Website owner: James Miller
EVANGELICAL DOCTRINE AND ITS PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS 12/89 Q. The evangelical doctrine that you become a born-again Christian though the unbelievably simple formula of "accepting Christ as Savior", through a simple one-time act, through a cut and dried recipe, makes the question of whether a person is a Christian or not a very clear-cut thing. What is the effect of this doctrine psychologically? A. It causes people to feel they belong to a special group, an elitist group, that they are substantially different from other people. Regarding themselves as the only ones who will be saved, they see their group as privy to special knowledge, to "The Great Spiritual Secret", to final, ultimate Truth. It creates an illusion in their minds, a delusion. And it creates within them a certain presumptuousness and arrogance. In addition, it acts to isolate them psychologically from the rest of humanity. They come to think they are so different from everyone else and lose sight of how little different they really are. When one reads the great works of ancient times, many of which are written by pagans, one realizes how much alike we all are and how men of many religions, cultures and ages have penetrated to deep spiritual truths. It is interesting to note that when you take as your criterion for "being a Christian" that of "faith" or "righteousness before God" the question of who is a Christian and who is not becomes much less clear-cut. The criterion is much more nebulous and indistinct, more a matter of judgment best left for God to decide. When this is your belief the big delusion of being so different doesn't take place.