I could become seriously frustrated and hyperbolic on this one, so feel free to bail right now. You have been warned.
Here goes, I'll keep it short.
Lots of people are re-posting a video that has gone viral on Youtube. It's about how Jesus is better than religion, and why the poet/rapper making the video hates religion but loves Jesus. If you really must watch it, here's the link: http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY
And much like my previous post on whether to Tebow or not to Tebow, there's a great essay out there already that offers a solid theological critique. You really should go read it:
Here's my central point: People love this video not because it is true, but because it has high production values. It's a classic example of where the medium (a well made "music" video) convinces through the rhetorical force of the medium and accompanying soundtrack rather than the validity and coherence of the message. The medium, in fact, overrides and replaces the message. It swallows it.
In fact, an inversion occurs, to such an extent that the very thing the poet is declaiming (religion) becomes the thing he is celebrating, because his video is a classic example of what "religion" is. He says religion is about how you look on the outside rather than what is on the inside. Ipso facto, this video is all about presentation.
Religion makes high production value videos in front of cool buildings with guys in fancy clothes instead of feeding the poor.
Religion needs really cute guys who can rap handsomely about their weakness in order to prove that Jesus is about weakness rather than strength.
Religion needs bad rhymes to cover up inelegant prose. As one teen noted, "It's like he built the poem around a rhyme. Rhyme can ruin otherwise good poetry."
Religion takes an authentic and tried and true form (a faith testimonial) and turns it into a viral Youtube phenomenon requiring lots of expensive cameras and shots, and less authenticity, in order to get everyone excited about why in a death match between Jesus and religion, Jesus wins hands down.
This video is the height of religiosity, not a critique of it. This video IS religion.
And since we still have no idea what religion actually is, other than, using the same assumptions as the video, it must be a very, very, very bad thing, the rhetoric of my preceding sentences has convinced you, right?