Christianity is not going away

Over the last decade, ostensibly secular New York City has seen increased church attendance and increased numbers of “born-again” believers.

A recent Barna study confirms other data showing increased church attendance over the last decade in ostensibly secular New York City, including increased numbers of “born-again” believers. The findings defy not only stereotypes about “godless” New Yorkers but also illustrate that, despite all the talk about secularizing America, church participation has remained remarkably unchanged nationally for most of 80 years.

The much ballyhooed religiously unaffiliated number about 15-20 percent of Americans (some of whom still report attending religious services and most of whom still profess belief in God.). About 75-80 of Americans percent say they are Christian, with Jews the next largest religious group, numbering under 2 percent.

Yet “Christendom” is reputedly over according to many Christian conservatives, who’ve declared America post-Christian.  Some have heralded this reputedly new secular age as an opportunity for the church to recover its prophetic witness.

Meanwhile, religious liberals often condemn Christian conservatives for supposedly clinging to Christendom by defending traditional morals in society or civil religion.  Some on the Religious left deride the whole project of “Christendom” as an egregious compromise of true Christianity dating back to Constantine.  For them, Christendom means centuries of theocracy, conquest, empire, slavery and hypocrisy.

Christendom indeed has included nearly all the faults alleged, but it did not invent any of them.  Theocracy, conquest, empire, slavery and hypocrisy have been intrinsic to nearly all human history.  What the critics forget is that Christendom also refined the social conscience and capacity for reform to challenge its own moral failures.  Christendom developed human rights and legal equality, social tolerance, constitutional democracy, free enterprise, technology, modern science and medicine, new levels of arts and literature, and refined notions of charity.

Typically most critics of Christendom are unknowingly relying on its assumptions and moral heritage. Some imply that Christians can never really be more than an alternative community, even as they rely on the institutional vestiges of Christendom for their influence and advocacy.  More conventional believers on the left denounce the supposed imposition of religious beliefs about marriage or abortion on society while simultaneously urging that society adopt their own religious beliefs about the environment, poverty, or peacemaking.

At the same time, Christian conservatives think that political setbacks on marriage, and hostility from cultural elites in the media and academia especially, mean Christendom is gone, perhaps forever.  They are building the barricades and preparing for the coming storm.  Their concerns are legitimate.  But they may underestimate the continuing underlying continued pull of Christendom in American culture.

It’s true that America often feels religiously different from past decades, even though rates of religious practice remain mostly unchanged and in some cases even higher than in supposedly more pious eras.  Unlike 50 or 100 years ago, the commanding heights of American culture are no longer dominated by Christian belief.  Not very long ago, universities were still seriously church affiliated, newspaper editors and publishers were often churchmen in their local communities, publishing was dominated by church-affiliated publishing houses, and even Hollywood was led, if not by pious film makers, then at least by persons, especially immigrants, with deep appreciation for America’s religious heritage.

These culture shaping institutions are now vastly changed, mostly owing to the implosion of Mainline Protestantism, which was America’s chief religious and cultural force across 4 centuries.  Evangelicalism and Catholicism have demographically displaced Mainline Protestantism.  But they do not have sufficient historical momentum in America to fill the cultural void left by the Mainline’s loss of confidence and beneficent surrender of its influence.

So America often feels more secular even if Americans are not.  But all of us, however unknowingly, still swim in the cultural and moral waters warmed by Christendom.  Even arch-secularists, in their constant demands for ever greater rights and self autonomy, speak in the language Christendom created.

Today’s reputedly secular Western society in some ways is a victory for Christendom.  Across the nations once described as Christendom, there is unprecedented social peace, political stability, legal equality, amelioration of poverty, and historic domestic tranquility.  Many champions of Christendom across history, such as the Christian Democrats who struggled to rebuild post-WWII Europe, would be amazed by their success.

No less significantly, Christendom is now no longer the West but much if not most of the world.  It is felt not just where churches are growing dramatically, in Africa and Asia, but everywhere that lawful government, free markets, legal equality, human rights and wide prosperity have reached.

Religious liberals need to reconsider their hostility to Christendom, remembering that the original Social Gospel, with its thirst for justice, was unabashedly Christendom-centered.  And religious conservatives, without reducing their passion for needed moral reforms, should be mindful of their blessings and position of unrealized strength.

The quiet religious revival in New York City is mostly below the radar screen.  But it showcases how Christendom, although it ebbs and flows, after 1700 or so years, is not going away.

Image courtesy of Chris Ford.

About

  • CCNL

    So how much money does Mark Tooley make from promoting the Christian con?

