The Crystal Cathedral has Christianity’s Terminal Disease.

The famous Crystal Cathedral, a giant glass walled archetechual wonder, went backrupt and was sold. It came down because competing sets the ultimate Christian “truth”.

There were two factions within the family of the founder, Robert Schuler.  We learn this from one of the family members who wrote about it recently.

In one camp were the budget hawks who wanted the church’s salaries reduced, including those of the family members, to make the finances work.  The other camp wanted to keep their high salaries and believed the budget would be balanced through prayer.

The ”prayer” faction believed it was more “annointed by God” than was the fiscal hawk faction.  Having a superior understanding of God’s intentions guided them to remove the fiscal hawks from the Board of Directors.  It then failed.

Dozens of Christian churches close their doors every month in the U. S.  New ones open up.  What determines the survivors is their ability to pay their bills, not their skills or intellect in interpreting the Bible.

The faith’s ability to survive over these past 1,000 plus years is a tribute to the fluidity of its tenets.  It has changed to accomodate cultural changes.

Its future depends on the ability to change as fast as the culture around it changes.  Apparently, in Europe it has lost ground.

The Crystal Cathedral story illustrates that theological certainty and ridgid beliefs can be a fatal flaw.   Starting new churches with new denominations more in turn to social change seems to work better than trying to change to old ones.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years.
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29 Responses to The Crystal Cathedral has Christianity’s Terminal Disease.

  1. Bob says:

    Then they aren’t very fundamentalist, not sticking to the bible, instead of inventing new versions all the time.

    I thank reason I’m not caught up in that mess.

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    Well, the Catholic Church is taking the Crystal Cathedral over. While I have some disagreement with the RCC, Ya gotta admit longevity has something to be said for it.

    • entech says:

      Yep, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism and some of the Chinese religions have been around a long time before the RCC took over from the Caesars. And longevity is a good thing, personally i think they are more likely to be true than some of the more recent ideas. can’t say the Eastern thoughts are out of date, carry that forward and all Christians would have to be Mormons or worse.

  3. entech says:

    I will stick to those that are still extant, true there is cyclical resurgence of the mystic and gnostic religions, I guess there are people that need something more outlandish than biscuits turning into meat. Weren’t the Molochites destroyed on the road to Canaan, or have i got the spelling wrong again? – longevity is not always beneficial.

  4. entech says:

    Novelty I am not talking about fictionty, mine is in actuality to be called reality.

  5. Dan says:

    Nice copy & past article. Where did you find it?

  6. Bob says:

    It would be more useful to turn the Crystal Cathedral into a greenhouse and use the space to let the poor grow some greens to eat.

    Or…you could break all the windows and give some people some jobs repairing the damage. Called, “The broken window economy”? Jon, you would know.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Actually, the building means nothing. You may be on to something here though Bob. The glass building would make one heck of a grow house for Marijuana. Reducing the dependency on the Mexican drug cartells. I think they have a water trough going down the middle for irrigation.They could grow mushrooms in the basement. The Rastafarians would have a reliable source for their sacramental needs, and the native American shamans would have their mushroomes for ceremonial purposes. Take a trip, and never leave the farm.

      • entech says:

        Good idea, the rasta and native churches would be able to do all that and the building will still be sacred. One religion is the same as any other in the end.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Some have an end, others don’t. So they can’t be the same.

          • entech says:

            A man of your erudition would certainly know that the “same in the end” is a simple figure of speech, meaning essentially that there is no difference between the things being discussed. So I will alter what I said ever so slightly, “One religion is the same as any other”, chopping out the figure of speech. Now to add a thought – “The probability that they are all wrong makes them equivalent”.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            essentially is not absolute, and we have been to “probability” before.

          • entech says:

            “essentially is not absolute”, I never said that, but I do agree. We could have an interesting discussion on Hegel and his Phenomenology of Spirit.

            We have visited probability before and as have said I am referring to degrees of certainty, I am not able to arrogate to myself the absolute conviction that I am right I can only say what I have said before, “the probability (likelihood, degree of certainty etc.) of all religious viewpoints being wrong is extremely large”, as the degree of probability approaches certainty they become equivalent in truth value”, I am sorry if I am not always as precise as I might be, even here a lot more “ifs and buts” are needed, but I am incline to be too long-winded even when trying to be brief.
            If you prefer the converse, “The probability of any religious proposition being the correct one, of multiple competitors, is vanishingly small”.

            Wikipedia
            Probability is ordinarily used to describe an attitude of mind towards some proposition of whose truth we are not certain…
            The word probability does not have a singular direct definition for practical application …

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Dictionary–”equivalent”
            In geometry; Having the same extent as a triangle and a square of equal area.
            But——a triangle is not a square.

          • entech says:

            And pointless pedantry is not an argument, at least the probability of it being a valid argument is so small as to zero.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            So then, a square is a triangle.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            PS. “In the end”.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And according to you a Catholic is a Buddist, is a Mormon, is a Baptist, is a Muslem, is a Druid, etc.

          • entech says:

            Definitely the end, obviously time you were asleep.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Getting close, but not yet. Are you ready to pounce when you think I am sleeping? Smilie face. It’s been fun, but the time has come to end it.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; Just remember for your sake that I have not placed atheism as an ” equivelent ” to faith of any kind. Not to confuse faith with belief though.

  7. Johannim says:

    Gee Entech the bigotry’s just oozin out the pores when the word Catholic is mentioned yet Catholics and Orthodox have been around since 33AD/CE and Buddhism isn’t much more of a vintage, and if you enjoy worshipping cow sh–t hinduisms the way to go, what is it about some Americans, specially revisionist athiests than makes them spew bigotry and racism at the mention of the word Catholic, If you try hard enough you could hate muslims/mohammadanists but probly no guts cuz they would cut ur nutzs off.

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