Why are people less religious in the 21st century?
Alot of new age teaching has given lots of people false beliefs about the afterlife so they don't worry about the 4 last things---------DEATH, JUDGEMENT, HEAVEN ,HELL
(08-23-2011, 12:48 PM)Someone1776 Wrote:
(08-23-2011, 12:45 PM)Gakmo Wrote: Funny, soldiers who go in theater,

There are no atheists in foxholes.  

I wish that were true, I really do. I am not disagreeing with you just to disagree. However, I was watching a documentary about the current excursion to Afghanistan, and as a group of Marines were about to head out on 'patrol' the officer led a platoon prayer. Only half bowed heads. The other half were disinterested and seemed bothered. This cliche' appears to me to be a neo conservative platitude.

Then again I have never been in combat so I wouldn't really know. Based on the degradation of this culture, again, I don't buy that line.
There are lots of atheists in foxholes unfortunatly. 
I certainly did not mean every soldier!  My husband has been deployed to the middle east three times now and each time he has come back commenting on how many men/boys start to at least question eternal life, the existence of God, etc.  But you are certainly correct, there are many soldiers who continue to choose not to care.  I was only trying to point out that many people (not all) are more likely to question religion/God when faced with death.  My apologies for being so confusing.
We seem to be descending into a sort of Dark Age.  People go through their lives with their minds and hearts turned off.  To me, boredom is the real interesting thing about the modern epoch.  Despite the beauty of creation and the unprecedented availability of knowledge and the wide array of opportunities presented, many just don't care.  After twenty-five years on this planet, if you haven't yet found anything worth living for... I give it up.  I just don't understand.  Many today have no interest in simply bettering themselves for their own sake.  This modern lethargy and ennui is most troubling.  I just don't get it.  :shrug:
(08-23-2011, 04:49 PM)Roger the Shrubber Wrote: To me, boredom is the real interesting thing about the modern epoch.  Despite the beauty of creation and the unprecedented availability of knowledge and the wide array of opportunities presented, many just don't care. 

Pascal muses below that this goes deep. I think we'd be like the king or "persons of high position" he speaks of, who have many amusements, yet are miserable.

Blaise Pascal (~1660) Wrote:139. Diversion. -- [...] I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber. A man who has enough to live on, if he knew how to stay with pleasure at home, would not leave it to go to sea or to besiege a town. A commission in the army would not be bought so dearly, but that it is found insufferable not to budge from the town; and men only seek conversation and entering games, because they cannot remain with pleasure at home.

But, on further consideration, when, after finding the cause of all our ills, I have sought to discover the reason of it, I have found that there is one very real reason, namely, the natural poverty of our feeble and mortal condition, so miserable that nothing can comfort us when we think of it closely.

[...] Hence it comes that men so much love noise and stir; hence it comes that the prison is so horrible a punishment; hence it comes that the pleasure of solitude is a thing incomprehensible. And it is, in fact, the greatest source of happiness in the condition of kings that men try incessantly to divert them and to procure for them all kinds of pleasures.

The king is surrounded by persons whose only thought is to divert the king and to prevent his thinking of self. For he is unhappy, king though he be, if he think of himself.

This is all that men have been able to discover to make themselves happy. And those who philosophise on the matter, and who think men unreasonable for spending a whole day in chasing a hare which they would not have bought, scarce know our nature. The hare in itself would not screen us from the sight of death and calamities; but the chase, which turns away our attention from these, does screen us.

The advice given to Pyrrhus, to take the rest which he was about to seek with so much labour, was full of difficulties.

To bid a man live quietly is to bid him live happily. It is to advise him to be in a state perfectly happy, in which he can think at leisure without finding therein a cause of distress. This is to misunderstand nature.

[...] They have a secret instinct which impels them to seek amusement and occupation abroad, and which arises from the sense of their constant unhappiness. They have another secret instinct, a remnant of the greatness of our original nature, which teaches them that happiness in reality consists only in rest and not in stir. And of these two contrary instincts they form within themselves a confused idea, which hides itself from their view in the depths of their soul, inciting them to aim at rest through excitement, and always to fancy that the satisfaction which they have not will come to them, if, by surmounting whatever difficulties confront them, they can thereby open the door to rest.

[...] the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is sufficient to amuse him.

But will you say what object has he in all this? The pleasure of bragging tomorrow among his friends that he has played better than another. So others sweat in their own rooms to show to the learned that they have solved a problem in algebra, which no one had hitherto been able to solve. Many more expose themselves to extreme perils, in my opinion as foolishly, in order to boast afterwards that they have captured a town. Lastly, others wear themselves out in studying all these things, not in order to become wiser, but only in order to prove that they know them; and these are the most senseless of the band, since they are so knowingly, whereas one may suppose of the others that, if they knew it, they would no longer be foolish.

