While supernatural Christianity is dying in Western democracies, it’s booming in tropical lands. And it’s becoming a citadel of swooning, arm-waving, rolling on floors, and gushing incomprehensible sounds — the unintelligible “ecstatic utterances” of glossolalia.
Christian Pentecostalism, with hypnotic-like spasms and “speaking in tongues,” is a massive wave of irrationality. Researchers say one-fourth of the world’s Christians are Pentecostals, and their numbers grow by 35,000 per day.
Journalist Elle Hardy has researched this worldwide development and has written a recently published book on the phenomenon titled Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity Is Taking Over the World. “It’s a huge movement going on that has barely been covered in the popular press at all,” the author tells the Times of Israel. She predicts that, by 2050, the planet will have 1 billion Pentecostals — roughly one-tenth of the human species living then.
Pentecostals seem to work themselves into trances in which they think the Holy Spirit takes over their bodies and causes convulsions. They claim many miracles in their worship. They focus on bible prophesies such as the one saying Jews must convert to Christianity before Jesus can return to Earth. Some congregations blow the Jewish shofar (ram’s horn) and fly Star of David flags. A huge Brazilian Pentecostal megachurch is a replica of Solomon’s Temple.
“Ultimately, in the end times, they believe that the Jews must convert to Christianity or burn in hell,” Hardy says. Some Pentecostals try to convert Jews now.
Raised Catholic and now agnostic, Hardy is an Australian who has lived in the United States and Britain as a freelance writer. She says Pentecostals tend to hold far-right political views and distrust liberal democracies that surround them. Some claim that God put Donald Trump into America’s presidency. One of his Pentecostal backers was his personal pastor, Paula White-Cain.
“In terms of temperament, Pentecostalism is very much about what you feel, rather than scripture or doctrine,” says Hardy. “That’s the case with a lot of the populists as well. Donald Trump speaks off the cuff about whatever he feels like that day among his incoherent, inconsistent ideas.”
The most complex object in the universe is the human brain. It’s dismaying to realize that 1 billion brains will be wasted spouting the gibberish of glossolalia.