"Do you regard the Easter weekend as a religious festival rather than just an opportunity to pick up bargains at the mall and stuff yourself with chocolate? Do you attend church on a Sunday rather than just lounging in bed? Do you sometimes pray or read the Bible? And do you believe in God or life after death?Here is an interesting blog article by John Mickelthwait and Adrian Wooldridge tracing the history of the "God is Dead" movement over the past few centuries and how its basic assumptions have thus far proved wrong.
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, then, according to some of the greatest minds that Europe has produced, you really ought not to exist. From the 18th century onwards a succession of European sages predicted that modernization would produce the end of religion. ..."
What accounts for the staying power of religion in general and Christianity in particular? One factor alluded to in this article is the separation of Church and State that characterizes religion in the US. Many European countries pay a salary to ministers. What then is the incentive to increase numbers of worshipers? As much as I dislike the use of a marketplace metaphor for the Church, I have to recognize that whether there is a choice or not, people will not stay long where their needs are not being met.
Another factor is the innovations in communication we have seen over the past 30 years. The use of email and the World Wide Web have revolutionized how we get our information, and even some of our fellowship. And now Web 2.0 is being employed to even more effect in many areas. This phenomenon is not just limited to the mega churches; any congregation can employ the Web, blogs, social networking and so forth to serve its members.
Religion in the United States of America may have been an anomaly in the larger world, operating as it has separately from the government, but it seems to the authors of this Fox Forum article that the American model is spreading throughout the world, thus belying the predictions of many of the world's greatest intellectuals of the past.
Mickelthwait and Wooldridge conclude that "God has not only survived the acids of modernity. He has learned how to use the tools of modernity to spread His message."