A Serious Problem

For those deep thinkers out there.

Moderator: tuttle

Post Reply
User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:25 pm

The irony is that I do think I have a fix--not a solution but a fix for today in 'Merica. The downside is that it could quite easily become all about money. But it may have potential:
Hidden Content
This board requires you to be registered and logged-in to view hidden content.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
hugodrax
All Around Nice Guy
All Around Nice Guy
Posts: 16268
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:00 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by hugodrax » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:36 pm

UncleBob wrote:The irony is that I do think I have a fix--not a solution but a fix for today in 'Merica. The downside is that it could quite easily become all about money. But it may have potential:
Hidden Content
This board requires you to be registered and logged-in to view hidden content.
I have less in common with Protestants than I thought. I'd been thawing, too.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

User avatar
Onyx
Darth Onyx, Bringer of Unity
Darth Onyx, Bringer of Unity
Posts: 10808
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Skeptopolis

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Onyx » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:04 pm

UncleBob wrote:
hugodrax wrote:
UncleBob wrote:
Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
I hear you. I think evangelism was meant to be organic--rising out of an actual/meaningful relationship over time--but with the institutionalization of Christianity it became something else. Frankly, it seems to follow the various economic models over the ages in which the Church found itself. It seems to parrot the neoliberal capitalism model we find ourselves in now. This is just my opinion.
Again, I think you're right on. Evangelism has become a corporate slogan, part of the church mission statement. A church, to an extent, will always be a bit of a business because it needs to be financially secure. But the cure of souls isn't business. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but a church shouldn't merely be about butts in pews and tithing and collection plates. I've seen parishes that are all about this, and I've seen parishes that were all about raising happy families and coming together to make sure people were OK and as happy as possible in this valley of tears, full of fish frys and donut Sundays and youth programs. Guess where I felt home?

A church, in my mind, is a lot like the old mutual aid societies. Members should know each other, take care of each other, come together to play and to pray and to work. It drives me a little nuts to see people approach evangelism as a business. As a Catholic, I won't know if my soul is saved until I'm standing judgment. But I know where I was evangelized. It was where people just loved each other and I got a sense of we are all in this together and the kidsecond and the old ladies played with my children.

That's also why I stink as an evangelizer.
Here is the problem for me: how do we fix it? I guess one could start with more prayerful, social activities but (and this is what started all this for me) how do we surmount the idea of money in evangelism and in church? I have no possible solution to offer--yet. :) I'm still thinking it through and looking for trends that may have some legs. There seems to be a few folks that are trying to downplay the money aspect but it always seems to come back to it.

I was talking with some preachers today and they seem to think they are "due" a certain amount. Both preachers are in the African-American churches and I was surprised to learn that they often collect tithes and a "love offering" for each preacher in the same service. Church services often go four-five hours with multiple preachers. 8O
There's something fundamentally creepy about any relationship where one party wants it much more than the other.

So while my perspective is irrelevant and anyone with any sense already stopped reading or foe'd me outright, I'm not gonna let that stop me. 8) There is no fix possible because the evangelee doesn't want or need the evangelist. This is not to say that there are not people who need you as a Christian friend and who need your church, and who need Christianity in their lives. Some people do need and want these things. And when you encounter this person, it is a moment like finding love, I imagine. But don't be the guy always trying to make this happen with everyone you meet. It's like the spurned lover who insists that her rejector really needs her... except with everyone.

And as you've touched on with the money side of things, there is a simmering dishonesty about the whole scene. Those of us who have been around know that the church leadership often feels pressure to achieve "growth", and this pressure is filtered down as though it were a spiritual enterprise. I'm a cynic who has been on all sides of this equation, and I'm done with it. I wasn't a cynic at first. This stuff made me cynical.

So this is why I don't think the opening post represents a problem. Christians should welcome the complete collapse and bankruptcy of all denominations, gilded thrones and flashy preachers. There's not a teaching of Jesus Christ that you cannot fully live after you throw the money-changers out of the temple.
4. No more signatures that quote other CPS members.
-- Thunktank

User avatar
hugodrax
All Around Nice Guy
All Around Nice Guy
Posts: 16268
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:00 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by hugodrax » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:41 pm

Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:
hugodrax wrote:
UncleBob wrote:
Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
I hear you. I think evangelism was meant to be organic--rising out of an actual/meaningful relationship over time--but with the institutionalization of Christianity it became something else. Frankly, it seems to follow the various economic models over the ages in which the Church found itself. It seems to parrot the neoliberal capitalism model we find ourselves in now. This is just my opinion.
Again, I think you're right on. Evangelism has become a corporate slogan, part of the church mission statement. A church, to an extent, will always be a bit of a business because it needs to be financially secure. But the cure of souls isn't business. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but a church shouldn't merely be about butts in pews and tithing and collection plates. I've seen parishes that are all about this, and I've seen parishes that were all about raising happy families and coming together to make sure people were OK and as happy as possible in this valley of tears, full of fish frys and donut Sundays and youth programs. Guess where I felt home?

