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They say that Church attendance is dropping, why do you think that is?
TooCute4Words - 25-2-2008 at 01:17

I heard this at school a few times and from a few friends who have mums and dads who used to go to church, but don't really bother anymore because the number of people turning up is getting smaller and smaller.

This is in England btw. I guess things may be different elsewhere. What do you think this is down to?

Perhaps it's easier to pray at home, while listening to Eminem on your iPod


SRD - 25-2-2008 at 08:31

I think it's because the church has become less relevant to society as a whole, failing to keep up with the changes in morality, it seems they are either following on behind (pun not intended) or refusing to acknowledge that anything has changed and turning more and more inward looking.


janet - 25-2-2008 at 09:25

I've said for years that church attendance isn't dropping - it's just that the people who went but did not attend, aren't going any more.

EG people who went because it was "the right thing to do" rather than because of a personal faith, aren't going any more. :}


SRD - 25-2-2008 at 11:26

I disagree janet, there are far more people who go 'to be seen' in order to get their children into the local faith school for instance than ever before, from personal experience it is far more a matter of people ceasing to believe. In my childhood my maternal grandfather was unusual in his atheism and consequent non-attendance at church, the majority of people 'believed in god' in some manner or the other and attended church for the benefit of their souls. It is the influx of many other religions after WWII which has encouraged a 'Pick and Mix' attitude coupled with an atheism attached to the socialism that encouraged so many to become teachers at that time (that atheism was obvious in the teachers of the 60s and 70s), and when capitalism and greed became the watchword of the 80s it hastened the demise of regular church going and the demand, rarely met, for services outside the small amount of leisure time remaining (i.e. Sundays) meant that people, who no longer believed in eternal damnation, ceased to find church attendance compulsory. If you add to that the modern insistence of dumbing down the services so one can't even experience spiritual uplifting on a more earthly scale from the poetry and music the church hasn't really got much chance.


LSemmens - 25-2-2008 at 12:47

I'm only talking about Christian Churches here:
In some abominations (denominations - ok?) this may well be the case where, in others, numbers are actually growing. The reasons for this are many. It seems that the churches that are growing here in OZ are those that are preaching relevant Christianity and that does not necessarily mean that they compromise their beliefs to attract the "sinners". Many still call sin by its name. Those that seem to be diminishing are those that that promote a sanitised religion that is politically correct and tends to water down the teaching of scripture.


Badgergirl - 25-2-2008 at 13:35

I think that if it's true, then it's a good thing.
People should only go to church if they really really want to, not just "to be seen" or "because everyone else does".

My Gran was put off Church for life because she was dragged twice every Sunday as a child.

I on the other hand, came to my faith as a teenager, and was never forced into any religion. (actually, my family thought my Paganism was a phase, and teased me for it!)
Churchgoing, Mootgoing, Mosquegoing etc ought to be a matter of choice.

My boyfriend (with whom I have many debates) Hates all religion with a passion, and has a less than healthy attitude to my Faith. I put this down partly to his Boarding School, who dragged him to Church every Sunday.


scholar - 25-2-2008 at 18:31

Quote:
Originally posted by Badgergirl
My Gran was put off Church for life because she was dragged twice every Sunday as a child.

My boyfriend (with whom I have many debates) Hates all religion . . . . I put this down partly to his Boarding School, who dragged him to Church every Sunday.
I am of the opinion that people who who give this reason are mistaken. Follow my thinking, and see if you agree.

If someone is compelled to do something, does that mean they will reject it later?

If children are required to eat something at mealtimes, will they not eat at mealtimes later in life?

If children are required to do some chores, does this cause them to reject the very idea of doing work when their parents can no longer compell them?

Children are required to go to school. Is it the case that, since children are required to go to school, no one ever chooses to get schooling voluntarily after that?


I think the reason lies elsewhere. A person who enjoys, embraces, is enriched in, and celebrates an activity that they are initially required to do, will continue in it. A person who resists, rejects, devalues, and dislikes an activity while they participate in it will not return to it.