    $100,000 yr. in 2011, latest Form 990 available at http://www.guidestar.org, and add to that $16,000 in travel expenses and another $47,000 for convention attendance. Total donations in 2011 were ~one million dollars. Of this, ~$650,000 was distributed to “charities that Mr. Tooley (and his board) thought worthy. Suggestion: send your donations directly to your favorite charities and cut out the “non-profit” middle men.

  • CCNL

    So how much money does Mark Tooley make from promoting the Christian con?

    $100,000 yr. in 2011, latest Form 990 available at http://www.guidestar.org, and add to that $16,000 in travel expenses and another $47,000 for convention attendance. Total donations in 2011 were ~one million dollars. Of this, ~$650,000 was distributed to “charities that Mr. Tooley (and his board) thought worthy. Suggestion: send your donations directly to your favorite charities and cut out the “non-profit” middle men.

  • lilactyme

    Too bad. It’s one of the most destructive forces on the face of the earth.

  • lilactyme

    Too bad. It’s one of the most destructive forces on the face of the earth.

  • sciencelady1

    With today’s access to knowledge and information, Christianity’s influence will be relegated to those uncurious of the natural world.

  • sciencelady1

    With today’s access to knowledge and information, Christianity’s influence will be relegated to those uncurious of the natural world.

  • Rongoklunk

    I know why religion is still around after all these centuries. Not because it makes sense. Not because its ‘true’.
    But because it feels so good. It obviously does. Believers want to keep believing because it feels so good.
    They hate atheists and non-believers in general because they want to keep on feeling good. Atheists threaten this cozy attitude with their curiosity and their search for truth. Coziness is more important to them than truth is.
    And science scares them. Am I ever happy that I was never indoctrinated. Thanks mom. Thanks pop.

  • Rongoklunk

    I know why religion is still around after all these centuries. Not because it makes sense. Not because its ‘true’.
    But because it feels so good. It obviously does. Believers want to keep believing because it feels so good.
    They hate atheists and non-believers in general because they want to keep on feeling good. Atheists threaten this cozy attitude with their curiosity and their search for truth. Coziness is more important to them than truth is.
    And science scares them. Am I ever happy that I was never indoctrinated. Thanks mom. Thanks pop.

  • coltakashi93

    You mean that Christians like Copernicus and Galileo and Newton weren’t able to appreciate science? About 40% of scientists in the US are religious believers, just about the same percentage as 50 years ago. Their religious beliefs do not interfere with their ability to know science and produce good science. Your assertions about the incompatibility of science and relighious belief is a blatantly unscientific notion.

  • coltakashi93

    You mean that Christians like Copernicus and Galileo and Newton weren’t able to appreciate science? About 40% of scientists in the US are religious believers, just about the same percentage as 50 years ago. Their religious beliefs do not interfere with their ability to know science and produce good science. Your assertions about the incompatibility of science and relighious belief is a blatantly unscientific notion.

  • Up by the Big Lake

    Nothing made me happier than the day I realized I was finite. Twice I have been near death since and was completely at peace.

  • Up by the Big Lake

    Nothing made me happier than the day I realized I was finite. Twice I have been near death since and was completely at peace.

  • myjunk81

    Just my two cents…if atheism could find a path to a destination other than nihilism or relativism, I think we’d see a fall in church attendance unlike anything we’ve ever seen in this country. I think atheism has been successful at attracting the educated and intelligent, but as of yet unable to attract the masses on a personal level. I’ve found atheists tend to be very articulate in expressing why atheism is ‘true’, but struggle to articulate purpose or indeterminate morality, or completely dismiss those premises altogether.

  • myjunk81

    Just my two cents…if atheism could find a path to a destination other than nihilism or relativism, I think we’d see a fall in church attendance unlike anything we’ve ever seen in this country. I think atheism has been successful at attracting the educated and intelligent, but as of yet unable to attract the masses on a personal level. I’ve found atheists tend to be very articulate in expressing why atheism is ‘true’, but struggle to articulate purpose or indeterminate morality, or completely dismiss those premises altogether.

  • coltakashi93

    In the long run, the most basic demographic fact is that most people follow their parents in being religious believers or not. the second important fact is that secularists tend to have few children, and thus will shrink in number, causing national populations to reach a peak in the next couple decades, and then fall rapidly, as is happening in Japan. the third important fact is that religious believers have more than the minimum numberof children necessary to sustain their numbers, so over just four or five generations, religious believers will become a new majority in the West, in both America and Europe. The meek will inherit the earth.

  • coltakashi93

    In the long run, the most basic demographic fact is that most people follow their parents in being religious believers or not. the second important fact is that secularists tend to have few children, and thus will shrink in number, causing national populations to reach a peak in the next couple decades, and then fall rapidly, as is happening in Japan. the third important fact is that religious believers have more than the minimum numberof children necessary to sustain their numbers, so over just four or five generations, religious believers will become a new majority in the West, in both America and Europe. The meek will inherit the earth.

