David Hayward isn’t exactly sure who the singer in his own cartoon represents.
Is it the pastor?
The people who sing horrendous worship songs?
The church as a whole…?
I’ll assume it’s all of the above.
What I like about David is that he just gets where a lot of us who don’t go to church are coming from:
What gets me is when churches intentionally employ these methods. It’s one thing when someone craves these. But it’s another when another offers them knowing they are just addictive tactics and gimmickry. The dealer is worse than the user. I know one pastor who has since left the ministry who was told by his authorities that his worship music must always be positive, optimistic and celebratory because that’s what people want, that’s what will keep them coming, and if you provide it consistently they will become your strongest supporters. Especially financially.
Another pastor told me during the whole praise music renaissance to hurry up and write worship songs… any old crap would do… because they were selling like hotcakes. There was money to be made!
Religion is so vulnerable to the temptation to be exactly as Karl Marx described it: the opiate of the masses. And it isn’t just from the top down: powers and authorities realize how easily it can captivate people. It’s also from the bottom up: people want to be captivated and will pay through the nose for it.
Even if the pastors weren’t selling out to get more donors, though, the things they say in many churches — not the inspirational, cheesy stuff, but the Bible-is-literally-true stuff — are still lies. Some pastors know it but say it anyway. Some pastors lie by not doing the proper research and ignoring the critical questions. And some pastors just get sucked so deep into the Church World that they end up believing the lies.