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New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
#417742 11/09/17 08:01 PM
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Has anyone seen this new Pew Research Center report on Orthodoxy in the 21st Century? They lump Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy together, but let's leave that aside for a moment. Here is the link: http://www.pewforum.org/2017/11/08/orthodox-christianity-in-the-21st-century/

In my opinion, it is a concerning and depressing report for all who care about Orthodoxy and Eastern Christianity in general.

-A century ago, 1 in 5 Christians were Orthodox. Today, it is nearly 1 in 10. That's in one century.
-Similarly, in the last 100 years Orthodox Christians have dropped from 7% of the global population to 4%
-The Orthodox are being outpaced by Protestants and Catholics, with both of the latter groups climbing in terms of percentage of Christians who profess Protestantism and Catholicism, as well percentage of the overall global population
-While Orthodox believers have doubled numerically in the last 100 years, in the near future the raw numbers of Orthodox are forecasted to drop (that's not percentages - that's raw numbers, in the face of a swiftly increasing global population)
-The one group the study highlights as the "feel good" story - the Ethiopians - arent even Eastern Orthodoxy. It appears without their numbers the statistics would be even worse.

This seems...not good. In all fairness,it may be a story more of Europe than of Orthodoxy itself, as Orthodoxy is still largely confined to Europe (77% of all Orthodox live in Europe), and as we are all aware by now, Europeans are an increasingly small share of the worldwide population. It is clear Orthodoxy missed out in a major way when Catholics and Protestants discovered/conquered/settled the Americas, Asia, etc. where most of the growth of Catholicism and Protestantism is taking place. The picture for Catholics and Protestants in Europe looks as bleak as that of the Orthodox.

Meanwhile, Islam continues to outpace Christianity in general, with both religions outpacing the growth of the global population at large. Islam will catch up to Christianity around 2060. Whether it surpasses it or whether the birth rate in Islamic countries will continue to decline, leaving them roughly equal in terms of numbers of adherents, is anyone's guess. Still, with Islam only being 1300 years old compared to Christianity's 2000 year history, it's still a faster growth rate historically, as well (one wonders how many would turn from Islam and embrace Christ if there was even a modicum of religious freedom in so many repressive Muslim countries, but alas, that isn't the world we live in). This information isn't from this report; it's from other reports I've read.




Last edited by Logos - Alexis; 11/09/17 08:05 PM.
Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #417805 12/07/17 12:21 AM
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Many Orthodox were wiped out in WW1 and WW2 and in communism that followed over the last century.

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #417821 12/14/17 09:23 PM
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Absolutely. But one of the points of the article is that Orthodoxy is Euro-centric as compared to the faster growing Catholicism and Protestantism, which two branches, being more dispersed throughout the globe and having caught on in "developing" countries, benefit from the higher birthrates generally found in those places. Orthodoxy is is still primarily centered around Eastern Europe, which is an area with an extremely law birth rate - among the lowest in the world.

Though, to give the Protestants credit where credit is due, evangelicalism is the fastest-growing religious movement in the world (or so I have read) - outstripping even Islam. A huge percentage of Protestant growth is coming from adult conversions - not just little Protestants being born. Evangelicals are missionary, and guess what, missions work! And also Protestantism is simpler to convert to/take on.

Last edited by Logos - Alexis; 12/14/17 09:28 PM.
Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #417825 12/19/17 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
evangelicalism is the fastest-growing religious movement in the world (or so I have read) - outstripping even Islam.


Source?
With all due respect, it looks like cheap propaganda.

