What has given Christianity its staying power?
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27-01-2016, 11:36 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(26-01-2016 07:45 AM)Capn. Irrelevant Wrote:  It's as alive and well as it has ever been for over 2,000 years, even the most extreme forms of it. What do you think gives Christianity its staying power?

Question 2: How long do you think it could possibly take for it to fade into known myth collectively, like say the worship of the Greek and Roman gods did?

Fear of death or fear of hell. A sense of meaning. Idiocy.
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27-01-2016, 11:47 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(27-01-2016 10:49 AM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  That is all atheism is: A response to a question. "Do you believe in god?"
It is not a world view.
It is not a philosophy.
It is not a belief system.

Since it is not any of those things, it is likely that the only thing a group of atheists have in common is their atheism.

As I noted above, groups of atheists are often only united in their response to religion. Opinions on nihilism, feminism, materialism, etc. have nothing to do with atheism.

Additionally, many atheists are just now awakening to the effects of their atheism on their worldviews and have not yet defined their belief systems.


In regards to atheism and belief systems:

It is my belief that as time passes , atheism will become more accepted and open. As this occurs new codes of ethics and belief systems will likely arise. I also believe that such codes of conduct and behavior can be built without reliance on supernatural authority.

It is our obligation to help shape these future belief systems, to promote free thinking, compassion and to avoid the mistakes we have seen in the past. At this point, it is quite plain that god is not going to help, either directly or indirectly.

If there is to be change, it is up to us.

You serve as an example of what I mean. I was speaking about a common tendency among self-identifying atheists, not the definition of the word "atheism". Finding actual atheists willing to defend a particular worldview, be it materialism, or any other, is like finding a unicorn. You'll rarely if ever find a self-identifying atheists, willing to argue for, or defend an alternative worldview to theism, the common tendency is to do what you do, to declare your lack of belief.

As a result, the group that should be offering a viable alternative to a theistic worldview, routinely show up to the table empty handed, seem to have just as much of a hard time selling a non-theistic worldview to non-theists, even more so than theist themselves.

For a theists such as myself it's relatively easy to maintain my theism with a considerable degree of confidence, because all the alternatives to it are so wanting, so premature, lacking actual defenders, that it becomes too easy to dismiss. It seems the most frequent promotion is for theist to trade in their beliefs, for a lack of belief. To go from believing in something, to believing in nothing. Trading a position of confidence, for aimlessness and confusion. That seems to be the best atheists have to offer, but it's terribly lacking.


I can't speak for other atheists on this forum. But, just because I've come to the conclusion that belief in God is irrational, doesn't mean that I have to propose an alternative worldview to theism.

A belief in a magical being that will comfort you in times of need and "occasionally" answer your prayers, is probably why Christianity has such a strong staying power. But, not believing that, doesn't then put the onus on us to come up with an 'alternative worldview'. We're not going to cling to theism simply because all of the other alternatives are so wanting.

"Why hast thou forsaken me, o deity whose existence I doubt..." - Dr. Sheldon Cooper
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27-01-2016, 11:47 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 11:23 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(27-01-2016 10:56 AM)Timber1025 Wrote:  How about scientifitic observation and reality - that I will personally defend! You are again proving to be insane.

Scientific observation used in support of what particular worldview? If the tendency is to appeal to scientific observation for a lack a belief, to erode any confidence in holding any particular worldview, than we're just sort of back to the start.

Sounds good.

It's the point, you're so focused on the idea of building a worldview. Instead you could just as well be able to look at it from afar and think, is that even something that makes sense and directs people necessarily?

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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27-01-2016, 11:51 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 11:22 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(27-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  You serve as an example of what I mean. I was speaking about a common tendency among self-identifying atheists, not the definition of the word "atheism". Finding actual atheists willing to defend a particular worldview, be it materialism, or any other, is like finding a unicorn. You'll rarely if ever find a self-identifying atheists, willing to argue for, or defend an alternative worldview to theism, the common tendency is to do what you do, to declare your lack of belief.

As a result, the group that should be offering a viable alternative to a theistic worldview, routinely show up to the table empty handed, seem to have just as much of a hard time selling a non-theistic worldview to non-theists, even more so than theist themselves.

For a theists such as myself it's relatively easy to maintain my theism with a considerable degree of confidence, because all the alternatives to it are so wanting, so premature, lacking actual defenders, that it becomes too easy to dismiss. It seems the most frequent promotion is for theist to trade in their beliefs, for a lack of belief. To go from believing in something, to believing in nothing. Trading a position of confidence, for aimlessness and confusion. That seems to be the best atheists have to offer, but it's terribly lacking.

It's what YOU are talking about. Remember you don't have the same mentality of everyone who agrees to things you agree with. You still use your personal experience of you or your community like it means more than it is.

