March 29, 2004


I have strong opinions about worship. Some people have very strong beliefs concerning worship that I think are absolutely ridiculous. Most often my rantings concerning chapel begin with a description of the worship service. Throughout these rantings and several discussions, I have developed a rather unique perspective on the whole worship process as seemingly defined by today's Christian culture.

I have come to believe that singing, dancing, throwing hands up in there, and praising loudly is not only irrevelant to real worship but also slightly harmful to the image of Christianity as a whole.

Now, before I am lynched, please hear me out. I believe I have some very valid points here.

First, let me explain what I mean by "modern worship." Imagine that you are sitting in a large room packed with people. These people all have "bubbly" personalities and are all wearing Christian paraphernalia. Suddenly, the light goes down, except for the stage light, and a band of mostly good-looking people walk across the stage to their instruments. They ask everyone to stand up. They begin with a prayer that is accompanied by some small musical notes played on a guitar or piano. This sufficiently calms everyone down and puts them in the "right mood" to worship. The band thens begin to play songs that are highly emotionally charged. After about an hour or so (more if it is a concert), the band stops playing, gives parting words, prays, and exits the stage.

Now, let's examine the physiological effects of modern Christian worship. The first thing asked of the audience is to stand. This makes sure that the blood flows through the body. Since the audience is also standing, it is easier and more natural for them to begin swaying back and forth in time with the music. This also helps the blood flow throughout the entire body. Once the audience starts singing, the amount of carbon dioxide in the room rises a great deal. The oxygen intake becomes quite diluded with carbon dioxide and causes the audience to feel slightly light-headed. Depending on the amount of singing, the blood of the audience can become slightly alkaline. This is due to the amount of carbonic acid leaving the blood stream. The effects of this and the carbon dioxide in the air help cause the typical happy feelings one gets while worshipping.

Let's move on to the psychological effects of modern worship. An observation was made in a book I recently read that claimed most people do not have severe emotions if no one is watching them. While I believe that there are several exceptions to that idea, I do believe that, generally speaking, it is quite accurate. Think of someone you know who is both deeply fond of worship music and sings quite loudly during worship services. Think back to times when this person is listening to worship music with a small group of people. Does this person still sing loudly and make almost-obnoxious movements? Typically, the answer in no. In a crowd, however, this person has an audience. These people can have a large effect on others in the audience. People might see this person and believe that they are not appropriately worshipping. Consequently, they may begin to sing louder, clap harder, or move faster. On another note, the "happy" feelings produced from the physiological effects of increased carbon dioxide are connected by the mind to the subject of the song. Thus, people begin to believe wholeheartedly that they are happiest when singing about that subject. A sense of belonging also develops between those in the audience. They begin to feel that they are accepted within this large group because of what they are worshipping.

Now, before you begin to object too loudly, I'd like to point out that this helps to explain the devotion many have to cults. When they worship, chant, or whatever they do, the misguided people feel happy and believe they are doing the right thing.

Many people experience many things while worshipping. I believe that a large portion of those experiences form from the physiological, psychological, and emotional manipulations (whether done knowingly or not) of those who lead the worship. True worship does not need music, lyrics, or a large crowd of people. All it needs is a heart in tune with God and the dedication to praise Him. Is it nice to worship with others? Absolutely. Is it always necessary? Absolutely not.

I currently prefer worshipping on my own rather than worshipping in Chapel. I don't like the crowds of people who constantly mock and ridicule those who are serious in their devotion to Christ.

Posted by Randy at March 29, 2004 12:11 PM | TrackBack