Ph/fax: (541) 485-3905
E-mail: mark (at) markmason (dot) net
For release from Nov 1, 1997 onward
Today's under-thirty-year-olds are the first generation of Americans in which the majority has no church affiliation. What does this say about the future of Christianity in America? With the failure of attempts, such as rock music in services, to window-dress the same old irrelevant, corrupt, and psychologically damaging Christianity, the time has come for genuine change. If Christianity is to retain its predominant position in our society, it cannot postpone real reform any longer.
More people than ever before are seeking to add a spiritual dimension to their lives, but many of them are joining Eastern religions and New Age organizations rather than Christian churches. This is because discriminating people no longer accept the joyless doctrines of fear of God, guilt about sex, and eternal punishment in hell, that churches have been promoting for nearly 2000 years, and that many churches still promote. Few Christian churches have followed the true spirit of Jesus. There is a spiritual barrenness in much liberal Christianity, and evangelical and fundamentalist churches largely ignore or selectively misrepresent Jesus' teachings - perpetuating a tradition which goes back to the third century. At the center of the church's deception is the doctrine of everlasting punishment in hell. A close examination of the Bible and its Greek sources show there is no sound Biblical basis for believing in this sadistic concept. Eternal hell is simply a fabrication of the medieval church, designed to control people through fear.
Author Mark Mason explores Christianity's need for reform in his new book, In Search of the Loving God. This book draws disturbing parallels between today's Christian fundamentalists and the medieval church of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Take away the witch craze, and the Christian Right movement is strikingly similar to the out-of-control medieval church. The clash in values between fundamentalists on the one hand, and main-stream religion and society on the other, has led to the beginnings of a religious showdown in the USA. Modern fundamentalists are pushing for an effective end to the separation of church and state. They are attempting to impose an ideology on society which legislates away people's freedoms, and replaces them with arbitrary, so-called "Christian," values which all must follow. The Christian Right is working toward this goal by trying to gain control of the political process at all levels. At the other end of the Christian spectrum, though, amongst churches which have happily accepted the separation of church and state, and where promising progress has been made, there is a growing opposition to the controlling tactics of the Religious Right. Seeds of renewal are appearing in many liberal Christian churches, such as an openness to the spiritual practice of meditation, and Mr Mason believes this marks the beginning of a new reformation which could dwarf the spiritual non-event of Martin Luther's time. Christianity could be transformed into what Jesus intended it to be - a vital and relevant religion capable of fully meeting the spiritual need of people to personally know their God of love.
The author, Mark Mason, was an active member of a Christian church until he left it, disillusioned, in his late teens. His belief in God never left him, though, and in his late twenties he discovered yoga and meditation, which led to a deeply satisfying personal relationship with God. This prompted him to ask the question: what has gone wrong with Christianity? Mr Mason, a teacher with a degree in Biochemistry, spent a number of years researching Biblical sources, the history of Christianity, and its social manifestations. He interviewed many people about their experiences of Christianity. This book is the result of his personal search for the loving God.
In Search of the Loving God is available from Dwapara Press, 1424 Washington St., Eugene, OR 97401 (Toll Free: (800) 460-6690), and from good book stores, for $16.95.
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