How Modern Christianity has failed Christians

by Christ Alone 277 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Christ Alone
    Christ Alone

    I've recently been thinking about our culture and how Christianity in our western culture has failed to keep up with advancements in science. I think many (or most?) churches have let reason sink into the intellectual closet of Fundamentalism. "Feel good" churches seem to be the norm today. And while there is nothing wrong with that, I think that it's left many (most?) Christians unarmed to discuss their faith with educated non believers. Contemporary Christian worship tends to focus on fostering emotional intimacy with God. That's a great thing. But emotions will carry a person only so far, and then he’s going to need something more substantive.

    Apologetics is the substance that I think is missing in many (most?) churches in the United States today. And many parents are now sending their kids off to school without any of the substance that they will need in a growing post modern secular society. It’s no longer enough to teach our children Bible stories; they need doctrine and apologetics.

    Unfortunately, our churches have largely dropped the ball in this area. It’s insufficient for youth groups and Sunday school classes to focus on entertainment and simpering devotional thoughts. We’ve got to train our kids for war. We dare not send them out to public high school and university armed with rubber swords and plastic armor. The time for playing games is past.

    We need to have pastors who are schooled in apologetics and engaged intellectually with our culture.pastors need to know something about contemporary science. John La Shell, a pastor of a Baptist church, warns that “pastors can no longer afford to ignore the results and the speculations of modern physics."

    The same goes for philosophy and for biblical criticism: what good does it do to preach on, say, Christian values when there is a large percentage of people, even Christians, who say that they don’t believe in absolute truth? Or what good will it do simply to quote the Bible in your evangelistic Bible study when somebody in the group says that the Jesus Seminar has disproved the reliability of the Gospels? If pastors fail to do their homework in these areas, then there will remain a substantial portion of the population—unfortunately, the most intelligent and therefore most influential people in society, such as doctors, educators, journalists, lawyers, business executives, and so forth—who will remain untouched by their ministry.

    I don't know how the Christian culture can change right now. Anti-intellectual thought, in regards to spiritual matters, seems to permeate most churches today. I think we've already seen the effects of this in Europe. And it is slowly taking more of a hold in the United States.

    This thread is just a call to know why you believe. Don't remain blind or even fearful of science. Don't ignore facts. Read and educate yourself. Without reason, logic, and intellect at your disposal your faith will suffer.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Perhaps I lived in an atypical situation but there was heavy theological discussion at Riverside Church in Morninside Heights, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and Woodstock Jesuit Seminary. Riverside is interdenominational. The laity chose to read a Hans Kung tome.

    Yes, a Manhatttan university community was very engaging compared to my present residence. Nothing is silly here but it is not very compelling.

    Someone came to preach at the local church who completely misrepresented Elaine Pagels' work. He wanted to put us down so he asked how many of us heard of specific Church fathers and councils. 80% of the parish, not including children, had read these giants. Later, I told him that I was a student of Pagels and had read her latest book within the past three months, I could not believe my ears when he informed the parish of his shtick.

    The problem is people don't want heavy discussions on Sunday. I've begged for small, private studies where we could study without disrupting an entire parish. My solution is to return to Manhattan.

  • tec

    I don't do churches, but a lot of the ones here that I know of, do have smaller private studies. I don't know how structured they are.

    I'm not sure, CA, if the above is as big a concern as some of us might think, considering the fundamntalist background. A great many people have faith in Christ, God... and also embrace and enjoy science and its discoveries and advancements.

    Would be nice if churches and such would leave off teaching things that are not true, mind you... such as inerrancy of the bible. People put their faith in that... and then too many throw everything out because this teaching (which was false to begin with and never meant to be taught) is shown to be false. Their whole faith is based on this false doctrine, and when it is shown to be false, their faith has no basis.

    Peace to you,


  • Sulla

    Pagels made me Catholic. Quite unintended, I'm sure.

    CA, you are speaking of the Evangelical movement. Who was it who said that the tragedy on the Evangelical mind is that there isn't one? It would serve the Evangelical community very well to engender a passing familiarity with at least the Fathers, who engaged a culture very like our own.

