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Sad News for Christianity
#284716 03/30/08 10:54 PM
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On this Sunday of the Cross, I find this to be very sad news. Kyrie Eleison!!!

Muslims Outnumber World's Catholics
By ALESSANDRA RIZZO,
AP
Posted: 2008-03-30 17:24:57
Filed Under: World News
VATICAN CITY (March 30) - Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

"For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us," Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican's yearbook.

He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population — a stable percentage — while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.

"It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer," the monsignor said.

Formenti said that the data refer to 2006. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations, he said, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own data.

When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population, Formenti said.

Spokesmen for the Vatican and the United Nations did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.

www.aol.com

Re: Sad News for Christianity
Alice #284721 03/30/08 11:07 PM
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This is very sad news. However, being Eastern Christian I have been brought up with the idea that Bigger is seldom better. Hopefully, this will be a wake up call for some people. Perhaps the next few years will be years of regrouping and further talks of Christian Unity between all Christians.

Re: Sad News for Christianity
Katie g #284723 03/30/08 11:19 PM
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Why aren't they comparing the whole of Christianity to the whole of Islam? Or the Catholic Church versus a subset of Islam like Sunni or Shi'ite?

The fact of the matter is that there are more baptized than Muslims (for now) and the Catholic Church is still the largest single religous organization in the world.

If we can convince Westerners to start having babies again, we might even pull ahead again.


Re: Sad News for Christianity
A Simple Sinner #284753 03/31/08 04:23 AM
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It's not just about numbers, but being living saints;witnesses of Christ. If even 10 people on each continent lived that way there'd be a huge change in the tide.

Re: Sad News for Christianity
indigo #284757 03/31/08 05:03 AM
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When these kind of studies come out, I wonder if they are calculating using the generic umbrella of "Islam", as opposed to the specific sects.

Do they include within "Islam", the Alawis of Syria, the Druze, the Baha'i, the Nation of Islam, the Ahmadiyya, the Ismaelis, the Dawoodi Bohras, Alevism, etc?

Re: Sad News for Christianity
Michael_Thoma #284759 03/31/08 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
When these kind of studies come out, I wonder if they are calculating using the generic umbrella of "Islam", as opposed to the specific sects.

Do they include within "Islam", the Alawis of Syria, the Druze, the Baha'i, the Nation of Islam, the Ahmadiyya, the Ismaelis, the Dawoodi Bohras, Alevism, etc?


Shlomo Abo Michael Thoma,

I looked at the study and they used the generic of Islam, but they did not include all the sects that you listed. One of the things that they did was see which sects followed the Five Pillars and those that are from Islam that don't. If they had listed by sub-groups, then we Catholics are still the largest Religous group in the world.

The other part of this story is how many of us are willing to evangelize or send resources to do so. One of the ways we could increase our numbers is by doing missions. Even if we gave a couple weeks every few years we could do so much. A reason that Islam is increasing is that it is doing missions, and we do not as much. Further, we need to work with the Latins and have them remove the constraints that prevent us Easterners from doing missions within our own Traditions.

Poosh BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

Re: Sad News for Christianity
Yuhannon #284760 03/31/08 06:54 AM
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Something to consider

In Muslim countries, if the Father is Muslim, then his wife and children are also considered to be Muslim.

However, there are thousands if not millions of people in Muslim countries who are secret Christians. They cannot reveal their true beliefs or they risk being killed. If these secret Christians have parents and relatives who are not practicing the Islamic religion, then they can practice their Christianity more openly. However, there is always the possibility that when a child is born, one or both of the non-practicing Muslim parents will suddenly switch to fundamentalism. In that case, a non-practicing Muslim relative could suddenly become very radical in his or her thinking and then become a threat to the Christian relatives.

Last edited by Elizabeth Maria; 03/31/08 06:56 AM.
Re: Sad News for Christianity
Elizabeth Maria #284784 03/31/08 01:07 PM
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Something to consider:

Muslims have more children.

This isn't about who is winning the race in the door-to-door Mormon style door knocking missionary work.

