Posted by Jay Livingston
American Christianity has transformed the church and even Jesus into something that would have appalled the real Jesus and his followers. That’s the sermon David Brooks was preaching in the Times yesterday. Megachurches for congregations mirror the mega-houses and mega-SUVs for individuals.
Brooks’s inspiration is the recent book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt, himself once the pastor of megachurch (N = 4300) in Alabama.
Today, however, building budgets dwarf charitable budgets, and Jesus is portrayed as a genial suburban dude. “When we gather in our church building to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead, we may be worshiping ourselves.”Sound familiar? Mr. Brooks, Rev. Platt (2010), meet M. Durkheim (1912):
[Religion] is a system of ideas with which the individuals represent to themselves the society of which they are members . . .God is only a figurative expression of the society .