Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lucia Catholics are now the largest religious group in New Zealand, yet Christianity overall is dropping

From NewsTalkZB:

There's been a massive change to New Zealand's religious landscape.

New census data shows Catholics outnumber Anglicans for the first time in New Zealand history.

At the March census, just over 490,000 people identified themselves as being Catholic, compared with 460,000 Anglicans.

Unfortunately, last census in 2006, there were 508,437 Catholics in New Zealand, so the top position is not really that much of a newly attained status to celebrate.

After the figures were publicised, I was amazed at the number of people who phoned into NewsTalkZB the other day, and believed in God and Jesus and quite a bit of the whole Christian landscape, yet did not want to identify themselves as religious and therefore picked the "No religion" option in the census. As my son says, they're hippies, against authority and human structures, yet people need both in order to flourish.

Identifying as religious has now declined overall in New Zealand to below 50%. This will give the de-Christianisers an intense amount of ammunition in order to remove Christian symbols, holidays and eventually Christianity from public life. Already the Wellington City Council is not putting up Christmas decorations this year, though I doubt that was inspired by the drop in Christians in NZ, and more by the fact that the mayor is a rabid Greenie (who tend to be Marxists and therefore atheists).

I think Catholics need to take advantage of being the largest religious denomination by becoming more obviously Catholic, and therefore attractive to all the lost souls out there. Otherwise, converts to Islam such as Muhammad Grant Morgan, might become the norm:

Christmas is tricky time for Muhammad Grant Morgan, juggling the traditions of the past and present.

Mr Morgan, of Titahi Bay, was raised in a loosely Anglican household in Berhampore, Wellington, but never really took to the church.

"My parents are Anglican but I don't really remember going to church."

He grew up without any religious convictions but, coming into his 20s, became increasingly dissatisfied with his life. "I was looking for something . . . I went through a whole process of searching for three or four years."

While living in Malaysia in 1996, he converted to Islam. Ten years later he returned to New Zealand, with his Malay wife and four children.

He does not drink, prays regularly and last year went on a 28-day pilgrimage to Mecca. He said his faith had given him the clear direction he felt he needed.

Catholicism gives very clear directions, except that many people choose to ignore them. Just look at this thread on Being Frank, a NZ Catholic blog site and read the comments by PaulineM. She is very much representative of what a significant number of Catholics in NZ believe. That type of Catholicism is not attractive because it doesn't lead to Christ.

Related links: Census figures show change in religious landscape ~ NewsTalkZB
Census points to non-religious New Zealand ~ Stuff
Council takes the cheer out of Christmas ~ Dominion Post

10 comment(s):

Benedicta Mary said...

Lucia Maria

It all seems so really strange!
I do think that Gary the muslim convert and Paulinem are swinging from the same proverbial branch of nominalism....which has its root in the Islamic doctrine of God.
This what Pope Benedict meant when he said that secularism is not neutral. The culture gives birth to nominalists unless Catholicism becomes their formator. Nominalists emerge as autonomous individuals whose absolute center of reality is what they will it to be. When this gets to hard or dreary etc the instinct is to put oneself under another absolute will, the best place to find this is Islamic Law. Its either a complete enthronement of personal autonomy or the complete negation of it. Both deny the essential truth dignity of the human person and the common good.

The Catholic Church holds the absolute truth about who we are and who God is....why are we so quiet about it?

Benedicta Mary said...

Just to add...what I just wrote isn't at all wacky. Its a reasonable philosophical take on the state of western culture.
Nominalism - from Islamic doctrine entered into the West in the 13th century. Its a major heresy in the Christian west...equal to Arianism. Its a heresy in Christianity because it puts man at the centre of all things real. My reality is reality. Hence Paulinem finds herself Paulinem's Catholic World; Catholicism is a product of her will. Gary, the muslim convert, didn't like the reality of his own world; Gary's world... so he simply disengaged his unenlightened will and handed it over to the will of the muslim deity.

The western mind has a strange connection in this way with the muslim adherence to the mind of Allah.