  • Rongoklunk

    Wrong coltakashi; Ninety-three percent of members of the American Academy of Sciences do not believe in a God. They are some of the best brains on the planet, and they reject the God-hypothesis. Look it up at Wikipedia, under Atheism.
    Plus scientists like Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking and many others are writing books explaining reality and existence which show how absurd religions are with their naive wishful thinking. And science does not recognize anything supernatural, The Pew research team are also showing that religious belief is declining while non-belief is on the rise.
    We are being educated beyond superstition.

  • Rongoklunk

    Wrong coltakashi; Ninety-three percent of members of the American Academy of Sciences do not believe in a God. They are some of the best brains on the planet, and they reject the God-hypothesis. Look it up at Wikipedia, under Atheism.
    Plus scientists like Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking and many others are writing books explaining reality and existence which show how absurd religions are with their naive wishful thinking. And science does not recognize anything supernatural, The Pew research team are also showing that religious belief is declining while non-belief is on the rise.
    We are being educated beyond superstition.

  • AGuyCommenting

    Why don’t you go back around 100 years to read the philosophy of the day, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, etc. It pretty much covered all your concerns of atheism, morality & purpose. Much better to do that, I think, than ask the anonymous on wapo comment boards.

    The more you know (cue shining star, trailing rainbow).

  • AGuyCommenting

    Why don’t you go back around 100 years to read the philosophy of the day, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, etc. It pretty much covered all your concerns of atheism, morality & purpose. Much better to do that, I think, than ask the anonymous on wapo comment boards.

    The more you know (cue shining star, trailing rainbow).

  • AGuyCommenting

    btw: Bringing up Galileo and “Their religious beliefs do not interfere with their ability to know science” really treads on thin ice.

  • AGuyCommenting

    btw: Bringing up Galileo and “Their religious beliefs do not interfere with their ability to know science” really treads on thin ice.

  • jrs777

    Rongoklunk, you’re actually in the wrong here. The numbers she cited are accurate, whereas yours is completely misinterpreted. 93% of the NAS don’t believe in a God who at least communicates with mankind through prayer. That is entirely different than not believing in a god at all. The number excludes at leasts deists and liberal theists, which make up a very significant portion of scientists. Your argument would be like responding to the statement, “Most Americans are Christians,” with, “That’s not true, most Senators are unaffiliated,” or something of that nature. It’s a non-sequitur.
    You’d do well not to cite Krauss as a champion of your cause, as the fact that his argument is based off of the idea that something is actually nothing has gotten him roundly shredded by the philosophy community, including the vast majority of atheist reviewers. Hawking’s working theory is that the law of gravity created the universe – I’ll let you figure that one out. In any case, your claim that science rejects the supernatural is dishonest. Science itself makes no metaphysical claims; it just operates under methodological naturalism.

  • jrs777

    Rongoklunk, you’re actually in the wrong here. The numbers she cited are accurate, whereas yours is completely misinterpreted. 93% of the NAS don’t believe in a God who at least communicates with mankind through prayer. That is entirely different than not believing in a god at all. The number excludes at leasts deists and liberal theists, which make up a very significant portion of scientists. Your argument would be like responding to the statement, “Most Americans are Christians,” with, “That’s not true, most Senators are unaffiliated,” or something of that nature. It’s a non-sequitur.
    You’d do well not to cite Krauss as a champion of your cause, as the fact that his argument is based off of the idea that something is actually nothing has gotten him roundly shredded by the philosophy community, including the vast majority of atheist reviewers. Hawking’s working theory is that the law of gravity created the universe – I’ll let you figure that one out. In any case, your claim that science rejects the supernatural is dishonest. Science itself makes no metaphysical claims; it just operates under methodological naturalism.

  • Rongoklunk

    Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project
    “Nones” on the Rise.

    “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the US public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.
    In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all US adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics. Nearly 6% of the US public, as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%)”

    It’s a trend that shows how difficult it is in this modern age – where all the miracles are scientific, to actually believe in an invisible skyfella and an afterlife. As Carl Sagan said – it’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

  • Rongoklunk

    Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project
    “Nones” on the Rise.