    That said, your point is well-taken. I think an emphasis less on apologetics than on the basics of the faith: what is it that we think happened to that Jesus fellow, anyhow? And how is it supposed to fix anything at all? The problem is that this is not the sort of thing that is effectively taught at teen worship sessions, which tend to desire to be relevant -- the way, say, mathematics isn't.

    And that requires lots of instruction. Theology is hard, the way math is hard. You need decades of instruction to become useful in the practice of either. Catholics accomplish this through schools up through college. Evangelicals tend to like to attempt to control the public schools, imagining themselves to operate (in some areas) within an environment that can stand Christianity. American Catholics have always been in a culture hostile to them; Evangelicals think they still own the culture.

  • mP

    Yes lets bring back 1900 years of Xian glory. Whether its crusades, making money from slavery, creating wars and more, Christianity is a beacon of light for all humanity. Then again if you were poor or non european the church brought you death and misery. At least toay the xian church is becoming more irrelevant as compared to the past when it ran the show which is a good thing. THe more we forget about xianity and its lies the better i say. Xianity has never been good. If you believe it has show me a single example where xianity has helped humanity.

  • Christ Alone
    Christ Alone

    I'm a bit surprised that someone could actually say that Christianity has "never been good". I'm sure even most atheists would reject that statement. But I suppose that if you can't even being yourself to call it Christianity (in favor of xtianity) you are still pretty bitter about it. Hopefully your local hospital is a state or federal one and not a St Johns...

    but here are some things that Christianity has accomplished in our modern age:

    Impact on language, literature and culture
    The Authorized Version of the Bible has been called "the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what is now its most influential language", "the most important book in English religion and culture", and "the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world".

    Impact on civil liberties
    The Magna Carta is considered one of the most important documents in human history; vitally important as an early foundation of law in Western society. It is considered the founding document of English liberties and hence American liberties. The influence of Magna Carta can be seen in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Lord Denning described it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot". The man responsible for drafting it's content wasStephen Langton (Archbishop of Canterbury). Various "Barons" were also implicated in the construction of the Magna Carta, but Stephen Langton is believed to be the central architect.

    Impact on civil liberties
    Rev.Martin Luther King Jr., a man of great courage and faith who was at the centre of the civil rights movement. He continued despite attempts on his life including a fire bomb attack on his family home. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. His father and grandfather were both ordained ministers. The U.S. have declared the 3rd Monday in January to be an annual public holiday in his honour. Written on his memorial are the concluding words from his "I have a dream speech": ""Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!",_Jr.

    Prison reform. The Quakers pioneered prison reform during the Victorian age. Suggested basic human rights for prisoners and teaching prisoners a trade etc.
    Today, Prison Fellowship International (amongst other Christian ministries) works around the globe in prisons to help reform and rehabilitate prisoners:
    The 7th Earl of Shaftsbury was inspired by his faith to do many things.
    He became a Tory MP (Member of Parliament) in 1826, and almost immediately became a leader of the movement for factory reform. He was responsible for promoting a plethora of reform causes, including the Factory Acts of 1847 and 1853, the Ten Hour Bill, as well as the Mines and Collieries Act 1842 and the Lunacy Act 1845 . One of his chief interests was the welfare of children, and he was chairman of the Ragged Schools Union and a keen supporter of Florence Nightingale . He was also involved as patron and president in the field of model dwellings companies , which sought to improve the housing of working classes in England.,_7th_Earl_of_Shaftesbury

