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Thread: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

  1. #11
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCourtesy View Post
    The option I would choose is not there. I think that the lessening impact of the church in the West is caused by two factors:

    1) Alternatives to social/information gathering. 100 years ago and earlier, the church was the social and informational hub of many towns and locales. With the advent and common usage and access of communication technology and transportation technology. the church is no longer the center of either socializing or gathering information, either locally or beyond.

    2) Media presentation of religious extremists. From "televangelists" to news stories of the behavior or religious extremists, the media saturation of the religious who are outside of the mainstream has impacted the overall perception of many in the West. Most folks are NOT extremists, including people who are religious, but when extremism is packaged with the religious name, it is easy to make too close of an association of the two.

    I don't see Christianity as "failing" in the West, but I do see it's influence as falling.


    I would add,

    The rise of the modern social welfare state as a cause. With the church not being the primary source of social assistance, people do not have to become part of the church in order to ensure they may receive help if and when they may require it. Another associated aspect is, a person would not be praying to god for a miracle to heal someone in their family from a medical condition they can not afford to get treatment for, or to ensure they don't lose their jobs, or shelter or for food
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  2. #12
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    In your opinion (option 3), Christianity needs weakness to thrive, but I would say it needs humility instead. Our problem as a nation is that we've grown arrogant with our instant gratification and the moral relativism we've embraced.



    Quote Originally Posted by Einzige View Post
    Where by "failure" I mean its gradual displacement from the center of the moral and intellectual life of they civilization.

    To define these options bit:

    Poll option one is the conservative answer. It holds that Christian belief would be as predominant today in the West as it was in 1913 if it were not for the conscious, deliberate machinations of a small group of secularizing elites promoting atheism and amorality.

    My thoughts: This is the least tenable of the four options I've provided, in part because 'the elite' in the West has never been anti-Christian. To be sure, they are opposed to fundamentalism, but only because it is at odds with liberal-capitalist notions of 'progress'. The invocation of the defense of Occidental Christianity during the Cold War is proof-positive that Western elites want generally to employ Christianity to their own ends.

    Poll option two is the liberal answer, the "secularization thesis". According to this theory, Christianity is doomed to deplacement, as are all religions eventually, by the gradual and wholly unconscious forces of mental and mechanical progress.

    My thoughts: This is almost as problematic a solution to the question posed as the first answer. It assumes a great deal of the structure of Christian ideology - progress towards a "new Heaven and a new Earth", an eventual end to history, and so on - while draining it of its metaphysical content.

    Option three is what I call the Nietzscheite option: Christianity has failed because it is inherently flawed. It can exist only among theoppressed, and as soon as a people become strong enough to shirk ofc a collective sense of inferiority it will abolish the correspondent notimon of individual existential guilt that informs Christianity.

    My opinion: This is the view I hold closest to. Christianity, in a very real sense, requires weakness to thrive (it is little wonder that Christianity is ascendant today only in the impoverished Third World nations of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the American South). A strong people wants a religion of strength and severity.

    Option four: The Marxist solution. Christianity belongs at the historical latest to the age of feudalism; the rising capitalists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries sought initially to do away with it altogether, as a reminder of the hated age of the nobility, and retain it only as a matter of practicalg politica expedience.

    My opinion: This is superficially similar to the liberal answer, relying on notions of deterministic 'progress', but avoids some of its problems by acknowledging the fact of necessity and human action in historical processes, rather than ascribing all history to forces largely independent of men.

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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    I would add,

    The rise of the modern social welfare state as a cause. With the church not being the primary source of social assistance, people do not have to become part of the church in order to ensure they may receive help if and when they may require it. Another associated aspect is, a person would not be praying to god for a miracle to heal someone in their family from a medical condition they can not afford to get treatment for, or to ensure they don't lose their jobs, or shelter or for food
    Good addition.
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    I think the poll begs the question.

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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by nota bene View Post
    I think the poll begs the question.
    I thought it was an object of faith among Western Christians that the religion is on the wane? The conservatives over at The Blaze seem to feel such is true:

    Poll: 77% see declining religious influence in America | TheBlaze.com

    I think there's opportunity in its decline to return to genuinely traditional values, to scrape the crust of twenty centuries off of Western civilization and restore the vital, life-affirming values of the heritage of our pagan European ancestors.
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    I've never heard that waning of belief is an "object of faith" to western Christians. It certainly has never given me more than a minute's pause.

  7. #17
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    In my opinion the failure lies in the conflict between the ideal and the reality of Christianity.

    The ideal states one must love, tolerate, forgive, be kind, be generous, do not judge, and set a good example.

    The reality which is demonstrated by many Christians is hatred, intolerance, vengeance, cruelty, greed, judgement, and pride.