    “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the US public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.
    In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all US adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics. Nearly 6% of the US public, as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%)”

    It’s a trend that shows how difficult it is in this modern age – where all the miracles are scientific, to actually believe in an invisible skyfella and an afterlife. As Carl Sagan said – it’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

  • Rongoklunk

    “I am accustomed to the idea that truth claims ought to be justified with some reasonable evidence;
    if one is going to claim, for instance, that a Jewish carpenter was the son of a God, or that there is a
    place called heaven where some ineffable, magical part of you goes when you die, then there ought to be
    some credible reason to believe that. And that reason ought to be more substantial than that it says so in a big book.
    Religious claims all seem to short-circuit the rational process of evidence gathering and testing, and the sad thing is that many people don’t see a problem with that, and even consider it a virtue. It is why I don’t just reject religion, but actively oppose it in all its forms – because it is fundamentally a poison for the mind that undermines our critical faculties.
    Religious beliefs are lazy jokes with bad punchlines. Why do you have chop off the skin at the end of your weiner? Because God says so. Why should you abstain from pork or shrimp, or mixing meat and dairy, or your science classes? Because they might taint your relationship with God. Why do you have to revere a bit of dried biscuit? Because it magically turns into a God when a priest mutters over it. Why do I have to be good? Because if you aren’t a God will set you on fire for all eternity.
    These are ridiculous propositions. The whole business of religion is wacky nonsense, hallowed by nothing but unthinking tradition, fear and superstitious behavior, and an establishment of con-artists who have dedicated their lives to propping up a sense of self-importance by claiming to talk to an invisible big Kahuna.”

    By PZMyers.

  • Rongoklunk

    “I am accustomed to the idea that truth claims ought to be justified with some reasonable evidence;
    if one is going to claim, for instance, that a Jewish carpenter was the son of a God, or that there is a
    place called heaven where some ineffable, magical part of you goes when you die, then there ought to be
    some credible reason to believe that. And that reason ought to be more substantial than that it says so in a big book.
    Religious claims all seem to short-circuit the rational process of evidence gathering and testing, and the sad thing is that many people don’t see a problem with that, and even consider it a virtue. It is why I don’t just reject religion, but actively oppose it in all its forms – because it is fundamentally a poison for the mind that undermines our critical faculties.
    Religious beliefs are lazy jokes with bad punchlines. Why do you have chop off the skin at the end of your weiner? Because God says so. Why should you abstain from pork or shrimp, or mixing meat and dairy, or your science classes? Because they might taint your relationship with God. Why do you have to revere a bit of dried biscuit? Because it magically turns into a God when a priest mutters over it. Why do I have to be good? Because if you aren’t a God will set you on fire for all eternity.
    These are ridiculous propositions. The whole business of religion is wacky nonsense, hallowed by nothing but unthinking tradition, fear and superstitious behavior, and an establishment of con-artists who have dedicated their lives to propping up a sense of self-importance by claiming to talk to an invisible big Kahuna.”

    By PZMyers.

  • Catken1

    Ideas aren’t necessarily hereditary. Breeding more children does not guarantee that you will be able to keep them in your religious beliefs, especially as they see the harm that religion-encouraged overpopulation has done to them, their environment, and their possibility for a decent future.

  • Catken1

    Ideas aren’t necessarily hereditary. Breeding more children does not guarantee that you will be able to keep them in your religious beliefs, especially as they see the harm that religion-encouraged overpopulation has done to them, their environment, and their possibility for a decent future.

  • Catken1

    Religious beliefs do not interfere with science, sometimes, if a person is able to keep their brain sufficiently compartmentalized- but they don’t exactly advance it, either.
    Not all the prayer in the world sufficed to bring down the smallpox death rate – science did. (Science, I might add, arrived at by experimentation in African and Islamic Turkish cultures, not European Christian – the knowledge of smallpox inoculation came to America via Cotton Mather’s slave Onesimus, who had been inoculated in his homeland, and to Britain via Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s experiences in Turkey, where she learned of the procedure.)

  • Catken1

    Religious beliefs do not interfere with science, sometimes, if a person is able to keep their brain sufficiently compartmentalized- but they don’t exactly advance it, either.
    Not all the prayer in the world sufficed to bring down the smallpox death rate – science did. (Science, I might add, arrived at by experimentation in African and Islamic Turkish cultures, not European Christian – the knowledge of smallpox inoculation came to America via Cotton Mather’s slave Onesimus, who had been inoculated in his homeland, and to Britain via Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s experiences in Turkey, where she learned of the procedure.)

  • Tender Hooligan

    The recent UK census showed that the majority of the economically active population have no religion. This shows that the older population are still wedded to their beliefs, and children are still influenced by the accepted norms, and the fact that most of our junior schools are affiliated to a church. As children increase their independent thinking, go to university and get a job, they abandon religion. Religion plays less and less of a role, with Christianity declining the most rapidly. Muslim families may take a little longer, partly due to some families restricting the education of their female children, and the fact that apostasy is officially illegal, but it is still happening.
    The meek will indeed inherit the earth, if you mean by the meek, those people who don’t feel that they are somehow different from other animal species, and were made specially by an invisible father figure.