I can think of activities, in addition to those mentioned above, where the path taken is individual. I know of kids required to learn an instrument. At the time, they'd rather be playing or watching cartoons. But, after they have learned to play the piano or guitar well enough to enjoy it, they are glad they were required to learn. Or, they dislike the instrument and abandon it. Kids may dislike a sport that requires some degree of physical fitness and practiced skill, at first. They get breathless quickly, they can't move or catch the ball well--then, they get fit enough and skilled enough that they can have some success at the game. But one enjoys it for decades, another chosses to stop playing when his parents or school don't require it. They are alike, in being compelled at the start; how much they enjoy it, and whether they continue when they are no longer pushed into it, is up to them.


marymary100 - 25-2-2008 at 19:03

Quote:
Originally posted by scholar

If someone is compelled to do something, does that mean they will reject it later?

Very often
Quote:
Originally posted by scholar

If children are required to eat something at mealtimes, will they not eat at mealtimes later in life?


My cousin who was forced to eat tomatoes at mealtimes, still steadfastly refuses them now he's an adult.

Quote:
Originally posted by scholar

If children are required to do some chores, does this cause them to reject the very idea of doing work when their parents can no longer compell them?

Did your parents force you to tidy up? Do you force your son to keep things in order?
Quote:
Originally posted by scholar

Children are required to go to school. Is it the case that, since children are required to go to school, no one ever chooses to get schooling voluntarily after that?


Sometimes school is the worst place for young people. It isn't appropriate for everyone.

Foisting one's religious beliefs on others is, in my opinion, at best worthless and at worst abuse. Blind faith is no faith at all.


janet - 25-2-2008 at 19:10

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100Blind faith is no faith at all.


Agreed.

To me, faith in an adult who is able to make such an assent, needs to have the assent of the mind as well as the heart.

I don't mean to deride anyone's faith.

But I don't see questioning as a detriment to faith; I don't see intellectual endeavour, even about issues of faith, as a detriment to faith.

I know there are people who don't agree - we heard of more than one pastor who wasn't pleased that members of their flocks were studying theology.

From where I'm sitting, faith embraces the entirety of the human person, mind and heart (and body and soul), not just a part of it...


scholar - 25-2-2008 at 19:44

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Quote:
Originally posted by scholar
If someone is compelled to do something, does that mean they will reject it later?
Very often

Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. It depends on the attitude they themselves form, NOT on the fact that they are initially required to do something.

It is the nature of life that many activities are difficult, unpleasant, or poorly done initially, or that a person is not attracted to them. Requiring a person to do them for a time does not cause the person to reject it later--as can be seen in the fact that some people embrace and freely continue in activities which they were once compelled to do. It is not caused by the initial requirement (or all who are required to do it would then want to quit); it is the person's own choice, not the initial compulsion, that makes the difference.

Surely, MaryMary, you've known people who have had the experience of doing something they did not want to do, and who later were glad they were pushed into it, because they came to enjoy it, or to be glad to have the knowledge or the skill.:):):)


marymary100 - 25-2-2008 at 20:19

Surely scholar you can accept that people think differently to you...........


scholar - 25-2-2008 at 20:43

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Surely scholar you can accept that people think differently to you...........
Yes, I do.

But, if one makes the generalisation that making a person do something (initially) causes them to not want to do it on their own later, I would think there would be so many counter-examples that a person would be likely to reject the concept upon consideration.

Hundreds of millions of Americans were compelled, by law, to go to school when they were young. If compelling someone to go to school causes them to reject school later, then there are hundreds of millions of Americans who would not go to school again. But, wait--some of them DID choose to continue to have further schooling.

How many people were compelled to do some unpleasant task when they were young? Does that mean they won't do unpleasant tasks, later?

I appeal to your own, personal experience, Marymary. Was there never anything in your life that a parent required you to do, which you would rather not have done, but you now choose to do it of your own will? A game, a sport, a chore?

Gallery--is my experience, in my own life and in lives I've observed, so unusual? In Britain, does everyone give up all the things your parents made you do (washing your face, changing your clothes, etc.) after they no longer enforce them?
[Come to think of it, I haven't seen any of you face to face. Do I know that you wash your face, change your clothes at least every few days, etc.? scared_stiff scared_stiff)


marymary100 - 25-2-2008 at 20:46

The things I do now, I have never been "compelled" to do.


Badgergirl - 25-2-2008 at 23:46

Ok, I'll phrase it differently.