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #417826 12/19/17 07:00 PM
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I knew a lot of evangelicals once and they cannot all be judged by the junk one sees on television. Around cities and universities there are plenty of bright evangelicals and I knew a few who attended prestigious universities.They are are mostly Roman Catholics now. And there are many fine average people who are evangelicals as well.
The problem with evangelicalism that it is all about conversion...not only converting others but almost considering ones self as a perpetual convert and having ones spiritual development stalled at that level. (Which is why Orthodoxy and Catholicism are good escape valves from it,) Every generation of evangelicalism has to theologically reinvent the wheel, sometimes rediscovering what the Reformation threw out, often, unfortunately, being influenced by the pervasive commercial culture (some strains of it in the U.S. are quite "Oprah-fied".
As much as evangelicalism is on the rise, it is statistically laden, as stated above, by its rise in the Developing World...but Catholicism is on the rise as well in Africa.
The success of Christianity in Africa is to a large degree dependent on the prevailing world view there. They believed in spirits, evil and good, but when more staid Christian missionaries arrived preaching a God who is a distant first principle the spread of Christianity was in fits and starts. The evangelical "brand" was closer to their world view and therefore had more success.
Growing faster than Islam...that is hard to tell. I have often heard of secret Christians in the Islamic world, but they are in such a dangerous position it is difficult to count them.

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #417827 12/20/17 04:48 PM
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Christ is in our midst!!

I don't place much faith in polls of any kind. Protestantism and Catholicism got this boost over the earth because of the explorations in the 15th and following centuries. What few remember is Orthodoxy's move across the Eurasian landmass to the Pacific during those same centuries. Though communism tried to eradicate that progress, it is still something to note.

The Lord referred to His "little flock" when He spoke in the Gospels. He also said that "many are called but few are chosen." As a way of bringing that together, I remember reading a Russian bishop replying to a question about what happens to those outside Orthodoxy and saying (something to the effect ) that we ought to keep an eye on our own faithfulness and let the Lord sort out others. To me, not bad advice.

I remember my spiritual father directing a question to me to ponder for Lent one year. "If you make it to Heaven and no one you ever knew during your lifetime made it there--not anyone, even someone you might have passed walking down the street--would you be happy?" That was a tough one. I have a spouse I love as much as my life; children and grandchildren I treasure more than money or anything else. The answer is "yes" because the source, the reason for my life, and the end of my life would be there--Jesus Christ. Yet, somehow my more than human heart struggles with that, even though the Lord says that "he who loves father, or mother, or spouse, or children more than Me is not worthy of Me." Tears me in two.

I pray that the Lord will find faith when He returns. He asks if He will. When He comes for me, I hope He finds me faithful. I pray that others will be so, too.

While numbers may appear to give pause, we have to remember that all Christian bodies have a problem getting people in the door for worship. Catholic numbers hover around 17% according stats my pastor cites to our parish council. And in this part of my state, there is still a big problem finding clergy for every group. So even if there is a congregation, leadership for what there is is hard to find.

Bob

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
theophan #417829 12/21/17 11:22 AM
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I have heard for years that Orthodoxy does not grow because it is not "missionary." It was definitely missionary at an earlier time. But it has suffered greatly under unfriendly regimes. Just looking around in my own part of the world, it is growing. Some 20 years ago, there were only Latin parishes and one Greek Orthodox church. Now, within 25 miles or so, there are 5 Orthodox and 2 Byzantine parishes. There are also Maronite and Melkite families here, but not enough to form their own churches. I think Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism are growing - slowly, but growing.

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #418017 02/21/18 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Logos - Alexis
Though, to give the Protestants credit where credit is due, evangelicalism is the fastest-growing religious movement in the world (or so I have read) - outstripping even Islam. A huge percentage of Protestant growth is coming from adult conversions - not just little Protestants being born. Evangelicals are missionary, and guess what, missions work! And also Protestantism is simpler to convert to/take on.


Hi New here. I came home to the Church in 2014 out of Evangelicalism. Protestant/Evangelical "conversions" are much different than in the Catholic world. In Evangelicalism, one can go to a service, raise their hand they want to "trust Christ as their savior," and they will count this as a conversion to Evangelicalism. There may or may not be some sort of follow up, or a class or two to basically welcome them to the particular denomination, but by and large one reporting a "personal decision" is all that is needed to be counted as, "converted."