But then again, it isn't about hunkering down and having as many babies as possible from 16-45 either.

Add up all the abortions - both surgical and chemical that take place annually - and have now taken place for decades - among a post-Christian cultures that treat children and families as burdens rather than the wealth families truly are, and we begin to see what has happened and is happening.

On another forum there is a poster who keeps asking “why is Islam more attractive than Catholicism?” which to me was like asking my grandmother - one of 13 Quebecois kids growing up on a farm “Why was Catholicism more attractive to all 13 of the LaVoy children?” The answer: Because Henri and Yvonne LaVoy made it the exclusive attraction!

As long as the bastions of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular (Europe) continues to depopulate, any group or movement that continues to replace and expand population will grow larger.

Re: Sad News for Christianity
A Simple Sinner #284813 03/31/08 03:47 PM
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Sad news indeed. Remember when people were mocking and ridiculing Pope Paul VI because of his condemnation of birth control? This is the result.

God help both Orthodox Russia and Orthodox Ukraine - I would hate to tell you the abortion rates (abortion somehow became the preferred method of birth control), while the Muslims in Russia are busily having 10+ children per family. It should be obvious what is happening and what is going to happen.

Also open to us is a policy of non-violent preaching of the Gospel to the Muslims. This will create martyrs, but the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. If they can come and promote their religion in Catholic Dublin, we can do the same - just takes more courage.

Fr. Serge

Re: Sad News for Christianity
Fr Serge Keleher #284837 03/31/08 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Sad news indeed. Remember when people were mocking and ridiculing Pope Paul VI because of his condemnation of birth control? This is the result.


That argument is nonsense. People choose to have or not have children for a variety of reasons besides religion. Cost is a big factor. In the rich parts of the world, raising a child is an economic burden. However, in the poor world, raising children can be an economic asset because they can work for the family. Another factor is the rights of women. In the modern world, women actually have the freedom to be something other than baby-factories. In the backwards world, women often have no choice but to have children. Finally, there is the enjoyment of life: which can be tremendously affected by the number of children one has. Artificial birth control does not negate or create those motivations. Artificial birth control gives people the means to choose the course of their lives beyond the scope of natural fecundity.


Quote
God help both Orthodox Russia and Orthodox Ukraine - I would hate to tell you the abortion rates (abortion somehow became the preferred method of birth control), while the Muslims in Russia are busily having 10+ children per family. It should be obvious what is happening and what is going to happen.


And God help the Church if it thinks that getting rid of artificial birth control is going to somehow solve that problem. Artificial birth control is not going away, least of all because some bishop says so. Religious authority carries little weight these days, especially on matters of reproductive freedom.

Instead, people have to do two things. On the one hand, people must craft a society in which there is enough safety and prosperity and freedom that people feel optimistic about physically living itself. So far, the former Soviet Union, et al., has failed to achieve that. However, people also must have a philosophy in which having children --at least at a replacement level-- is a positive good. The modern world has yet to achieve this, so it is still relying on immigration to make up the difference. Thus, it is a question of screening immigrants who can and will acculturate -- i.e., screening out radical Muslims. The West did it before when it screened out Communists and Nazis, and I think we can and must do it again with radical Muslims.


Quote

Also open to us is a policy of non-violent preaching of the Gospel to the Muslims. This will create martyrs, but the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. If they can come and promote their religion in Catholic Dublin, we can do the same - just takes more courage.


And I doubt it would accomplish anything more than increasing religious animosity. The Muslims in Europe came for work. If they want to acculturate --as many do in Europe and America, fine. If they don't, they need to be opposed or deported. It's not a matter of going to their homelands and preaching a religion that most would not accept (and the rest would be killed if they converted to it). It's a matter of keeping modern civilization strong enough to not bend over and appease everyone, in the names of "respect" and "tolerance" , when they come to our countries and try to subvert or oppose us. Deportation is not a bad thing -- if we have the gonadular grit and intestinal integrity to make use of it.

