The Faith Is In Decline. What Are The Options

A new book says the only option for the faith, this author is a Catholic but probably it applies to others, is to withdraw into some level of isolation. It is called the Benedict Option.

The author points out that the faith is walking around asleep. Young people are leaving the church. Because one can still see churches standing everywhere it looks like things are going OK. In another generation, he says, the fate of the church will be more apparent.

The Benedict Option, named after a previous Benedict, is for Christians to withdraw from many aspects of society and remain a small but more dedicated minority. In this way, the author says, the faith will not be watered down. Currently popular among young people, the author notes, is the mistaken view, “All I have to do is love Jesus.”

So, how would Christians withdraw from the culture and how would they be stop being influenced by it? In an interview, the author laments that parents teach their small children to use smart phones. He notes correctly that the internet is influencing trends in religion.

Does anyone believe parents will limit their children’s ability to compete with other children in school by limiting use of smart phones and computers?

The Benedict option is no longer available. With technology, there is no place to hide. Society’s norms will come and find you.

Christian leaders in Europe did not come up with successful options. There are not options here either.

29 Responses

  1. Grandma

    There’s nothing like an easy access to science to get some people thinking. Unfortunately, our new President’s Cabinet seems untouched……..

  2. entech

    Does anyone believe parents will limit their children’s ability to compete with other children in school by limiting use of smart phones and computers?

    The modern moral dilemma ???
    The need to keep up with a technological world.
    Leads inevitably towards –
    The exposure to a range of knowledge that goes beyond what the older Christians want the younger ones to know.

    1. entech

      Options, so many, take your pick;
      Ignostic (my favourite)
      Christian Scientist

      and so many more

      Zen Buddhist
      Tibetan Buddhist
      Many native animist religions

      the list goes on, and on
      and eventually we get Matt’s own narrow litle version of Catholocism.

      1. We pray for those who minimize and denigrate Catholicism! Catholicism will prevail, the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ and has stood the tumultuous test of time. Humans are but a mere vapor relative to time and eternity. The Catholic Church will endure until the end of time. As we grow older we come to more fully comprehend the brevity of mortal life. And as our thoughts turn to this brief mortal journey, we begin to ponder what will become of us a few minutes after our last mortal breath. Will I be approaching the judgement seat as promised by Jesus during his ministry on earth? I fully believe in the promises of Jesus, but even if the chance for his salvation were an infinitesimally small fraction, I would not take the risk to spent eternity condemned to Hell. I’m shooting for heaven, and if I miss, the goal is purgatory. For sanctification to attain heaven and the perfect love, goodness and joy of the Holy Father. Jesus we trust in you!

        1. entech

          I hope the day will come when all Catholics who take it upon themselves to denigrate the rest of the world will come to see the error of their ways.

  3. Praise God! Like 100’s of millions of devote Catholics around the world, I’m proud to proclaim my Catholic faith. Anti-Catholics have severely ridiculed Catholicism since the time of Jesus and his apostles two thousand years ago. Jesus and his apostles endured severe persecution, ridicule to the extent of death. Jesus was crucified and the apostles were all murdered for their faith. And yet the Catholic Faith endured to become the largest denomination in the world. Catholicism has always faced tumultuous times through the centuries. Anti-Catholics and atheists are not a new phenomenon, they have always been around and always will be around. Some of of greats church theologians and authors are converted atheists. The list of former atheists who converted to Catholicism is impressive. The current challenge with Christianity and Catholicism will go down in history similar to the reformation, and Christianity will prevail, