Unexplainable Experiences and How the Church has Lost to YouTube and Netflix

“The Church” (admittedly generically speaking here) has become a community center / garden club / singles bar / country club / music venue in the modern American experience.

There’s generally little to no real examination of the unexplainable or mysterious (especially in my Baptist circles… because of job security). So people who still go to church are left to ponder those themes by themselves with YouTube or the latest Netflix sci-fi dystopian shocker or with Marvel Universe movies.

Maybe if churches were to re-engage with the mysterious and with the unexplainable and with mythologies of deep and ancient wisdom we don’t (and cannot) understand, more people would engage with the church. It’s a part of human psychology and our pull to the black monolith of mystery is repressed when churches operate at surface level Sunday-School-as-therapy-sessions…

It’s Pentecost tomorrow, so I’ve been thinking a great deal about this and how most sermons and Sunday School lessons (if people even do them anymore instead of a book study or self-help group) will be about vague and superficial terms meant to dumb down the unexplainable event that we remember and reenact still.

More than half of American adults and over 60 percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This tracks pretty closely with belief in God, and if Pasulka is right, that’s not an accident.

Her book isn’t so much about the truth of UFOs or aliens as it is about what the appeal of belief in those things says about our culture and the shifting roles of religion and technology in it. On the surface, it’s a book about the popularity of belief in aliens, but it’s really a deep look at how myths and religions are created in the first place and how human beings deal with unexplainable experiences.

Source: The new American religion of UFOs – Vox

Posted by Sam Harrelson

I'm the head of Harrelson, where we work with churches, nonprofits, and businesses on marketing strategy and consulting. This has been my personal blog about marketing, tech, religion, art, history, scifi, family, and life in general since 2006.

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