Does it factor into other people like yourself, and their mindset? Yes. But that's a thing that not everyone has a mental desire or hangup about like you do. (Yes you do have a hangup about it which I would say when you bickered that IF you were an atheist you'd have to be a strong one in the case that you were certain opposed to something because you have an issue with "reactionary" ideas I guess)

The OP is about the staying power of Christianity. I'm merely sharing my own perspective as a Christian, and other believers like myself, as to why christianity resonates, or is able to hold it's ground, and often thrive and spread in other areas of the world, is lack of viable alternatives. And also why atheism is far from appealing, and offers very little in terms of non-theistic alternatives to theism, for those like me.

The other point I've been countering is the narrative that attempts to explain that decline of Christianity, which is primarily a western phenomenon, as the result of education, or some form of intellectual progress, where the facts don't actually support this narrative.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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27-01-2016, 11:52 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2016 11:55 AM by Leo.)
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 10:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(27-01-2016 09:28 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  This is definitely what got it so wide-spread.

As far as actual staying power, it mostly comes from indoctrination, combined with the promises/threats it makes. Once someone has thoroughly drank the Kool-Aid, they're risking swapping their eternal reward for eternal punishment. The whole thing is set up to discourage actual criticism and scrutiny. Sure, they'll have "Bible studies" and people can ask their pastors "hard questions", but these are always set up to steer people back onto their nonfalsifiable path.

Combine that with strong cultural relevance, strong social pressure, and a "science is hard, religion gives easy answers" mindset, and you have a majority population that simply isn't psychologically ready to even consider that they might be wrong. Also, it is notable that Christianity is growing in areas with poor education and services. This is exactly the type of environment where this type of thinking flourishes. There are entire political parties who's goal is to keep people thinking this way.


Christianity isn't something I see as "going away" at any point in the near future. It's possible after another generation that fundamentalists might be regarded as a lunatic fringe in the US. It will probably be several generations more (if ever) for Christianity in it's entirety to be seen this way, here.

I think people tend to focus on Christianity in the west, what's more interesting is Christianity everywhere else, like the explosive growth of Christianity in China, where there are currently more Christians than card holding members of the communist party. Where as Christianity hasn't made as much inroads in India. This particular discrepancy has almost next to nothing to do with education, but rather unlike China India already has a rich religious traditions that Christian evangelism has had a difficult time penetrating, where in China there's very little viable competition.

I remember reading about the early success of Christianity in Sri Lanka, which led to counter reformation of Buddhism, led by the former Christian, and buddhist convert, Henry Steel Alcott, who molded Sri Lankan buddhism to be more like Catholicism, more organized, and more dedicated to particular doctrines, and this was effective in counter acting the growth of Christianity.

It does really seem to be in large part a matter of competition, more so than anything else. At least in other parts of the world. Where is in the west, it's more a question of the law of diminishing returns.

And even in the west the decline of Christianity, can't really be attributed to rising education, since the most steepest decline, and the growing population of the nones, are primarily the less educated, lower income individuals, while the college educated population of church going religious folks, hasn't declined much at all for the past four decades.
There are about 600-700 millions Buddhists in China or 50 percent of the population ( conservative estimates ) or close to 1 billion 80 percent of China population ( liberal estimates ) . I think the conservative estimate is more realistic. Most Buddhists in China combine Buddhism with Taoism and confusianism. Most western religion estimates put the Buddhist followers at 200 million because they can't accept that people in China combine religions. The official number of Buddhists in China ( combining Taoism and confusianism is 600 million atleast. Muslims in China are about 30 million and Christians between 70 and 100 million. The western perception that China is a atheist country and religion basically doesn't exist in China , is totally false.

Religion is bullshit. The winner of the last person to post wins thread.Yes
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27-01-2016, 11:53 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2016 11:59 AM by Leo.)
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
and Christianity is dead is Europe and its declining in America.

Religion is bullshit. The winner of the last person to post wins thread.Yes
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27-01-2016, 11:57 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 11:47 AM)mgoering Wrote:  
(27-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  You serve as an example of what I mean. I was speaking about a common tendency among self-identifying atheists, not the definition of the word "atheism". Finding actual atheists willing to defend a particular worldview, be it materialism, or any other, is like finding a unicorn. You'll rarely if ever find a self-identifying atheists, willing to argue for, or defend an alternative worldview to theism, the common tendency is to do what you do, to declare your lack of belief.

As a result, the group that should be offering a viable alternative to a theistic worldview, routinely show up to the table empty handed, seem to have just as much of a hard time selling a non-theistic worldview to non-theists, even more so than theist themselves.

For a theists such as myself it's relatively easy to maintain my theism with a considerable degree of confidence, because all the alternatives to it are so wanting, so premature, lacking actual defenders, that it becomes too easy to dismiss. It seems the most frequent promotion is for theist to trade in their beliefs, for a lack of belief. To go from believing in something, to believing in nothing. Trading a position of confidence, for aimlessness and confusion. That seems to be the best atheists have to offer, but it's terribly lacking.


