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You might not like Jefferson Bethke if you’re a Christian. After all, he says he hates religion. And you might not like him if you’re an atheist. He’s a strong believer in Jesus, and he’s not afraid to tell you.
These are the polarized reactions to 24-year-old Jefferson Bethke and his Youtube video, “Why I Hate Religion, But I Love Jesus.” Bethke’s on a campaign to take away the rules that keep Christians from getting at the heart of their faith and to change the right-wing image of the institution in the U.S. He’s a churchgoer – has been since he was a kid – but when he was at college, Bethke was frustrated by the way his friends saw Christian culture. They equated it with Republicanism and restriction. And he began a journey to bring the disillusioned “Millenial generation” back to their religious ideals.
Over 26 million views later, Bethke’s explaining his position in his new book, Jesus > Religion. And he talks about some of the dark times that brought him closer to God: growing up with a single mom, being addicted to porn and losing his faith. And the plot thickens: Bethke’s mom is a lesbian. So how do you reconcile your religious views with the love you have for your parent? Bethke’s not sweating the small stuff: he’s taking on some of the central issues of Christianity and giving us his version, that he would say is updated for a new generation.