Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
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05-06-2015, 10:16 AM
Question Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
This is something that has been on my mind ever since joining this forum and I'm wondering what thoughts on the matter some of you may have.

I apologise in advance for how drawn out this simple question is, but I wanted to give a bit of back story as to why this interests me and for the benefit of those who live in more religiously dogmatic places that may be interested in what it is like to grow up in a less religious atmosphere (aside from the obvious).

I'd also like to apologise if this post seems a bit disorganised. There are lots of things I want to tie into this, but also don't want to turn this post into a messy 'wall of text'
Feel free to send a boot up the arse my way if you need me to clarify anything or simply want to tell me to "stop blabbering" Big Grin


First of all I would like to clarify what I mean by "Liberal Christianity"
I'm talking about the westernised and (some would rightfully say) watered down version of christianity practised in many western European countries. This is mainly centred around the new testament and the life and times of Jesus, with the majority of the less palatable old testament stories written off as 'parables' etc.

Belief was never a major factor in my life. Although my family, if pushed, would probably identify themselves as Roman Catholic, none of them are practising Christians and (with the exception of one great aunt and uncle) none of them go near a church or any type of holy place save for weddings, christenings or funerals. All of which for the sole purpose of the pageantry and inevitable drinking session to follow! Tongue

With this in mind, I am not sure if "de-converted" is the right word for my journey to non-belief, but it will do for the sake of this post! Drinking Beverage

So why was I a believer in the first place? Well, I attended a Roman Catholic infant and primary school, for the simple reasons that A) it was the closest school and B) it was the best school in my local area (though hardly a center for excellence)
I then went on to an all boys Catholic secondary school (which on reflection probably explains a lot! Laugh out load ) due only the fact that all my school friends (the male ones at least) were going there.

Religious Education; or "R.E." as it was called was mandatory in both, but the primary school was the only one that involved any sort of church service. The secondary school RE lessons were something different altogether, and as I'll explain shortly had as much to do with my de-conversion as the primary school had to do with my belief.

The secondary school never pushed religion on the pupils. The chapel service on friday was voluntary (and poorly attended) and I don't think the vast majority of teachers were believers either.

The mandatory RE lessons rarely touched on religion directly and instead focused on things like ethics, diversity and other cultures. In fact, out of the 3 essays we had to produce as coursework for our final GCSE exam, only 1 was bible related (an essay to show our understanding of the tale of 'Blind Bartimeus' if you must know)
The other 2 were essays giving arguments both for and against A) euthanasia and B) abortion both legally and morally.

We were never fed a dogma or forced to believe a stance on either issue. We had open discussion and debate in class. This really opened my eyes to reasoned thinking and empathy and understanding of other peoples opinions. Also it challenged me to ask questions of things that are seemingly black and white.

Mandatory religious education had inadvertently sent me on a path to reasoned thinking and ultimately healthy scepticism! Laugh out load Although now would be a good point to skip over all the UFO, Illuminati & Supernatural bullshit I developed an unhealthy interest in during my teens! Big Grin

Not having religious types 'bible bash' the fear of hell into me as a kid coupled with my high schools indifference to religious practice meant that religion never really had a strong hold on me or any of my peers. As a result, the majority of people my age and within my locale are also indifferent to religion.

So my long-winded question is this:

Is Liberal Christianity killing itself?

Clearly, fundamental Christianity is not compatible with modern, liberal society. In an attempt to maintain some credibility, the Catholic church has watered down its dogma, thus undermining itself and blunting the talons it uses to ensnare the young and gullible.

I'm interested to know what the more well read among you have to say and I am also very interested in what any theists who may be reading think about Liberal Christianity vs. the more dogmatic variants.

Congratulations and thank you for reading this far and indulging my inane ramblings! Big Grin

I need to lie down for a bit now!

LL Bechased

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too"? - Douglas Adams Bechased
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05-06-2015, 10:43 AM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
For me there is no such thing as Liberal Christianity, only believers who don't care for church dogma, yet they stay silent when clergy forces it onto others. Also such believers often don't have problem with trying to force their taboos on society.

Sadly this is how things look like in my country. On paper 95% believers, attending to church maybe half from it, even less of them know much about their religion, and hardly anyone really live how church say they should live, yet is hard to hear a voice in opposition to clergy. There is only juding others by standards which are not upheld by those who judge. So "Liberal Christian" or rather Roman Catholic may not believe religious nonsense, but is not keen on freedom of others without said nonsense.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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05-06-2015, 11:32 AM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
You're not the first to follow that chain of reasoning!

When religious ideology is anything less than totalitarian - and that's what fundamentalism is, to be sure - it's implicitly acknowledging its own irrelevance. And that fundamentalism is incompatible with reality, so softening the message is inevitable in trying to reconcile the two.