A church, in my mind, is a lot like the old mutual aid societies. Members should know each other, take care of each other, come together to play and to pray and to work. It drives me a little nuts to see people approach evangelism as a business. As a Catholic, I won't know if my soul is saved until I'm standing judgment. But I know where I was evangelized. It was where people just loved each other and I got a sense of we are all in this together and the kidsecond and the old ladies played with my children.

That's also why I stink as an evangelizer.
Here is the problem for me: how do we fix it? I guess one could start with more prayerful, social activities but (and this is what started all this for me) how do we surmount the idea of money in evangelism and in church? I have no possible solution to offer--yet. :) I'm still thinking it through and looking for trends that may have some legs. There seems to be a few folks that are trying to downplay the money aspect but it always seems to come back to it.

I was talking with some preachers today and they seem to think they are "due" a certain amount. Both preachers are in the African-American churches and I was surprised to learn that they often collect tithes and a "love offering" for each preacher in the same service. Church services often go four-five hours with multiple preachers. 8O
There's something fundamentally creepy about any relationship where one party wants it much more than the other.

So while my perspective is irrelevant and anyone with any sense already stopped reading or foe'd me outright, I'm not gonna let that stop me. 8) There is no fix possible because the evangelee doesn't want or need the evangelist. This is not to say that there are not people who need you as a Christian friend and who need your church, and who need Christianity in their lives. Some people do need and want these things. And when you encounter this person, it is a moment like finding love, I imagine. But don't be the guy always trying to make this happen with everyone you meet. It's like the spurned lover who insists that her rejector really needs her... except with everyone.

And as you've touched on with the money side of things, there is a simmering dishonesty about the whole scene. Those of us who have been around know that the church leadership often feels pressure to achieve "growth", and this pressure is filtered down as though it were a spiritual enterprise. I'm a cynic who has been on all sides of this equation, and I'm done with it. I wasn't a cynic at first. This stuff made me cynical.

So this is why I don't think the opening post represents a problem. Christians should welcome the complete collapse and bankruptcy of all denominations, gilded thrones and flashy preachers. There's not a teaching of Jesus Christ that you cannot fully live after you throw the money-changers out of the temple.
This post should be bronzed. Nearly and succinctly, you have summarized the very problem with evangelization: all to often, it's an unnecessarily brutal battle with the wrong goal in mind.id rather see better Christians than more of them.

I agree with everything up until the last paragraph. That smacks of the very evangelization you seem to decry. I happen to like the pomp, thanks. :D
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:25 am

This is an interesting perspective from a Catholic: 5 Warning signs of a toxic faith
Because “whited sepulchers” are really not convincing evangelists.

As a former atheist, I can tell you that God used many holy people to bring me back into the Church. But the devil also used people with traces of “toxic faith” to push me away. And sometimes, those people were one in the same. We are all compromised in our ability to evangelize well because we are sinners. And we all have traces of a toxic faith within us. If the devil can’t get us out of the Church, he tries his best to poison our faith life.
Here are the author's 5 signs of toxic faith:
  • The Joyless Catholic: Are you unable to laugh with others about issues of faith or just let things go?
  • The Democrat/Republican Catholic: Do you have a hard time talking about faith without bringing up politics?
  • The Pharisaical Catholic: Is faith to you about duty and “doing” more than it is about inner transformation?
  • The “Us vs. Them” Catholic: Can you have a conversation about faith without mentioning the words “liberal” or “conservative” or one of the many other labels we use to disparage those we deem unfit to be Catholic?
  • The [Insert Pet Issue Here] Catholic: Do you spend more time thinking about one issue of the faith than your relationship with Jesus?
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
tuttle
Theology Room Mod
Theology Room Mod
Posts: 12301
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Middle-west
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by tuttle » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:32 am

Onyx wrote: So this is why I don't think the opening post represents a problem. Christians should welcome the complete collapse and bankruptcy of all denominations, gilded thrones and flashy preachers. There's not a teaching of Jesus Christ that you cannot fully live after you throw the money-changers out of the temple.
Bravo.
Image

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one" -Mal Reynolds

"Better to die cheerfully with the aid of a little tobacco, than to live disagreeably and remorseful without." -CS Lewis

User avatar
wosbald
Crux' Cleveland Correspondent
Crux' Cleveland Correspondent
Posts: 18464
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by wosbald » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:19 am

+JMJ+
UncleBob wrote:This is an interesting perspective from a Catholic: 5 Warning signs of a toxic faith
Because “whited sepulchers” are really not convincing evangelists.