I can't speak for other atheists on this forum. But, just because I've come to the conclusion that belief in God is irrational, doesn't mean that I have to propose an alternative worldview to theism.

A belief in a magical being that will comfort you in times of need and "occasionally" answer your prayers, is probably why Christianity has such a strong staying power. But, not believing that, doesn't then put the onus on us to come up with an 'alternative worldview'. We're not going to cling to theism simply because all of the other alternatives are so wanting.

For me, it's about believing in something, either I believe God exists, or I believe he doesn't. Either I believe in one thing or the alternative. I don't lack a belief in Santa, I believe Santa doesn't exist. There can be varying degrees of confidence. But I don't have a phobia of holding a belief, merely because it's possible that I can be mistaken. I believe in the worldview that makes the most sense to me, that provides a consistency of the whole.

If I were to one day no longer believe in Christianity, or to subscribe to atheism, it would only because a worldview that was more compelling came my way. But sadly there doesn't seem to be many compelling alternatives being offered.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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27-01-2016, 11:58 AM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  You serve as an example of what I mean. I was speaking about a common tendency among self-identifying atheists, not the definition of the word "atheism". Finding actual atheists willing to defend a particular worldview, be it materialism, or any other, is like finding a unicorn. You'll rarely if ever find a self-identifying atheists, willing to argue for, or defend an alternative worldview to theism, the common tendency is to do what you do, to declare your lack of belief.

My beliefs? I was raised Roman Catholic which evolved into more of a deism as I became an adult. A few years ago I was presented with information that challenged my beliefs.
When I investigated both sides of the issue, I discovered that while science, realism and apistevism do not have all the answers, they have the only answers that can be relied on.
Religion offers nothing but faith and lies.

(27-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  As a result, the group that should be offering a viable alternative to a theistic worldview, routinely show up to the table empty handed, seem to have just as much of a hard time selling a non-theistic worldview to non-theists, even more so than theist themselves.

Atheism, a lack of belief in a god, is the DEFAULT POSITION.
Religion is LEARNED. It is TAUGHT.

The group that is presenting a belief or an idea is the one that should be offering proof.
If you present a belief in a deity it is up to you to define, defend and present evidence.

(27-01-2016 11:14 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  For a theists such as myself it's relatively easy to maintain my theism with a considerable degree of confidence, because all the alternatives to it are so wanting, so premature, lacking actual defenders, that it becomes too easy to dismiss. It seems the most frequent promotion is for theist to trade in their beliefs, for a lack of belief. To go from believing in something, to believing in nothing. Trading a position of confidence, for aimlessness and confusion. That seems to be the best atheists have to offer, but it's terribly lacking.

Your desires have nothing to do with reality. It's not a question of what I want to believe, it is a matter of what will happen in reality. I wanted to keep believing in a god. The idea of some type of an afterlife might be fun, depends on which afterlife. But everything religion presented turned out to be bullshit and lies.

Believing in nothing? I believe in the real world, as best as I can perceive it. If I am presented with information I require evidence and facts to back it up. If said evidence is strong enough, my beliefs can be changed.

I don't understand your comment about aimless and confusion. Especially when your position of confidence is built on nothing but faith. If evidence for religious truth has been presented, I have yet to see it.

When shit happens, I deal with it. A religious person has to deal with it and ask why god let that shit happen. That seems pretty confusing to me.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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27-01-2016, 12:03 PM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2016 12:47 PM by ClydeLee.)
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 11:51 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(27-01-2016 11:22 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  It's what YOU are talking about. Remember you don't have the same mentality of everyone who agrees to things you agree with. You still use your personal experience of you or your community like it means more than it is.

Does it factor into other people like yourself, and their mindset? Yes. But that's a thing that not everyone has a mental desire or hangup about like you do. (Yes you do have a hangup about it which I would say when you bickered that IF you were an atheist you'd have to be a strong one in the case that you were certain opposed to something because you have an issue with "reactionary" ideas I guess)

The OP is about the staying power of Christianity. I'm merely sharing my own perspective as a Christian, and other believers like myself, as to why christianity resonates, or is able to hold it's ground, and often thrive and spread in other areas of the world, is lack of viable alternatives. And also why atheism is far from appealing, and offers very little in terms of non-theistic alternatives to theism, for those like me.

The other point I've been countering is the narrative that attempts to explain that decline of Christianity, which is primarily a western phenomenon, as the result of education, or some form of intellectual progress, where the facts don't actually support this narrative.

What makes a world view appealing though? You just jump guns to talk about that, you bring up this idea of world view as if it's presumably a thing everyone wants. A set under order world view.

I just don't see a certainty that people actually think in this manner at all. That the concept of, but what would my world view be is anyway a frequent crippling hole that prevents people from thinking of the concepts to a point of non-belief.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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27-01-2016, 12:34 PM
What has given Christianity its staying power?
Q1. Fear, and guilt
Q2. Not sure
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