Here I want to describe a sub-culture of Christianity that can be seen in evangelical churches, as well as throughout organizations like Campus (Crusade) for Christ. They are what I’d like to describe as “feel-good Christians.”
The basic idea behind this religion is that they really disagree with how the Christian religions have destroyed and abused the messages of Jesus Christ in the bible. Their view is that the message of Jesus was about love (and lots of it, but not sexual, so don’t go getting ideas), and community. Their writings and messages emphasize Jesus saving people, being reborn, and so forth.
Many often do not even want to be associated with mainstream religion, using words like “community” instead of church and meeting in coffee shops, classrooms, and night clubs, instead of churches.
This group is fairly harmless I believe, as the ideas about love and peace are preferable to those citing excuses for violence, Jihad, and crusades.
However, within these groups often persists many misconceptions about atheism, evolution, and sex. Young and old Earth creationists will be plenty, atheists bashers will exist, and most will pledge to remain virgins until marriage (and that has to be restricted to between men and women).
The biggest fear I have about these groups is (somewhat ironically) that they may promote (albeit peaceful) intolerance (despite promoting universal love) and ignorance. Combined these can affect government laws, and the education systems. I am not suggesting all members of these “communities” are ignorant or intolerant (or both), but these “communities” are likely not working well to remove either issue. My evidence hear is the promotion of books like Strobel’s and McManus’ by Campus for Christ.
The only other issue I see, is that this is a very attractive form of Christianity, offering a very personal connection between preachers who are willing to “save” members, but a very shallow one. Theologically the sermons seem to emphasize little beyond the love of Jesus, the importance of being “saved,” fear of hell, and more love from Jesus. I fear that some of these people may be psychologically crippled when it comes to dealing with complex social situations. For example, the likely response to a friend considering suicide would be to push that friend to accept the love of Jesus, which would likely be met with resistance if the friend were brought up Muslim, or saw little love in the world they were raised in.
Nevertheless, I do find the continued evolution and growth of religion to be somewhat fascinating, albeit a bit persistent.