Richard Beck

June 10, 1967



George MacDonald, Arthur C. McGill, William Stringfellow, Ernest Becke ...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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There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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 Purity Culture of Progressive Christianity: A Retrospective

In 2015 I wrote a post entitled "The Purity Culture of Progressive Christianity." That was only six years ago, but it now seems like ages.

As the author of Unclean, in that post I was one of the first bloggers to notice that a purity psychology was at work in progressive spaces. This was a few years before worries about "Woke mobs" and "cancel culture" became commonplace. 

There was predictable

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Published on May 04, 2021 03:00
Average rating: 4.38 · 1,287 ratings · 229 reviews · 5 distinct worksSimilar authors
Unclean: Meditations on Pur...

4.38 avg rating — 462 ratings — published 2011 — 7 editions
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Reviving Old Scratch: Demon...

4.29 avg rating — 354 ratings3 editions
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The Slavery of Death

4.54 avg rating — 250 ratings — published 2013 — 4 editions
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Stranger God: Meeting Jesus...

4.49 avg rating — 164 ratings3 editions
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The Authenticity of Faith :...

4.24 avg rating — 82 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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Trains, Jesus, and Murder: ...

4.25 avg rating — 126 ratings3 editions
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“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

“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

“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 24 Mar 09, 2017 07:03PM  

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