Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jesus > Religion - Book Review

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Are you one of the 24+ million viewers of the YouTube video "Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus"? If you are, then you'll enjoy the new book from the video's creator. (And if you aren't, well, watch the video and then read the book!) Jefferson Bethke's book Jesus > Religion: Why He is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough takes the basic premise of Bethke's video and expands on it. In each chapter, Bethke points out the difference between "religion" and Jesus. Religion does one thing, but Jesus does the opposite.

I think these differences are very important for Christians and non-Christians to contemplate. The differences point out hypocrisies that some religious folk carry out, the same hypocrisies that turn non-Christians away from Jesus. There is one way that some Christians act, and that is not the way that Jesus would have acted. There may be moments reading this book where you think, "Oh, I do that or I believe that" and you realize that those actions and beliefs are not bringing you any closer to God.

I dog-eared a lot of pages in this book. Bethke makes a lot of good points. Some I don't always agree with. Okay, one in particular—homosexuality. But here's the beauty of Bethke and a difference between how he acts and how "religion" acts. Bethke isn't out to argue with people, and he's not looking for a group to hate. He's open to dialogue, and no matter the difference in opinion, he still loves the other side.

This book points out a lot of reasons—actions and words—why people choose not to believe in God or to stop believing in God. But what Bethke is saying in this book is that those actions and words don't stem from Jesus. And hopefully, that is a distinct difference that non-Christians and Christians can learn to make.

Jesus > Religion is published by Thomas Nelson and will be available to purchase tomorrow, October 7, 2013. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review the book, but I did anyway.

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