Thursday, May 4, 2017

CATHOLIC LITE AND LOSS OF CATHOLIC IDENTITY IN SPIRITUALITY, DOCTRINE AND LITURGY CAN BE INCLUDED ALSO!


THE MONEY QUOTES: 

Is it really any wonder that kids raised in the churches of 21st century America aren’t often stirred to lifelong commitment? Most churches are so occupied with “marketing” themselves to prospective attendees that they wouldn’t dream of risking their “brand” by speaking tough-as-nails truth.

It is true that our culture has grown visibly antithetical to God and Christian commitment. But in addressing the spiritual attrition rate of young America, it must be admitted that a prayerless, powerless church peddling versions of “Christianity Lite” share in the blame. God only knows the degree of our complicity, and also the time when we’ll be concerned enough to change direction.

Youth Are Turning Away from God: Churches Peddling ‘Christianity Lite’ Share In the Blame

Alex McFarland
By Alex McFarland
Pew Research Center documents that millennials are the least outwardly religious American generation, where “one in four are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29.”

Just over 60 percent of millennials say that Christianity is “judgmental,” and 64 percent say that “anti-gay” best describes most churches today.

In ministry circles, it has long been reported that of youth raised in homes that were to some degree “Christian,” roughly three-quarters will jettison that faith after high school. Just under half of this number will return to some level of church involvement in their late 20s or early 30s.
 
Why is this? His research for “Abandoned Faith,” which includes dozens of interviews with teens, twenty-somethings, professed ex-Christians, and religion and culture experts, points to factors like these:
  1. Mindset of “digital natives” is very much separate from other generations. Millennials are eclectic on all fronts—economically, spiritually, artistically. There is little or no “brand loyalty” in most areas.
  2. Breakdown of the family. It has long been recognized that experience with an earthly father deeply informs the perspective about the heavenly Father.
  3. Militant secularism: Embraced by media and enforced in schools, secular education approaches learning through the lens of “methodological naturalism.” It is presupposed that all faith claims are merely expressions of subjective preference. The only “true” truths are claims that are divorced from any supernatural context and impose no moral obligations on human behavior.
  4. Lack of spiritual authenticity among adults. Many youths have had no, or very limited, exposure to adult role models who know what they believe, why they believe it, and are committed to consistently living it out.
  5. The church’s cultural influence has diminished. The little neighborhood church is often assumed to be irrelevant, and there is no cultural guilt anymore for those who abandon involvement.
  6. Pervasive cultural abandonment of morality. The idea of objective moral truth—ethical norms that really are binding on all people—is unknown to most and is rejected by the rest.
  7. Intellectual skepticism. College students are encouraged to accept platitudes like “life is about asking questions, not about dogmatic answers.” Claiming to have answers is viewed as “impolite.” On life’s ultimate questions, it is much more socially acceptable to “suspend judgment.”
  8. The rise of a fad called “atheism.” Full of self-congratulatory swagger and blasphemous bravado, pop-level atheists such as the late Christopher Hitchens made it cool to be a non-believer. Many millennials are enamored by books and blogs run by God-hating “thinkers.”
  9. Our new God, Tolerance be Thy name. “Tolerance” today essentially means, “Because my truth is my truth, no one may ever question any behavior or belief I hold.” This “standard” has become so ingrained that it is now impossible to rationally critique any belief or behavior without a backlash of criticism.
  10. The commonly defiant posture of young adulthood. As we leave adolescence and morph into adulthood, we all can be susceptible to an inflated sense of our own intelligence and giftedness. The cultural trend toward rejection of God—and other loci of authority—resonates strongly with the desire for autonomy felt in young adulthood.
Is it really any wonder that kids raised in the churches of 21st century America aren’t often stirred to lifelong commitment? Most churches are so occupied with “marketing” themselves to prospective attendees that they wouldn’t dream of risking their “brand” by speaking tough-as-nails truth.

It is true that our culture has grown visibly antithetical to God and Christian commitment. But in addressing the spiritual attrition rate of young America, it must be admitted that a prayerless, powerless church peddling versions of “Christianity Lite” share in the blame. God only knows the degree of our complicity, and also the time when we’ll be concerned enough to change direction.

Dr. Alex McFarland is Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at North Greenville University. His latest book is “Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home.” 

6 comments:

ByzRC said...

Given the societal upheaval of the last 50 years coupled with the upheaval in the church during the same period of time, I'm not sure that there is a good way back beyond circling the wagons of those who remain and becoming a smaller yet stronger church as HH Benedict XVI had described. Once tradition is compromised or, lost, from the day-to-day existence of the people, it is difficult to regain. Scandal, new 'norms' within society (e.g. tolerance), hyper-secular indoctrination within schools, family breakdown etc. (see the litany in the article) augmented by self-inflicted wounds such as the loss of tradition, authenticity, understanding of sin, compromise to attract and retain parishioners (but, what kind of parishioners are they?) have contributed to the collapse of the influence of the Church within society. To be fair, the way we now live (e.g. outside of neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves where a church or, churches were but blocks away, hyper dependence on technology, entertainment etc.) has without question had an impact all its own.

In my dealings with younger people and millenials, while there are many who have embraced tradition, there are also many who have rejected any type of faith and react with indifference or a curious anger when faith or, faith life is mentioned. This mentality, sadly, is entrenched, it is generational and will be handed on to future generations.

My personal feeling is that the church as it is currently presented will continue to hemorrhage membership. At the same time, it is possible that the Traditional Mass has a very important job ahead of it for the circle-the-wagons exercise that I mentioned above. Although many within the hierarchy have prevented it from being totally free, that this mass was freed will allow it in time to exercise its critical role in creating the smaller, stronger Church. Whether that role is contributing to the revision or, outright replacement of the current ordinary form, only time will tell. Will changing the liturgy again be the ultimate cure? Hard to say given the leanings of many within the current hierarchy but, in the end, it all starts with the liturgy and the simple instruction to "Do this in memory of me" and flows forth from there. All of this is sad to see and live through but, Christ's church will prevail. It always has.

Charles G said...

There is no question that the homosexualist ideologues and sundry promoters of immorality have successfully taken over the culture, but the leaders of the churches that just give into it and don't even believe the teachings of the faith or Christian morality bear a tremendous amount of the blame. The Protestants have flushed themselves down the sewer, and the Catholics are now close behind them under the anti-doctrinal and anti-morality reign of Pope Francis and the bishops he is promoting. The country, the Church, the culture, everything is going to hell in a handbasket, and there is no balm in religion anymore... Lord have mercy.

Dialogue said...

If we (a.) proclaim the apostolic faith with bold humility, and if we (b.) worship God with bold humility, then many souls will be converted and saved.

Anonymous said...

From the pew where I sit there are not many surrounding me who are under sixty. Most are older. Parishes have consolidated yet there is still plenty of room to find a seat(except Christmas and Easter). The folk singers are grey, the choir loft is empty and there is a Catholic grade school next door. Surrounded by those 60,70,80, and 90,I can see the Church of the future. It will be so incredibly lite, it will float away.

Henry said...

Anonymous,

Actually, that's the church of the past you looking at. The majority of those in the pews around me at Sunday Mass are probably under 50. Families with 4 to 10 children dot the congregation. The median age of our traditional Latin Mass congregation is in the 30s, and most of our dynamic young Latin Mass diocesan priests are still in their 30s. THIS is the church of the future. Faithful and leaner, thankfully, than the church of recent decades bloated with Catholics-in-name-only.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

I agree with Henry. EF parishes, including bi-formal parishes, are full of fruitful young couples. The others are dying. By their fruits you shall know them.