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Author Topic: Evangelicals overtaking mainstream denominations  (Read 15913 times)
mandrina
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« Reply #15: November 29, 2007, 10:34:47 am »

. Have you ever tried to lead a round in a group whose mean age is 68?  Cheesy)

actually, I've seen it done.  The mean age was even older, they knew they were going to be singing and doing silly reminiscing things like that, but it CAN be done. But probably not in church.
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« Reply #16: November 29, 2007, 02:33:58 pm »

Does your local MegaChurch have Halloween celebrations, or do they view celebrating Halloween as devilry?

We have one here (though smaller than ones I've seen on TV located in the South), and the church members have a big Halloween affair every year for the children.

I'm sorry, I just now realized that I hadn't answered your question. To be honest, I'm really not sure what they did for Halloween...if anything. When I first heard about them, I was working at a place where the radio was on all the time and that's where they mainly advertised. I changed jobs before Halloween, so never heard what they were doing...and didn't much care at that point to find out since they're on the other side of town from where I live and I wouldn't have been going there for their festivities if they'd had any.
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« Reply #17: December 03, 2007, 02:21:51 pm »

We've mentioned from time to time that membership in traditional, mainstream churches has consistently dropped.  In contrast, Evangelical church membership has grown substantially (in some places giving rise to the "mega-church" phenomenon).  I was curious as to why you folks think this is true.  What do the Evangelical churches have that traditional churches do not? 

Sperran

Whew. That's a huge question that has libraries worth of studies, journals, and commentaries written on it. Everyone has a different opinion and rational and from my school studies I can remember a couple off the top of my head that have been offered up.

1. Evangelical churches tend toward plenary verbal inspiration (or in layman terms: everything the bible says is literal and correct). That tends to make decision-making very easy as it limits objectivity. Not sure what Paul ment by something in the letters? Assume it was literal. Not sure if Jesus could somehow die and come back from the dead? Assume it is literal. It resolves some theological problems and to a follower of these belief system makes things very concrete and easy. From an outside stand point, not so much. This also has the effect of removing the need for extensive personal study or introspection. Moral dilemmas are swept away as the decision is already made. When you hit something the Bible doesn't directly address (do I drive a hybrid car?) ask the minister (No, we were granted the earth to do as we please). It's very hands off theologically.

2. The big churches tend to have charismatic leaders. This has already been suggested so not much more needs to be said. But a good speaker can do wonders.

3. The services tend to be experiential and esctatic. All that hand clapping, rolling in the aisles, shouting, etc brings about an altered state of reality. Communal religious experiences of all strips do this but the evangelical method seems to be really good at it. You get the feeling of the Holy Spirit because everyone else has it. Sort of a divine feedback loop. If you've never experienced spiritual ecstacy however this idea is hard to understand.

4. It gives an identity. This has been suggested as well. Religions, especially large ones, give people an identity. Since the Evangelicals are so vocal and so large it is comforting to say "I am with them," and have a million or more people behind you. Conversly, it is a great tool to use when you see something wrong with the world, "I am NOT with them". Tribalistic, yes, but a great relief for most people.

5. They are experiental faiths. Much like point 1 and 3 the beliefs of an Evangleical church care much more about how you feel than what you know. Not sure if God exists? Speak in tongues, roll in the aisles, and cast out demons. Don't worry about the higher education you need to really break down the Bible, all you need is to feel God. It is much easier to feel God than to think about him, especially when you are a busy, modern person. Who has time anymore to read extensively about religion? (Unless it is your career or hobby.) You have three kids, a wife, a job that demands 60 hours a week, a morgage, a dog, and a neighbor that keeps dumping leaves in your yard. No time to study, but there is time to feel.

6. The belief that Moderate Protestant churches are surrending to culture. They are letting in the gays, the Muslims, and the heathens. They have lost the way, we have the right way. It's more than just a coherent identitiy, like point 4, it is a "correct" identity. The Moderates have gotten to PC and lost the fire.

7. Globalization. As the world becomes more global things become more syncretic. Europe is remerging (sort of). America is taking in all of Mexico. The Moderate Protestants are watering things down to take in everything that is forigen, new, and alien. This is a way to redefine things into a small, isolationist, unchanging system. The idea is that the Evangelical churches as "the one true church" has never changed and even as the world changes, they don't.