As a former atheist, I can tell you that God used many holy people to bring me back into the Church. But the devil also used people with traces of “toxic faith” to push me away. And sometimes, those people were one in the same. We are all compromised in our ability to evangelize well because we are sinners. And we all have traces of a toxic faith within us. If the devil can’t get us out of the Church, he tries his best to poison our faith life.
Here are the author's 5 signs of toxic faith:
  • The Joyless Catholic: Are you unable to laugh with others about issues of faith or just let things go?
  • The Democrat/Republican Catholic: Do you have a hard time talking about faith without bringing up politics?
  • The Pharisaical Catholic: Is faith to you about duty and “doing” more than it is about inner transformation?
  • The “Us vs. Them” Catholic: Can you have a conversation about faith without mentioning the words “liberal” or “conservative” or one of the many other labels we use to disparage those we deem unfit to be Catholic?
  • The [Insert Pet Issue Here] Catholic: Do you spend more time thinking about one issue of the faith than your relationship with Jesus?
Those are all edge-cases to be eschewed, to serve as a conscience-check to start tacking back to the centrality. But no one ever attains those borderlines without falling into schism, heresy or apostasy.

Good article.




"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph." - Our Lady of Fatima

User avatar
Rusty
In Memoriam
Posts: 25059
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Beelzebub's Rare Tobacco Emporium

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Rusty » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:49 am

UncleBob wrote:The irony is that I do think I have a fix--not a solution but a fix for today in 'Merica. The downside is that it could quite easily become all about money. But it may have potential:
Hidden Content
This board requires you to be registered and logged-in to view hidden content.
LOL! Of course in this crazy idea you are recognizing the power of community and common interest. But the sane question is why is the power of community failing with the religious anyway? There are lots of competing communities that are not centered on faith, esp for the young. There are other alternatives that are a better fit for people who don't have the same needs as past generations.
You're out of the woods
You're out of the dark
You're out of the night
Step into the sun
Step into the light

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:58 am

Rusty wrote:
UncleBob wrote:The irony is that I do think I have a fix--not a solution but a fix for today in 'Merica. The downside is that it could quite easily become all about money. But it may have potential:
Hidden Content
This board requires you to be registered and logged-in to view hidden content.
LOL! Of course in this crazy idea you are recognizing the power of community and common interest. But the sane question is why is the power of community failing with the religious anyway? There are lots of competing communities that are not centered on faith, esp for the young. There are other alternatives that are a better fit for people who don't have the same needs as past generations.
Dude! Its a joke!
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
Pepik
Working as Intended
Posts: 6435
Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 9:21 am
Location: Just West of Skip
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Pepik » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:33 am

UncleBob wrote:
Rusty wrote:
UncleBob wrote:The irony is that I do think I have a fix--not a solution but a fix for today in 'Merica. The downside is that it could quite easily become all about money. But it may have potential:
Hidden Content
This board requires you to be registered and logged-in to view hidden content.
LOL! Of course in this crazy idea you are recognizing the power of community and common interest. But the sane question is why is the power of community failing with the religious anyway? There are lots of competing communities that are not centered on faith, esp for the young. There are other alternatives that are a better fit for people who don't have the same needs as past generations.
Dude! Its a joke!
Rusty might very well believe in a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, Church and the state. It all becomes clear.

He's one of those dreaded Commu-Canucks! Dark Red [Maple Leaf] Menace to the North indeed! Beware: you might end up slammed against the "glass" *and* have to spend two minutes in the Penalty box [of life]!

You might want to appease him with the proper offerings:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
A Biffy, of course:
Image
Image
And finally, the Obligatory Two-Four:
Image
Rgrds,
Joe


"I'm an alarmingly happy and optimistic person" - A_Morley
"I drank what?" - Socrates

User avatar
FredS
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Posts: 20021
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:00 pm
Location: NOCO (Northern Colorado)

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by FredS » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:42 pm

Rusty wrote:
UncleBob wrote:The irony is that I do think I have a fix--not a solution but a fix for today in 'Merica. The downside is that it could quite easily become all about money. But it may have potential:
Hidden Content
This board requires you to be registered and logged-in to view hidden content.
LOL! Of course in this crazy idea you are recognizing the power of community and common interest. But the sane question is why is the power of community failing with the religious anyway? There are lots of competing communities that are not centered on faith, esp for the young. There are other alternatives that are a better fit for people who don't have the same needs as past generations.
Winner. Winner. Taco dinner.