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05-06-2015, 11:48 AM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
I think liberal Christianity is killing itself, yes, but not in the way you're presenting.

What you're talking about here is Christianity Lite. It's Christianity minus stuff. While this usually falls under the category of liberal Christianity, it doesn't need to comprise the entire category.

The problem with liberal Christianity is that most of its constituent denominations lose all clear sense of identity and purpose in their attempt to be ecumenical. They might dislike, mistrust, and disagree with the fundamentalists, but their move to liberalism involves accepting and accommodating such disagreements, and so they remain fairly quiet. This meekness allows the conservatives to completely dominate Christianity's public image, which also leaks over into Christianity's internal image.

If liberal Christianity, or even a significant portion of it, were to define itself as standing FOR something which conservative Christianity was against -- for human rights, for human freedom, for social justice, for equality, for something that the bulk of society could get behind -- and then push that value to the hilt, with all the energy and infrastructure (talk shows, radio shows, revivals, etc) that conservative Christians do, then it would stand a fighting chance.

As it is, it's off dying silently in the corner, trying not to make a peep lest it disturb anyone else.
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05-06-2015, 12:45 PM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
It's not too far a journey from the touchy-feely, everyone's a beautiful snowflake, love is everywhere brand of liberal christianity to the realization that one can believe in god and Jesus without having to go to church at all, lol. Fear puts the butts in the seats. So yeah, in a way I think you're right, the feel-good church is something most casual believers can probably either take or leave.

As a sidenote I've never been a "believer" but when I did attend church as a kid it was the Methodist Church I was raised in. It was very practical and down-to-earth. I always preferred Catholic masses, if you're gonna do supernatural magic pageantry, do it up proper with the incense and the Latin and all the hand jive, etc.
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05-06-2015, 03:06 PM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
A bit problem with liberal Christianity is, as bonkers as creatonists may seem, this is actually more bizarre. It requires for things to be true, God to just randomly act at various times in human history on whim. He just sets evolution afloat and lets everything run it's course then a couple times 2 and 4ish thousand years ago he made efforts to interact. Then he leaves it all alone again.

It's quite bizarre and does kill or conflict itself for a lot of people and lead to lessening any real belief. So much of it presupposes a good and all powerful type god because that's just how a God should be, but never has any reason to accept anything like that could exist in this world.

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05-06-2015, 04:16 PM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
(05-06-2015 03:06 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  A bit problem with liberal Christianity is, as bonkers as creatonists may seem, this is actually more bizarre. It requires for things to be true, God to just randomly act at various times in human history on whim. He just sets evolution afloat and lets everything run it's course then a couple times 2 and 4ish thousand years ago he made efforts to interact. Then he leaves it all alone again.

It's quite bizarre and does kill or conflict itself for a lot of people and lead to lessening any real belief. So much of it presupposes a good and all powerful type god because that's just how a God should be, but never has any reason to accept anything like that could exist in this world.

Yes! This is why I mentioned that by choosing not to believe or follow parts of the bible, Liberal Christianity undermines itself.

As crazy as the fundys are, they have the high ground here as they are consistant with a literal interpretation of the bible.

At the point they you start picking and choosing what you want to believe from the supposed "unalterable divine word of god" on the basis that its no longer compatible with modern society, you have to ask the question "who told you that this is no longer relevant"? Either god told you directly (can of worms ) or, more likely, they are just making this shit up as they go along.

On another note, I acknowledge that my use of the term "Liberal Christianity" may not be accurate for what I was describing. Please bear with me as a lot of these variants are new to me Tongue

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too"? - Douglas Adams Bechased
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05-06-2015, 04:38 PM (This post was last modified: 05-06-2015 04:57 PM by ShirubaDangan.)
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
(05-06-2015 10:16 AM)LostLegend Wrote:  This is something that has been on my mind ever since joining this forum and I'm wondering what thoughts on the matter some of you may have.

I apologise in advance for how drawn out this simple question is, but I wanted to give a bit of back story as to why this interests me and for the benefit of those who live in more religiously dogmatic places that may be interested in what it is like to grow up in a less religious atmosphere (aside from the obvious).

I'd also like to apologise if this post seems a bit disorganised. There are lots of things I want to tie into this, but also don't want to turn this post into a messy 'wall of text'
Feel free to send a boot up the arse my way if you need me to clarify anything or simply want to tell me to "stop blabbering" Big Grin


First of all I would like to clarify what I mean by "Liberal Christianity"
I'm talking about the westernised and (some would rightfully say) watered down version of christianity practised in many western European countries. This is mainly centred around the new testament and the life and times of Jesus, with the majority of the less palatable old testament stories written off as 'parables' etc.

