What has given Christianity its staying power?
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27-01-2016, 12:38 PM
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.


You seem to understand why Christianity has such a staying power: it helps people deal with their shitty lives for which they have very little personal control. So they find comfort in a 'compassionate' God who, even if he won't help them during their time on earth as he says he will, promises a pain-free and joyous eternal afterlife. This is an appealing idea to human beings across the globe.

I get the feeling from this post that you are not really a Christian with strong beliefs, but instead are searching for a "non-theistic alternative" that will make you feel as warm and fuzzy as Christianity does. Well, it doesn't exist. It's why Christianity was invented in the first place!

"Why hast thou forsaken me, o deity whose existence I doubt..." - Dr. Sheldon Cooper
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27-01-2016, 01:03 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 10:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  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.

Do you have anything to cite that it is the less educated leaving the faith? I've always read the opposite.


(27-01-2016 10:17 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  There's a false narrative that many atheists seem to believe in regards to the decline and fall of Christianity, in spite of a variety of countering stats. This false narrative can't survive unless one ignores these pesky facts. The belief that Christianity's decline is a result of people becoming enlightened, more informed, better educated, waking up from a deep slumber, is just a myth. It probably helps coddle the egos of many atheists, but that's about it.

The reality here, the driving factors are a bit more complicated, and more interesting.

It is true that there are a lot of factors, but education and religion do correlate negatively.


(27-01-2016 10:12 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  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.

This doesn't describe people converting to Christianity or Islam in African countries, where they already were religious. I suppose in these cases, it's more of an issue of force, bribery, or indoctrination.

Either way people in these countries tend to be more religious than in the west.
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27-01-2016, 01:06 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
Related question to people in Europe:

As Christianity began to decline in your region, was it met with loud opposition, or did it go quietly? I'm sure there's not one simple answer, but I'm curious about everyone's experiences.
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27-01-2016, 01:11 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 11:58 AM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  Atheism, a lack of belief in a god, is the DEFAULT POSITION.
Religion is LEARNED. It is TAUGHT.

Only in the sense that all beliefs are learned and taught. Only in the sense that we could say a child fresh out of the vagina lacks beliefs in everything, and steadily learns and acquires them along the way, gathered together form a a variety of intuitive factors, environmental and social factors, biological dispositions etc…

Quote: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.

Only in the sense that anyone holding a worldview whether theistic or non-theistic, seeking to present it, has the burden of proof. If you lack a belief in any particular worldview, godless or otherwise, than I guess you can excuse yourself from this.

Quote: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.

A lack of belief, lack of a worldview doesn’t correspond to beliefs about reality, it indicates a confusion about it. It’s not declaration of whats real, but rather a confession than you’re unable to tell what’s real, in any ontological sense. It’s a man who answer a question of what reality amounts to, with an I don’t know.

It amounts to man who see the world as a series of dots, but find himself unable to connect them. His presentation of reality as result remains fractured, and partial at best. He doesn’t offer a competing portrait of the world, but is rather crippled to the extent that he can’t put the brush to canvas. His take on reality is aimless, absent of form, or meaning, that it serves him best to declare his absence of belief, while he waits for Godot.

Quote: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.

And you likely never will, for reasons that are likely more deeper then you’d care to imagine.

"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, 01:46 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 01:11 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  A lack of belief, lack of a worldview doesn’t correspond to beliefs about reality, it indicates a confusion about it. It’s not declaration of whats real, but rather a confession than you’re unable to tell what’s real, in any ontological sense. It’s a man who answer a question of what reality amounts to, with an I don’t know.

Which is far better and more honest than -I don't know, therefore god.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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27-01-2016, 01:52 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 01:06 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Related question to people in Europe:

As Christianity began to decline in your region, was it met with loud opposition, or did it go quietly? I'm sure there's not one simple answer, but I'm curious about everyone's experiences.

I'm not sure if one can say that christianity in Poland is in decline. Only 54% of believers are attending mass regularly but church influence could hardly be greater. There may be quite small number of people who take Bible seriously but people whose thinking is in line with church nonsense are common. One should also remember about blasphemy law and church backed manichean worldview where is place only for us: True Poles - nationalists, catholics, anti-semites and anti-communists and them: judeo-liberal-homo-commies.

So in Poland if catholicism is fading away (which is possible if one ascribe to line of thinking saying that empires, etc. like to go with a bang) then it certainly doesn't do it quietly.

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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27-01-2016, 01:57 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 01:11 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(27-01-2016 11:58 AM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  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.

And you likely never will, for reasons that are likely more deeper then you’d care to imagine.


Sure, just ignore the man behind the curtain. Facepalm


You don't have any evidence, you are just too ignorant or delusional to be aware of that. But seeing as how you prefer vague analogies and proclamations over delivering the actual goods, let me rephrase that for you.


Not only is the emperor naked, he forgot to wipe.

[Image: E3WvRwZ.gif]
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27-01-2016, 02:11 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
Generation of ingrained anti-intellectualism mixed with a lack of widely available education with a focus on logic and critical thinking.

When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.
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27-01-2016, 02:19 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 01:11 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  A lack of belief, lack of a worldview doesn’t correspond to beliefs about reality, it indicates a confusion about it. It’s not declaration of whats real, but rather a confession than you’re unable to tell what’s real, in any ontological sense. It’s a man who answer a question of what reality amounts to, with an I don’t know.

You are equating atheism with a lack of worldview. That is incorrect and I have pointed that out several times now.

Apistevism/realism is a secular worldview. It is an understanding based in evidence and facts. Reality is what we can perceive and measure, analyze and understand. This is a rational, secular worldview.

And as an aside, the argument that "If god is not real, nothing is real" reeks of presuppositionalist apologetics.

(27-01-2016 01:11 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:If evidence for religious truth has been presented, I have yet to see it.
And you likely never will, for reasons that are likely more deeper then you’d care to imagine.

Hmm. Something is getting deep all right, but it's not my imagination.

What evidence should I reconsider?
The various contradictory holy books?
Philosophical mind games that have been refuted a thousand times?
Someone else's personal experience?
Miracles, performed by everyone and verified by no one?

That kind of evidence does not inspire confidence...

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, 02:20 PM
RE: What has given Christianity its staying power?
(27-01-2016 01:57 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Not only is the emperor naked, he forgot to wipe.

Shocking


Dude. I did not need that picture. Big Grin

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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