Announcement

Collapse

Apologetics 301 Guidelines

If you think this is the area where you tell everyone you are sorry for eating their lunch out of the fridge, it probably isn't the place for you


This forum is open discussion between atheists and all theists to defend and debate their views on religion or non-religion. Please respect that this is a Christian-owned forum and refrain from gratuitous blasphemy. VERY wide leeway is given in range of expression and allowable behavior as compared to other areas of the forum, and moderation is not overly involved unless necessary. Please keep this in mind. Atheists who wish to interact with theists in a way that does not seek to undermine theistic faith may participate in the World Religions Department. Non-debate question and answers and mild and less confrontational discussions can take place in General Theistics.


Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

Hated and feared by a world they are sworn to protect, the X-Men face off against sin

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Hated and feared by a world they are sworn to protect, the X-Men face off against sin

    This pun brought to you by the Greek style abbreviation system.

    Someone, Leonhard perhaps, in my “amusing thought” thread, said something to me along the lines of that the churches that aren't just hemorrhaging members are the one which are having stricter, more conservative approaches to Christianity and, as a counterpoint, attempts to have a more broad, inclusive Christianity weren't working well from a membership perspective.

    I've been thinking about this and, well, if you're a comics fan you've probably already figured this out, but my questions here are going to settle around the idea of “what is Christianity going to do once it's a minority”

    (a real minority, that is. Let's not quibble over whether census reports and polls about peoples religious identification are bad for whatever reasons)

    Christianity, like every religion, started off as a minority position, but it's been quite some time since then and I think its a fairly safe assumption that the overall reaction wouldn't be very good.

    60 years ago the country was 92% Christian. In just the last 60 years we've gone from somewhere around 2/3rds protest to about 1/3rd. Non-Christian religion belief, once more or less non-existent, is approaching 10% of the country. Non-religious people are at about 1/6th now and, for people under 30, we're at roughly 1/3rd. 50 years from now, it is pretty safe to say, Christianity will be a minority in America.

    How, I wonder, do you all plan to stay relevant?

    What does an active Christianity look like in a world that will no longer accept your relevancy as a matter of course?

    Will “the argument” somehow be won? I doubt this. Part of the explosion in non-believers is simply as a matter of information being more available than before.

    Will conservative religious enclaves somehow attract outsiders for other reasons? I don't know how that would work as conservative members of a religion tend to be the ones least desirous of including outsiders and most off putting to outsiders. Could this change for some reason?

    With shrinking numbers comes shrinking political influence. How will the church and the parish and the believer adapt to a world as a minority?

    This is basically a thought experiment assuming that the general trend of the last 60 years holds out. If so, what happens? I am thinking mostly of America as I write this, but feel free to throw other regions in. Particularly regions of the world where Christianity is projected to actually grow.

    Cheers,

    J

  • #2
    If anything the US church will become more effective in certain ways, just as a runner becomes faster when excess blubber is eliminated.

    Comment


    • #3
      From our perspective - Romans 8:31 If God is for us who can be against us.

      Dead wood in a church is of no good for many reasons. The Church is meant to be a light in a dark world and if there is no distinction between our members and the world then we cannot be a light to the world.

      Our Christian leaders and especially the ones in public life have not helped things because in lots of respects the only thing they care about is the material benefits of non believrs. Yes we are meant to help people outside the Church if they are in need and specifically ask for help, however our primary aim should be to share the Gospel and look after our community. However, the Church just seems to have become a charity organization where all we do is help people with material things and we never give them what they really need which is the message. Jesus made this kind of point when the people came looking for bread (John 6) The Church has been browbeaten into feeling all that they can do is offer material things and have no right to think this gives them the opportunity to say the Gospel at the same time(we already have a Starlight thread whining on this very issue). Ironical since just this last week I heard that certain sections of our population (and yes those guilty of browbeating Christians) want to force David Cameron to make aid to needy countries specifically tied to gay rights (in other words you treat gays badly, no food). Christians normally still help those who reject hearing the Gospel if they ask for help, however we have the right to always offer both and Christian bishops need to stand up for our rights in the face of liberals.

