Contemporary Trends, Christianity

Just Once

More and more articles on the standard Christian websites and highly read blogs have articles that follow this pattern:

  1. I used to believe idea ‘X.’
  2. After agonizing, recognizing how bigoted the church was, and really following the Holy Spirit [God told me!], I realized I was wrong about ‘X.’
  3. Now that I believe ‘Not X,’ many evangelicals seem to disagree with me and it hurts.

Belief ‘X’ is almost always something like traditional Christian sexual ethics, the Biblical restriction on divorce, being pro-life, believing that God is real (not even kidding), or believing the Bible is inspired or even accurate at all.

Just once it would be interesting to see a story pumped that said, “I used to believe the progressive narrative and careful study changed my mind.”

What I’ve noticed in these personal narratives, by the way, is how little actual thought goes into the claims being made. For instance, a famous Christian band was also a worship band. When they started questioning the core beliefs of the church they were paid to lead (within the confines of their statement of faith), they were surprised and hurt that their efforts to change all of that were not accepted. What’s the point? These individuals didn’t even consider that their “new insights” into the Bible being false would disqualify them from their job leading people in worshiping the God of the Biblical narrative.

My charitable read on these people is that they’ve confused thinking with feeling guilty about changing their mind. It’s a sort of sunk-cost fallacy on their part. “I cannot abandon this belief because it would feel like too big of a change in my life.”

On the other hand, perhaps the more accurate reading is that as the culture (defined as mass media culture) becomes more and more a progressive monoculture, these people cannot bear to be left behind by it. In other words, the social pressure of the internet, sitcoms, and political leaders of the day is too much. So their emotions lead them to their new insights, but they need a way to try to keep fellowship with their old social group: “Led by the Holy Spirit” or “after studying the Bible.”

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