credit < Latin crēditus, -um, past participle of crēdĕre to trust, believe
It would seem that we here at the Raoule are not alone in craving a copy of Tanya Luhrmann’s new book on renewalist evangelical churches: all available copies of When God Talks Back on order at our public library have already been reserved by other eager readers. In the meantime we make do with the articles she has kindly made available online and this interview that aired last week.
Apparently one in four Americans have experienced a direct revelation from God: call this flock the 25% (that’s more people than voted for Obama in 2008, by the way: ~78 million to 63.7 million). Luhrmann asks the rest of us an excellent question to frame her study:
If you could believe in God, why wouldn’t you?
The metakinetic techniques Luhrmann describes for how some of the 25% achieve their belief are directly related to Blaise Pascal’s almost behavioralist prescriptions in the Pensees (which made such an impression on Althusser); as they say here in hypercredulous California: “fake it till you make it.”
Luhrmann tells Terry about the cognitive accomplishment:
They learn to experience some of their thoughts as not being thoughts from them, but thoughts from God that they hear inside their mind. They’re also invited to pretend that God is present. I take that verb from C.S. Lewis — he has a chapter of Mere Christianity entitled ‘Let’s Pretend.’ […] These folks were invited to put out a second cup of coffee for God, they prayed to go for a walk with God, to go on a date with God, to snuggle with God, to imagine that they are sitting on a bench in the park with God’s arms around their shoulders and they’re talking about their respective days.
Anybody up for a cup of coffee with a future that doesn’t include zombie banksters and extortionist politicians? Or snuggling with a world unpolluted by the mainstream multiplex's profiteering double-fisted doses of spectacle and amnesia? Or sitting arm-in-arm with a community whose basic forms of exchange aren't contorted by grievous myths about how political economy functions?
If you could believe in a world that doesn’t involve monstrous corporate persons destroying the planet your children will inherit, why wouldn’t you? After all, this is exactly what Jesus would want us to do, isn’t it?