      Further if the Church community was also more vigilant in looking after the welfare of their own people who already have accepted the message then perhaps others would see how wonderful it is to be part of the Christian community. Yes it is wonderful, but mostly that is down to God and outsiders cant feel this because they do not have a relationship with Him. Instead all we have is Church leaders running about catering to the material needs of non-Christians who just view us as a charity organization because that is what liberals are constantly browbeating us into being. The best thing of our organization is God. He is the one from whom our bounty flows but He is the one who we are prevented from sharing, from others and in turn from each other because we have all become so pc. Outside the church we are not allowed to share the Gospel and inside we are not allowed to properly care for our brethren, lovingly telling (or being told) when they(or we ) are straying and in the end the person (or us) falls into sin and grows cold. Result: we look like a bunch of hypocrites who happen to run a charity organization.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jaecp View Post
        This pun brought to you by the Greek style abbreviation system.

        Someone, Leonhard perhaps, in my “amusing thought” thread, said something to me along the lines of that the churches that aren't just hemorrhaging members are the one which are having stricter, more conservative approaches to Christianity and, as a counterpoint, attempts to have a more broad, inclusive Christianity weren't working well from a membership perspective.

        I've been thinking about this and, well, if you're a comics fan you've probably already figured this out, but my questions here are going to settle around the idea of “what is Christianity going to do once it's a minority”

        (a real minority, that is. Let's not quibble over whether census reports and polls about peoples religious identification are bad for whatever reasons)

        Christianity, like every religion, started off as a minority position, but it's been quite some time since then and I think its a fairly safe assumption that the overall reaction wouldn't be very good.

        60 years ago the country was 92% Christian. In just the last 60 years we've gone from somewhere around 2/3rds protest to about 1/3rd. Non-Christian religion belief, once more or less non-existent, is approaching 10% of the country. Non-religious people are at about 1/6th now and, for people under 30, we're at roughly 1/3rd. 50 years from now, it is pretty safe to say, Christianity will be a minority in America.

        How, I wonder, do you all plan to stay relevant?

        What does an active Christianity look like in a world that will no longer accept your relevancy as a matter of course?

        Will “the argument” somehow be won? I doubt this. Part of the explosion in non-believers is simply as a matter of information being more available than before.

        Will conservative religious enclaves somehow attract outsiders for other reasons? I don't know how that would work as conservative members of a religion tend to be the ones least desirous of including outsiders and most off putting to outsiders. Could this change for some reason?

        With shrinking numbers comes shrinking political influence. How will the church and the parish and the believer adapt to a world as a minority?

        This is basically a thought experiment assuming that the general trend of the last 60 years holds out. If so, what happens? I am thinking mostly of America as I write this, but feel free to throw other regions in. Particularly regions of the world where Christianity is projected to actually grow.

        Cheers,

        J
        Hi Jaecp. My thought on this is a simple one, christianity will just continue to evolve with the times, like from O.T to N.T, becoming less and less relevant, until it peters out like every other ancient myth has done. In the future people will look back on christianity, Islam, and the like, the same way that we look back today to the myths from out of which they evolved. But memes die slowly, like a virus they spread amongst the meek who are then doomed to live with it since it overtakes its target which is the very source that could cure them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JimL View Post
          Hi Jaecp. My thought on this is a simple one, christianity will just continue to evolve with the times, like from O.T to N.T, becoming less and less relevant, until it peters out like every other ancient myth has done. In the future people will look back on christianity, Islam, and the like, the same way that we look back today to the myths from out of which they evolved. But memes die slowly, like a virus they spread amongst the meek who are then doomed to live with it since it overtakes its target which is the very source that could cure them.
          Well Jim, if we look at this from a strictly materialistic sense, it must be a fact that people, on some level, need religion. Need a hope that can not be offered by atheism. We may be hardwired for belief. And if that is the case then religion is not going anywhere - unless human nature changes. I believe that is was Nietzsche, in his day, that suggested that the Church would be gone in 20 years. He was wrong.
          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, as I live in a country culturally similar to America but much farther down that path to irreligion (census now reports 50% of people say they're non-religious, and estimates suggest only 10% of the population regularly attends church, making us the least religious of all countries of British descent), the general things that have happened here might be of interest to you.