    • Braille worldwide system used by blind and visually impaired people. Louis Braille was an innovator. Lying on his deathbed he said, “God was pleased to hold before my eyes the dazzling splendors of eternal hope…” His system is now used on a worldwide basis. • Pioneering free or low cost health care for the terminally ill in our society dying of cancer.
    Macmillan nurses. Douglas Macmillan.
    Rose Hawthorne Lathrop created the first homes/treatment centers for cancer patients in the US. St. Rose's Free Home for Incurable Cancer
    • Promotion of International fair trade for the poorest societies in the world. Tearfund.
    Trade justice movement, Make Poverty History. Richard Adams OBE.
    • Habitat for Humanity, one of the largest charities in the US which internationally provides housing for the poor. Founder Millard Fuller
    • Salvation Army, caring for poor and downtrodden in many different countries. Founder William Booth
    Leprosy Missions. Dr. Paul Wilson Brand was a pioneer in developing tendon transfer techniques for use in the hands of those with leprosy. He spent 19 years serving in India. During his career, Dr. Brand received many awards and honors. He was awarded the Hunterian professorship of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1952 etc…
    Leprosy Mission International has over 130 years experience working with people that are considered “untouchable” in some societies. Founded by Wellesley Bailey in the 1860s. • Kenneth L. Pike - World renowned linguist
    Working for Wycliffe Bible translators, K.L. Pike became one of the worlds leading linguists with significant contributions to the field. His book "Phonetics", "revolutionized the thinking in the field" according to Prof. Eric Hamp. Hamp continues," It is fair to say that something like one half of all the raw data from exotic languages that has been placed at the disposal of theoretical linguists in the past quarter century can be attributed to the influence, and efforts of Kenneth Pike." He originated the Tagmemics theory. Carl Becker - Missionary Doctor and Leprosy expert
    News of Dr. Beckers compassion spread and literally thousands of lepers sought out his help. By the early 1950s he was treating some four thousand resident patients on an eleven hundred acre property. Leprosy specialists worldwide also visited to learn from him, even the world's leading expert Dr. Robert Cochrane of Cambridge University was impressed with his findings. He lived in hostile conditions in the Congo, Africa where other people might not care to go. to the blind. Dr. Victor C Rambo was a passionate Christian who could have made a lot of money as a doctor in the US. Instead he lived in India where he “worked from dawn ‘til dusk” operating on cataracts where little or no other help was available. Literally thousands of patients were helped through his ministry who would have otherwise been left seriously visually impaired or gone blind.
    Ministry to young people in our society – YMCA founded in 1844. Nobel Peace Prize winners. John Mott:
    Founded by George Williams:
    • World Vision, 1950 – child sponsorship, one of largest relief and development agencies in the US. Founded by Dr. Robert Pierce • Samaritans Purse. Humanitarian organisation reaching those suffering in war, poverty, famine, disease and disaster. Franklin Graham
    • Education UK. An overwhelming number of early education establishments were Christian before the State took over.
    • In the UK, faith schools (Christian and Jewish) dominate the league table of performance. Two thirds of the 50 best ­performing institutions were Church of England, Roman Catholic or Jewish. This comes despite the fact that faith schools account for only one in every three schools.

    • Lech Walesa. Devout Christian and charismatic president of Poland 1990-95. World renowned human rights activist. Winner of numerous international awards including the Nobel Peace prize 1983 and awarded over 30 honorary doctorates from universities worldwide. Co-founder of Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union.

    Dr. Ida Scudder - Missionary Doctor to India
    Dedicated her life to womens health in India. Her reputation was so high that women and girls used to seek her out just to touch her. Doctors all over India sent their most difficult gynecological cases to her. She became so well known that a letter simply addressed "To: Dr. Ida, India" reached her in a country of over three hundred million people. In 1918, she started one of Asia's foremost teaching hospitals.

    David Bussau AM (born November 10, 1940) is a pioneer of microfinance, having founded Opportunity International Australia and co-founded the Opportunity International Network. He has been hailed for his innovative approach to solving world poverty by challenging the conventional wealth distribution model of development, addressing the root causes of poverty through responsible wealth creation. According to the World Bank, micro-enterprise has proven to be one of the most effective and sustainable ways to solve poverty.

    • Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D., (December 10, 1787 – September 10, 1851) was a renowned American pioneer in the education of the deaf. He co-founded and raised funds for the first institution for the education of the deaf in North America. For many years he was principal of that institution. His son Edward Miner Gallaudet (1837–1917) founded in 1864 the first college for the deaf which in 1986 became Gallaudet University.

    • Charles Loring Brace (June 19, 1826 in Litchfield, Connecticut - August 11, 1890) was a contributing philanthropist in the field of social reform. He is considered a father of the modern foster care movement and was most renowned for starting the Orphan Train movement of the mid-19th century, and for founding The Children's Aid Society.

    • Despite being crippled himself, John Pounds (1766-1839) was the man most responsible for the creation of the concept of “Ragged Schools” (charitable schools dedicated to the free education of destitute children). Working in the poorest districts, teachers initially utilised stables, lofts, and railway arches for their classes. The success of the Ragged Schools definitively demonstrated that there was a demand for education among the poor.