There isn't a conversion as such just a relocation of the centre of power. I'm sick of my self rule so I'll let you rule me.
Unfortunately I think there will be quite a lot of conversions into Islam especially when it is more prominent in any society. Its a winning strategy with a ready market as such.

To become a Catholic Christian literally requires the person to think entirely differently about reality. They need to apprehend a reality beyond themselves and come into a fully human relationship with the person of Christ. As Christ said: For man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.

William Stout said...

There is a trend in the West against traditional Judeo-Christian values. The American military has also become hostile to Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. During the Obamacare debate, opinions were rendered from the Vatican regarding birth control and other social issues. Chaplains were directly ordered not to speak of them to their congregations at Mass. Such attitudes lead to a vacuum of spirituality.

G.K. Chesterton said, "When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing, but worships everything." Hence the reference to viewing one's self as the center of everything as described by Benedicta Mary. In short, man loses his perspective and he can no longer make moral judgments that are effective because he dithers. The world is no longer a place of black (wrong) and white (right), but thousands of shades of gray. This is why we experience moral drift in the West. What's more, there are many ethicists who advocate returning to Aristotle's system of ethics, and other systems depending on your view of which system is best, because of that drift.

Moral relativism does not allow for a moral compass to chart one's course through life. Multiculturalism makes no moral distinctions between competing value sets. Political correctness does not allow dissent to emerge. These are the slow poisons that have been admitted into the veins of the public and they are part of the reason why Christianity is critically ill in the West.

Our faith is failing and if we do not act we will continue to see this trend continue both in New Zealand and in the rest of the West.

Lucia Maria said...

Benedicta,

Very interesting comments.

Willam,

I agree. I just read a related post to my older son by Fr Longenecker: Ethan Couch – Therapy and Anarchy. It made me realise I am going to have to teach my children in detail as to what relativism is and how it's different from our Faith.

Benedicta, when you said, "Its a heresy in Christianity because it puts man at the centre of all things real. My reality is reality." It immediately made me think of Colin Craig and his not knowing if the moon landing was real or not, as if a person in that state has to evaluate every single piece of information coming in and make a decision about it. That way of living must be very tiring.

Benedicta Mary said...

Hi Lucia Maria and William

Its a hard thing to convey on a blog. But some essential points are there.
I agree the Colin Craig thing is a bit strange...there are so many similar ideas about this and that. I just think we have a propensity to wobbly thinking. Does that mean me? Probably which is why having the history, teaching and persons of the Church to help sort out our muddled thinking. Its all there if anyone wants it. Its absolutely brilliant in fact.

William did mention that some philosophers are turning to Aristotle. That is true...Alaisdair MacIntyre is one such philosopher. The enlightenment basically ignored Aristotle's Realism as a philosophical approach. They never critiqued it and in fact it has never been made obsolete or overturned. St Thomas Aquinas used its methodology to manifest the deep reality of the Christian Revelation...borne from Judaism.
Christianity changed the whole scenario about man in relation to God and the eternal.
Essentially the best of western thought is based on Realism and the dignity of the human person on the Person of Christ. In short we are participants in the created order; we encounter objective reality which we come to know as it is in itself.

Nominalism was admitted through William of Occam...who picked up the Islamic notion of God...unfettered arbitrary Will. When that is applied to creation nothing has any meaning, is not real, and can be any other thing...the only 'reality' is what we make of it. This is toxic to just about everything. The enlightenment basically followed its approach as it asserted the individual over and against the Church, God and oppressive powers. French Revolution was its first political manifestation.

Worth reading up on for those who are interested. Basically today, we don't think right!!!Religious or not you need to turn your mind inside out. If you are non religious you will end up like a Stoic...if you profess Christianity it will come alive for you...if you are Muslim you will become Christian!

Go for it!

leftrightout said...

To become a Catholic Christian literally requires the person to think entirely differently about reality.

Yes, it requires you to ignore reality, to accept myth as fact, lies as truth and to care more about a bundle of cells than about living, breathing humans.

Catholicism requires its adherents to shun life and embrace death.

