Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A Little Local Trouble

It was Thomas Hardy (died today, 1928, in case you missed it - you still have time to light a tea light) who described "a local thing called Christianity" in his ambitious, grandiose but sadly quite dull The Dynasts.

And in musing on Tommy H today, I drifted off onto the troubles of the Western World. We talk about the current economic problems - but they are currently mostly the problems of the West. China, for instance, continues to grow at a cheerful 9% or so, even while the Europeans stagnate or go backwards.

Meanwhile Christianity seems to be a in a similar condition. While the churches of Western Europe lie half-empty we're up to a record worldwide of 2 bn + Christians - and in China alone there's somewhere around (hard to say, but conservatively) 70M. And look at the booming economies (and numbers of professed Christians) of Brazil and Russia. I note that the numbers aren't high for Western Europe but, given a region  producing no children and in economic decline.... oh well.

I've my doubts on the theories set out (see attached article) that it's a nation's insecurity that drives religious belief. Let's face it, the best church-goers in England are middle-class and as a rule they're the ones with least insecurity - unless, of course, the insecurity is caused by the Daily Mail? But the Chinese and Brazilians aren't looking so insecure these days (I'll give you the Russians and Mexicans).

So it's a nagging feeling - is it just the Western world that's strange?

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