  • Tender Hooligan

    The recent UK census showed that the majority of the economically active population have no religion. This shows that the older population are still wedded to their beliefs, and children are still influenced by the accepted norms, and the fact that most of our junior schools are affiliated to a church. As children increase their independent thinking, go to university and get a job, they abandon religion. Religion plays less and less of a role, with Christianity declining the most rapidly. Muslim families may take a little longer, partly due to some families restricting the education of their female children, and the fact that apostasy is officially illegal, but it is still happening.
    The meek will indeed inherit the earth, if you mean by the meek, those people who don’t feel that they are somehow different from other animal species, and were made specially by an invisible father figure.

  • chi-town2

    Abrahamic religions from their origins are essentially exclusive, and gain strength and power by being so. Christianity (inspired by Buddhism?) sometimes defies this by aspirations to inclusiveness and appears more appealing but weaker by doing so. If folks find that approach floats their boat,then I say why not?

  • chi-town2

    Abrahamic religions from their origins are essentially exclusive, and gain strength and power by being so. Christianity (inspired by Buddhism?) sometimes defies this by aspirations to inclusiveness and appears more appealing but weaker by doing so. If folks find that approach floats their boat,then I say why not?

  • SimonTemplar

    Very well written article. Kudos to Mr. Tooley.

    “Christendom indeed has included nearly all the faults alleged, but it did not invent any of them. Theocracy, conquest, empire, slavery and hypocrisy have been intrinsic to nearly all human history. What the critics forget is that Christendom also refined the social conscience and capacity for reform to challenge its own moral failures. Christendom developed human rights and legal equality, social tolerance, constitutional democracy, free enterprise, technology, modern science and medicine, new levels of arts and literature, and refined notions of charity.” –Tooley

    Finally someone says it in this forum.

    “More conventional believers on the left denounce the supposed imposition of religious beliefs about marriage or abortion on society while simultaneously urging that society adopt their own religious beliefs about the environment, poverty, or peacemaking.”

    So true!

  • SimonTemplar

    Very well written article. Kudos to Mr. Tooley.

    “Christendom indeed has included nearly all the faults alleged, but it did not invent any of them. Theocracy, conquest, empire, slavery and hypocrisy have been intrinsic to nearly all human history. What the critics forget is that Christendom also refined the social conscience and capacity for reform to challenge its own moral failures. Christendom developed human rights and legal equality, social tolerance, constitutional democracy, free enterprise, technology, modern science and medicine, new levels of arts and literature, and refined notions of charity.” –Tooley

    Finally someone says it in this forum.

    “More conventional believers on the left denounce the supposed imposition of religious beliefs about marriage or abortion on society while simultaneously urging that society adopt their own religious beliefs about the environment, poverty, or peacemaking.”

    So true!

  • pjs-1965

    This whole thing on both sides — arguing for or against religion or belief in a deity completely misses the point against the backdrop of personal spirituality, because all that stuff is is pushing ideologies. It is possible and probably quite common for atheists to have very vibrant meaningful spiritual lives. They simply need no god or church for it. I am one of those. A former Catholic turned atheist who really believes in Jesus but has no need for a God.

    When Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, he was not talking about some place our souls go to after we die, but very much the here and now. Embracing the eternal Now and realising that there is another way to live that transcends suffering IS the Kingdom of Heaven. The Buddha had a very similar message about suffering and that living in and accepting the present moment overcomes that, because it takes past and future to create suffering. Heaven and hell are mind made things we create for ourselves in the here and now. When you truly live in the eternal present you have eternal life and do not fear death because the present is the only real time there is where things happen.

    So yes, as an atheist I do have a strong spiritual life by considering and really thinking about some deep questions. I embrace the simple and profound teachings of Jesus but have little need for all the religious junk that has grown around it like weeds.

  • pjs-1965

    This whole thing on both sides — arguing for or against religion or belief in a deity completely misses the point against the backdrop of personal spirituality, because all that stuff is is pushing ideologies. It is possible and probably quite common for atheists to have very vibrant meaningful spiritual lives. They simply need no god or church for it. I am one of those. A former Catholic turned atheist who really believes in Jesus but has no need for a God.

    When Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, he was not talking about some place our souls go to after we die, but very much the here and now. Embracing the eternal Now and realising that there is another way to live that transcends suffering IS the Kingdom of Heaven. The Buddha had a very similar message about suffering and that living in and accepting the present moment overcomes that, because it takes past and future to create suffering. Heaven and hell are mind made things we create for ourselves in the here and now. When you truly live in the eternal present you have eternal life and do not fear death because the present is the only real time there is where things happen.

    So yes, as an atheist I do have a strong spiritual life by considering and really thinking about some deep questions. I embrace the simple and profound teachings of Jesus but have little need for all the religious junk that has grown around it like weeds.