    • Robert Raikes ("the Younger") (14 September 1736 – 5 April 1811) was an English philanthropist and Anglican layman, noted for his promotion of Sunday schools. Pre-dating state schooling and by 1831 schooling 1,250,000 children, they are seen as the first schools of the English state school system.
    The movement started with a school for boys in the slums.

    • Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (or Froebel) (April 21, 1782 – June 21, 1852) laid the foundation for modern educationbased on the recognition that children have unique needs and capabilities. He developed the concept of the “kindergarten”, and also coined the word now used in German and English.

    Supporting mothers and families worldwide - The Mothers' Union (founded 1876)
    Mothers’ Union is an international Christian charity that seeks to support families worldwide. It main aim is to support marriage and family life, especially through times of adversity.
    Particularly concerned with the plight of women in the world, its projects include literacy and development, parenting, micro finance and campaigning against violence against women and the trafficking of women. The Mothers' Union is part of Make Poverty History and the Jubilee Debt Coalition.

    Pioneering education for women. Mary Lyon 1797-1849.
    She valued socioeconomic diversity and endeavored to make the seminary affordable for students of modest means.

    Thomas Cogan. Humane Society. A humane society is a group that aims to stop human or animal suffering due to cruelty or other reasons, although in many countries, it is now used mostly for societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCAs). In the United Kingdom, it may also be a society that provides a waterways rescue, prevention, and recovery service, or that gives awards for the saving of human life (see: Royal Humane Society).
    Royal Society for the prevention of cruelty to Animals founded by Christians (William Wilberforce). It is the oldest and largest animal welfare organisation in the world and is one of the largest charities in the UK.
    • One of the largest international literacy organisations in the world, SIL International, brings literacy to thousands of the world's poorest language communities. • Frank Laubach. Committed Christian and pioneer of world literacy. Known as the “Apostle to the Illiterates” the programs he developed have been used to teach about 60 million people to read their own language. He was deeply concerned about poverty, injustice and illiteracy, and considered them barriers to peace in the world.

  • Christ Alone
    Christ Alone

    More no good things Christianity has been responsible for:

    • The Church is the largest single provider of healthcare and education in the world, working especially in some of the poorest countries where there is no other care available. (Catholic church that is. Adding Evangelical church schools/hospitals means there is no close second provider.)

    • The Church pioneered modern Social Work. Eg: Jane Addams Jane Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Also co-founded the first settlement house in the US. The Settlement Movement sought to bridge the gap between rich and poor in society: • London Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (London SPCC) After campaigning from SPCC and the wider Church, the UK’s first ever law to protect children from abuse and neglect came into being. See Lord Shaftsbury , Rev B. Waugh • Save the Children. This large relief agency was founded by Eglantyne Jebb who also campaigned for social reform in this area. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child was adopted by the League of Nations. She also pioneered the Child Sponsorship program.

    • Camillus de Lellis - founder of the original "Red Cross"
    Thus De Lellis established the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers to the Sick (abbreviated as M.I.), better known as the Camillians. His experience in wars led him to establish a group of health care workers who would assist soldiers on the battlefield. This was the original Red Cross, hundreds of years before the International Red Cross Organization was formed.
    Members of the Order also devoted themselves to victims of Bubonic plague. A perilous work that no-one else seemed to want to do.
    • Clara Barton - founder and first president of the American Red Cross
    She was a pioneer American teacher, patent clerk, nurse, and humanitarian. At a time when relatively few women worked outside the home, Barton built a career helping others. One of her greatest accomplishments was founding the American Red Cross. This organization helps victims of war and disasters. She hoped to be a pioneer for women in service to her country. She was probably the first woman to hold a government job.
  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    How Modern Christianity has failed Christians

    Its a damn good thing too. It is becoming more and more if only Islam will follow.


  • Christ Alone
    Christ Alone

    Here is a good article about how deeply Christianity has affected our culture for the better. May want to consider all that it does before desiring it all to go away. No more Red Cross. No more religiously funded hospitals and charities.

  • mP

    Aussie Oz:

    Simple and a perfect statement about how religion can help humanity. The best it can do is disappear into the past.

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