From What if Starbucks Marketed Like a Church by Richard Reisling; this is one of the many reasons I'm a Red Bull drinking atheist:
Ahh, the mega church. Good times. However, you're blurring the line between "church" and "belief in God." They really are mutually exclusive concepts, and this clip focuses on the former. I loved that guy talking about the 75 new members. He has the generic white pastor schtick down.
I disagree; the existence and power of churches greatly contributes to and shapes people's belief in God. The church and organized religion are so deeply ingrained in our society and culture that I don't think belief can be entirely mutually exclusive. I realize the desire to want your belief to be exclusive to yourself but the scope and influence of these institutions in the lives of those who believe is too pervasive and undeniable; even if you disagree with and avoid following their doctrines, your beliefs have already been shaped by them to a certain extent merely by your past contact with them.
I may be influenced by mega churches, but no more so than I am by Target or NATO. Existence of associations or groups will always impact people to some extent, but to say that my belief in God is influenced by a mega church in Plano, TX (or here in Seattle) is to not understand me and my views. It's not about "desire to want my belief to be exclusive to myself," but about the fact that churches such as the one depicted here do more to keep people from God than the opposite. They would disagree, and maybe I'm wrong, but that's been their influence on me. So I guess they did influence me - away from God. Yet I believe, hence my mutually exclusive comment. Just read the book already. :) ...and I don't mean the bible...
Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word "you" in my last comment; I wasn't referring to your individual beliefs specifically but rather to a general belief in a god by anyone who claims it.I think the line between "church" and "belief in God" has been irreversibly blurred over history; I'm not saying that it doesn't exist but I don't think that it's anywhere near as clearly delineated as you seem to.When I say "church" I'm not referring to any one building or organization by itself but rather to the concept of organized religion and the influence that's had on our society and on our own concepts of what makes a god. I don't think that we're born with any idea of what a god would or could be like; it's a theory that's taught to us by other people and since "the church" has been in charge of shaping and defining that concept for several thousands of years now pretty much every conception of a god falls within those parameters.What does God like? What are his abilities and powers? Why does he do certain things and not others? It's important to belief that we ask these questions and central to the human condition but by being born and raised in this society you invariably ask them within the subconscious framework established by "the church". It's like trying to think in another language despite having heard nothing but English for your entire life: the very concept is foreign not only to the individual but also to the society and culture. Even if you were to create a new language on your own and start to think that way, your basis in English would always influence you to some extent.I'm not saying that people can't think for themselves when it comes to deciding what to believe, just that those beliefs will always be influenced on some level by "the church" without total mutual exclusivity. And I just powered through "Killing Pablo" but I'll jump into the Lewis soon.
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