Christian GroupThink Challenge

A few of the previous posts on the site question why Christian sites don't link to sites that present arguments of skepticism about Christianity. Or why Christians don't more willingly embrace skeptical humor concerning their faith.

For over 25 years, as a pastor in Christian churches, I noticed and (unfortunately and tragically) endorsed a "Christian GroupThink" within the Christian community. I can testify personally that one of the main purposes of Christian community (especially churches) is to build a "fortress" around the believer that attempts to deny them access to free thought, skepticism and atheism/agnosticism. This "fortress" is one of love, or the withholding of it - and emotional/relational punishment (isolation, avoidance, judgement) towards those who would dare "question" the doctrines of faith.

The church has a primary purpose - which has nothing to do with glorifying god or evangelism. Instead, the goal is indoctrination...forcing a group think onto individuals by means of Statements of Faith, creedal confessions, confirmation classes, and worship songs. Conformity to this group think leads to rewards - invitations to leadership, affirmation of value to the congregation or community, befriending by key leaders (maybe even the pastor) and a masonic-lodge type revelation of even deeper truths of faith or gossip about the community.

Most relational and organizational observers recognize group think as a process which seeks to hide - or deny - a fundamental lack of confidence in the group's purpose, belief system, or ethic. It is my observation that group think in the church is pervasive because of the failure of most Christians to believe their own religion. Reason is not a cruel task master, and most of the time most people know this. A Christian who would argue against reason in the name of faith would never get on a roller coaster that just had a hydraulic leak (yeh - it happened at Six Flags in Maryland this weekend). Why? Reason, of course! A logical mind would recognize the context and lead towards a decision that would protect the thinker.

That kind of thinking, however, is discouraged in the church because reason quickly leads to profound skepticism and even agnosticism or atheism. The "reason landmines" are numerous, and the only defense the church has is the "mighty fortress" - not of god - but of group think.

I would love to see a challenge where churches invite atheists, agnostics or other free thinkers to visit their congregations and began a reasonable dissertation against Christian faith. I would almost (almost being the operative word here) pay churches for the opportunity to make presentations and open up for question/answer sessions.

I believe there are more free thinkers in churches than most people would initially guess...but who would want to "come out" about their skepticism when it means that their family would be isolated, mistreated, their kids rejected, and perhaps even extended a "disinvitation" to the church because of their honesty?

Christians whine about the cost of discipleship. The cost of free and skeptical inquiry is much, much greater. Prove me wrong.

I make this challenge...if any visitor to this site reads this blog and wants to invite me to your church or group for a discussion and debate about free and skeptical inquiry, the fallacies of faith, biblical inconsistencies, etc...I will consider the challenge and make contact with you. I can't promise a visit...there are factors that I will explain if you express interest.

Come on...what do you have to lose???