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June 02, 2003

The Universal Church no longer?

Surely, times have changed, when a online magazine with the title Beliefnet could publish an article titled Should Catholics Proselytize?. Personally, I prefer Opus Dei to the trashy mega-churches that dot the landscape of Americana. As someone who once had the Diderot quote "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" as their email signature, I am no friend of the papists, but better an enemy with class & cognitive capacity than the drooling fools that pass as the soldiers of God in this day and age....

Posted by razib at 03:00 PM

Then go back to the old country, Razib. :)

Seriously trashy megachurches are quintessentially American, like motels, neon, and interstates.

Get used to it. This is not the old world.

Posted by: Diana at June 2, 2003 05:22 PM

I believe that if you had first-hand experience with Opus Dei (or Catholicism for that matter), youŽd think otherwise. The Opus Dei is a sinister outgrowth of Catholicism; with an emphasis on power and money, coloured by a cynical hypocrisy. It is in fact more like Freemasonry than a Catholic Prelate.
Balaguer was no saint, whatever they say.

Posted by: eufrenio at June 2, 2003 08:57 PM

uh...would it be too nitpicky to point out that megachurches are a post 1950s, and in particular a 1980 & after, phenomena-as opposed to neon, motels, etc. and what mega-churches are you familiar with in NYC diana???

Posted by: razib at June 3, 2003 01:10 AM

Yes, it would be nitpicky. Just because they are post-1980s doesn't make 'em less authentically American than 1950s Americana; I was referring to the cultural essence, not the time-period. Are you saying America stopped being America after 1965, when your kind began besieging our shores? :):):):)

The megachurches I am familiar with are the ones I read about in the NYer and the NY Times, and that I see on the TV news. You know me: a culturally ghettoized NY Jew. :):):):) I never even heard of Dale Earnhardt before he died.

How is this relevant?

Although I stumble into a black church once, in Maryland. What an experience.

Posted by: Diana at June 3, 2003 07:47 AM

is motel more essence than hostel? steak more than vegan? mainline less than megachurch?

the phenomena of the megachurch is strangely enough sociologically complex-and in my opinion they tend to have less cultural influence society-wise than say judaism or catholicism, though the former is numerically insignificant and the latter was until the 1960s considered "papism" by much of america.

i might blog on it at length-but a key fact is that megachurches tend to borrow ideas-rather than originating them. their self-perception is that they are theological conservative but rituallistically liberal-both these are borrowings from other aspects of american culture.

megachurches are surely an indicator of a subset of american culture, but i know people that go those type of churches (along with their smaller cousins, the nondenomenational fellowships)-and they are recepticles rather than culture-drivers....

Posted by: razib at June 3, 2003 11:48 AM

As a wibbling agnostic lapsed Evangelical, Razib, I'd have to say that I agree with you 100%. The megachurches are an abomination, structures built with all of the architectural beauty of a strip mall, whose congregants are utterly ignorant of history, theology, and anything outside of their suburban lifestyle.

I actually ought to do a blog entry on this subject, but whenever I write about mega-churches, I break down into a ranting screed and lose what little ability I have as an essayist.

The megachurch and "Christian Rock" (like rock but without the debauchery and musical talent) are the indicator of everything that is wrong with Evangelical Xianity in America today. Hmmm... [thinking] Work is slow... I think I'm off to my own blog.

Posted by: Andrew Reeves at June 4, 2003 06:40 AM

Obviously, eufrenio has had no real contact with Catholicism or Opus Dei and understands very little of the what the Church teaches and believes...

I find it incredibly sad that there are so many people, including professing Christians, that have such hatred in their hearts.

Posted by: Tim Johnson at August 28, 2003 07:34 AM