• Jesus > Religion

  • Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough
  • By: Jefferson Bethke
  • Narrated by: Jefferson Bethke
  • Length: 4 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,486 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Abandon dead, dry, rule-keeping and embrace the promise of being truly known and deeply loved.

Jefferson Bethke burst into the cultural conversation in 2012 with a passionate, provocative poem titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” The four-minute video of Bethke’s spoken-word performance literally became an overnight sensation, with seven million YouTube views in its first forty-eight hours (and 24+ million within a year). The message hit like a blizzard on social-media sites and in forwarded e-mails, triggering an avalanche of responses running the gamut from encouraged to enraged.

In Jesus > Religion, Bethke unpacks the stark contrasts that he drew in the poem - contrasts between teeth gritting and grace, law and love, performance and peace, despair and hope. With refreshing candor, he delves into the motivation behind his message, beginning with the unvarnished tale of his own plunge from the pinnacle of a works-based, fake-smile existence that sapped his strength and led him down a path of destructive behavior.

Bethke is quick to acknowledge that he’s not a pastor or theologian, but simply a regular, twenty-something, soul-starved searcher who cried out for a life greater than the one for which he had settled. Along his journey, Bethke discovered the real Jesus, who beckoned him beyond the props of false religion.

©2013 Thomas Nelson (P)2013 Thomas Nelson

What listeners say about Jesus > Religion

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Reestablished My Calling

What did you love best about Jesus > Religion?

His purposeful and unashamed portrayal of grace and the Gospel were riveting. After Jefferson Bethke came and spoke at Liberty University this past fall semester (fall 2013), I HAD to get his book. Truthfully, I bought this audiobook after reading the actual book, which was the first book I had read for pleasure in years, and I read the whole thing in less than two days (during the hectic beginning of my first semester of college)!
I now know what the phrase "couldn't put the book down" means!
Soon after reading this book, I re-realized my calling to be a pastor. Now I am studying the Bible intensely in college as I prepare for ministry.
This book is incredible and really helps in so many ways in your walk with Christ, and even for those seeking or curious about Christianity.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I would say that, before coming to Liberty University, I had a particularly closed mindset about homosexuality and same-sex attraction. After coming to Liberty, my mind was opened to the actual struggle that this is, and the circumstances surrounding it. Jeff Bethke awesomely establishes what homosexuality is, along with the homosexual lifestyle, and shows how we can love them like Jesus without being the mean Christians that they are used to interacting with. It really helped me in that area.

12 people found this helpful

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A must listen for all people.

This book is a breakthrough in Christian living books. I know it changed my life and saved my beliefs. I was looking at Christianity all wrong. It's not what you can do for Christ, it's what He did for you. You only need one thing on your heavenly resume and that is "I believe". If you've been a follower of Christ all your life or two minutes, listen to this book. If you don't believe in Christ, listen to this book. If you are a monkey riding a unicycle juggling bananas, listen to this book.

7 people found this helpful

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No other words, but simply amazing!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. Not only is Jefferson amazing to listen to, but his story and testament is one that should be heard by all. His break down of the love of Jesus and how it applies to all of us, is phenomenal. It's easy to understand, to get, to relate to. This book is a great way to start the conversation and to share the gospel. For new and old Christians alike.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jesus > Religion?

Every part of it! He was able to verbalize my views on homosexuality and basically my entire world view. He gets it. Finally a person that isn't bogged down by the ties of religion.

Have you listened to any of Jefferson Bethke’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Only book he has. I've listened to many of his spoken words on YouTube. He has amazing presence.

Any additional comments?

Amazing book. I hope Jeff continues to share his story and his thoughts. As long as he stays true and continues to preach the love of Jesus, I will continue to support him through the purchasing of his books.

6 people found this helpful

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There is no love like Jesus's love for us

What did you love best about Jesus > Religion?

I loved learning more about Jesus and that he still loves me even though I am not perfect.

What does Jefferson Bethke bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Jefferson Bethke is a young adult similar to myself and I can relate to his story more so than other stories.

Any additional comments?

I used to judge others based on their appearance and whether they followed the ten commandments. I had never read the Bible before for myself and always used to just take for granted what other people would teach me about the bible. I could say I was a religious hypocrite because I would judge others for not following the ten commandments, but I myself would hide my slip ups as I struggled to follow the ten commandments. After reading this book and reading the Bible for myself I have learned so much more about Jesus for who he is personally and how he lived his life. I trust in Jesus lifting up his name more now with confession as a way of life rather than trying harder, doing more, and being good enough.

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

Would you consider the audio edition of Jesus > Religion to be better than the print version?

