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A Religion's Death

Discussion in 'Unitarian Universalism DIR' started by EyeofOdin, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. EyeofOdin

    EyeofOdin Active Member

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    Hi there! I was just a Germanic Heathen passing along these threads, simply seeing what was in here (I've never been to the Syncretic DIR). I saw a thread that was titled something to the effect of "Is UU dying?"

    I hope to not revive that one but discuss a different topic, which is still yet connected to the previous. I'll start with Christianity.

    Christianity is dying, at least in North America and most of Europe (I'm going to be specific to The US). Some of the Christian right will present "evidence" that it's not. This evidence includes various churches and how much their numbers have grown, which shows that although total numbers have gone down, they are about to spike!... These leaders are scared and lying through their teeth.

    The first symptom is a rise in skepticism and fundamentalism. Skepticism makes sense, but why the latter? When an ideology falls back on fundamentalism, it's an ideology in crisis and its leaders know it! Conservatism also is being looked at more and more unfavorably, so what we would call "fundamentalists" are pushing their ideology and quoting Reagan now more than ever!

    How does this crisis happen? What causes the decline?

    There are four types of churches, two of which really are growing. The first is the Catholic. Well yes, they're growing, and really well actually, peculiarly in the southwest. This answer can be answered simply: Mexico. Hispanic Immigrants are moving to the US, obviously most of them are in places like California or New Mexico, and most of them are also Catholic. This number will drop sooner or later. There are only so many Mexicans in the world, and fewer which desire to or can move to the states. They also will become assimilated into American culture and will most likely follow The Americans' lead.

    The second one that's growing is the group of enormous super churches. The Third group of churches being the small town, Baptist, Church of Christ, conservative, rural, fire-and-brimstone congregations are dropping like flies, including the one from my childhood (of which I was one of the first to leave for Paganism. Apparently once the members found out that there are other gods and some people still believe in and worship them, a good chunk followed my lead for polytheism and witchcraft. Oops! Sorry Pastor Mike!). The most of the ones who don't go to Paganism, which is still a good chunk, are leaving but giving Christianity one last shot. They're finding a different church, but all the others are either in the same denomination have either the exact same attitudes, drama and dogma or they're gone. Those are dead, and they foreshadow the fate of the cross. The best of the very few options is to go to the mega church. These churches, which are so big, beautiful, wealthy, friendly and charismatic are most of these people's last hope for Jesus. After these churches' numbers spike from the influx of attendance, they will drop dramatically as the people find out that it's just a bigger, wealthier, more well choreographed version of their old church. When they leave, some in the church will hear about why, realize what's going on and leave too. The problems, overbearing dogma and drama are still there, and maybe even in larger portions, but it's all just swept under the rug much better. The church has a decrease in population.

    So we've met end of the life cycle of the adventurous and intellectual Christian, but where do they go from here? Those who are still Christian? The ones who are truly Universalist, salvation to all regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation? Who have a liberal interpretation of holy texts? Who view other religions as insightful and maybe even just as truthful, and not as Satanic Demon Worshipers or Heathen, Middle Eastern Terrorists? They may go to the fourth group, the liberal churches, if one can be found, as most Christians give up by the second, usually by the third, branches. As the for the few who've made it this far but are hard headed in finding a church that fits the views listed above, where do they go? At this point they've probably heard of Odin, The Horned God or Zeus and respect them but aren't interested. So where do they go if not paganism? Something Christian but at the same time not.

    Unitarian Universalism has grown more than 15% in the last decade, I'm sure you know. Also the faster religions grow, the faster rate they tend to have (via word of mouth, education, sometimes but not necessarily proselytization; actually numbers tend to go up faster without it). With UU churches replacing the old groups of congregations, they'll grow and social Darwinism will take over. UU will likely come out above Liberal Christianity, because although UU has Liberal Abrahamic roots, it's the latter which is most associated with all the things this increasingly liberal culture dislikes: racism; genocide; slavery; homophobia; sexism etc. So Christianity is very likely dying in the US. Before you guys came, it could've had a chance with the progressive branch, but you beat them to the punch and you have better connotations and associations for the culture of the future generations.

    Along with my community, the pagans, the other really quickly growing religion (I'm not sure which of us will be more popular, but it doesn't matter anyway) we can make a new set of spiritual resources for Americans. Paganism, being a group of polytheistic religions which embrace cultural and ethnic background and heritage, being the dominant alongside Unitarian Universalism, the self proclaimed "liberal" religion embracing any belief system and any point of view while scolding colonialist traits of religion. It's Pat Robertson's worst nightmare!

    I'm sure that also we can fully reinvent religious terminology like prayer, religion, god etc. Christianity has left the liberal, oppressed and intellectual with a bad taste in their mouth, but I believe that we can make them into words carrying connotations of multiculturalism and the love of the divine, in whichever form any human being perceives it.

    The future of worship looks bright :rainbow:
     
    #1 EyeofOdin, Sep 29, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
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  2. EverChanging

    EverChanging Well-Known Member

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    I am not currently UU but am on friendly terms with it. I was in the CLF for a couple of years and had a good UU friend, but among other reasons left it because a virtual congregation wasn't enough to root me in the UU religion and culture.

    I do think Christianity, at least in its various organized form, is shrinking in the United States and will likely continue to do so, but I wouldn't say at this point I was sure it will actually die. It may simply change forms or become less organized. Many people for instance are interested in the emergent church movement which may sometimes intersect with non-Christian religions or exist outside of traditional denominational structures.

