South Slope. Asheville.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How Beliefs Are Formed

Here's an example of the influence the pulpit and church can have on people's minds in shaping news stories of the day.  Incidentally, this is the church clarion for the Sunday service following my grandfather's death in 1980.
About twenty-five years after this clarion date, and just a few years after 9-11, in a conversation with a church-goer from my hometown, I asked if she could tell me a few things about Islam.  She had actually brought up this subject by making a comment about missions and Muslims - sort of the Us vs. Them, the truth vs. the lie belief that's common in fundamentalist faiths.  Except for one general statement she made, she could not.  I then asked if she had read any books on this subject and maybe talked with a Muslim.  She said, "No."  But she said she had taken a class on Islam at her church.  And then I thought back to my own "studies," which were mostly apologetic pamphlets that laid out some historical "facts" and dates, but then moved on to a "call" to convert those who are lost.  And Muslims were lost.

Themes:  a small country of religious fanatics is humiliating us, the mightiest country; God chose one group over others;  America is in moral decline; God is now judging America; God determines outcomes of wars; and Christians will determine future of America.

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