  • Madtown

    all of us, however unknowingly, still swim in the cultural and moral waters warmed by Christendom
    —————-
    Doesn’t make christianity the “1 true religion”, as we so often hear. Religion is a creation of man, meant to attempt to answer questions that are likely unanswerable.

  • Madtown

    all of us, however unknowingly, still swim in the cultural and moral waters warmed by Christendom
    —————-
    Doesn’t make christianity the “1 true religion”, as we so often hear. Religion is a creation of man, meant to attempt to answer questions that are likely unanswerable.

  • breal18

    I agree with you Tender, but how do you explain the Mormons? They are the largest growing religion.

    Even though golden rocks and angels doesn’t make any more sense than living by the words of 3K year old carpenter who didn’t even write the bible.

  • breal18

    I agree with you Tender, but how do you explain the Mormons? They are the largest growing religion.

    Even though golden rocks and angels doesn’t make any more sense than living by the words of 3K year old carpenter who didn’t even write the bible.

  • Tender Hooligan

    Hi breal18. I have absolutely no explanation for Mormons, as I have no experience of them. It’s not really a British thing! We do get the odd one calling door to door, and I find them quite sweet, but utterly irrelevant here. If they are increasing in the US, it has to be as a result of larger families than the norm, but I presume that they are not encouraged to marry outside of their religion. In that case, there is probably a finite growth curve. Is there a call for a separate Mormon Nation? That would be an interesting development to watch from afar.

  • Tender Hooligan

    Hi breal18. I have absolutely no explanation for Mormons, as I have no experience of them. It’s not really a British thing! We do get the odd one calling door to door, and I find them quite sweet, but utterly irrelevant here. If they are increasing in the US, it has to be as a result of larger families than the norm, but I presume that they are not encouraged to marry outside of their religion. In that case, there is probably a finite growth curve. Is there a call for a separate Mormon Nation? That would be an interesting development to watch from afar.

  • Catken1

    :Christendom developed human rights and legal equality, social tolerance, constitutional democracy, free enterprise, technology, modern science and medicine, new levels of arts and literature, and refined notions of charity.”

    And isn’t it funny how it also advocated strict adherence to hierarchy, “knowing your place”, burning, torturing, hanging and executing nonbelievers and non-compliant folks, the Divine right of Kings, and other such oppressive philosophies until the Enlightenment came about and became popular (because people were tired of constant religious warfare), and suddenly Christianity now wants to take credit for all of the Enlightenment’s advances?

    “More conventional believers on the left denounce the supposed imposition of religious beliefs about marriage or abortion on society while simultaneously urging that society adopt their own religious beliefs about the environment, poverty, or peacemaking.”

    The difference is that the environment, the prevalence of poverty, and warfare affect us all, and therefore we all have a stake in them, without any religious belief needed. Gay marriage and abortion, however, are Christian efforts to dictate to individuals that they must obey Christian laws that define “marriage” by genitals rather than love or commitment, and that define a pregnant woman as property, a thing to be used, rather than a full human being in her own right. If the environment is destroyed, or if poverty is rampant, or war rages, we all suffer – if gay people are permitted to marry, no Christian need change their own marriage one iota, nor does the right to choose mean that any Christian woman ought to be compelled into an abortion she doesn’t want.

  • Catken1

    :Christendom developed human rights and legal equality, social tolerance, constitutional democracy, free enterprise, technology, modern science and medicine, new levels of arts and literature, and refined notions of charity.”

    And isn’t it funny how it also advocated strict adherence to hierarchy, “knowing your place”, burning, torturing, hanging and executing nonbelievers and non-compliant folks, the Divine right of Kings, and other such oppressive philosophies until the Enlightenment came about and became popular (because people were tired of constant religious warfare), and suddenly Christianity now wants to take credit for all of the Enlightenment’s advances?

    “More conventional believers on the left denounce the supposed imposition of religious beliefs about marriage or abortion on society while simultaneously urging that society adopt their own religious beliefs about the environment, poverty, or peacemaking.”

    The difference is that the environment, the prevalence of poverty, and warfare affect us all, and therefore we all have a stake in them, without any religious belief needed. Gay marriage and abortion, however, are Christian efforts to dictate to individuals that they must obey Christian laws that define “marriage” by genitals rather than love or commitment, and that define a pregnant woman as property, a thing to be used, rather than a full human being in her own right. If the environment is destroyed, or if poverty is rampant, or war rages, we all suffer – if gay people are permitted to marry, no Christian need change their own marriage one iota, nor does the right to choose mean that any Christian woman ought to be compelled into an abortion she doesn’t want.