This man spends his life without weariness in playing every day for a small stake. Give him each morning the money he can win each day, on condition he does not play; you make him miserable. It will perhaps be said that he seeks the amusement of play and not the winnings. Make him, then, play for nothing; he will not become excited over it and will feel bored. It is, then, not the amusement alone that he seeks; a languid and passionless amusement will weary him. He must get excited over it and deceive himself by the fancy that he will be happy to win what he would not have as a gift on condition of not playing; and he must make for himself an object of passion, and excite over it his desire, his anger, his fear, to obtain his imagined end, as children are frightened at the face they have blackened.

Whence comes it that this man, who lost his only son a few months ago, or who this morning was in such trouble through being distressed by lawsuits and quarrels, now no longer thinks of them? Do not wonder; he is quite taken up in looking out for the boar which his dogs have been hunting so hotly for the last six hours. He requires nothing more. However full of sadness a man may be, he is happy for the time, if you can prevail upon him to enter into some amusement; and however happy a man may be, he will soon be discontented and wretched, if he be not diverted and occupied by some passion or pursuit which prevents weariness from overcoming him. Without amusement there is no joy; with amusement there is no sadness. And this also constitutes the happiness of persons in high position, that they have a number of people to amuse them and have the power to keep themselves in this state.

Consider this. What is it to be superintendent, chancellor, first president, but to be in a condition wherein from early morning a large number of people come from all quarters to see them, so as not to leave them an hour in the day in which they can think of themselves? And when they are in disgrace and sent back to their country houses, where they lack neither wealth nor servants to help them on occasion, they do not fail to be wretched and desolate, because no one prevents them from thinking of themselves.
(08-23-2011, 10:36 AM)SouthpawLink Wrote: I'm sure there are quite a few reasons why people are less religious now than they were only 60 years ago.  I think a few would be:

1. The perception that science has "disproved" religious claims or has unmasked superstitions;

2. Liberalism: the idea that we're completely autonomous and free, so much so that we don't need religion because we ourselves should run our own lives (19th century);

3. Moral relativism: the idea that truth is neither objective or universal, but relative to culture and time, so what's true for you may not be true for me, and all truths are equal in value;

4. Tolerance: the idea that every religion or claim is somehow worthy of respect, so those ideas (religions) which claim to be exclusively true are deemed as intolerant (which is "bad");

5. While not true of everyone, parents simply have not passed on the Faith to their children.  I know quite a few people who believe that religion is a matter of choice that children should make once they've grown up; this denotes a lack of faith on the part of those whom I know, because what person would refuse to teach their children the truth?  At the heart of this is the idea that life is full of choices (Which shoes should I wear today?), religion being one of them.  "Have it your way!"

6. Corrupt individuals give the impression of a corrupt organization; bishops didn't do what they should have done with bad priests (report them to the police rather than send them to therapy).

Absolutely agreed, but all of those "symptoms" have their source, and the root cause of the behavior of man in the modern era stems directly from the Protestant Revolt against Christ and His Church in the 16th century.  It was from this initial revolution against God's order that the door was opened to remove God first from the authority of the secular realm and then the significance in the personal realm.  From the Protestant Revolt grew the clear errors of the so-called "Enlightenment," Freemasonry which spread its errors like a blanket across the world, spreading to the New World and then igniting the sentiments that began the Godless French Revolution and the usurpation of the monarchial form of government in favor of broken democracy and republicanism.

Therefore, stemming from the 16th century we see a systematic decline in the morality of mankind, and today we see mankind probably more lost than ever before, perhaps even rivaling the era before the Great Flood.  The deeper the wounds go the harder it will be to turn back to proper order.  I personally believe that this world and the systems that have "evolved" from the Protestant Revolt have corrupted mankind to such an extent that the only answer is, just as before the Deluge, a great chastisement of mankind. 

Perhaps we have already undergone this chastisement, only spiritually this time with the closing of the Second Vatican Council and the ecclesiastical coup d'etat that usurped the official structure of the Church, leaving the remnants of the true Church still in place, only chained to the false religion and in eclipse as altars were crushed, habits and veils were removed and a Protestant Mass instituted.  This could very well be the "Great Chastisement" prophesied for latter times, for when the Church is no longer operating as its true self, then millions of souls are lost, which is what is wrought from a chastisement, whether physical or spiritual, the end result is still the same: damnation.  But I personally believe that the institution of the Novus Ordo is just the first phase of the chastisement, for mankind, unfortunately, must be physically purged for the proper order to return.

