Fast-food Christianity

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The article isn't quite about Christianity in fast food.
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Devil's in the details
Not to be confused with cafeteria Christianity.
It is hardly a matter of wonder that the country that gave the world instant tea and instant coffee should be the one to give it instant Christianity.
—"Fast Food" Christianity[1]

Fast-food Christianity is a snarl word which some Christians use to describe what they see as "consumer-oriented" types of Christianity that demand little from congregations.

Fast food and traditional Christianity compared[edit]

Understanding that fast-food Christianity is not a term applied by any church to itself, any description is, at best, a generalization of statements made by those who dislike a given flavor of Christianity. Fast-food Christianity is supposedly "happierWikipedia" (more emphasis on "Jesus is love," for example), and highlights features of Christianity that are easier to understand and follow. By contrast, opponents of fast-food Christianity believe that effort, reflection, and especially sacrifice are needed to understand Christianity and follow the religion correctly.

Churches targeted as embracing a "fast food" approach are criticized for having proceedings that are supposedly presented as entertainment first and worship services second. Music is seen as pleasant and sermons are supposedly short, allegedly focused on "happy" topics like love and peace rather than serious topics which demand that worshipers actually consider difficult ideas, like personal sin.[note 1]

On the plus side, Christian groups labeled as "fast food" are usually unlikely to cause harm in the same ways that fundamentalist Christianity does, such as:

  • Demanding that certain religious dogmas must be taught as "science".
  • Demanding unrealistic moral standards and making worshipers feel guilty over failure.
  • Frightening worshipers and their children about Hell.
  • Teaching women and girls to be subservient.
  • Teaching that poor people are at fault.


Critics say these types of Christianity are like fast food because they both taste or feel good and come with a toy or prize, but do not go very far in providing actual (physical or spiritual) sustenance. Critics feel that modern society overall wants easy rewards and that fast-food Christianity is part of this trend.[note 2] Critics fear fast-food Christianity emphasizes what the congregation likes rather than what they need for salvation. More traditional Christians might see fast-food Christians as being let off easy when they sin, especially when those sins are of the fleshly variety, such as sloth, gluttony, and fornication.

Christians who disagree with the way some other denomination does things may label those others fast-food Christians.

Fast food and Cafeteria Christianity compared[edit]

The ideas of fast-food and "cafeteria Christianity" are somewhat related. "Fast-food Christianity" describes the practice of a church providing the type of Christianity that consumers worshipers like, while "cafeteria Christianity" describes the practice of an individual Christian picking out the beliefs or rituals that they personally like.

See also[edit]


  1. Readers should not forget hard economics. There has to be enough money on the collection plate to keep the church open, and that means the priest, pastor, etc must pay attention to what the congregation wants, as well as what he (or she) may believe is "true Christianity". Filthy lucre is essential to avoid unemployment.
  2. The criticism may be yet another example of nostalgia for the good old days, but critics certainly say this.


  1. "Fast Food" Christianity.