16 thoughts on “The Modern Church, Cargo Cults, etc.”

  1. A strange phenomenon, but understandable of folks who really don’t understand how something works. As far as the church is concerned, I supose that one who is going through the motions but not having a relationship with the Lord could be an example. The idea that acting like everyone else but not being born again would seem like a logical way of fitting in to one but the point behind it being missed. I don’t know; this is a strange question and I’m more or less think-talking here. It is imperative to have a personal relationship with the Lord and to worship him in spirit and in truth.

  2. A strange phenomenon, but understandable of folks who really don’t understand how something works. As far as the church is concerned, I supose that one who is going through the motions but not having a relationship with the Lord could be an example. The idea that acting like everyone else but not being born again would seem like a logical way of fitting in to one but the point behind it being missed. I don’t know; this is a strange question and I’m more or less think-talking here. It is imperative to have a personal relationship with the Lord and to worship him in spirit and in truth.

  3. i think the cargo cult thing is pretty incredible that there are people who believe such things. but with that said, i think the modern american church is very similar in many aspects to a cargo cult. (though not every church)

    peter

  4. i think the cargo cult thing is pretty incredible that there are people who believe such things. but with that said, i think the modern american church is very similar in many aspects to a cargo cult. (though not every church)

    peter

  5. timbob,
    Thanks for stopping by. You said:
    A strange phenomenon, but understandable of folks who really don’t understand how something works.

    I think that’s the crux of it for me. How do we claim to truly understand things. From a Christian point of view, I’m beginning to wonder how often our claims of understanding something aren’t outright false, and that instead, what we understand is how to relate to a certain thing in accordance to the revelation that God has given us. I think that’s what makes the difference between true religion and a cargo cult, between true science and a cargo cult, etc.

    I’m more or less think-talking here.

    And making some good points as well.

    Thanks for taking the time,
    Charles

  6. timbob,
    Thanks for stopping by. You said:
    A strange phenomenon, but understandable of folks who really don’t understand how something works.

    I think that’s the crux of it for me. How do we claim to truly understand things. From a Christian point of view, I’m beginning to wonder how often our claims of understanding something aren’t outright false, and that instead, what we understand is how to relate to a certain thing in accordance to the revelation that God has given us. I think that’s what makes the difference between true religion and a cargo cult, between true science and a cargo cult, etc.

    I’m more or less think-talking here.

    And making some good points as well.

    Thanks for taking the time,
    Charles

  7. PB and J,
    You said:
    i think the cargo cult thing is pretty incredible that there are people who believe such things. but with that said, i think the modern american church is very similar in many aspects to a cargo cult.<

    And I'm with you. The first time I read about cargo cults there was a moment of incredulous shock, followed by a growing sense that I had encountered this sort of behavior before, followed even more closely that I had done these sort of things myself.

    I'll tell you what it reminded me of. I don't think we as "modern" Americans do this as often in the physical world, even though atheistic scientists claim that everything comes from randomness, they perform science as if the opposite were true (which is a whole other topic), but when it comes to intangible things, things of the mind, and the soul, we are not much different than these natives. How many people after "falling in love" for the first time, instead of realizing that love is a gift from God, attempt to reconstruct the environment, surroundings, etc to reproduce that love. If they met someone in a book store, they hang around book stores, hoping that lightning will strike again, things like that. Maybe it's not the same, but it feels eerily similar. To steal a phrase from timbob above, I'm just think-talking here.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble, and thanks for stopping by,
    Charles

  8. PB and J,
    You said:
    i think the cargo cult thing is pretty incredible that there are people who believe such things. but with that said, i think the modern american church is very similar in many aspects to a cargo cult.

  9. charles

    i just read something i think is very related in habakkuk. in chapter 1, habakkuk says that men have gone fishing and when they catch many fish they are happy and begin to worship the nets that caught them as idols.

    people worshipped nets? wow, pretty similar to cargo cults, huh?

    but also, i think we (yes, we meaning Christians) often do this same thing in many areas. we do something good (which is from God) and we attribute it to ourselves. we then begin to worship whatever it was that helped us. we make that into a god, rather than recognizing “what do you have that you did not receive, and if you did receive it why do you boast as though you did not.” we do this with our teaching or our sermons or our music, etc. a pastor finds that his sermons are truly reaching people and he attributes it to the sermon, not God. but ultimately he attributes it to himself. making himself god.

    in the same way, a choir does an inspiring rendition of fillinyourfavoritechurchsong and the church applauses. the choir begins to be puffed up. they think it was them that moved in the song, but really it was God (or maybe it was them, but they were building emotionalism not true worship of God). and they build the music into an idol. they worship the song rather than the God who gave it.

    in conclusion, “a person cannot receive even one thing, unless it is given him from heaven.”

