Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

FAMILIARITY AND RELIGION

A few days ago I went to the small country church where my father was churchwarden in the 1970’s. It was depressing: there were about ten old people (my age) taking part in an activity which they had known all their lives but was now bereft of supporters. My next thought was that some Christian churches are flourishing and have huge congregations. Why do people flock to them and not to this small country church, despite the fact that the core Christian message is consistent? It must be that the message is of less importance than the manner and circumstances in which it is presented. I think people go to one or the other because the experience meets their psychological needs. Needs change with the times and with fashion. One generation wanted to feel united with their forebears in a service that was historic and dignified. Another wants to feel united with contemporaries in a procedure that is visual and exciting and full of emotional display.

In organised religion the success of the lead person is likely to be judged by the size of his or her congregation. So it becomes an exercise in marketing an experience. This idea would offend most Priests, Clergymen, Pastors or whatever who generally have a higher motive. But that is what it comes down to. Fashion rules.

Does it have to be so dominant? Perhaps more thought about the core message would lead people to ask “How can we use fashion to get the message across? That is to say “Think about the message first and fashion after it”. Traditionalists might then forget the fairy story aspects and modernists might see through the marketing and manipulation,

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