Belonging, Not Believing

TheRevealer.org has an interesting post today about new religions in the US, and about postmodern religious folks who want to "believe but not belong." It includes some bits from a recent NPR "mini series" on religion.

It includes this Professor Lorne Dawson of the University of Waterloo, on what he calls a "new watershed" in American religion.

"It's called believing without belonging. People are still intent on having a spiritual aspect to their life. People want to believe. But they no longer have confidence in the traditional ways in which religion was organized and delivered to them, so they're ceasing to belong. Believing without belonging is perfect for a postmodern
age--an age that tends to reject absolute truth.

There's an increasing willingness to say, 'Well, what I believe is true, but I believe that other individuals have access to the truth as well. In fact, I think I can have my beliefs and add on to them some beliefs of my neighbor.'"

There's another side to this postmodernism religion, at least among what's known as the emergent movement among Christians.

They want to belong and not believe. That's one of the themes in these two pieces from the NY Times.

Spend anytime talking to these postmodern Christians, or surfing sites like EmergentVillage and you'll hear them talking about living out the faith in community. That more important to them than discussing theological niceties. They still believe, but more than anything, they want to belong.

Still, I hope to spend some time listening to this NPR series, especially the segment on "the Toronto blessing."

Here's how it's described on the series website:

Bradley Hagerty reports on The Toronto Blessing, the fastest growing Christian church. Pentecostal worshippers display a personal, physical connection with God through manifestations such as speaking in tongues and barking like dogs.

I'm not sure about the barking like a dog part, but at least someone's paying attention to the Pentecostals.


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