  • ramseytuell

    Those that have just come to their senses and realize the values of Christianity in structuring their lives need a good minister to get them started and show them the way.
    I am not a “Born again Christian” in my understanding of the term, which to me means turning over a new leaf and structuring your life per the teachings of Christ.
    I have been a Christian all my life and as far back as I can remember. I remember my Mother dragging the smallest three of her children along to church every Sunday for Sunday school and Sunday morning services. And, through that process I learned and liked what I learned. That does not mean that I did not sin, but when I did I was aware of it every time, and knew that to get back in the good graces of God I had to admit my sins to him and ask for forgiveness through Christ. I also believe that if you continue to go to him for forgiveness for the same sin over and over you will soon find yourself out in the devil’s realm.
    If you are a good person you will know it, and you will know when you are in the good graces of God – you will know when you have done something wrong and need to ask for forgiveness. Don’t forget, he expects us to congregate with Christians and learn and teach.
    I have concluded that Christianity here on earth is all about human conduct – our conduct here on earth. And, that boils down to four areas of conduct in our lives: How we treat God, how we treat others, how we treat ourselves, and how we treat God’s good earth and those animals and things that occupy it.
    I have found that all things listed in the “Ten Commandments” fall in one of the four. I have also found that all of Milton’s “Seven Deadly Sins” fall into at least one of the four.
    “Moderation in all things” does not mean that you can sin with moderation.
    If you are a true Christian you want to do the right thing. You will be tempted, but usually you will put it aside because you want to, and you will feel stronger for it.
    Go with God.

  • ramseytuell

    Those that have just come to their senses and realize the values of Christianity in structuring their lives need a good minister to get them started and show them the way.
    I am not a “Born again Christian” in my understanding of the term, which to me means turning over a new leaf and structuring your life per the teachings of Christ.
    I have been a Christian all my life and as far back as I can remember. I remember my Mother dragging the smallest three of her children along to church every Sunday for Sunday school and Sunday morning services. And, through that process I learned and liked what I learned. That does not mean that I did not sin, but when I did I was aware of it every time, and knew that to get back in the good graces of God I had to admit my sins to him and ask for forgiveness through Christ. I also believe that if you continue to go to him for forgiveness for the same sin over and over you will soon find yourself out in the devil’s realm.
    If you are a good person you will know it, and you will know when you are in the good graces of God – you will know when you have done something wrong and need to ask for forgiveness. Don’t forget, he expects us to congregate with Christians and learn and teach.
    I have concluded that Christianity here on earth is all about human conduct – our conduct here on earth. And, that boils down to four areas of conduct in our lives: How we treat God, how we treat others, how we treat ourselves, and how we treat God’s good earth and those animals and things that occupy it.
    I have found that all things listed in the “Ten Commandments” fall in one of the four. I have also found that all of Milton’s “Seven Deadly Sins” fall into at least one of the four.
    “Moderation in all things” does not mean that you can sin with moderation.
    If you are a true Christian you want to do the right thing. You will be tempted, but usually you will put it aside because you want to, and you will feel stronger for it.
    Go with God.

  • SimonTemplar

    The author seems to have rejected your one-sided, biased view of Christian history…as do I.

  • SimonTemplar

    The author seems to have rejected your one-sided, biased view of Christian history…as do I.

  • Sadetec

    You real problem the ‘more conventional believers on the left’ (as you chose to acknowledge them) have with religiously inspired views on marriage, abortion, etc. is not that other people hold views contrary to their own (everyone is entitled to their opinion, after all), but rather that they hold those views because they have been instructed to by their religion. Further, said religions often use emotive tactics such as linking their own views to morality, and demonizing those with opposing views as promoting immorality — notably on issues relating to homosexuality, of late.

    Example: if you like the Red Sox and I like the Yankees, then we merely have a difference of opinion. Fair enough — it’s a free country! But… if the only reason you support the Red Sox is because a priest told you that your eternal soul is in jeopardy unless you supported them, and further to this you promoted the view that anyone who doesn’t support the Red Sox is an immoral person, then I’d say I (as a Yankees fan) have every reason to claim your opinions are less valid than my own.

    The whole point of religion is to tell people what to think, not to encourage them to think for themselves — and in that limited regard, the ‘more conventional believers on the left’ have a valid claim against their religiously inspired opponents.

  • Sadetec

    You real problem the ‘more conventional believers on the left’ (as you chose to acknowledge them) have with religiously inspired views on marriage, abortion, etc. is not that other people hold views contrary to their own (everyone is entitled to their opinion, after all), but rather that they hold those views because they have been instructed to by their religion. Further, said religions often use emotive tactics such as linking their own views to morality, and demonizing those with opposing views as promoting immorality — notably on issues relating to homosexuality, of late.

    Example: if you like the Red Sox and I like the Yankees, then we merely have a difference of opinion. Fair enough — it’s a free country! But… if the only reason you support the Red Sox is because a priest told you that your eternal soul is in jeopardy unless you supported them, and further to this you promoted the view that anyone who doesn’t support the Red Sox is an immoral person, then I’d say I (as a Yankees fan) have every reason to claim your opinions are less valid than my own.

