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Faith beyond Belief: Evangelical Protestant Conceptions of Faith and the Resonance of Anti-humanism

Omri Elisha

Keywords: ANTI-HUMANISM; CONSERVATISM; EVANGELICAL PROTESTANTISM; FAITH-BASED ACTIVISM; INTERSUBJECTIVITY; MEGACHURCH; SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Abstract

This article explores the cultural significance of faith among US evangelical Protestants. It is argued that evangelical conceptions of faith provide an idiom for expressing religiosity that transcends conventional notions of belief, which alone do not account for the ideals of evangelical subjectivity. Through an analysis of group rituals in a Tennessee megachurch, along with a discussion of the historical roots of evangelical theology and the growing influence of charismatic Christianity, the article highlights an emphasis on radical intersubjectivity that calls upon the faithful to submit to the totalizing authority of divine agency. It is further argued that evangelical conceptions of faith feature a strand of anti-humanism that resonates with the increasingly authoritarian politics of the post-welfare era, which are explored in relation to the growing phenomenon of altruistic faith-based activism.

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