You will find many other studies on Evangelicalism that bemoan their lack of follow up or retention of "new converts." In Catholicism, when an adult converts and after extensive training in the faith, they will normally remain.

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #418018 02/22/18 12:53 AM
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Vinny Zee:

Christ is in our midst!!

Welcome to the forum. I hope that your membership here will be fruitful for you spiritually.
Bob
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Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #418156 04/19/18 09:30 PM
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Forgive me if I say something ignorant as I'm coming from a protestant turned Roman Catholic background and am ignorant in all things Eastern Christianity (hence my user name and also why I'm here). But wouldn't it be a good thing to see the Orthodox Churches and Rome reunite? I think the fact that Eastern Catholic churches exist at all is a beautiful sign of unity between East and West. With the Eastern world being pressed by Islamisation and the West collapsing in on itself by the push of modernists and secularism, there has never been a more pressing time for East and West to reunite, heal the schism, and restore Christendom. I always saw Eastern Catholic Churches as the means for Eastern Orthodox and Rome to find their way back toward communion.

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
InquiringByzantine #418162 04/20/18 05:21 PM
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InquiringByzantine:

Christ is in our midst!!

Welcome to the forum.

Quote
I always saw Eastern Catholic Churches as the means for Eastern Orthodox and Rome to find their way back toward communion.


This idea is very simplistic and it is actually one of the biggest obstacles to full communion from the Orthodox viewpoint. The forced union of parts of the Orthodox Churches historically to the Latin Church is still a sore point. Though agreement has come about concerning the right of the Eastern Catholic Churches to exist, they are not--nor will they be--bridges to full communion with the other Apostolic Churches.

A case in point is the rift caused by Rome with the Church of the East over the past decade or so over Rome's granting a deposed bishop the right to be a Catholic bishop in the Chaldean Catholic Church. A working relationship that had permitted the two Churches to extend sacramental support to members of each other's Church has seemingly ground to a halt amid much suspicion. And don't think that the other Churches not in communion with Rome have not taken notice to the heavy handed way this came about.

Bob
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Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
InquiringByzantine #418163 04/22/18 12:10 AM
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Inquiring Byzantine,

Christ is Risen!

To give background to Bob’s comments, in 1993, the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church adopted what was termed the “Balamand Statement” which in part declared:

With regard to the method which has been called "uniatism", it was stated at Freising (June 1990) that "we reject it as method for the search for unity because it is opposed to the common tradition of our Churches".

The full statement may be found at the link below:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/p...pc_chrstuni_doc_19930624_lebanon_en.html

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
Logos - Alexis #418174 04/25/18 03:33 PM
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Thanks for the background. I'm starting to understand the division with the Orthodox might be more tricky than I first presumed. After reading Bishop Kallistos Wares book "An Introduction to Eastern Christianity" it left me with the impression that the Catholic-Orthodox schism had and still has more to do with politics and nationalism than with actual theological discrepancies. The common argument over the filioque being a non-issue these days.

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
InquiringByzantine #418177 04/25/18 11:03 PM
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Christ is Risen!!

Don't count the filioque out as something is still an obstacle. While it has been said that it might be a theological opinion that one can bat around a classroom, it is not something that is acceptable for liturgical use. So concelebration in full communion comes to a standstill if the texts have it in them when everyone would come together at some future date.

I noted a few decades back when His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch was given a throne next to the Pope at a papal liturgy during a visit to the Vatican. He left after the sermon and before the creed was recited, only to returny after communion was over--if memory serves.

Bob

Re: New Pew Poll: Bad News for Orthodox
theophan #418178 04/25/18 11:06 PM
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Christ is in our midst!!

Going back to the original thread topic--

I think we're all in big trouble. I was on retreat in another diocese and had a conversation with the rector of the retreat. He said that in that diocese they were about to ordain five men and they had buried 20 in the same year. Similar demographics can be found in almost any Catholic diocese. So IMHO, we're all about to have trouble finding nourishment in the Mysteries of the Faith in the years to come.

Bob

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