To a Child, in 1930's-1940's Wales. Church is BORING.

To a Child in 1990's-21st C Boarding School, (in a school full of kids he hates), Church is BORING.

I used to be sick when I ate Sprouts. My mum stopped cooking them for me. I didn't like them, so she did not force her sprout eating habit on me. Now, I am grateful she didn't feed me those, because I NOW feel compelled to see if my tastes have changed.

As a 6 yr old. I BEGGED to quit recorder lessons. I got moved down instead because my school wouldn't let me.
I suffered greatley from my lack of talent until I was 11, and now never want to see the damnded thing again.

Does this help?


Dreamweaver - 26-2-2008 at 00:23

Quote:
Originally posted by scholar[/]

I appeal to your own, personal experience, Marymary. Was there never anything in your life that a parent required you to do, which you would rather not have done, but you now choose to do it of your own will? A game, a sport, a chore?

Gallery--is my experience, in my own life and in lives I've observed, so unusual? In Britain, does everyone give up all the things your parents made you do (washing your face, changing your clothes, etc.) after they no longer enforce them?
[Come to think of it, I haven't seen any of you face to face. Do I know that you wash your face, change your clothes at least every few days, etc.? scared_stiff scared_stiff)


There is a lot in what you say Scholar but if our children accepted what we say as truth there would be still chid miners/canaries in our coal pits etc, but we all learn in life!!

If we don't, we are surely going backward in our belief!


scholar - 26-2-2008 at 01:46

Badgergirl has correctly perceived that I was merely targeting the logic in saying, "I don't like such-and-such because I was made to do it, earlier in life."

Being made to do something early in life does not CAUSE dislike of it later. As Badgergirl analyzed in her recorder playing, she disliked having to do something for which she had little talent, which resulted in her being moved down.

I think those who are compelled to do something they dislike, AND WHO CONTINUE TO DISLIKE IT, will not want to do it later. Anyone who continues to dislike something will not want to do it later, whether they were ever compelled to do it or not. The problem is not in the compulsion. Being compelled to do something gives one opportunities to feel resentment at the unwelcome acctivity, but it also gives opportunities for a person to learn to play ball well enough for the others on the team to be glad you're on the team with them; it can get a person beyond practising scales, to playing enjoyable songs; it can get the bookworm to enjoy volleyball, which would leave him breathless and exhausted if he did not stick with it.

Parents and teachers have a special responsibility in training children. We don't want them to grow into adults who have to be coaxed into every activity, who give up easily, and who will crumble if they ever have a job that requires things they don't like to do. But, we want them to take initiative, to have a sense of responsibility, and to have flexibility between choosing their own way, or following instructions, according to what is best in the circumstances.:)


the bear - 26-2-2008 at 02:32

Perhaps people are loosing faith and turning away from attending church, to preserve thier personal faith.

As various churches and thier leaders hack away at the very beliefs that the church was founded on in an attempt to be seen as "modern" and "liberal" they only undermine the rock that the faithful were drawn to.

A lot of things in the modern "pick and mix" attidtudes held by the clergy are being rejected by the devout.


Regards the Bear


marymary100 - 26-2-2008 at 07:14

Perhaps people are turning away from church to get away from non-accepting, judgemental, holier-than-thou types who unfortunately still think they know what's best.

There is a big difference between compulsion and encouragement and I think that good parents and teachers recognise the difference.


janet - 26-2-2008 at 08:49

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Perhaps people are turning away from church to get away from non-accepting, judgemental, holier-than-thou types who unfortunately still think they know what's best.

There is a big difference between compulsion and encouragement and I think that good parents and teachers recognise the difference.


Yes.


janet - 26-2-2008 at 08:51

I'm interested in this thread that people seem to be saying (forgive me if I'm wrong) that some of the reasons people are not going to church are the lack of mystery, sense of moment, and adherence to old beliefs - is that fair?

If so, in some ways, I agree with you (as of course, would people like Newman and the rest of the Oxford Movement... I don't think that's the entire cause but I think it may well be part of it.