Christianity is not primarily about community.* That's why it fails when held up against the kennel club, or the pipe club, or the model railroaders club, or the actors guild, or any of a thousand other communities of like minded people. The price of admission is low in Christianity (besides, Jesus picked up your tab) but in order to grow in this faith one begins to learn that it get's harder as one get's nearer. If one is simply looking for a nice community then he'll go out and find communities without so many 'rules' that may seem to cramp his style.

*CPS is primarily about community though. But, as everyone from the Pope to John-Boy has said, CPS is not a church. Since most of us follow the same God, however, we tend to be more gracious towards one another as a reflection of the grace given by our God, so it rolls along better than most other places on the web.
"If we ever get to heaven boys, it aint because we aint done nothin' wrong" - Kris Kristofferson

"One of the things I love about CPS is the frank and enthusiastic dysfunction here. God help me, I do love it so." – OldWorldSwine

"I'd like to put a hook in that puppet and swing it through a bunch of salmon!" - durangopipe

User avatar
Thunktank
Terminal Lance. Perpetual Sea Lawyer. Unicorn Aficionado
Terminal Lance.  Perpetual Sea Lawyer. Unicorn Aficionado
Posts: 21019
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Ad Orientem

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Thunktank » Wed Sep 07, 2016 3:59 pm

FredS wrote:
Rusty wrote:
UncleBob wrote:The irony is that I do think I have a fix--not a solution but a fix for today in 'Merica. The downside is that it could quite easily become all about money. But it may have potential:
Hidden Content
This board requires you to be registered and logged-in to view hidden content.
LOL! Of course in this crazy idea you are recognizing the power of community and common interest. But the sane question is why is the power of community failing with the religious anyway? There are lots of competing communities that are not centered on faith, esp for the young. There are other alternatives that are a better fit for people who don't have the same needs as past generations.
Winner. Winner. Taco dinner.

Christianity is not primarily about community.* That's why it fails when held up against the kennel club, or the pipe club, or the model railroaders club, or the actors guild, or any of a thousand other communities of like minded people. The price of admission is low in Christianity (besides, Jesus picked up your tab) but in order to grow in this faith one begins to learn that it get's harder as one get's nearer. If one is simply looking for a nice community then he'll go out and find communities without so many 'rules' that may seem to cramp his style.

*CPS is primarily about community though. But, as everyone from the Pope to John-Boy has said, CPS is not a church. Since most of us follow the same God, however, we tend to be more gracious towards one another as a reflection of the grace given by our God, so it rolls along better than most other places on the web.
Wow! CPS certainly has it's moments whereby it is anything but gracious, unless you consider thick skin a grace.
Image

User avatar
FredS
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Really, really likes watching kids fish.
Posts: 20021
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:00 pm
Location: NOCO (Northern Colorado)

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by FredS » Wed Sep 07, 2016 5:30 pm

Thunktank wrote:
FredS wrote:. . .*CPS is primarily about community though. But, as everyone from the Pope to John-Boy has said, CPS is not a church. Since most of us follow the same God, however, we tend to be more gracious towards one another as a reflection of the grace given by our God, so it rolls along better than most other places on the web.
Wow! CPS certainly has it's moments whereby it is anything but gracious, unless you consider thick skin a grace.
As I said, we tend towards grace. More so than any other place I've found on the internet.
"If we ever get to heaven boys, it aint because we aint done nothin' wrong" - Kris Kristofferson

"One of the things I love about CPS is the frank and enthusiastic dysfunction here. God help me, I do love it so." – OldWorldSwine

"I'd like to put a hook in that puppet and swing it through a bunch of salmon!" - durangopipe

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:12 am

UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
The author of that article has added 7 "follow-ups" to his 10 reasons: Seven follow-ups on 10 reasons for Christian decline
  • Bracing dismissals of the intellectual coherence of Christianity, and sometimes of religion in general, came out in abundance.
  • Perceived conflicts between science and faith remain a major flashpoint.
  • Historic and contemporary harms done by Christian leaders and Christian teaching remain important. I should have mentioned the clergy sex abuse problem, as one commenter did; that has ruined Christianity in the eyes of many, and not just those directly victimized. And of course harms done by Christian anti-LGBT teaching were raised by several readers. Any time we are unwilling to acknowledge the wrongs Christians have done in history and even today, we discredit ourselves badly. Proud Christian triumphalism is past its sell-by date.
  • Some readers mentioned the Christian Right and the politicized version of Christianity on offer since at least the days of Jerry Falwell
  • The Internet, and other forces of globalization, received some nominations last week.
  • I received some queries about my claim that evangelism is dead. I think that this relates to the last point, in this way — the Onward Christian Soldiers era in which we knew we had the Truth and needed to share it in a world of Dark Heathenism has passed.
  • The only comments relevant to my provocative claim that we lack talented, compelling Christian leaders came from several readers who noted a growing unwillingness to accept claims based simply on authority. I Say to You as Your Pastor As I Quote God’s Holy Word that this or that is true and you must obey unquestioningly — these kinds of statements don’t work for as many people anymore.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:36 pm