    When people observe that Christians seem unable to exemplify the Christian virtues, but instead act like a pack of Pharisees (i.e. self-righteous, hypocritcal, and sanctimonious), the ideology fails.

    This has been especially true during the current information age, where poor examples are shown on a daily basis for all to see. Failing to see any exemplars of true Christianity, rational people tend to reject it as a fraud.

    However, I could not pick a poll option because I am uncertain that any shown reflect this to my satisfaction.
    That reality is also demonstrated by many non-Christians--atheist or otherwise. Those are part of the human condition with or without the King James Bible.

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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by Einzige View Post
    Where by "failure" I mean its gradual displacement from the center of the moral and intellectual life of they civilization.

    To define these options bit:

    Poll option one is the conservative answer. It holds that Christian belief would be as predominant today in the West as it was in 1913 if it were not for the conscious, deliberate machinations of a small group of secularizing elites promoting atheism and amorality.

    My thoughts: This is the least tenable of the four options I've provided, in part because 'the elite' in the West has never been anti-Christian. To be sure, they are opposed to fundamentalism, but only because it is at odds with liberal-capitalist notions of 'progress'. The invocation of the defense of Occidental Christianity during the Cold War is proof-positive that Western elites want generally to employ Christianity to their own ends.

    Poll option two is the liberal answer, the "secularization thesis". According to this theory, Christianity is doomed to deplacement, as are all religions eventually, by the gradual and wholly unconscious forces of mental and mechanical progress.

    My thoughts: This is almost as problematic a solution to the question posed as the first answer. It assumes a great deal of the structure of Christian ideology - progress towards a "new Heaven and a new Earth", an eventual end to history, and so on - while draining it of its metaphysical content.

    Option three is what I call the Nietzscheite option: Christianity has failed because it is inherently flawed. It can exist only among theoppressed, and as soon as a people become strong enough to shirk ofc a collective sense of inferiority it will abolish the correspondent notimon of individual existential guilt that informs Christianity.

    My opinion: This is the view I hold closest to. Christianity, in a very real sense, requires weakness to thrive (it is little wonder that Christianity is ascendant today only in the impoverished Third World nations of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the American South). A strong people wants a religion of strength and severity.

    Option four: The Marxist solution. Christianity belongs at the historical latest to the age of feudalism; the rising capitalists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries sought initially to do away with it altogether, as a reminder of the hated age of the nobility, and retain it only as a matter of practicalg politica expedience.

    My opinion: This is superficially similar to the liberal answer, relying on notions of deterministic 'progress', but avoids some of its problems by acknowledging the fact of necessity and human action in historical processes, rather than ascribing all history to forces largely independent of men.
    I think a mix of options two and three. The more we learn about the world, and the universe, the more things we find in the bible that aren't true. For some people I think that shakes their faith. And the idea of heaven is also becoming less of an attractive reward for being a good christian over time. The better one's life on earth is, the less attractive heaven seems by comparison. And the quality of life for most people in the US gets continually higher. The more heavenly our life on earth is, the less reward we have for being a good christian.

    I think there's a bit of a third issue involved too. While churches do change their views on things over time, it happens quite a bit more slowly than popular opinion. And I think to some people that can make the church seem backwards and less attractive.
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  9. #19
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    I would add,

    The rise of the modern social welfare state as a cause. With the church not being the primary source of social assistance, people do not have to become part of the church in order to ensure they may receive help if and when they may require it. Another associated aspect is, a person would not be praying to god for a miracle to heal someone in their family from a medical condition they can not afford to get treatment for, or to ensure they don't lose their jobs, or shelter or for food
    I would argue the complete opposite.

    Post 1970s the west has become MUCH more hedonistic, selfish, egostistical and competative, I think that comes out of neo-liberal capitalism, neo-liberal capitalist celebrates the "self-made-man" myth of the rich, it celebrates hedonism (maximizing personal pleasure), egotism (gotta get mine), competativeness and so on, Christianity at its core, once you get behind the institutionalized church, is an egalitarianism anti-ego faith of self sacrifice and absolute love, that sort of ethic just doesn't give with Capitalism.

    I think Ayn rand was right, capitalism is the anthithesis of christianity.

    That's one thing.

    Another thing is the clear and blatent corruption of the church.

    I don't think it's scienice or anything like that, given that scientific revolutions happened way before secularization, secularization essencially came along with the neo-liberal revolution.

  10. #20
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisher View Post
    That reality is also demonstrated by many non-Christians--atheist or otherwise. Those are part of the human condition with or without the King James Bible.
    Perhaps, but the issue here is the failure of "Christianity in the West," not what makes individuals effed up. You also ignore the fact that the ideals I listed are both correct and not being followed by most people who claim to be Christian.

    Lacking good "real life" examples, people seem to be rejecting the whole concept as unrealistic.

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