This is a long but fascinating read. It is an article by a Rolling Stone reporter who went along on a weekend retreat sponsored by one of those big born-again mega-churches. He’s got a pretty cynical attitude, but his insights are telling nonetheless. He wasn’t there to make fun of the people, but rather to get a sense of the experience from the outside. I think his experience would not have been different if he had been a run-of-the-mill neighborhood Methodist instead of an atheist.
What was most interesting to me is the degree of outright brainwashing that’s done on these folks. If this were not a “Christian” organization, it would be branded a cult. And while this sort of thing is certainly not indicative of all Christian organizations, or even of all born-again groups, I suspect it’s not as uncommon as you might hope. While the extreme techniques employed in the article might not play as well in other areas of the country, if you’ve spent any time with hardcore born-agains, the results of people with hyper-Christian veneers over sinner’s souls and the anti-intellectual dogmatic position based on spoon-fed group-think can’t help but ring true.