            Primarily: Nothing spectacular. It's just happened gradually without anybody noticing. Some of the more liberal churches are experiencing an aging congregation and eventually shutting down. But no one panics when that happens, because when a church loses all its members and then closes, there's inherently nobody left in the church to panic. Most evangelical churches have stable congregation sizes, so everything looks like it's fine to the people in those churches. But although the number of evangelical Christians is holding fairly steady, the population is growing, so their total percentage is decreasing. So to your average evangelical Christian, everything in their local church looks fine, and they're not panicking.

            At a political & media level, religion largely just stops being part of the conversation. It's been 15 years since we last had a religious Prime Minister (equivalent of President, for American readers). Religion is regarded as a personal matter, and the media just doesn't talk about it. Because the media barely ever mentions mainstream Christianity, when Christians do make the news it is because they are unusual Christians who are doing something particularly crazy - eg a cult. A consequence of this is that what the non-religious segment of the population does hear about religion is predominantly negative.

            As the Christians have slid from a significant majority into a minority, there's been an associated change in the political power of the Christian voting bloc. 40 years ago, they could have taken it largely for granted that anything that Christians as a whole fervently wanted, would definitely become law. As their political clout has waned, there's been variations on the spectrum of acceptance & denial & delusion within the church as to the beliefs of various Christians about what their political power really is. As their voting bloc has shrunk, our right-wing conservative party called 'National' (think Republican-ish, or perhaps more accurately, think the right-wing segment of the Democrat party) that a lot of conservative Christians would generally vote for (eg Raphael) has begun paying their wishes less and less attention - most recently ignoring their wishes on same-sex marriage. This has created a certain amount of resentment at being abandoned politically, and has spawned a new 'Conservative' party focused on moral issues... it almost won a seat in parliament last election (it got 4% of the total nationwide vote, and needed 5%). I would give them a 50-50 chance of getting 5% if they try again next election (which would make it the 5th biggest of the 7 parties in parliament).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Starlight View Post
              As the Christians have slid from a significant majority into a minority, there's been an associated change in the political power of the Christian voting bloc. 40 years ago, they could have taken it largely for granted that anything that Christians as a whole fervently wanted, would definitely become law. As their political clout has waned, there's been variations on the spectrum of acceptance & denial & delusion within the church as to the beliefs of various Christians about what their political power really is. As their voting bloc has shrunk, our right-wing conservative party called 'National' (think Republican-ish, or perhaps more accurately, think the right-wing segment of the Democrat party) that a lot of conservative Christians would generally vote for (eg Raphael) has begun paying their wishes less and less attention - most recently ignoring their wishes on same-sex marriage. This has created a certain amount of resentment at being abandoned politically, and has spawned a new 'Conservative' party focused on moral issues... it almost won a seat in parliament last election (it got 4% of the total nationwide vote, and needed 5%). I would give them a 50-50 chance of getting 5% if they try again next election (which would make it the 5th biggest of the 7 parties in parliament).
              If NZ is like UK then I think the resentment has probably come from the hypocrisy Christians are witnessing:
              *Liberals complaining about Christians preaching the Gospel when giving aid, yet now doing something equivalent and even threatening to withhold aid if people do not comply with their demands
              * Increasingly a despised minority Christians receive no special concessions such as were demanded by gays for themselves. Christians are often belittled for their faith as are Christian children at school with teachers often doing nothing about it, some even actively belittling it too. This has become worse and worse over the last 20 years and Christian children who are not able to withstand the pressure often abandon their faith which, if they never return, is a form of spiritual suicide and is for us in effect the same as physical suicide. Yet all we ever hear about is suicide of gays (which of course are a tragedy).

