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

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

    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.
    Last edited by Einzige; 07-04-13 at 06:25 PM.
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Religion is a form of oppression. People in power want to keep people below them stupid and religion is the easiest way to do that. Religion is also a tool to incite violence. Bad people become hero's because they are doing god's work.
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by 99percenter View Post
    Religion is a form of oppression. People in power want to keep people below them stupid and religion is the easiest way to do that. Religion is also a tool to incite violence. Bad people become hero's because they are doing god's work.

    But, you see, that isn't true of Christianity. It professes to speak for the weak and the wounded - it is the spiritual equivalent of socialism. Thus my contempt for it.
    I dip my forefinger in the watery blood of your impotent mad-redeemer (your Divine Democrat — your Hebrew Madman) and write over his thorn-torn brow, “The true prince of Evil — the king of the Slaves!”
    - Ragnar Redbeard, Might Is Right, 1890

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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.
    Moral failures of Christian leaders and Christians in general mainly, followed by substituting authentic Biblical faith with "religion", meaning church culture, customs and non-Biblical rules.
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by Einzige View Post
    But, you see, that isn't true of Christianity. It professes to speak for the weak and the wounded - it is the spiritual equivalent of socialism. Thus my contempt for it.
    It is especially true for Christianity. It has been used as an excuse for oppression of blacks, gays, jews, muslims, native americans. It was a justification for slavery, holocaust, crusades, inquisition, racism, manifest destiny, class warfare, pedophilia, and countless other atrocities.
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smeagol View Post
    Moral failures of Christian leaders and Christians in general mainly, followed by substituting authentic Biblical faith with "religion", meaning church culture, customs and non-Biblical rules.
    This reads like a variation on the third view: that Christian morality is harmful/deleterious.
    I dip my forefinger in the watery blood of your impotent mad-redeemer (your Divine Democrat — your Hebrew Madman) and write over his thorn-torn brow, “The true prince of Evil — the king of the Slaves!”
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    Re: What is most responsible for Christianity's failure in the West?

    Also, I apologize for spelling and grammatical errors. I'm posting from a phone.
    I dip my forefinger in the watery blood of your impotent mad-redeemer (your Divine Democrat — your Hebrew Madman) and write over his thorn-torn brow, “The true prince of Evil — the king of the Slaves!”
    - Ragnar Redbeard, Might Is Right, 1890

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

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

    That is essentially what is meant with option two: that the sociological effects of technology render Christianity obsolescent. Combine that with a belief in progressive moral advancements and you have the liberal view of the matter.
    I dip my forefinger in the watery blood of your impotent mad-redeemer (your Divine Democrat — your Hebrew Madman) and write over his thorn-torn brow, “The true prince of Evil — the king of the Slaves!”
    - Ragnar Redbeard, Might Is Right, 1890

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

    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.

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