Monday, 16 July 2012

Jesus Of The Future

Regular readers will perhaps remember Mr Ross Douthat, a man determined to bring about a return to Christian morality at the centre of public life through the tools of deception and oppression.  Well, he's back this week with another silly article, this time about how liberal Christianity seems to be on its last legs:
In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the [US] saw churchgoing increase... 
Practically every denomination — Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian — that has tried to adapt itself to contemporary liberal values has seen an Episcopal-style plunge in church attendance...
Both religious and secular liberals have been loath to recognize this crisis... Liberal commentators... consistently hail these forms of Christianity as a model for the future without reckoning with their decline.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this week's showing of "Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc", in which our brave Mr Douthat will once more again seek to silence poor women seeking abortion the very laws of logic themselves!  Drum-roll, please!

Notice any major denominations missed out the list above?  I'll give you a clue. Ross Douthat is Catholic.  He's spend hundreds of column inches on the complexities in interpreting Catholic doctrine when faced with modern life, and the importance in making the attempt.  He briefly mentions that liberal Catholics are having problems too, but he avoids any figures.

And why? Because the attendance drop amongst US Catholic congregations in the last 25 years is approximately 30%.  That's two and a half decades, so it's a bit apples and oranges to compare it to the figure Douthat quotes, but still, Douthat is arguing liberal Christianity is facing extinction based on loss rates not dissimilar to those of conservative Christianity (maybe the Baptists are going great guns, though).

Christianity is undergoing a recruitment crisis.  Christianity is having profound difficulty in persuading young people to join the church and ensure its relevance for another generation (something which, to be blunt, isn't something secular liberals really need to give a shit about; liberal Christianity is the only alternative the religion has to total irrelevance, but the choice isn't ours).  Trying to blame this on the reformers is a typical Douthat switcheroo.  That man never saw a logical fallacy he didn't like, just so long as it helped him in his quest to deny women autonomy rehabilitate Catholicism.  Presumably this is why he says something as stupid as this:
Few of the outraged critiques of the Vatican’s investigation of progressive nuns mentioned the fact that Rome had intervened because otherwise the orders in question were likely to disappear in a generation. 
Actually, we kept that one quiet as a favour to you, Ross, because the last thing the public needs right now is further evidence that the Vatican is far too busy keeping the church in one piece to worry about whether or not its actual doing its damn job.  The truth of that - and the horrible, despicable consequences of that truth - are far too obvious already.

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