Belief was never a major factor in my life. Although my family, if pushed, would probably identify themselves as Roman Catholic, none of them are practising Christians and (with the exception of one great aunt and uncle) none of them go near a church or any type of holy place save for weddings, christenings or funerals. All of which for the sole purpose of the pageantry and inevitable drinking session to follow! Tongue

With this in mind, I am not sure if "de-converted" is the right word for my journey to non-belief, but it will do for the sake of this post! Drinking Beverage

So why was I a believer in the first place? Well, I attended a Roman Catholic infant and primary school, for the simple reasons that A) it was the closest school and B) it was the best school in my local area (though hardly a center for excellence)
I then went on to an all boys Catholic secondary school (which on reflection probably explains a lot! Laugh out load ) due only the fact that all my school friends (the male ones at least) were going there.

Religious Education; or "R.E." as it was called was mandatory in both, but the primary school was the only one that involved any sort of church service. The secondary school RE lessons were something different altogether, and as I'll explain shortly had as much to do with my de-conversion as the primary school had to do with my belief.

The secondary school never pushed religion on the pupils. The chapel service on friday was voluntary (and poorly attended) and I don't think the vast majority of teachers were believers either.

The mandatory RE lessons rarely touched on religion directly and instead focused on things like ethics, diversity and other cultures. In fact, out of the 3 essays we had to produce as coursework for our final GCSE exam, only 1 was bible related (an essay to show our understanding of the tale of 'Blind Bartimeus' if you must know)
The other 2 were essays giving arguments both for and against A) euthanasia and B) abortion both legally and morally.

We were never fed a dogma or forced to believe a stance on either issue. We had open discussion and debate in class. This really opened my eyes to reasoned thinking and empathy and understanding of other peoples opinions. Also it challenged me to ask questions of things that are seemingly black and white.

Mandatory religious education had inadvertently sent me on a path to reasoned thinking and ultimately healthy scepticism! Laugh out load Although now would be a good point to skip over all the UFO, Illuminati & Supernatural bullshit I developed an unhealthy interest in during my teens! Big Grin

Not having religious types 'bible bash' the fear of hell into me as a kid coupled with my high schools indifference to religious practice meant that religion never really had a strong hold on me or any of my peers. As a result, the majority of people my age and within my locale are also indifferent to religion.

So my long-winded question is this:

Is Liberal Christianity killing itself?

Clearly, fundamental Christianity is not compatible with modern, liberal society. In an attempt to maintain some credibility, the Catholic church has watered down its dogma, thus undermining itself and blunting the talons it uses to ensnare the young and gullible.

I'm interested to know what the more well read among you have to say and I am also very interested in what any theists who may be reading think about Liberal Christianity vs. the more dogmatic variants.

Congratulations and thank you for reading this far and indulging my inane ramblings! Big Grin

I need to lie down for a bit now!

LL Bechased

Yes, and this is because of one major factor which I am glad exists and that is freedom of speech and how much we value it. I believe without it. We would have never have questioned or challenge the ridiculous beliefs people held. This is why I also believe that Islam isn't falling because of the highly negative view of free speech in many Muslim countries and how they are taught and told that God's law trumps human made law. Though of course there are other factors which influenced this, though I believe there are more non believers in Islam but the problem for them is if they come out they lose tons versus now where it is becoming more and more accepting to have people of different viewpoints and belief systems in western countries.

I am not trying to nail Islam but I believe this is why we don't see much liberal groups within it. Those groups that do exist are insanely small though I support them all the same. Though they are usually frowned upon and viewed as not Muslim enough.

What worries me the most is freedom of speech being killed off due to religion and we see religious bias everywhere to try and rid of that which is its worst enemy.





Freedom of speech I believe is the greatest enemy of religion but religion especially wants to destroy it because those viewpoints that keep religious heads in power will be challenged by words.

Sorry for kind of going off topic I am back again but kind of finding what to post upon. Just rereading what has been happening here. Though in essence yes I agree these liberal Christians are killing the religion and its because people were able to challenge ridiculous things.

"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind." -John F Kennedy

The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.” -Benjamin Franklin

It has been a long time. How have you been?
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05-06-2015, 04:40 PM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
I think Liberal Christianity is the only way Christianity has a chance to survive (long-term I mean). Many people are leaving Christianity due to its highly conservative views and focus on Scripture over science. Christianity will need to adapt (via more liberal views) to modern times if it is to survive long-term..

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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05-06-2015, 05:18 PM
RE: Is Liberal Christianity Killing Itself?
(05-06-2015 04:40 PM)jennybee Wrote:  I think Liberal Christianity is the only way Christianity has a chance to survive (long-term I mean). Many people are leaving Christianity due to its highly conservative views and focus on Scripture over science. Christianity will need to adapt (via more liberal views) to modern times if it is to survive long-term..

That, or it can shoehorn its way back into the education system.
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