The Decline and Fall of Christianity
Okay – this article could go on for quite a bit. But the fact is, a CBC re-run of "Seven" (a mini-series investigating a selection of issues relevant to Canadians) concentrated on this very subject tonight – and some of the statistics about "my faith" are pretty alarming. In 20 years, less than 4% of Americans will call themselves Christian if current trends hold! And yet, to me, the main cause of this is both obvious and terminal: very few demominations of the Church are open to change. Recently, Benedict XVI (the Roman Catholic Pope) came out with yet another edict of intransigence: that all other Christian churches fall short of being truely Christian or as close to God as the R.C.’s. Why? Because their ministers can’t trace their baptisms back to any of the 12 original disciples of Christ – like St. Peter.
What a bunch of malarky!
Then the Christian evangelicals – the targets of every joke and stereotype about Christianity we can dream up today. And maybe – sorry guys – rightly so! This group, like several other flavours of Christianity, is just not open to mcuh. Some of the more, what I call "fringe" elements that believe in blarney like Creationism are so instransigent, they need their collective heads examined. But not just on the body of evidence regarding what God wants or doesn’t want individuals or mankind collectively to believe; on the very ideas that will win souls, based on such things as acceptance of popular scientific evidence, of popular medical evidence (re: aids), on the scope of knowledge that, having undergone broad acadmic review, is accepted by the overwhelming majority as true. And then rejection of culture thing – what in hell are you thinking needling Hollywood over the fictional charactures it blows up on a big screen to tell a story. Another fact is that humanity really likes theatre – and there’s no sane way to prove that this is an evil unto itself, as many theologians seem to suggest.
In short – there’s just a funny little world that a goodly number of Christians belong to that open themselves up to critiques of such dillitante academics of the ilk of Dawkins which are probably doing way more harm to the Church than any good God wants delivered. "The Church", if I can call it that, needs to adapt – to evolve into something that people will want to be a part of. Maybe that’s not something that necessarily focusses on God exclusively. I’m not suggesting we turn the Churches into banks so Christ can come back and upend the tables of moneylenders again – but that doesn’t negate the fact that for many centuries, the Church was popular because it was at the centre of community. And as community itself has conceptually eroded, so has the Church.
Maybe the Church should be championing community, maybe even more than God. There’s certainly a demand for that in our everyday lives.