Err. I know there are more proposed reasons but that is all I can recall off the top of my head. I don't think any one reason is it since most people have several reasons they do it. Heck, for some people it's just as simple as "God told me to" and there is no way to argue with that.
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« Reply #18: December 03, 2007, 05:49:33 pm »

5. They are experiental faiths. Much like point 1 and 3 the beliefs of an Evangleical church care much more about how you feel than what you know. Not sure if God exists? Speak in tongues, roll in the aisles, and cast out demons. Don't worry about the higher education you need to really break down the Bible, all you need is to feel God. It is much easier to feel God than to think about him, especially when you are a busy, modern person. Who has time anymore to read extensively about religion? (Unless it is your career or hobby.) You have three kids, a wife, a job that demands 60 hours a week, a morgage, a dog, and a neighbor that keeps dumping leaves in your yard. No time to study, but there is time to feel.


Great points! I just finished a really good book, _The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind_, which both analyzes and laments the fact that American Evangelical Christianity has become so anti-intellectual.  It was written by Mark A. Noll, an Evangelical himself, in 1994;  but the points he makes are still valid, since the problem has only gotten worse.    It's worth reading for anyone interested in the disconnects between Evangelical religion and mainstream life/society/science.

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« Reply #19: August 16, 2010, 11:35:19 am »

Interesting.  I was brought up in a Baptist Church which had most definite Evangelical overtones.  I refer to it as Baptist/Evangelical.

I'm also finding this to be the case online.  I've been looking for a Christian forum but they are all overrun by Evangelicals and Fundamentalists!
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« Reply #20: August 16, 2010, 11:41:57 am »

Interesting.  I was brought up in a Baptist Church which had most definite Evangelical overtones.  I refer to it as Baptist/Evangelical.

I'm also finding this to be the case online.  I've been looking for a Christian forum but they are all overrun by Evangelicals and Fundamentalists!

::nudge::  Just a quick note--don't forget to quote, please, even if you're just replying to the first post in the thread.  (Especially in a thread this old--I didn't say anything about quoting in the other one because what you said was so general, but...)  Thanks!
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« Reply #21: August 16, 2010, 12:03:38 pm »

I'm also finding this to be the case online.  I've been looking for a Christian forum but they are all overrun by Evangelicals and Fundamentalists!

Hiya WillowFae! Long time, no see. I think fundies end up taking over online Christian forums because other Christians just give up. After all, they don't need the online forum for fellowship or discussion -- they have their local church.  Also many Christians seem reluctant to silence a fellow Christian no matter how much they disagree with his positions and behavior.

I know I've been asked a good number of times if I wouldn't run an online Christian forum that would keep the fundies under control -- because a) I've proved it can be done with TC to some extent and because b) as a non-Christian I would not feel like I might be backstabbing a "brother in Christ" who by not leting him express himself even if he drives off others by doing so. I've never felt able to do it.
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« Reply #22: August 16, 2010, 05:30:52 pm »

I know I've been asked a good number of times if I wouldn't run an online Christian forum that would keep the fundies under control -- because a) I've proved it can be done with TC to some extent and because b) as a non-Christian I would not feel like I might be backstabbing a "brother in Christ" who by not leting him express himself even if he drives off others by doing so. I've never felt able to do it.
I don't think the success of TC directly correlates to whether you'd be able to do it for Christians.  One of the biggest problems is that (from what I can tell from the reports of those who've participated in Christian forums) the fundies are religious trolls - overwhelming the forum so no one else can use it is no less the point for them than it is for a pack of 4Channers; it's just that the 4Channers are doing it "for the lulz", because the sense of power it gives amuses them, while the fundies are doing it because it represents a defeat of the "heretics" by the True Faith.  The only places where the 4Channers' motivations are integral to the purpose of those places are 4Chan itself and other "home bases" of the trolls, and those are home bases; they do their trolling elsewhere - but the integral purpose of Christian forums is Christianity, and that's also the fundies' motivation.  Makes 'em a lot harder to weed out.

