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Monday, April 26, 2010

A Thought-Provoking Study Challenges Christians' Beliefs About Worship

I just recently ran across this article, and it struck a chord with me. I love All Saints because of its liturgical service and connection to a long church history. Now a liturgical service is emotional in a way, but its aim is not to cause strong emotions, but rather to teach and edify. But I was raised in churches that put a premium on the feelings that the worship service inspired in them as being indicative of how much of an "encounter" they were having with God. Now a scientific study provides some indication of just how much of religious emotional experience is actually brain chemistry. Take a look at this sure-to-be-controversial article here:

"The End of Christianity As We Know It" by Mark Galli

1 comment:

  1. Good post. I found it thought provoking. I've written a few responses that I had toward it.

    From the article you cited:

    "This is not to deny that our faith must be expressed in deeds and empowered by a genuine experience of God. Faith without works, or a genuine encounter with God, is not Christian faith." - Mark Galli

    Exactly. What does it mean to edify and teach? I believe it puts a person in a position to properly encounter God (via the person of the Holy Spirit) and to learn to do good works for which he or she was made for (Eph. 2:10; James 1:22)

    As for "scientific studies", especially concerning the brain, there is no definitive science for determining why brain chemistry works the way it does. Brain chemistry could very well be as a result of a true religious experience - who's to say?

    I'm wary of criticizing other church experiences. I don't believe we have the understanding necessary to judge a person's heart, let alone that of an entire congregation. I believe it also borders on doubting the presence of the Holy Spirit in a congregation.

    Remember the article you cited: "Faith without works, or a genuine encounter with God, is not Christian faith."

    A sobering thought considering that the central point of the liturgy is encountering God, specifically in the Eucharist. It's certainly worth pondering.

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