Roger E. Olson on Folk Religion

Roger E. Olson is gradually convincing me that systematic theology is worth a greater share of my time. In this case Olson has some things to say about “folk religion,” which he says is unreflective religious belief based largely on:

  • feelings (e.g., comfort)
  • traditional folk ways (e.g., funeral practices)
  • clichés (e.g., bumper sticker slogans) and
  • devotional literature (including poems, songs, religion fiction, etc.).

None of these factors is a bad thing in itself, but they collectively make a poor substitute for thoughtful Christian faith because they are generally not based on the Bible. Olson makes an interesting case that folk religion has a firm grip in evangelical churches of all kinds. With his keen theological viewpoint, Olson shows how poor folk religion is as a substitute for Christian theology. I have only sketched his thoughts.

I recommend you read his first post on folk religion and get ready for its sequel. Then ask yourself how much of this thinking you see around you at church. You are not going to like the answer.

Copyright © 2011 Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide.

Do you have an opinion or a different interpretation? Let me know!