fredag 20. januar 2012

Nr. 198: Constantine and the church fall due

Nr. 198:

Constantine and the church fall due

When Christianity was a privileged monopoly on the 300-century, began the spiritual decay. The time is now ripe for a change away from Constantine thinking.

Christianity began as a Jewish sect in a fringe of the Roman empire. In the course of more than 300 years, the sect conquered the Roman Empire, and there were large Christian communities in virtually all the major towns and villages. All this happened in the Roman Kingdom, where there was great competition between different religious groups, and despite the fact that the periodical was exercised relatively strong repression and persecution of the Jesus believers.

Constantine had nothing to do with Christianity's triumph, but Christianity played a rather crucial for Constantine's triumph. The Christians gave Constantine access to a well-organized and extensive network that gave him support in the quest to become the Emperor, which he knew to exploit to the fullest. Unfortunately caused Constantine's embrace of Christianity is also the beginning of a transformation of the church in a negative way we are still struggling with the repercussions of.

From being a persecuted and oppressed minority, the church was a privileged and favored organization. Empire's resources were put at the disposal of the church. A movement that largely had grown up in private houses now had access to the magnificent buildings. Church leadership who had been recruited from the regular members, not infrequently, they were slaves, was suddenly very powerful, high status and prosperity on par with the senators. Clergy privileges opened up new career opportunities for the aristocracy. Access to ecclesiastical offices became more and more a question of having the right contacts or to belong to the correct genera. Simoni, or traffic in ecclesiastical offices, was so common that it became the norm.

In other words, the church eventually a monopoly on the exercise of religion. The clergy were largely satisfied by recreating a situation reminiscent of the state-funded temple religions of ancient civilizations. The temple of religion, as in Egypt, respect the needs of the elite, but usually neglected the average man's and woman's religious needs. Everyone got ready as the best could.

Constantine's transformation of the church had disastrous consequences in many areas. Not least, seemed a monopoly situation is very pacifying. Historians seem to agree that the Europeans in the Middle Ages was less religious than is the case today. In large areas of Europe, there were very few people went to worship. Keith Thomas writes about church growth in England: "It is problematic for some segment of the population at that time had a religion at all." The same can be said of Italy. Even when people in the Middle Ages went to church, they often unwillingly, and they behaved reprehensible. Knitting, hawking and spitting, telling of coarse locate and jokes, rifle shooting and other questionable behavior things clergy reported.

Visitation reports from the 1700s in Oxfordshire reported that less than 5% of the population had participated in the Eucharist last year. Similarly, reports from our time is usually taken as evidence of secularization.

The Reformation did not lead to any change in the church's monopoly. The Protestant churches were more government control than the Catholic south and Protestant priests were usually even looser in its official version than the Catholic. The result is that the Protestant churches on the regular is even less visited than the Catholic.

Rodney Stark has developed a model in which he focuses on the existence of a religious market. He takes the view that the religious needs of a population generally follows the normal distribution curve. A few have a strong religious needs, some have no religious requirements, and the large amount is somewhere in between. He holds that the religious needs are fairly constant in different cultures, and that it has remained relatively constant throughout history.

Stark's theory is that the degree of the religious services that determine the degree of religious activity in a population. Limited offer, as it will be in a monopoly situation, will have the consequence of religious pacification, but not necessarily that people stop believing. Europe is, according to Stark characterized by a form of religiosity that are without participation in a church. This abnormal condition is due to the statsfavoriserte churches with the state guarantee of the economy stimulates the slack. A state church does not compete for members in competition with others, and is not dependent on member support to keep going.

In the beginning was the American colonies marked by the same religious slack with which characterize Europe. Before the American Revolution, the Church's participation low, because they had established churches. A retired governor wrote to a friend: "If the priests' salaries are taken from people by force and paid for them, and provide well for their support, but they will not convert many". He noted further that religion had a far stronger position in the colonies that had an established religion.

The main reason why the established religion was banned in the U.S. Constitution was that no denomination was sufficiently dominant. Consequently, the American churches set in the same situation, and they had to compete for members. Pluralism benefits appeared rapidly. In 1860 belonged to more than 37% of the population a local congregation. 50% was passed in 1900 and has in the past 30 years is above 60%.

The denominations that have earned most of pluralism are the ones who have kept their traditional Christianity as evangelical Protestant groups, of various shades. Methodists, Presbyterians episkopalere and has had a dramatic decline, but they have also been the most liberal churches.

Norway stands today as one of the most secularized countries in Europe with a church growth which is also among the lowest in Europe. State church system is ideal for a church with a liberal and contours theology and works as a civil religion. By sticking with a public religion being the government provides effective control of religion, while one can adapt the religion of the state's needs. As a church minister Hernes in his time said the appointment of Køhn to the bishop: "Someone has to lead." The Norwegian social democracy has followed the tradition of Constantine and the church will find useful for their purposes, just like Constantinople was.

Everything indicates that the real religious pluralism would have seemed revitalizing the Christian life in Norway. The government should leave the church and religion to themselves, and let them be in peace. Everything else is basically contrary to all common sense.

Ingen kommentarer:

Legg inn en kommentar