In conclusion, nearly the last 500 years of human history has been a steady, systematic decline until we have now reached very close to the bottom.  There may still be many who believe in a Creator and still many who claim to be "Christians," but those terms and definitions have been redefined to the point of complete loss of former meaning.  It all began with the spirit of revolution and protesting: Protestantism - and this spirit is now paramount within the official structure of the Church herself, to the point that the Church no longer recognizes her own tradition and the majority of people who claim the religion of Catholicism were steamrolled by the confusion wrought by the proponents of the New Order and now bound by blind obedience that they no longer recognize it either.  Soon something has got to give.
I feel like more people are apathetic than they used to be, there was a lot of heresy in history but people usually cared about some form of religion. But then again there were a lot of people who held “religious sentiment” but didn’t live up to it....
(08-23-2011, 10:36 AM)SouthpawLink Wrote: 5. While not true of everyone, parents simply have not passed on the Faith to their children.  I know quite a few people who believe that religion is a matter of choice that children should make once they've grown up; this denotes a lack of faith on the part of those whom I know, because what person would refuse to teach their children the truth?  At the heart of this is the idea that life is full of choices (Which shoes should I wear today?), religion being one of them.  "Have it your way!”

This point of view makes no sense to me. Your parents are your first and most influential teachers. I they don’t teach you anything about religion, and convey the sentiment that they are apathetic, their kids probably will be too.
(08-23-2011, 10:20 AM)Aragon Wrote: Being relatively new to Catholicism I might just have a fair amount of convert zeal, but I find it hard to comprehend how people can not care about religion. I can have a limited amount of respect for atheists because, although I disagree with their conclusions, they at least grappled with the "big questions". Most people however seem to be indifferent towards questions about God, morality, and the meaning of life. Most modern people seem to see religion as irrelevant to their life.

What are the causes of this?
## But are  people less religious  ? We may be aware of all kinds of problems today - but are we equally of the problems of the Church in the past ? If we overlook those problems, by not knowing of them, the problems we know of in our time, will look correspondingly blacker. It's easy to talk of "The Ages of Faith" - but how many who do, are aware of the Mass of St. Secaire ? It's not as devout as it may sound - it was a Mass for the dead offered while they were alive, as a form of black magic. And it was as really a part of the mediaeval scene as much better things which are perhaps more obvious. Satanolatry & atheism & sacrilege did not begin after 1500, but before. Not going to Mass is more widespread now, but it did not begin with V2, or even in the 19th century, or even after 1500 - it's a pre-Reformation habit.  Technology has given new forms to old problems - abortion is a case in point - but how many current problems are really new ? Not superstition, or running after visions & prophecies. Alarms about Antichrist, & prophecies of the end of the world, were known in the 15th century and before; they used to be very common, especially in times of crisis like the Schism of 1378-1417.   

Many problems we don't have, so it is easy not to notice their absence - problems such as simony, or the indulgence traffic, or the holding of sees *in commendam*, or the holding of several benefices at once, with the revenue being "farmed" on behalf of the holder of them.  Younger sons are no longer pushed into joining the clergy by their families, regardless of whether they have a vocation. Blue blood is no longer a recommendation for a mitre, while better men of lower birth are ignored. Bishops reside in their sees, instead of dancing attendance on royal courts. Nations can no longer manipulate the Catholic Faith in order for their empires to grow; so the Faith has to be received, not because politicians find it convenient for it to be held, but on its own terms. Nor are Jews in danger of being massacred, as they used to be. The US & Antipodes & Africa have been spared most of these problems, but they happened time and again in European Catholicism. 

What *is* new is that other religions are now part of Western life; and that atheism has lost the social stigma that used to accompany it, certainly in Europe. I believe this a healthy development, because a Church that is not confronted by awkward questions & awkward questioners can grow soft from having too easy a life. Atheists keep us on our mettle, by forcing us to ask searching questions about our attitudes to them, to God, & to what we claim we believe. Without knowing it, they do the Church a lot of good.  In the 19th century, the Church lost the working class - the results of this are still with us. Communism is a Christian heresy - it's a form of the Kingship of God, but with God left out. "All men by nature desire happiness", which is to be found in its fullness only in communion with God; & Communism is attractive because of the good in it; nothing is so evil that it does not contain some good; otherwise temptation would be impossible. Without realising it, Communism is attractive insofar as it conforms to God - and for many  people, who are seeking what is right, the Church does not seem very Godly or Christlike; so they go elsewhere, to other things that seem more attractive.

People are probably as religious ever they were - but they are often sheep without a shepherd, missing they don't know what, but often sensing, however vaguely, that something (or Someone) is missing. Once they find Him, they realise that they were seeking Him; and that they would not have found Him, had they not been seeking Him, & had He not been all the while drawing them to Himself.   

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