An amazing book from a young person who knows what we must focus on. It is all about Jesus. The church is becoming of this world. Focus on Christ!

Who was your favorite character and why?

all of it

Which scene was your favorite?

the struggles he went through

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Jesus is the Answer!

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing Listen! What you do bring glory to God!

Would you listen to Jesus > Religion again? Why?

Of course! Narrated by Jeff himself. If you want to see what it's like, just watch one of his youtube videos and it's basically hours of that.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jesus.

What about Jefferson Bethke’s performance did you like?

What his youtube video and you can see him for yourself.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

No film needed because he already has his youtube videos.

Any additional comments?

Keep it up Jeff! You bring people closer to Jesus, including myself. Thanks for your wisdom and thank God for blessing you with your gift. I've been recommending your book to my friends.

4 people found this helpful

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Jesus, The center of religion.

This book has a great focus on Jesus, however the mischaracterization of Christian's and how the church acts is purely subjective. I would even say that running into these people who claim the name of jesus but do not follow his teachings is a common occurrence. that however is my own subjective opinion. Christian's as the Bible lays out are none of the things described in this book. hopefully people who read this book will be able to see the difference between those who are walking with Jesus, and those who just say his name.
God bless.

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This book really opened my eyes and heart!

I really enjoyed listening to this book! I know that I will keep relistening to it because Jeff talks about things that you normally do not think about. I definitely learned a lot from this book. I definitely recommend it to every one, Christians and non-Christians!

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NOT TO BE MISSED!

If you shy away from religion because you feel it's too constrictive, too damning, contradictory, judge mental, condemning, etc., you may be right! This book cuts through all that and goes directly to the matter at hand--Jesus is greater than religion; ANY religion. This guy's got it right. Everything becomes much clearer than before. Clearly a gifted individual. Thank you, Jefferson Bethke!

2 people found this helpful

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helpfully enlightening.

Loved it! whether you are bogged down in the mire of religiosity or just want a reminder of how beautiful Jesus truly is this is a fantastic book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Abby Prince
  • 10-19-16

sensational

This book by Jefferson offers a true reflection of what following christ is and should look like.

Amazing book, was completely gripped by it. moving onto his next book!

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  • Ayanda
  • 04-23-16

Inspiring!

Inspiring stories that were very applicable to everyday life. Brilliant book! Will definitely listen to it again!

1 person found this helpful

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  • mark tracey
  • 03-29-15

buy it !

as a new christian this book spoke to my heart , amazing listening. always struggled with religion absolutely love jesus .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 02-17-15

wow! what a book! you are a inspiration Jefferson.

I really lovedit. Thank you for honesty,you've giving me so much hope. Stay blessed Jefferson.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carôle
  • 01-15-21

21st Century Christianity!

I cannot rate this book highly enough! I’ve listened to it 4 times now before rating it, just because there is so much to get out of it. I shall be listening to this on an off all year I think, and referring back to it often.

I’ve never heard of Jefferson before. So I didn’t know about his poetry, especially the one that led to this book. So I shall go and investigate him on YouTube now.

This is a book for everyone. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, who ever you are! This is a great jumping board for all of us to see how we should be living in this 21st-century and will be surprised to learn that it’s extremely easily biblical! But even if you don’t want to be biblical, but you do think that there is a better way of us living our lives, Then you may as well read this and pick up some hints and tips because you definitely won’t regret it!

Read by the author brilliant day and humorously and realistically if I could give more stars I would!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-16-19

Relevant and thoughtful

Jefferson has presented a well thought out treatise of his view of the malaise being felt by the community at large, in developed countries? with main stream religious organisations. His own story and views are relevant and I resonated with the distinction between Christ and the organisation that is the church of today. The story did come across at times sounding a bit like a sermon which I didn’t really want but then it’s not easy to communicate a spiritual message using the spoken word which can be so easily misinterpreted by our own world views and filters.

Overall if you’re looking for a non mainstream view of the church it’s a good listen which can raise a few spiritual conundrums for the listener to ponder/wrestle with

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  • Charlotte
  • 12-31-16

love it!

this is such an amazing book! it has helped me so much in my faith and it's a great book for every one just to see a different point of view . Thanx so much for the book Jefferson!

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  • Josh
  • 12-07-15

Mate, hit the nail right on the head.

Gonna have to read this one again with a pen and paper next to me. So much to take in, so much to think about, so much to change about me living for jesus.

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  • Annie
  • 09-15-15

great read for any age seeking truth

Loved the book, the author reading it, the humour and the honesty. It's a timeless book and great gift.

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  • Shem
  • 03-31-15

Very good

Very insightful and encouraging words towards faith and Jesus for the 21st century believer. Awesome

.