Finally, a comment on the original post: that the Vatican reported that the number of Muslims outnumbers the numbers of Catholics. I realize that it might come as a shock to some folks, but there are Christians who are not Catholic. In fact, there are about a billion of us. They are Orthodox, Protestants, Evangelicals and Charismatics. Oh, and we're growing. Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Evangelicals, Charismatics are overall growing -- by conversions. Not just making babies. Conversions. Together, that makes Christians total over 2 billion people . . . or, over 1/3 of the human race. Hmm, it sounds like we have a 2:1 advantage over Islam. It also sounds like we have the money and the technology and the economy and the more desirable culture. If we don't lose our guts, at home and abroad, it sounds like we just might . . . dare I say it? . . . win.

-- John


Re: Sad News for Christianity
harmon3110 #284845 03/31/08 07:29 PM
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The Vatican made mention of this. It was also on the Fox news ticker. Read the report yourself.

As for your other comments I'll let Fr Serge answer them.

Re: Sad News for Christianity
harmon3110 #284861 03/31/08 09:45 PM
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Thanks for the invitation. "Baby-factories"? What a charming way to describe mothers!

There is certainly a choice, for both men and women (being an Archimandrite, I am unmarried and therefore have no expectation of having children - especially at my advanced age. Ordination as an unmarried man was my choice). But choices have implications, and we are not free to decide "well, I'll take this but not that". A man who "chooses" to become an inveterate liar will soon discover that he has no reputation for honesty - and he may plead that he did not "choose" to be considered dishonest, but such a plea will do him little good.

A bank robber might conceivably assert that he choose to rob the bank, but did not choose to be sent to prison. The average judge might possibly be amused, but not amused enough to let the bank robber off with a laugh!

And so it goes. What you choose in serious circumstances will determine the sort of person you are. If an entire nation chooses to stop having children, it might as well adopt the dodo or the great auk for the national animal symbol.

Me, I like the Christian Arabs, most of whom have the most utter contempt for birth control!

Fr. Serge

Re: Sad News for Christianity
A Simple Sinner #284865 03/31/08 09:54 PM
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You know, my I-like-being-in-the-majority side feels more included, and kind of safe in the thought that with so many others who profess like me, I can't be in bad company, and besides, my thoughts are in the majority, so they'd have to convince so many people before they can convince me.

My I-want-to-be-safe-and-not-suffer part of me fears and plays the number game. I have seen, even a little bit personally, and understood the ignorance and violence that breaks out in the mid-east with intolerance and other conditions there. I know that if Christians outnumber, I can be safe. Especially if Catholics outnumber, then I am definitely safe, since basically "my team" is a head.

My Earthly-Victory side says, we need to win this battle. Everyone should be of us, and we need more bodies to do so... even if nominal.

Then I have to stop and think, what should I feel? As a Christian, I have to say, I'm with Fr. Serge and Simple Sinner on this.

Having babies in itself is not the answer. SimpleSinner mentioned "a post-Christian cultures that treat children and families as burdens rather than the wealth families truly." That's truly the heart of a problem. We must not take comfort in being one of a majority of nominal Christians... so many nominal Catholics do not believe in what the Catholic Church teaches {taking out any of the East/West issues as this is an issue in Churches all over the world}. They confess the Catholic name, and yet some have no respect for basic teachings, such as on the sanctity of life, or even the authority of the Church. If we cannot hold faithful to simple teachings such as that, how can we expect that by having 10 kids, things would be better? We'd just have more nominal Catholics.

And what safety is there in numbers? Years ago, before the Iraq War and all the problems, I lamented to a friend {who is now a priest} over the desparate state of my Church. I lamented over endless numbers of martyrs, forced conversions, cultural and religious genocide... if only Christianity could have remained the official religions of the Eastern countries, and of Greece and Asia Minor, etc. And he gave me a different perspective. The persecution strengthened the faith as those who stuck to the Truth were more zealous in their defense. It provided many martyrs by which the Church is enriched. As he pointed out to me, the numbers game is not a very accurate way of estimating how things are going... 100 faithful in a Church are worth more than 100 thousand nominal, who do not pray and whose pride refuses them to be with broken heart and contrite spirit.

