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Elle Hardy — Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity Is Taking Over the World

Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity Is Taking Over the World (book cover)

Shermer and Hardy discuss:

  • Hardy’s own religious journey (raised Catholic, now agnostic)
  • origin of Pentecostalism (a white preacher named Charles Fox Parham, a Black son of freed slaves named William J. Seymour, and a female preacher, Aimee Semple McPherson)
  • biblical basis of Pentecostalism
  • Pentecostalism in Korea North and South
  • Pentecostalism and Israel (“ultimately, in the end times, they believe that the Jews must convert to Christianity or burn in hell.”)
  • the structure of the Pentecostal church and how it differs from other churches
  • New Apostolic Reformation
  • the rise of the nones (no religious affiliation) in the context of the decline of evangelicalism but the rise of Pentecostalism
  • Seven Mountain Mandate: bringing about the end of the world & second coming (7 spheres: education, religion, family, business, government, A&E, media) Lord’s Prayer: “your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
  • what purpose Pentecostalism serves in communities and societies
  • witnessing for Pentecostalism and how religions grow
  • pentecostalism and politics
  • the psychology of the believer in a Pentecostal church
  • Trinity in Pentecostalism: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
  • dispensationalism and the Rapture
  • the Jews killed Jesus libel: Christianity and Anti-Semitism
  • replacement theology: Christians replaced Jews as the “chosen people”
  • prophecy
  • talking in tongues/glossolalia
  • snake handling
  • eschatology and end-times theology
  • sin and redemption
  • pentecostalism and prostitution
  • what people need that religion fulfills
  • Jordan Peterson and secular religion
  • the nature of Pentecostalism and how it differs from other faiths.

Elle Hardy is a journalist and foreign correspondent who has reported from the United States, the former USSR and North Korea, among a long list of places. Her work has appeared in GQ, Lonely Planet, Foreign Policy and Business Insider, and on ABC Australia. Her new book is Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity is Taking Over the World.

About the Book

How has a Christian movement, founded at the turn of the twentieth century by the son of freed slaves, become the fastest-growing religion on Earth? Pentecostalism has 600 million followers; if that trend continues then by 2050 they’ll be one in ten people worldwide. This is the religion of the Holy Spirit, with believers directly experiencing God and His blessings — success for the mind, body, spirit and wallet.

Pentecostalism is a social movement. It serves impoverished people in Africa and Latin America, and inspires anti-establishment leaders from Trump to Bolsonaro. In Australia, Europe and Korea, it throws itself into culture wars and social media, offering meaning and community to the rootless and marginalized in a fragmenting world.

Reporting this revolution from twelve countries and six US states, Elle Hardy weaves a timeless tale of miracles, money and power, set in our volatile age of extremes. By turns troubling and entertaining, Beyond Belief exposes the Pentecostal agenda: not just saving souls, but transforming societies and controlling politics. These modern prophets, embedded in our institutions, have the cash and the influence to wage their holy war.

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This episode was released on February 11, 2023.

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