    In my own situation, I don't have a church I am comfortable going to at this point. I rarely go to my own parish for various reasons. I would like to go to a more liberal parish. I have liberal views on many things, but I will have to choose carefully when/if I am in a situation to choose a different parish. I don't like liberal liturgies, sentimental sermons, and so on, and in regard to religion my approach focuses on the mystical, the mysterious, the weird and wonderful. That is often lacking in progressive branches of Christianity. A progressive Anglo-Catholic parish would probably fit me best, though.

    In the situation I find myself, I have not abandoned Christ, although I am less attached to the name "Christian" other than as a general spiritual and cultural indicator that I am Christocentric. I have crafted my own rituals, liturgies, and theology (a radical re-interpretation of Christianity) and mostly practice as a solitary. Many of my beliefs and approach have much in common with many neo-pagans, although neo-paganism has not much appealed to me. I have explored other religions including neo-paganism, but in the end re-interpreted my Christianity rather than abandon it for something else because the ritual and culture are a part of my blood, and I will not abandon my Christian gods whom I have loved so much. No other gods appeal to me the way Christ and the saints do.

    I don't know how many people will take my approach because it takes a lot of work, but I am very happy with it. I consider myself a spiritual eclectic and Christian in the sense that my thought and practice is still situated within the context of the "Christian conversation." Very postmodern, really.
     
  3. Whiterain

    Whiterain Get me off of this planet

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    We're moving into an era where religion isn't enforced and dogma isn't apart to society or enforced
    either. This, to my knowledge, greatly took place in the America's; after the Salem incident and
    Paganism was greatly annihilated from the America's. As the decades went on Christian dogma
    died out and people began to start other cults, cults. Regardless of your parties belief it is a cult.

    The sense of things dying or flourishing is greatly on behalf of it's followers; physical enforcement
    over other beliefs is out of the questions, other than democracy and religious freedom.

    They've just been arguing for the last century/centuries without physical enforcement and peoples
    favors have gone to other cults. Atheism is popular because it liberates the sinner from judgment
    and they find it with a sense of logic and ration; the barrens of the cosmos your escape.

    Most modern day sinners, such as myself; do not adhere to the principles of yesterdays dogma and
    hogwash. Although, I would rather the sacrifices of the Saints, in particular, be found with more
    respect.

    People is the key word because they have a great voice and resources such as this among other
    mediums. In the American democracy, among democracy, the Government is trying to please their
    people; judgment in the afterlife is not a part of that - and we have seperation of church & state.

    Ultimately; society in general is becoming the abomination of former religious dogma. This
    started with numerous Christian movement away from the Papacy; namely the Protestants. But,
    that was namely for the King and so he could run his Kingdom under his total command without
    Catholic dogma or having to beck to the Pope, a lot of people were killed in is conception.

    The facts, though, regarding the Gods will be a mystery. I have a very few idea's regarding them
    and their involvement with monotheism and it's enforcement is one, it will change anyone's views
    on them. That Gods were made Saints, Gods willingly became Saints; Such things took place
    during the foundation of Judaism, from what I understand. But if you go into the grey you're
    going to be seen as delusional, obviously. There's also the given of communication disaster.

    Monotheism was the new dogma that only one god would be worshiped; the chief God.

    People are just going to find you insane and the religious leaders will no doubt find you the same
    or even worse as a heretic; you may not be executed this age.

    "De Martyr"

    [​IMG]


    It's cruel to think the Gods backed the spread of the new Dogma's in monotheism.

    Catholicism, Christianity has St.Michael, the General of God's armies. Yet,
    it did not bring other followings under one dogma. Whether or not it was just
    a communication disaster is beyond me, and just overwhelming to try and
    bring to reason.

    I can't but help myself go on about this subject. It's just cruel put blatantly;
    apparently the only resolve was battle. Torture is another incident that took
    place and was blatantly taught; new dogma and religion cruelly enforced the
    belief in this executed son of God.

    The timeline is most troubling; it seems to take far to long for me to accept
    that parties assembled far later after the incident of Christs execution.

    It's just sad and there's not enough "proof" to appease the minds of people.

    Charlemagne should have been a polytheistic/pagan King under the former
    Pagan pantheon leading to his own Lordship, taking him to the All Father.
    Yet he apparently chose the Christ and ruthlessly enforced the new dogma,
    with no explanation why they were to worship the Christ. There is no
    information other than he said to convert to it and he desired to
    unite the Germanic tribes; but anyone could see that would end in
    disaster without substantiated information not only enforcing them
    to want to worship Christ, but desire to worship the Christ.

    There's to many questions outside of enforced piety.
     
    #3 Whiterain, Oct 10, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
  4. paragon

    paragon Member

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    Religions fade as our habits change but gods never die.
     
  5. applewuud

    applewuud Active Member

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    Well, I don't know what to say to this whole thread except...whaaa?

    Unitarian-Universalism hasn't been growing by 15%, at least not country-wide...we've held steadier than most "mainline" churches, but there has been a slight decline recently. As most of the posters say, it isn't so much about theology one way or the other, but about people not feeling a need to "belong" to any church at all.

    EyeofOdin, (the OP), it's an interesting idea that as the world becomes more skeptical/less dogmatic, the UUs should grow; that was certainly the expectation of Thomas Jefferson who said something along those lines. Also interesting that it hasn't happened...

    The UU humanist Michael Werner wrote a book last year, "Regaining Balance", criticizing the UUA for drifting away from its traditional humanist/scientific roots into what he calls "fuzzy theism", "indiscriminate pluralism", and "lapsing back into supernaturalism". In other words, by trying to be so multicultural and syncretic, we have nothing unique to attract people. I don't agree with him, but he makes some interesting points:

    Humanism and Unitarianism: Final Class Words | UU Humanist Association
     
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