It is destructive the spirit of Man and is the opponent of all progress.

I am pleased to see it in further decline.

ZenTiger said...

Typically bigoted and deliberately incorrect, LRO.

The other end of the spectrum on abortion for example, is many people arguing that killing a baby moments, days or even weeks (and still a viable life outside the womb) before it is born is somehow seen as embracing life? And I'm not discussing the incredibly small number of edge cases you invariably fall back upon, I'm talking about the hundreds of cases where the baby is simply deemed an impediment to a particular life style.

Careful throwing your stones.

Benedicta Mary said...

Leftrightout

"Yes, it requires you to ignore reality"

"It is destructive the spirit of Man"

This is not a reasonable argument...what reality, that is objective reality, if all there is is the spirit of Man.

What is the spirit assigned to Man?
Where does it come from and where is it going?
What reality can anyone speak of if there is only the spirit of Man...a spirit which resides only at the level of subjective description and asserted only by the force and not the reason of argument.
Moreoever by what is 'progress' as regards this ghostly 'spirit of Man'.
Where is it taking us....if progress of man himself is possible where does that leave you but yesterday's man....with obsolete ideas passed over by the more progressed Man carried along by some 'spirit'.
So what you say or write in your life is meaningless and a waste of time...you are merely a rung on the ladder of hopelessness.

leftrightout said...

Benedicta, I used the word spirit quite carefully, and deliberately in its sense of the attitude of a person, group, or period of time. I did not, and never would use it in the religious way you wish to interpret it. As there is no spirit world, your definition is null and void.

No spirit is "assigned" to Man; it is part of being Human, living, loving and progressing.

There is only one reality of which we can speak, and that is the reality we all share in this tragic comedy called life.

And yes, we do progress. And that progress leaves "yesterday's man behind. The priest, the shaman, the king - all yesterday's men, all left behind.

My life is not hopeless. My life is full of meaning.

I get hope and meaning from my family, my friends, from the inspirational writing and research of those I will never meet, and yet who have contributed to my happiness by entertaining and educating me.

There is far more hope in living as a rational humanist than there is living as a slave to a capricious, jealous and vindictive god.

William Stout said...

"There is far more hope in living as a rational humanist than there is living as a slave to a capricious, jealous and vindictive god."

Science has ever been a cold and unforgiving refuge. Under science, men have slaughtered each other with wild abandon. Eugenics sought to rid humanity of undesirables in the womb. The Nazis took eugenics to new heights when they coupled those principles with social Darwinism and butchered people to the tune of 12 million. The most vicious and cruel regimes in human history were headed by people who bore the principles of science and atheism in their hearts, and 150 million people died by their hand to prove it. Horrors inflicted upon man in places like Lubyanka and the gulag owe their existence to hard heart of atheism. The cold equations of science knows not empathy or compassion. It knows not pity. It only knows numbers.

It leads to machine men with machine minds, and machine hearts. It must be tempered with love, understanding, and humility lest the historical end of rule by science arise again as it ever has in human history. The traditional response to this has ever been, "but the Crusades!" To which I reply, the Crusades were a pale flame when compared to the excesses of atheism which has released rivers and lakes of blood upon the world. The science that they revere has proven itself to be man's deadliest enemy by far.

The Christian knows that he will be held accountable for the works of his hands and for the currents in his heart. We shall all answer to God for all that we have wrought, both good and bad. To whom does the atheist answer? Does science even care about his heart? As a functional pump, perhaps. But as the measure of man's character? Not in the slightest. No Christian will escape the consequences of his actions. But the atheist can, in his mind, die taking his trespasses to the grave. He can hide his immorality. Therefore, he has no reason for restraint other than his own will. Is it any wonder that atheism leads to the suffering of man?

Somehow, I doubt that LRO will admit to these facts. While he would point the finger of accusation at God, the truth is that he ignores the hearts of men who have wrought these evils. I do not accuse LRO of being complicit with the wanton slaughter mentioned above, but to steadfastly ignore the tendencies of your own ideology and to blame others for perceived evils seems to be disingenuous.

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