              R.E. classes in UK claim to be about learning about the different faiths so that children can understand people of different faiths. My children had to do all sorts ie visit mosques where they had to take off their shoes and go through the motions acting respectfully. Making Happy Ramadan cards etc. Write an essay pretending they were a Hindu child and how they would go about offering to the god in their home and temple and what they would offer and how they would go through the rituals etc. With Christianity they had to write about what else they could think of that could explain the resurrection appearances. They were told Christians don't believe dinosaurs exist (this is such a caricature as not even YEC's believe this). The one teacher linked to a youtube video which was totally mocking of Christianity and sat there smiling along with it as the class watched. So why the non-biased reporting on the other faiths but then just caricature, criticism and attack when it came to Christianity. Double standards and hypocrisy because if they are going to attack and belittle Christianity then they should attack and belittle all the faiths. This is hardly lost on the children and undermines the message that "we must be tolerant of people with other faiths" - not that liberals ever believed that any way.
              Last edited by Abigail; 06-15-2015, 10:51 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Abigail,
                None of the things you mention are issues here. I have never seen any news articles about any of those topics. I would love to see some decent religious education here that teaches children the various different religions... but the public schools have no religious curriculum at all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seer View Post
                  Well Jim, if we look at this from a strictly materialistic sense, it must be a fact that people, on some level, need religion. Need a hope that can not be offered by atheism.
                  I don't totally disagree with you on that seer. I think it may well be that some people, many, perhaps the great majority of people, the biblical Jesus called them "the meek," need religion. I also believe that society in general needs a religion to instill a sense of fear and guilt in its members without the which a police state would be needed to control them. In my opinion that is one of the reasons God was created in the first place. But people needing religion, and it being a useful psychological tool for society, doesn't make it real. Religion is all about psychology, its a brainwashing technique, which does as much harm to the psyche of some individuals as it does good for society as a whole. So I agree, religion is and always has been a necessary evil for those who are upright without it, unfortunately not everyone in society can be upright without the psychological power that religeous belief wields over them.


                  We may be hardwired for belief. And if that is the case then religion is not going anywhere - unless human nature changes. I believe that is was Nietzsche, in his day, that suggested that the Church would be gone in 20 years. He was wrong.
                  Yes indeed, if that was said by Nietzche, he was certainly way off the mark. Perhaps someday we as a people will evolve to the point where it will no longer be felt necessary to imprison ourselves in the psychological labrynth of religion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So it's a Brotherhood of Necessary Evil, then, Jim?

                    I have been reading too many X-Men comics lately :)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Two quotes I think are relevant:

                      1. from Chicago's now-deceased Cardinal Francis George:
                      I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.
                      2. from Joseph Ratzinger, who would go on to become Pope Benedict XVI, writing in the late 1960s:
                      From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge—a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so will she lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, she will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision
                      [....]
                      But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize her true center and experience the sacraments again as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship
                      [....]
                      Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.
                      I don't expect either of those quotes will quite speak for themselves to a non-Christian audience, but I'm not sure exactly which points will require the most clarification, so... if you have questions about either quote, let me know and I'll try to give some more context.
                      Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                        Well, as I live in a country culturally similar to America but much farther down that path to irreligion (census now reports 50% of people say they're non-religious, and estimates suggest only 10% of the population regularly attends church, making us the least religious of all countries of British descent), the general things that have happened here might be of interest to you.
                        The poll is misleading because liberalism is not commonly considered a religion so the participants will not report it as such. In truth NZ is still heavily religious, they simply switch to the progressive death cult instead.
                        "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                        There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                          Two quotes I think are relevant:

