Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Are we losing our religion?

[...] My own church-going ended a long time ago. Funerals, increasingly these days, and the occasional wedding are the only times I darken their doors.

A loss of faith, Darwin, Einstein and the evil that men do lured me away from the Catholic church and religion generally.

In this I cannot be alone but neither will “losing my religion” cover the millions no longer attending church.

All over the country evangelical churches are thriving – some of the bigger ones have thousands in unison praising the Lord loud and proud.

What’s more, each God-fearing member puts their money where their faith is with a tithe exacted (a tenth of their earnings) and passed to their church and its pastors.

And that’s not mentioning the other two Abrahamic religions.

Judaism and Islam have never been healthier or with followers more enthusiastic about their respective beliefs. In the United States followers of right wing Christianity have never been more numerous – and, interestingly enough, matching Catholicism like-for-like in its homophobic and anti-abortion stance.

Each attract extremist elements while effectively communicating with their followers.

In the Catholic church an increasingly distant Pope Benedict XVI selects a Holocaust denier for high office and preaches a need for Europe to return to fundamental Christianity and turn away from secularism.

And, whereas the Holy Father will have his supporters in a church that boast almost 1.5billion members, his power and influence among the rank and file in England is waning.

As presumably is the Queen’s ability to rally middle England to the pews.

Again this cannot be the full story but only a part of a general malaise that sees the Catholic and English churches fall out of fashion.

The history of religion is littered with those that have fallen by the wayside.

However, “new churches” clearly indicate there is a need among people for a Christian belief structure.

Shunning rigid, traditional religions that have somehow lost touch with their flocks perhaps ironically, in the Catholic church’s case by a slackening of the “rules”, is an indication, at least in England, of a reduced dependency on organised religion.

Meanwhile there seems to be a growing need for a Christianity perceived as having a greater bearing upon individual needs.

Despite my own lack of a belief system, I am forever locked into the Catholic church.

Some of my best friends and the most interesting people I have ever met are left-footers.

My affinities and sympathies in my ancestral Ireland are with the Green side of the divide and I will forever argue the case against “our” oppression.

And, in a strange way, I miss the rhythm of the liturgical year where life isn’t governed by secular “feasts” such as Mothers’ Day and Easter eggs in the shops in January.

Just don’t ask me to go to church. Read more
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1 comment:

John said...

I read the article with interest too. I used to be a mainstream Anglican, as well as a post-Anglican fundamentalist house-churcher, followed by periods of agnosticism, but never outright disbelief. Old rhythms are less meaningful, it seems in a globalised culture, but what if anything is there to replace them? Much as schism has ugly connotations, the GAFCON tribe probably has more going for it than the backwashed remainder, some of whom should really run home to mama Rome, which entertains the elderly on Sunday mornings.