    peter

  10. charles

    i just read something i think is very related in habakkuk. in chapter 1, habakkuk says that men have gone fishing and when they catch many fish they are happy and begin to worship the nets that caught them as idols.

    people worshipped nets? wow, pretty similar to cargo cults, huh?

    but also, i think we (yes, we meaning Christians) often do this same thing in many areas. we do something good (which is from God) and we attribute it to ourselves. we then begin to worship whatever it was that helped us. we make that into a god, rather than recognizing “what do you have that you did not receive, and if you did receive it why do you boast as though you did not.” we do this with our teaching or our sermons or our music, etc. a pastor finds that his sermons are truly reaching people and he attributes it to the sermon, not God. but ultimately he attributes it to himself. making himself god.

    in the same way, a choir does an inspiring rendition of fillinyourfavoritechurchsong and the church applauses. the choir begins to be puffed up. they think it was them that moved in the song, but really it was God (or maybe it was them, but they were building emotionalism not true worship of God). and they build the music into an idol. they worship the song rather than the God who gave it.

    in conclusion, “a person cannot receive even one thing, unless it is given him from heaven.”

    peter

  11. Peter,
    Thanks for the reference and the thoughts. You realize that I’m going to steal this and use it, right? 😉

    The cargo cult thing has got me to thinking along the lines that cargo cults aren’t anything that shocking, they are just instances of normal human behavior that stand out because of their isolation (and by normal behavior, I don’t mean acceptable in the eyes of God, just to be clear)

    Anyway, this has been a good discussion. Anyone else have any other thoughts?

    Charles

  12. Peter,
    Thanks for the reference and the thoughts. You realize that I’m going to steal this and use it, right? 😉

    The cargo cult thing has got me to thinking along the lines that cargo cults aren’t anything that shocking, they are just instances of normal human behavior that stand out because of their isolation (and by normal behavior, I don’t mean acceptable in the eyes of God, just to be clear)

    Anyway, this has been a good discussion. Anyone else have any other thoughts?

    Charles

  13. Charles,

    Thanks for posting this topic. I have been editing a long report on cargo cults for a class I am in and have been reflecting on the American Church and Cargo cults. I will say that the information in the wikipedia entry is really just scratching the surface for example it does not describe the teachings of any of the major cargo cult leaders, etc.

    I think the modern American Church is very much like the cargo cults. Some examples:

    1) Cargo cults were more interested in mirroring western culture then in understanding christianity.

    2) Cargo cults (when deconstructed) offer a strong critique of us (or speak prophetically to us). As strange as it sounds, the cargo cultists claim that they had worked hard and had not been rewarded because the white leaders were lieing to them reflects a truth about the colonial systems they lived in. It was unjust that the natives did all of the work and received almost no pay. Sharecropping is immoral.

    In the same sense even as we note the many ways the American Church has become deaf to God’s word, we should also seek to let them deconstruct themselves/us and see what truth they can tell.

    3) Cargo Cults sometimes worshiped the authority figures of the white past. So they had a cult to King George of England … I would point to the TR movement’s worship of Spurgeon et al, as people of unclouded vision.

    4) Cargo Cults often had a heavy millennial/apocalyptic focus which has become more and more common in American Christianity.

    P.S. If you want me to email you the Cargo Cult report drop me a line.

  14. Charles,

    Thanks for posting this topic. I have been editing a long report on cargo cults for a class I am in and have been reflecting on the American Church and Cargo cults. I will say that the information in the wikipedia entry is really just scratching the surface for example it does not describe the teachings of any of the major cargo cult leaders, etc.

    I think the modern American Church is very much like the cargo cults. Some examples:

    1) Cargo cults were more interested in mirroring western culture then in understanding christianity.

    2) Cargo cults (when deconstructed) offer a strong critique of us (or speak prophetically to us). As strange as it sounds, the cargo cultists claim that they had worked hard and had not been rewarded because the white leaders were lieing to them reflects a truth about the colonial systems they lived in. It was unjust that the natives did all of the work and received almost no pay. Sharecropping is immoral.

    In the same sense even as we note the many ways the American Church has become deaf to God’s word, we should also seek to let them deconstruct themselves/us and see what truth they can tell.

    3) Cargo Cults sometimes worshiped the authority figures of the white past. So they had a cult to King George of England … I would point to the TR movement’s worship of Spurgeon et al, as people of unclouded vision.

    4) Cargo Cults often had a heavy millennial/apocalyptic focus which has become more and more common in American Christianity.

    P.S. If you want me to email you the Cargo Cult report drop me a line.

  15. Nate,
    There’s some interesting stuff here, and I’d definitely be interested in a copy of the report. You can email it to me at gymbrall at gmail dawt com.

    Thanks,
    Charles

  16. Nate,
    There’s some interesting stuff here, and I’d definitely be interested in a copy of the report. You can email it to me at gymbrall at gmail dawt com.

    Thanks,
    Charles

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