Late in 2005, Jeff Tate posted a breathless little report of his visit to a Mega-Church on the Humanist Institute on-line discussion line. The somewhat sympathetic account generated a great deal of conversation, and raised the question of whether humanists could and should be emulating this relatively new religious phenomenon. What follows are edited transcripts from the back and forth that lasted several weeks. I’ve tried to leave much of the informal style of this type of exchange intact – ed.
The “feel-good” theology I experienced last Sunday at the mega-church is both intellectually lazy and self-serving in helping the congregants to feel good about themselves. Anyone in the congregation—from libertarians to conservatives to liberals—could feel good about what they experienced. There was no challenge to any belief (except, implicitly, against atheism).
The mega-church’s strong suit seems to be in creating a sense of belonging to a tight, caring community. Interestingly, as I was reading to my wife from the church’s website her response was, “I wish I was looking for a church like that!”