    The whole point of religion is to tell people what to think, not to encourage them to think for themselves — and in that limited regard, the ‘more conventional believers on the left’ have a valid claim against their religiously inspired opponents.

  • Catken1

    Mine is no more “one-sided” and “biased” than yours. When you look at pre-Enlightenment Christian-dominated societies, you have a host of monarchies claiming the Divine Right of Kings, a host of religious leaders preaching submission to peasants and other low-ranking folks, a host of people who agreed it was perfectly OK to set someone on fire if they believed the “wrong” thing – and one single, lone republic (Iceland) with its governmental roots as much in Norse paganism as Christianity. Name me one Christian-dominated pre-Enlightenment nation that favored legal equality for all (including women), that did not at least penalize non-believers or have at least sporadic episodes of violence aimed at them, that favored scientific knowledge that contradicted the Bible rather than suppressing it, sometimes forcefully.

    Granted, the same is true of most pre-Enlightenment cultures dominated by an exclusivist religion of any sort. But it does add some doubt to your opinion that Christianity fostered these positive goals, rather than directly suppressing them.

  • Catken1

    Mine is no more “one-sided” and “biased” than yours. When you look at pre-Enlightenment Christian-dominated societies, you have a host of monarchies claiming the Divine Right of Kings, a host of religious leaders preaching submission to peasants and other low-ranking folks, a host of people who agreed it was perfectly OK to set someone on fire if they believed the “wrong” thing – and one single, lone republic (Iceland) with its governmental roots as much in Norse paganism as Christianity. Name me one Christian-dominated pre-Enlightenment nation that favored legal equality for all (including women), that did not at least penalize non-believers or have at least sporadic episodes of violence aimed at them, that favored scientific knowledge that contradicted the Bible rather than suppressing it, sometimes forcefully.

    Granted, the same is true of most pre-Enlightenment cultures dominated by an exclusivist religion of any sort. But it does add some doubt to your opinion that Christianity fostered these positive goals, rather than directly suppressing them.

  • CCNL

    An op-ed:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the “bowers”, kneelers” and “pew peasants” are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. (e.g. Do No Harm) .

    No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of “worthless worship” aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

  • CCNL

    An op-ed:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the “bowers”, kneelers” and “pew peasants” are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. (e.g. Do No Harm) .

    No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of “worthless worship” aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

  • Raoul Duck

    Marshaling an army of straw men to make disingenuous arguments is just another desperate tactic. We see from the hardball tactics of the Christian Right, their willingness to cripple the efficacy of secular government. Their public “morality” is simply another bludgeon to assert power politics on women and minorities.
    The game is up. The Republican Party is over. And the complicity of Evangelicals in their failed coup will be remembered for the next generation.

  • Raoul Duck

    Marshaling an army of straw men to make disingenuous arguments is just another desperate tactic. We see from the hardball tactics of the Christian Right, their willingness to cripple the efficacy of secular government. Their public “morality” is simply another bludgeon to assert power politics on women and minorities.
    The game is up. The Republican Party is over. And the complicity of Evangelicals in their failed coup will be remembered for the next generation.

  • Luis Gutierrez

    Christianity is not going away, but patriarchal Christendom is.

  • Luis Gutierrez

    Christianity is not going away, but patriarchal Christendom is.

  • ArginG

    Jesus parable of the mustard seed is helpful here. Christianity starts off with 12 lowly, poor yet valiant apostles (they are the seed). Over centuries of watering, and tending the mustard seed, we have the greatest tree in the garden (that is the kingdom of God in throughout history) where the birds can come and find rest and shade (birds representing nations and vast number of people). The victory of Christianity is inevitable because Christ is victorious

  • ArginG

    Jesus parable of the mustard seed is helpful here. Christianity starts off with 12 lowly, poor yet valiant apostles (they are the seed). Over centuries of watering, and tending the mustard seed, we have the greatest tree in the garden (that is the kingdom of God in throughout history) where the birds can come and find rest and shade (birds representing nations and vast number of people). The victory of Christianity is inevitable because Christ is victorious

  • Counterww

    You indoctrinated. To not believe in God. It’s just the other side of the coin, and the wrong side. I feel sorry for you.

  • Counterww

    You indoctrinated. To not believe in God. It’s just the other side of the coin, and the wrong side. I feel sorry for you.

  • Counterww

    And you never thought that God gave the scientists the ability to find the smallpox vaccine? He works in everyone, including atheists and Christians and those that don’t even believe in Him.

  • Counterww

    And you never thought that God gave the scientists the ability to find the smallpox vaccine? He works in everyone, including atheists and Christians and those that don’t even believe in Him.

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