebuttal not bogged down with point-after-point.

  • Jimmy is not the guy to do this. I don’t want to say he missed the point, but he totally missed the point.

    I teach in an evangelical school and I discussed this video with some of my students. This video is dangerous and severely misguided, but the point the kid is trying to make is one that every single young person instinctively grasps and includes some relatively orthodox theology. More later. Gotta go, but Jimmy ticked me off with his extremely off-putting answer.

  • Jared

    Personally, this is my favorite response.


  • Because the separation of body and spirit does not give you purity. It gives you death.

    Excellent! I don’t think I’ve ever seen it put more clearly and succinctly.

  • Brian T

    I think Jimmy’s response was a bit too pedantic and more outraged than the video warranted. The message of the video seems to be pretty standard evangelical protestantism, albeit expressed in a provocative, eye-catching way.

    I used to know a Plymouth Brethren street evangelist who was always comparing “faith in Christ” to “faith in religion”. (“You can be saved without ever seeing a stained glass window!” he once announced to a street full of Saturday shoppers in Dublin. As if they assumed that having seen a stained glass window was somehow necessary for salvation.)

    Once I saw him approach a young man and ask him was he saved. “Well, I don’t believe in religion so much …” began the man. Misunderstanding him completely, the evangelist nodded solemnly and said “Amen, brother.” The man looked at him, baffled. The two of them were on totally different wavelengths – “spiritual not religious” and “Jesus not religion” locked in mutual incomprehension!

    • +J.M.J+

      Evangelicals said this kind of stuff back when I was in that subculture (which was before this kid was born if 1989 was indeed the year of his birth). How often I heard, “Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship with Jesus!”

      I thought back then (and still think) that it’s their way of trying to find “common ground” with the anti-organized religion crowd. Like they’re trying to imitate St. Paul or something: “to the anti-religious I became anti-religious in order to win the anti-religious,” something like that. I don’t know whether the target audience buys it, though.

      Is Christianity a Religion?

      In Defense of Organized Religion

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Jimmy’s article might seem over the top if taken in its own right. If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, however, you’d see just how viral this video has gone. People just nod and say, “Yep. That’s how it is,” without questioning anything about it. I appreciate the takedown, personally.

    • Rosemarie


      Yep, my Evangelical relatives Amened it on FB. Disheartening. I’m tempted to post the response Jared links to above but I’d rather not go down that road with them yet again….

  • It’s funny how even orthodox Protestants always seem like they’re only a bad day away from being Gnostic. I’m sure the mere fact that there are still orthodox Protestants in the 21st century is one massive act of divine mercy.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker has his own take on spiritual but not religious. Haven’t seen the Jimmy Akin video yet, so I can’t compare the two.