                          1. from Chicago's now-deceased Cardinal Francis George:I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.
                          The Catholic Church will not be rebuilding anything. It's done for. No future generation will trust it after its endless stream of betrayals.
                          "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                          There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jaecp, you might also try looking up any one of the dozens upon dozens of articles on the "Benedict Option." It's often caricatured as simply being a Christian withdrawal from public life, but there's at least a bit more to it than that. The idea resonates somewhat with Ratzinger's analysis from the above quote, but the term actually comes from the conclusion of Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue, in which he anticipates a "new, doubtless very different St. Benedict". St. Benedict, in founding western monasticism, created the mechanism which would end up preserving so much of classical literature and learning through the dark ages. MacIntyre seems to be anticipating a new dark ages (if only in terms of morality and moral discourse) that calls for a similar establishment of intentional and permanent communities oriented around growth in virtue (perhaps as opposed to the pursuit of prosperity or pleasure.

                            ... I'm not sure how much of that is my projection onto the debate and how much is actually a fair account of it. Oh well.

                            This speech on the idea of the "creative minority" is also relevant:
                            Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jaecp View Post
                              This pun brought to you by the Greek style abbreviation system.

                              Someone, Leonhard perhaps, in my “amusing thought” thread, said something to me along the lines of that the churches that aren't just hemorrhaging members are the one which are having stricter, more conservative approaches to Christianity and, as a counterpoint, attempts to have a more broad, inclusive Christianity weren't working well from a membership perspective.

                              I've been thinking about this and, well, if you're a comics fan you've probably already figured this out, but my questions here are going to settle around the idea of “what is Christianity going to do once it's a minority”

                              (a real minority, that is. Let's not quibble over whether census reports and polls about peoples religious identification are bad for whatever reasons)

                              Christianity, like every religion, started off as a minority position, but it's been quite some time since then and I think its a fairly safe assumption that the overall reaction wouldn't be very good.

                              60 years ago the country was 92% Christian. In just the last 60 years we've gone from somewhere around 2/3rds protest to about 1/3rd. Non-Christian religion belief, once more or less non-existent, is approaching 10% of the country. Non-religious people are at about 1/6th now and, for people under 30, we're at roughly 1/3rd. 50 years from now, it is pretty safe to say, Christianity will be a minority in America.

                              How, I wonder, do you all plan to stay relevant?

                              What does an active Christianity look like in a world that will no longer accept your relevancy as a matter of course?

                              Will “the argument” somehow be won? I doubt this. Part of the explosion in non-believers is simply as a matter of information being more available than before.

                              Will conservative religious enclaves somehow attract outsiders for other reasons? I don't know how that would work as conservative members of a religion tend to be the ones least desirous of including outsiders and most off putting to outsiders. Could this change for some reason?

                              With shrinking numbers comes shrinking political influence. How will the church and the parish and the believer adapt to a world as a minority?

                              This is basically a thought experiment assuming that the general trend of the last 60 years holds out. If so, what happens? I am thinking mostly of America as I write this, but feel free to throw other regions in. Particularly regions of the world where Christianity is projected to actually grow.

                              Cheers,

                              J

                              Well, if it takes another 50 years for this to happen in America, it's pretty much not going to be much of an issue for most TWeb Christians, I suspect. We'll be 80+, if not dead.

                              And a lot can change in 50 years, including present trends in religious belief and practice. It wouldn't be a bad thing for Americans to take Christ more seriously, even if far fewer claim to be 'Christian'.
                              ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by lee_merrill, Yesterday, 07:58 PM
                              3 responses
                              18 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post shunyadragon  
                              Started by Esther, 09-27-2020, 02:01 PM
                              57 responses
                              275 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post shunyadragon  
                              Started by Hypatia_Alexandria, 09-15-2020, 11:19 AM
                              49 responses
                              412 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post Tassman
                              by Tassman
                               
                              Started by shunyadragon, 09-09-2016, 03:27 PM
                              1,035 responses
                              54,155 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post thormas
                              by thormas
                               
                              Started by showmeproof, 01-19-2014, 11:28 AM
                              91 responses
                              19,197 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post shunyadragon  
                              Working...
                              X