I think that is what I have been reading from the Pope, and the Ecumenical Patriarch, and Bishop Hilarion, etc. etc. who have all been shouting the need for Christians to strongly address secularism and relativism and other forms of isms that are attacking the True Faith. Only through such a stand can we begin to turn the tide on things like abortion. Only in such a stand does missionary preaching convert people to God. Because the Truth will defend itself and be recognized by those to whom grace has been given to see it and who do not deny they Holy Spirit.

In the end, my Earthly-Victory side has to bend and submit and realize, that it is not my will that should be done, but the Heavenly Father's.

Contraceptives, abortuaries, and other things are a symbols of the attack on the Church, and only with prayer and in spiritual combat can we overcome.

In terms of oour treatment of Islam and its adherents, we must remember that we are not called upon to be PC(politically correct), but we ARE called upon to love and see God in others, and even to pray for our enemies.

Peace,
Anthony

Re: Sad News for Christianity
Anthony Garia #284905 04/01/08 06:08 AM
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John, honestly, the fact of the matter is that bishops saying a lot of things won't stop evil. They still have to say them.

Russia is declining in population at a rate of 700,000 a year. That is the equivalent of one city the size of San Francisco disappearing annually. In the course of a decade, a city the size of London just fades out of existence. In 2030 Muslims will be the majority in Russia. In 2050 Yemen will have more people than Russia.

In 1950 the average new home was something like 800-ish sq ft. That is about 170 sq feet larger than my first apartment. Roughly the same size as the townhouse I live in now. And families were larger.

Today houses have doubled in size with the average home being twice as big for a family with half as many children. Chances are pretty damn good that the new house that houses the family with 1.9 kids has cable, central air, a two car garage and high speed internet access. The kids may well have their own bathrooms.

I don't know how large the homes were of my maternal and paternal grandparents - 3 out of 4 of them coming from families of 10+. None of my parent's parents were children #1 or #2... Come to think of it, I don't think ANY of them were in the top 5!

What people really, really want, they pay for. We really, really want new houses, big houses, new cars, big cars, cable and Disney World vacations.

But want can be a sorrowful thing. In moments of nostalgia for mispent youth I sometimes rather want a lot of things I should well NOT.

What is important to us?

The Patriarch of Moscow has recently re-affirmed that Russian Orthodox Church condemns birth control... Secular authorities have gone so far as to promote child birth and encourage even young people to start marrying and rearing children earlier. In the face of the population decline and abortion's pride of place in the nation, I can certainly see where he is coming from.

But can we be clear and agreed upon the evils of abortifacient contraception at least? This is a distinction I don't see being made among Christians who laud ABC as something that is to be determined by couples. It certainly needs to be made.

Anyone who is interested - Dr. Janet Smith's
Contraception, Why Not?

Compare and contrast with this video parents made of their crying child called Why use contraception?

Oh how funny.

Re: Sad News for Christianity
A Simple Sinner #284906 04/01/08 06:50 AM
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Have anyone read the recent pronouncements of the Russian Patriarch?

The last thing I read was that he was telling people that abortion and birth control were evil and that Christians should be having more children.

If you look at all the Orthodox Christian official websites, you will find that they all condemn artificial birth control because it is abortifacent -- the birth control pill, the implant, the IUD, and the De Provera shot all kill the unborn child by making the womb inhospitable if the ovum should happen to develop and become fertilized. The ABC formula today usually does not prevent ovulation but acts as a back up abortifacent. This is one reason why etopic pregnancies are on the rise. The human embryo tries to avoid the inhospitable womb. It is intelligent life.

So all those people who are using artificial birth control are wrecking havoc to their bodies and killing babies.

Even the use of NFP by Orthodox is frowned upon because its use is often selfish. God will provide if we but trust in Him.

Lord have mercy.

Last edited by Elizabeth Maria; 04/01/08 06:50 AM.
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