The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Dumbing Down Of...Religion?

Virginia Postrel is not a fan of the MegaChurch movement:

Throughout American history, Christian (largely Protestant) devotion has stretched people's minds and given them reason to think, if only within a closed system of belief. Religious practice has taught people to read, write, and speak. The rhythms and rhetoric of the Bible have given America its greatest political rhetoric, from Abraham Lincoln's to Martin Luther King's. Today's Christianity produces...George W. Bush.

Megachurch Christianity may hone organizational and business skills, but it isn't teaching believers to think about abstractions or communicate in higher than "everyday" language. No wonder megachurches combine their up-to-date media with fundamentalist doctrine. It fits well on PowerPoint--no paragraphs required. Leaving aside the validity of what they preach, today's most successful evangelicals are spreading pap.

While I'm ranting about the pap-ist threat, I should put in a few words about the mega-bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life. If anyone still used the phrase "begs the question" correctly, I would apply it here. While I'm sure the book inspires some people to more-fulfilling lives, Rick Warren's treatise is offensive in its audacious dodging of even the most sophomoric philosophical questions. (What about Hitler? Ted Bundy?) Just leafing through a few pages in Borders, I lost brain cells. Then I got mad. What a fraud, however honestly intended. Warren is amazingly featured (along with Al "Worst Speaker in the World" Gore) at this year's elite TED conference.

Read the whole thing.


  • From what I understand, Australia has its own MegaChurch movement, which has been instrumental in bringing the current government to power. Like the US MegaChurch movement, the Australian movement has been accused of dumbing down religion and focusing too much on prosperity theology. I would be curious to find out if this movement has fomented any sort of a culture war in the land down under.

    By Blogger dhodge, at 3:32 PM  

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