LSemmens - 26-2-2008 at 15:40

As a child I was forced to go to church, and sit still! Neither of these activities were pleasing to me. A discussion with my sisters who are much older than I recently highlighted this fact and prompted me to ask if I were a child now, whether I would have been diagnosed with ADHD, both vehemently said, "YES!" Eldest sister has grandchildren with it, so knows what she is talking about.

Now, without any "treatment", for ADHD or any other condition, I quite happily sit quietly and even willingly sit in church for a services that have been known to last for up to three hours.

I tend to agree with your last statement, Janet. I would even go further and say that there is also a lack of commitment in the general populace. Time was when people would go out of their way to help, now it's all about what they can get, rather than give. You only get out of Church what you are prepared to put into it. If you go to be "entertained" then you may leave quite disappointed. If, however, you go to "contribute" (and I'm not talking about money here) then you may also find it to be very "entertaining".


scholar - 26-2-2008 at 18:40

Janet, how do you mean "sense of moment"? confused2


marymary100 - 26-2-2008 at 18:52

Moment of sense? :D


janet - 26-2-2008 at 22:24

Sense of mystery, then.


scholar - 26-2-2008 at 22:31

Thank you, Janet.kewl_glasses


the bear - 27-2-2008 at 02:40

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Perhaps people are turning away from church to get away from non-accepting, judgemental, holier-than-thou types who unfortunately still think they know what's best.

There is a big difference between compulsion and encouragement and I think that good parents and teachers recognise the difference.



As a parent would you expose your children to teachings / practices that you believe to be wrong or sacreligious course you would'nt.

Its not a matter of being judgemental or holier-than thou its a matter of giving guidance, and having a belief in the truth, faith based on principles and practices that your not prepared to be compromised on, hence withdrawal from attending services

Church leaders that waterdown the creeds that have been held sacred for generations are orchestrating thier own demise.


Regards the Bear


LSemmens - 27-2-2008 at 13:17

Quote:
As a parent would you expose your children to teachings / practices that you believe to be wrong or sacreligious course you would'nt.

Its not a matter of being judgemental or holier-than thou its a matter of giving guidance, and having a belief in the truth, faith based on principles and practices that your not prepared to be compromised on, hence withdrawal from attending services
A wise parent will always encourage their offspring to study their beliefs and understand why it they believe as they do. This holds true for religion and any other of our mores. Our children were always willing to accept our decision on various topics because they knew that we were willing to investigate their requests and then provide a valid reason why, or why not. They were also given the opportunity to "argue their case".

Quote:
Church leaders that waterdown the creeds that have been held sacred for generations are orchestrating thier own demise.
A sermon by one of our pastors, many years back, illustrated this point quite well. He filled a glass with cordial and then proceeded to add water until the glass overflowed. He kept on adding water until all that was left was a liquid which, to all intents and purposes, was water. His point was - If you preach a watered down gospel, you will produce watered down Christians who preach a watered down gospel a which produces... and so on.


scholar - 3-3-2008 at 03:50

Quote:
"The Solemn Declaration of 1893 puts the Anglican Church [of Canada, ed. by Scholar] under the umbrella of the Church of England and says that it will not change holy script, it will deliver it to the people as it's written ... and the vows that this church took to be part of that.

"They've gone against that. But those vows are important. Those things matter to us.

"We are being penalized by the very church that has moved away from those fundamental beliefs."
From this article about St. Hilda's.

O Bear, O Leigh, this sounds as if it is in line with what you are saying (not that you were pointing to the specific doctrinal points at issue here, but the general principle of changing the message).


the bear - 3-3-2008 at 04:46

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Perhaps people are turning away from church to get away from non-accepting, judgemental, holier-than-thou types who unfortunately still think they know what's best.

There is a big difference between compulsion and encouragement and I think that good parents and teachers recognise the difference.


The example of St Hildas and its parishoners shows what in reality is happening in many places, members of the congregation are voting with thier feet. They are not holier-than-thou types just strong in thier faith with a need to preserve the true word of the bible that has for generations sustained them.

Regards the Bear


SRD - 3-3-2008 at 08:32

LS, regarding your 'parable' of the cordial and water; of course the meaning could be read so that even that which is unpalateable and bad for you can be watered down to such a state as to be refreshing and useful.


LSemmens - 3-3-2008 at 11:16

Yes, but that does not make it any better.