Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Good or Bad: ' The church is on the brink of extinction' claims former Archbishop


Former Archbishop George Carey
 The former Archbishop George Carey has warned that the Church Of England is 'on the brink of extinction.' as he addressed an audience at the Shropshire Churches Conference. His concerns are that within a generation the Church could become obsolete  in the United Kingdom, as ministers and Church leaders have failed to introduce youth into its parishes and amount of people that consider themselves Christian has declined by 10% in as many years.  Not to mention Christianity has seen a loss of support from the courts, legislation and the government who can no longer support all Christian causes because of a wider mixed religious and secular society, including the introduction of same sex marriage.  Read full article.



Is this a good or bad thing?


This news is met with mixed response on the internet, many who see that the Church is dying because people no longer believe and that is a good thing, why try to uphold an institution that supports something people no longer believe in? The Church can no longer instil people with fear and thus retain its congregation like it may have done in the past. However some feel that this exposes that people have lost a sense of morality and spiritual fulfilment, and on the extreme end :that the country now worships the gods of money and possession. This argument has been had several times in several different formats, the arguments are that being religious does not make you good, being secular does not make you bad, therefore the Church is not necessary to instil morality.  However, I have said on several occasions, despite not being Christian, I feel the Church offers a genuine service that secular society has yet to replace. The church is valuable and whether you believe in god or not, the Church should be seen  as a positive aspect of our community.

Members meet up in All Saints Church,  Gosforth UK
Firstly, people believe that a dwindling church  means that religion will soon become extinct in the UK are not viewing the whole picture. Christianity, in particular,will remain in this country  for centuries to come. Numbers may dwindle but it will still be seen as the main religion of our country. The difference is however, that with the removal of Christianity from state schools and from our everyday life, Christianity becomes a genuine choice.  It can not offend those who don't believe because as the church becomes smaller so does it's power and the power of the Church is something people have always disliked.  In most cases the issue with Christianity is its indoctrination, but as I have outlined, despite recent reports on proselytizing in schools, evangelism in the UK is marginal. You have to opt in to evangelism, again, you make the choice.

I can understand a Christians frustration at viewing the country they live in as losing a sense of god or trying to reject it, but the way of life we have upheld for many years is garnered towards equality, tolerance, scientific progression and even when society secular or other wise doesn't necessarily deliver on our beliefs we still uphold them, it is still at our core. Religion has become of the face of the opposition to this innate desire and that is why I think so many will not be displeased to here that the Church is on the brink of extinction. In s
hort, people are moving forward and feel the church is not.

So why then, after all that, do I still think the church is positive and important part of our community. Not only does church bring people together, it gives people a chance, those who have really hit rock bottom find comfort. Its no joke that people are born again, people that were a shell of them selves become saved and I don't mean that in a religious sense although I'm sure that happens as well, but people that would otherwise not be here are still with us because the church is a place of refuge. It's not just a story that saves people, it is the socialising, the events, and the belonging. The church offers an ongoing program of support in all aspects of peoples lives because belief fills people with the desire to help, not monetary incentive.  You don't have to sign up for a church you can just walk in and receive help, the program never ends and extends way passed just the aspect of your life you struggled with. I have known people who have tried to take their own lives or been caught up in drug addiction and the church has changed them.  Now, I know there are voluntary services that can provide people with help but where these may have worked for some and failed for others the church has succeeded and vice versa. So why celebrate the removal of this service?   Does it matter that religion is part of their recovery? I don't know. It's not for me to say, I am not them, I have only seen and heard the changes. So while I know its not the only place that changes lives, it is a place that does and should remain open.

Also even on the less extreme side of things, the church offers  companionship to people and a sense of community. Something that atheists are tapping into now with things like 'Athiest-mega churches' but currently these are far and few between and I suspect something of a novelty ( find more about secular meet ups here). However yes maybe it could grow, but for now I do feel sad that this support network that does a lot of good for people could be removed and hope that it isn't as long as religion remains a choice then I have no problem with that choice being available.



Read more:

Religion in modern Britian Ten recent conflicts http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9074643/Religion-in-modern-Britain-ten-recent-conflicts.html