What is Religion?
I noticed a lot of talk on the forums, in social media and in articles about religion in general. A lot of people are under the impression that so called "religion" is dying off.
First of all - what is religion in the Christian sense anyway? To me, I am very religious about brushing my teeth twice a day. When I was at school, I had to put on a blazer every day. I was religious about that as well.
However, when we refer to Christianity, we are not following a sector with certain rituals. Here, you are identifying yourself with Jesus.
So to get back to our topic - yes, if I went to a couple of Anglican churces and saw a handful of people there for the 8am service, I would also think Christianity was coming to an end. Some of these churches have even been turned into pubs. A lot of people don't go to church anymore because they want to spend time doing something else.
My buddy from Michigan tells me that they have to have an interval where coffee is served, just to draw in the crowds. So is that your evidance then? Do you think because there is nobody in church that there are less Christians in the world.
This is where we come to the next point:
What is a Church?
Is a church a building? with a piano and stained glass windows? Is this a place where you go to see a talented choir singing?
What do you say when you come out of the church service? Ah, those flowers were terrible, those piano notes were off? Does that sound familiar.
I was nervously sitting in a church in Sao Paulo, waiting to share my testimony. Suddenly I looked up and saw this cockroach on the wall. There were no flowers, the seats were hard. I was thinking, this is nothing like back home. Suddenly, I turned around, and had a look at the packed church, and the awesome atmosphere. My nerves flew away in an instant.
This African church is used as a classroom the rest of the week
photo credit: photobucket.com/user/Peter_Kiiskila/media/African%20summer%202010/DSC00719.jpg
No, the church is not a building witha steeple and a piano, which you to every Sunday. This is a community, which is stronger than ever.
There are more Christians today than there ever were before. The amount of house churches has grown in places like China and Burma. In fact there are millions of house churches here.
We look on the internet for the latest stats - then we find, oh, definitely Christians are a dying breed. The fact is that most Christians are not even on record. Why is this? Quite simply, they will be locked up because Christianity is not allowed in some areas.
Yes, there are legitimate churches in certain places, but these Christians are risking their lives. This is why there are so many house churches, and these communities are growing every day.
Is Christianity Dying in North America?
While the number of Christians in Asia is soaring, and Brazil has increased it's numbers by 30%, one still has to ask questions about North America.
Numbers have dropped in the last year. This could be because people have lost hope. Things are going bad - I have lost my job, there was a death in the family - where is God?
Perhaps people who have doubts like this need to have a look at some of the poverty in places like Africa and Brazil, where times are tough, and every single day is a battle. Nobody knows if there is going to be dinner on the table at the end of the day - but these are people who trust God, and they are also happy people.
Sometimes things may seem incredibly bad, but one has to know that God is at work throughout the world. It is encouraging and exciting when you hear what is going on in some parts of the world.