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Mota Boy
03-14-2006, 04:28 PM
Christianity is a terribly interesting creature in this day and age. A once all-powerful (dare I say omnipotent) beast who has slowly seen its monopoly on thought eroded through the ages.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I don't mean to say that religion is the opiate of the masses - that it dulls the senses and sedates the people - quite often it can, in fact, have the exact oppostie effects. Instead, I mean to say that once all categories of modern thought - the scientific, philosophical, economic, political, cultural, legal, social and historic - all once existed under the scope of religion (and, in many parts of the Muslim world, still do).

The secession occured all within a rather short period of time - the Enlightenment wrested philosophy from Christianity's arms. Galileo sketched out rough procedures for the observation of the natural world that operated independently from Biblical passages. Governments were decided not by divine right, but by the people, using principles derived from a serious study of the proper way to rule, not by consulting the word of God.

And yet, today, centuries after the initial split, Christianity exists still, surprisingly resilient and unchanged. While politics now exists in its own realm, while philosophy is now independent, while science has become the primary institution for the advancement of civilization, Christianity has remained. For some, it has evolved, still answering the questions science will never be able to answer, still providing a personal guidance that philosophy will never be able substitute, still providing a touchstone for deciding tough political disputes. For others, however, it remains the primary tool for understanding the world around us. Science presents a false self-confidence, philosophy lacking a religious core is dangerous and amoral, politics without God... well, we know how middle America feels about Communism. And many of these modern-day crusaders wish to reclaim each of these schools of thought for Christianity. Has the religion really become marginalized or is it as potent as ever? Is its power waning, in stasis or merely in a temporary state of remission? Christianity today is a strange beast; it's journey will be a fascinating one.

All About Eve
03-14-2006, 05:16 PM
Ha, for some reason this reminded me of a photo I took the other day at the doctor with my phone.

http://i2.tinypic.com/rh6gc8.jpg

Christianity is so funny.

Endymion
03-14-2006, 05:25 PM
hey mota, for an interesting read check out dan simmons' Endymion and the other three in the series.

Rocky-girl
03-14-2006, 08:30 PM
In different parts of world people has different attitude to religion.

Communizm is a religion too.

TheUnholyNightbringer
03-15-2006, 12:21 AM
I've thought about this before. I think it's uneniable that Christianity in itself HAS lost some power in a literal sense - imagine what would happen if the Pope organised a Crusade now - but for those who believe in it the beauty of it is no less significant. People don't follow religions like they follow football teams, following the most popular.

The only way I can see Christianity becoming a potent force again is after some cataclysmic event that somehow manages to affect a large part of the West; Christianity's historic focal point. It's natural for people to turn back to religion when science and reason deserts them in an "armageddon"-type event - I'm thinking the eruption of Yellowstone or something might do it.

Simply from the amount of time Christianity's been around, I find it hard to see that this dip could be a permanent decline. It's only been a few centuries, really - the age of reason isn't all-powerful.

Vera
03-15-2006, 07:26 AM
I agree with Dave, it hasn't really been all that long. Especially in some countries, go three decades back and you'll find a time when at least over half of Finns who belonged to church went there every Sunday. Nowadays the percentage is around 20. Then again, that just shows the shift in society. People divorce church but still believe in God or a spirit or whatever.

I think Christianity is still a major impact, not just historically but also how a huge percentage of people worldwide see things. And whatever the Pope says influences loads of Catholics, especially in third world countries even though people in modern Western countries who're Catholic might be less interested in their spiritual leader's words.

I don't think it's losing power but I have to say, the facts that it has so many branches and even more leaves, really affects the fact that one Christian and another will see some things very differently. I should talk to some Christians about this but from my experience I know that many Christians in Scandinavia wouldn't be caught dead in the same church with American fundie-Christians. So I'm not sure if there's a huge sense of unity in Christianity overall. I guess it differs from person to person.