Ray's Blog

Peter Berger on church members actually converting to Christ

“We would be careful not to circumscribe the conditions under which God’s grace can enter a human life.  However, speaking empirically, we would suppose that conversion to the Christian faith in our situation will likely involve a break through the social-psychological functionality of the religious establishment.  Furthermore, we would suppose that this break-through is also likely to be associated with at least a measure of alienation from the ‘O.K. world’ of the culture.  To say the least, it is difficult to imagine how the religiously mature, socially respectable, and psychologically adjusted church member in our situation can come to terms with the naked horror of Calvary or the blazing glory of Easter morning.  Both his religion and his culture compel him to sentimentalize, neutralize, assimilate these Christian images.  If he did not do so, they would challenge his religiosity and his respectability and might even threaten his so-called mental health.  It is far from easy for an individual to tear through the web of comforting fictions in which his culture swaddles him.”

Peter L. Berger, The Noise of Solemn Assemblies (New York, 1961), page 118.

HT: TJ Tims

This post was originally published on The Gospel Coalition