Technically, the integral purpose of a Christian forum is Christian discussion, while the fundies are not motivated by interest in discussion, so that'd be the weeding-out point:  if you're not there to discuss, <punt>.  But it can be hard to discern quickly (by the time the mods are sure, things are already in a mess), and it'd take many more mod-hours to cover it.

Way, way, way too much bother.  (And this from someone who aspires to run or help run an intersectional social-justice forum - so I have a high "bother tolerance" level).

What I'd like to see is the Christian contingent of TC making use of this folder to have more Christian ecumenical discussions - that only caters to a fairly small segment of Christendom, those who are not just ecumenically-inclined, not just interfaith-inclined, but actually comfy hanging out with a pack of pagans; but those are the ones who have the most difficulty getting the kind of dialogue they want, and it's both less likely to draw fundie-trolls and much easier to control 'em.

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« Reply #23: August 16, 2010, 06:52:57 pm »

I don't think the success of TC directly correlates to whether you'd be able to do it for Christians.  One of the biggest problems is that (from what I can tell from the reports of those who've participated in Christian forums) the fundies are religious trolls - overwhelming the forum so no one else can use it....

Yes, that can be stopped by strong moderation and rules designed to be easy for non-fundie Christians to follow but hard for fundies. I know how to do it -- and given a good staff -- know it could be done. I just lack the interest to do it and finding a staff able to handle it would be hard. But I've been asked, usually several times a year for most of TC's life.
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« Reply #24: August 16, 2010, 07:04:01 pm »

Yes, that can be stopped by strong moderation and rules designed to be easy for non-fundie Christians to follow but hard for fundies. I know how to do it -- and given a good staff -- know it could be done. I just lack the interest to do it and finding a staff able to handle it would be hard. But I've been asked, usually several times a year for most of TC's life.

Huh.  I wasn't aware of this.  If you ever changed your mind and decided to do it, I would be up for doing back-up staff duties.  Although a non-Christian staff member might draw more trolls, so I don't know if that would work out or not.

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« Reply #25: August 16, 2010, 11:54:13 pm »

We have a mega-church here that advertises on the radio constantly as "a church for people who don't like church".

In my hometown there's one that uses the same slogan. They also have a big billboard with an old lady on it--Granny says, "It don't even look like a church!" And yes, that's "don't," not "doesn't." I'm not sure why.
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« Reply #26: August 17, 2010, 04:22:33 am »

Huh.  I wasn't aware of this.  If you ever changed your mind and decided to do it, I would be up for doing back-up staff duties.  Although a non-Christian staff member might draw more trolls, so I don't know if that would work out or not.

Sperran

Or it could be a good litmustest - can't cope with the non-Christian staff member(s)? Then this isn't the place for you. Much like Koi's presence did that here for a long time.

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« Reply #27: August 17, 2010, 07:14:19 am »

Huh.  I wasn't aware of this.  If you ever changed your mind and decided to do it, I would be up for doing back-up staff duties.  Although a non-Christian staff member might draw more trolls, so I don't know if that would work out or not.

Sperran

In the case of the two of us, I don't think it would draw more trolls.
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« Reply #28: August 17, 2010, 07:34:30 am »

Yes, that can be stopped by strong moderation and rules designed to be easy for non-fundie Christians to follow but hard for fundies. I know how to do it -- and given a good staff -- know it could be done. I just lack the interest to do it and finding a staff able to handle it would be hard. But I've been asked, usually several times a year for most of TC's life.

I'm always willing to help, if you think that you could use me for anything-it's not like I don't have the time, since I retired.......  Undecided
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« Reply #29: August 17, 2010, 07:36:01 am »

Huh.  I wasn't aware of this.  If you ever changed your mind and decided to do it, I would be up for doing back-up staff duties.

It's not going to happen. Running it would be a full time plus job -- unpaid. Which would leave no time for real life, let alone earning money to pay for real life.

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Although a non-Christian staff member might draw more trolls, so I don't know if that would work out or not.

I'm sure a Jewish staff member would be far more acceptable than the Hellenic Pagan Host. LOL. Actually, amongst the Christians the board would need to attract, neither would be a huge issue.
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