In the final chapter of his book "Rapture Ready", Daniel Radosh argues that by keeping blatantly Christian pop culture out of mainstream outlets (book stores, radio stations, etc.), the effect is to isolate Christian pop culture and create a sort of feedback loop where the artists are forced to become more and more extreme in order to please the conservative gatekeepers who control the Christian pop culture outlets. Radosh suggests that if secular consumers accept Christian pop culture in their mainstream outlets, the result might radically moderate the Christian offerings:
As evangelical artists forgo the safety of the Christian bubble for the greater risks and rewards of competing in the mainstream, I hope the mainstream will make a similar effort to explore this “crossover” Christian culture.
This will strike many people as counterintuitive. Before I began this project, the idea that the influence of conservative Christianity could be checked by encouraging the further spread of Christian pop culture would have seemed ridiculous. But from what I’ve seen, it is precisely insularity that breeds intolerance. Even if mainstream radio doesn’t expand its embrace of Christian rock and Christian comedians never get their own sitcoms, Christians are going to continue to create Christian culture. When their only audience is other Christians, though, the feedback loop amplifies narrow-mindedness and inhibits self-examination.
What’s more, the existence of a separate Christian bubble gives fundamentalists greater influence on Christian culture than they deserve based on their numbers (or their ideas). That’s because the Christian subculture is dependent on gatekeepers, who by job description are more conservative than either the artists on one side of the gate or many consumers on the other. Thanks to the clout of the Christian Booksellers Association, Christian publishers will not publish and Christian authors will not write very many books that Christian bookstores will not carry. And the owners of Christian bookstores, for the most part, reject books that offend the sensibilities and ideologies of their most conservative customers.
But imagine now that mainstream cultural outlets were more open to Christian culture. In response, perhaps, Christian authors—and musicians and comedians—might find themselves playing to a wider, much less conservative audience. They might then be moved to experiment with more broad-minded material. This in turn might whet Christian audiences’ appetites for more such material, or at the very least encourage a healthy debate that the current gatekeepers generally suppress.
[...] Secular consumers may be understandably wary of having Christian content foisted on them, but ignoring Christian pop culture is not a solution to the spread of conservative Christianity. Our ignorance of Christian culture not only causes us to misunderstand, misinterpret, and misjudge our Christian neighbors, it also precludes our effectively challenging those aspects of Christian culture that may be properly judged as offensive. To the extent that we hope to change Christian culture, we have to understand and appreciate it.
How does this theory mesh with Radosh's other experiences in the book with Christian pop culture? Throughout his journey, he encountered upsetting and triggering material in unexpected places: fliers that demonized IVF children and their parents at a music festival; books that glamorized Holocaust concentration camps as settings for fictional Jewish protagonists to 'come to Christ'. Where is the line -- if any -- between being open to new experiences and new perspectives versus understandably wanting to protect oneself from harmful or triggering material in one's pop culture consumption?
How do you choose what pop culture to consume in your daily life?
Are you open to pop culture from different ideologies, and if so, why?
What responsibility (if any) do we have to help moderate ideologies we may not agree with?