THE DECLINE OF THE CHURCH AND ALSO OF LARGER WESTERN SOCIETY:
Not long ago, it was reported by Syndicated Columnist Cal Thomas that in Great
Britain, you can expect to find all of 2% of the population in [Christian] churches
on any given Sunday. But he then added, that in view of what is typically preached
in them, there is hardly any point in attending anyway. In National Review recently
it was reported that in Britain, theft of materials from buildings and public
structures has mushroomed, including the theft of items from cathedrals. The
writer complained that in Britain, people understand that certain behaviors are
wrong because they are illegal, but many fewer people anymore understand the more
profound truth that certain things had been made illegal because they are wrong.
Various other published sources indicate that Great Britain today has become the
citidal of spiritual illiteracy and moral spinelessness. In April 2007 it was
reported in a Christian News article entitled "Lack of Babies -- Churches are
Dying", how the birth rate among a number of Christian denominations (in the United
States) is well below the replacement rate, and these denominations are dying as a
result. Although we believe in separation of church and state, it would appear that
this phenomenon does not: the phenomenon extends beyond the walls of the church,
corroding also civil society by creating a deficit of children coming on to replace
those people who are heading for attrition by time, which is having all sorts of
negative effects. This population deficit is however not only in the United States,
but plagues especially Europe. Abortion has been cited as the cause; however the
phenomenon is taking place even within churches, in which abortion is undoubtedly
rare. Therefore it is not simply a matter of abortion, but of too many people
exercising their "Christian liberty" to have fewer children than they ought to.
What is the cause of all this? Part of the answer is undoubtedly a culture of
materialism, in which people have better things to do with their time than have
babies. But then again, that may not fully explain it, because aspects of the
culture and economy in the Western world today may interfere with a focus upon
procreation, even among people who would not consciously choose money and goods
over children. How? By affecting how we live our lives. Do cultural characteristics
peculiar to Western institutions of employment, of education, and of other
interpersonal encounters inhibit marriage, or when they do not inhibit marriage, do
they still inhibit husband-wife relationships? (There is also some question as to
whether economic errors committed by our government interfere with the having of
children, a subject which is not spiritual but which nonetheless affects whether
children are born. This would be another aspect of the question of whether we live
in an anti-child culture.)
THE ROBUST ANTI-CHURCH:
Meanwhile, many Western nations are importing large numbers of workers, often from
Third World countries where Christianity is rare or obscure, to fill in the labor
vacuum. Particularly in Europe, although also in America, this population is often
Muslim. It is reported that Islamic radicals in Muslim nations are siezing this
opportunity to do "mission work", an important aspect of which is demographics.
Despite the anti-sexual and anti-woman aspect of so much of radical Islam, this
culture is considerably more fertile than what is typical in Western society,
including churches. The long term consequences of this are sobering. Muslims do
not understand the freedom within the spiritual kingdom of Christ. That may be why
they also do not believe in the separation of church and state, nor in the freedom
of religion, nor the freedom of speech and press, nor the right of the people
peaceably to assemble and petition the government for the redress of grievances.
Muslim immigrants typically are not assimilating into Western societies even while
now amounting to a significant fraction of the population in Europe, and
demographics say that they will only become more prevalent there.
Also, the Western world is becoming heavily dependent, for all kinds of important
goods, upon nations whose governments and cultures are anything but free, thereby
strengthening the hand of this sort of governance in the world -- governance which
will likely make itself increasingly felt within the "free world" through the ever
expanding jurisdiction of world trade alliances and bodies. Among the things which
may come to be regulated by such bodies in the interest of "fair trade", are health
care policy including life issues, education as it pertains to assuring "equality"
and "fairness" in human relations that may affect trade (which is to say, all human
relations), and the roles of men, women, and others in "places of employment".
Every one of these things can be construed as affecting employment, and therefore
as a fit object for regulation by treaties made with nations of perverse cultures
and perverse political systems. Additionally, even today in the so called free
world there are, in some countries, laws for the alledged purpose of protecting the
public from "defamation" and "hate", which would be unconstitutional by U.S.
standards precisely because they do not allow the open and robust debate of moral
issues or other issues of importance. Such repressiveness may be brought more and
more into the United States and other free countries, as a result of increasingly
incestuous relations between incompatible cultures in the interest of propping up
the economies of decaying Western nations. All this threatens in the long term the
outlook for civil liberty, in which God ordinarily would wish the church to be able
to operate (1 Timothy 2:2).
This dismal picture is being fueled by Western decadence: Western materialism,
Western irresponsibility, Western incompetence, Western ignorance, Western poverty
of thought, and Western infertility are all mightily fueling the rise of all this
Despite this serious threat, much of the church spends lots of its time talking
about how to bail itself out of its latest budget shortfall, and get by a little
longer on dwindling resources. Why is the church so visionless?