Study: Religion contributes more to the U.S. economy than Facebook, Google and Apple combined
Religion is big business. Just how big? A new study, published Wednesday by a father-daughter researcher team, says religion is bigger than Facebook, Google and Apple — combined.

The article in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion said that the annual revenues of faith-based enterprises — not just churches but hospitals, schools, charities and even gospel musicians and halal food makers — is more than $378 billion a year. And that’s not counting the annual shopping bonanza motivated by Christmas.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:59 am

Why most people leave religion? They just ‘stop believing’
It’s bad news for organized religion: A majority of the religiously unaffiliated — the so-called “nones” — say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they “stopped believing,” usually before the age of 30.

Gloomier still for religion is this — nones now make up 25 percent of the American population, making them the single largest “faith group” in the U.S., ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent).

And only a fraction — seven percent — say they are looking for a religion to belong to at all.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
Onyx
Darth Onyx, Bringer of Unity
Darth Onyx, Bringer of Unity
Posts: 10808
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Skeptopolis

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Onyx » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:16 pm

UncleBob wrote:Why most people leave religion? They just ‘stop believing’
It’s bad news for organized religion: A majority of the religiously unaffiliated — the so-called “nones” — say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they “stopped believing,” usually before the age of 30.

Gloomier still for religion is this — nones now make up 25 percent of the American population, making them the single largest “faith group” in the U.S., ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent).

And only a fraction — seven percent — say they are looking for a religion to belong to at all.
Also, from my experience, that 7% of "none" but looking for another church are probably just going through a passing phase.
4. No more signatures that quote other CPS members.
-- Thunktank

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:41 pm

Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:Why most people leave religion? They just ‘stop believing’
It’s bad news for organized religion: A majority of the religiously unaffiliated — the so-called “nones” — say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they “stopped believing,” usually before the age of 30.

Gloomier still for religion is this — nones now make up 25 percent of the American population, making them the single largest “faith group” in the U.S., ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent).

And only a fraction — seven percent — say they are looking for a religion to belong to at all.
Also, from my experience, that 7% of "none" but looking for another church are probably just going through a passing phase.
You should visit Lubbock <zederated> Texas!

:chili:
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
UncleBob
CPS Theological Dogmatician
CPS Theological Dogmatician
Posts: 33250
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 pm
Location: Lubbock, TX USA
Contact:

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:53 am

YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ABANDONING RELIGION, ESPECIALLY CATHOLICISM
Nearly 40 percent of young adults aged 18–29 say they left their religion because of "negative" teachings against LGBT people. Of those who were raised Catholic, nearly 40 percent left the Church because of its teaching on homosexuality.

The report indicates that of all major religious groups in the United States, the Catholic Church has the most who are leaving. Thirty-one percent of Americans report being raised in a Catholic household, but only 21 percent currently consider themselves Catholic.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

User avatar
Thunktank
Terminal Lance. Perpetual Sea Lawyer. Unicorn Aficionado
Terminal Lance.  Perpetual Sea Lawyer. Unicorn Aficionado
Posts: 21019
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:00 pm
Location: Ad Orientem

Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Thunktank » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:38 am

UncleBob wrote:
Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:Why most people leave religion? They just ‘stop believing’
It’s bad news for organized religion: A majority of the religiously unaffiliated — the so-called “nones” — say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they “stopped believing,” usually before the age of 30.

Gloomier still for religion is this — nones now make up 25 percent of the American population, making them the single largest “faith group” in the U.S., ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and white evangelicals (16 percent).

And only a fraction — seven percent — say they are looking for a religion to belong to at all.
Also, from my experience, that 7% of "none" but looking for another church are probably just going through a passing phase.
You should visit Lubbock <zederated> Texas!

:chili:
That seven percent may be looking for a "religion" rather than a church. :wink:

Some folks leave church on account of negative experiences in it. I didn't, I liked church, even miss it. I do find certain religions interesting and inspiring at times. For example, I practice some Buddhist inspired meditation. But I don't consider myself "Buddhist" or anything else. But being called a "none" should be politically incorrect. It's just not right. :chili:
Image

Post Reply