The Real Threat of Pagan Christianity

Attempts to control God with our behaviors, prayers, and theology reveals how pagan the church can be.

This year I have begun making the transition from student to teacher by teaching an introductory course on World Religions at a local college (while I'm still taking doctoral classes myself). We're a couple weeks into our journey, and earlier this week we talked about indigenous ("pagan") religions. One aspect of pagan religions that strikes me is that the relationships between the adherents and their gods is most often manipulative. When the gods are happy, the rains come, the crops grow, people have babies, people stay healthy. When the gods are unhappy, the land is blighted by drought, famine, barrenness, and disease. In order to set things right, the people have to make sacrifices, perform rituals, or repeat incantations to appease the gods. The system is set up to control the power of the deities. (Forgive me: this is an oversimplification, but we don't have a lot of space.)

Biblical Christianity is essentially the opposite: the relationship between God and humans is not based on rites, ...

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