Not Taking Sides

Consensus is a political concept, not a scientific one, concerning the belief systems of the participants.

Europe, State-Supported Churches, NPR, Hotel Bibles, etc…

Posted by nottakingsides on July 14, 2007

Interesting Post By See-Dubya


“..state supported churches are banal, PC, and empty.”

SEE-DUBYA had a great post on Hot Air. It primarily referenced this article in the WSJ “In Europe, God Is (Not) Dead.” Here are a few snippets (but you should read the whole post and the article):

“The state supported churches are banal, PC, and empty; they need not compete for parishioners because the state supports them no matter how wacky their ideas, how tepid their sermons, or how empty their church.”

“Consider the scene on a recent Sunday at Stockholm’s Hedvig Eleonara Church, a parish of the Church of Sweden, a Lutheran institution that until 2000 was an official organ of the Swedish state. Fewer than 40 people, nearly all elderly, gathered in pews beneath a magnificent 18th-century dome. Seven were church employees. The church seats over 1,000. Hedvig Eleonara has three full-time salaried priests and gets over $2 million each year though a state levy. Annika Sandström, head of its governing board, says she doesn’t believe in God and took the post “on the one condition that no one expects me to go each Sunday.” The church scrapped Sunday school last fall because only five children attended.”

“What struck me about this piece was that I had just finished reading almost the same argument by Lawrence Henry in the American Spectator Online–about subsidized versus unsubsidized talk radio in the United States. AM talk is competitive, and it’s brash, vibrant and entertaining as the talent struggles–and succeeds–to attract listeners. Meanwhile subsidized radio (ahem NPR ahem) is very professionally produced, but it is also bookish, snobbish, and trending toward irrelevant. If the state-sponsored churches of Sweden lack butts in their pews, the subsidized talkers of NPR lack ears on their frequency. But like the sinecures of the Swedish priesthood, NPR doesn’t care if you listen or not. They get paid either way.”

“..let me add one last note on Sweden and religion. Although several sources claim their suicide rate isn’t quite as elevated as Americans like to claim it is, there was an increase as the welfare state took hold.”

“..the fall in religiosity in Sweden was indeed associated with a rise in the suicide rates of the young.”

“The finding is a bit problematic, because the study couldn’t completely disentangle a simultaneous breakdown in the institution of marriage in Sweden, which may have been a contributing factor as well. But to whatever degree broken homes or a loss in religiosity were driving a rise in youth suicide, it stands as a rebuke to statist socialism and the abandonment of traditional institutions in the name of progress.”


 From the Comments Section:

An interesting take by “jihadwatcher”:

 To think that Swedes were outraged by something so un-PC. It’s not enough to make me go to IKEA today. If Christianity has a resurgence in Europe, it is not because of any religious dogma. Europe is beyond that. However, today, Christianity is rightly associated with the only force that can stand up to islamic hegemony and stand for some kind of decency when secularism seems to equal debauchery.

So a vote for Christianity, such as this outcry not to take the Bibles out of the hotel chain, is not a cry for religious dogma. It is a protest against the secular-islamic juggernaut and their allied PC agents that even some Swedes can see is undermining and destroying their culture.

What guys like Hitchens don’t understand, is that today Christianity for most Christians is not about religion at all. It is about western culture. And now that western culture is under attack by both the secular left and the islamists, Christianity becomes of interest because we all have a stake in its survival, whether we be Christians or Jews or atheists. Where ever Christianity has been removed, Marxism or despotism has replaced it. There is not one nation on earth that is non-Christian that any liberal atheist would want to live in. Not because they want to go to church, but because the values of modern Christian societies parallel their values.

So while it may be intellectually satisfying to be an atheist, to reject religion categorically, simply because religious institutions can be dogmatic and religious people not very nice, if we all do that and reject Christianity out of the same principle, and purge it from our western society, we will inadvertantly pull the foundations of our liberal, free, and prosperous society from underneath us. What will replace it will not be to our liking. It is one thing for an individual to reject Christianity as an intellectual exercise. But for a society to reject it, would be a disaster.

jihadwatcher on July 14, 2007 at 9:31 AM

Another good one by “Texas Mike”:

I believe it was Augustine who said, “In every man there is a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill.” That vacuum is man’s human spirit. People want to worship God in some way the world over, even in the most primitive areas, because in man’s deepest part there is an empty human spirit. It is no surprise to me there is a hunger in Europe to know God in a more intimate, subjective way.

Jesus said, “God is seeking true worshippers who worship in spirit and truth.” There is a lot of so-called “worship” in every part of the world of God because man has an innate need and desire to know and worship God. Apes and chimps have no desire to worship God because they do not have a spirit.

However, there is a true worship which results from man having his soul (mind, will, emotion,) redeemed and his spirit regenerated by God’s Spirit through Christ’s redeeming work on the Cross. To try to please God by our efforts and work apart from Christ is substandard and falls short of the glory of God. God told Isaiah the prophet mans’ good works are as menstruous (filthy) rags to God.

When people in Europe begin to see and experience the true liberation and freedom Christ gives through the Spirit they get excited and share this with their friends and family. Unfortunately, the tired old state run churches have veered off from their core product which had made them vibrant and relevant hundreds of years ago.

Texas Mike on July 14, 2007 at 12:33 PM


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