Richard Beck

June 10, 1967



George MacDonald, Arthur C. McGill, William Stringfellow, Ernest ...more

Dr. Richard Beck is a Professor of Psychology at Abilene Christian University, and he is the author of the popular blog Experimental Theology: The Thoughts, Articles and Essays of Richard Beck and the books The Slavery of Death, Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality and The Authenticity of Faith: The Varieties and Illusions of Religious Experience. As an experimental psychologist and a practicing Christian, he attempts in his writing "to integrate theology with the experimental social sciences."

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Richard Beck isn't a Goodreads Author (yet), but he does have a blog, so here are some recent posts imported from his feed.

The Social Justice Blind Spot: Part 8, Moral Politics

But the truth remains, there are huge systemic issues that we have to face and big policy recommendations on the table.

For example, the case for reparations.

I support reparations. But for the sake of this post, we don't have to agree on that. What I want to point out is how many of the big policy recommendations social justice warriors put on the table require a moral revolution if they are t... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on February 20, 2020 03:00
Average rating: 4.37 · 1,121 ratings · 200 reviews · 5 distinct worksSimilar authors
Unclean: Meditations on Pur...

4.37 avg rating — 425 ratings — published 2011 — 7 editions
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Reviving Old Scratch: Demon...

4.27 avg rating — 309 ratings3 editions
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The Slavery of Death

4.54 avg rating — 215 ratings — published 2013 — 4 editions
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Stranger God: Meeting Jesus...

4.46 avg rating — 132 ratings3 editions
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The Authenticity of Faith :...

4.21 avg rating — 71 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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Trains, Jesus, and Murder: ...

4.33 avg rating — 58 ratings3 editions
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“Every American is thus ingrained with the duty to look well, to seem fine, to exclude from the fabric of his or her normal life any evidence of decay and death and helplessness. The ethic I have outlined here is often called the ethic of success. I prefer to call it the ethic of avoidance. . . . Persons are considered a success not because they attain some remarkable goal, but because their lives do not betray marks of failure or depression, helplessness or sickness. When they are asked how they are, they really can say and really do say, “Fine . . . fine.”
Richard Beck, The Slavery of Death

“Notice in Acts 4 that there were “no needy persons among them.” Why? Because they shared with “anyone one who had need.” The expression of neediness in the community allowed the economy of love to flow. But in churches in America and other places where affluence poses special problems, the situation is very different. These cultures are enslaved to the fear of death and death avoidance holds serious sway. In these cultures the expression of need is taboo and pornographic. What results is neurotic image-management, the pressure to be “fine.” The perversity here is that on the surface American churches do look like the church in Acts 4 - there are “no needy persons” among us. We all appear to be doing just fine, thank you very much.

But we know this to be a sham, a collective delusion driven by the fear of death. I’m really not fine and neither are you. But you are afraid of me and I’m afraid of you. We are neurotic about being vulnerable with each other. We fear exposing our need and failure to each other. And because of this fear - the fear of being needy within a community of neediness - the witness of the church is compromised. A collection of self-sustaining and self-reliant people - people who are all pretending to be fine - is not the Kingdom of God. It’s a church built upon the delusional anthropology we described earlier. Specifically, a church where everyone is “fine” is a group of humans refusing to be human beings and pretending to be gods. Such a “church” is comprised of fearful people working hard to keep up appearances and unable to trust each other to the point of loving self-sacrifice. In such a “church” each member is expected to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining, thus making no demands upon others. Unfortunately, where there is no need and no vulnerability, there can be no love.”
Richard Beck, The Slavery of Death

“In contemporary American culture our slavery to the fear of death produces superficial consumerism, a fetish for managing appearances, inauthentic relationships, triumphalistic religion, and the eclipse of personal and societal empathy. These are the “works of the devil” in our lives, works produced by our slavery to the fear of death.”
Richard Beck, The Slavery of Death

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Christian Goodrea...: Christian views of final punishment 13 21 Mar 09, 2017 07:03PM  

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