Friday, October 06, 2006

Evangelicalism's Paranoid Style

The New York Times has published a story about "Evangelicals Fear the Loss of their Teenagers." It reports how some teenagers are losing interest in church and how the size of the loss is being magnified by evangelical preachers.

Evangelical preachers know how to motivate people by guilt and fear better than anyone else in our society. Some don't know anything else.

When the children of evangelicals become teenagers they either meekly submit to having their emotions manipulated at will by their preachers, or they resist it. Those who submit become loyal church members. Those who resist it either drop out of church or find a church that offers a fuller and more mature form of worship. This has been going on for decades.

Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Disciples and Cooperative Baptist churches are amply sprinkled with former Southern Baptists and other evangelicals whose faith outgrew the early adolescent spirituality of their childhood preachers.

1 comment:

WritingMom said...

As a current Episcopalian who was raised Southern Baptist, amen to that!
I always liked what Molly Ivins had to say about how a Southern liberal is created: once you figure out that they're lying to you about race, you begin to wonder what else they're lying to you about.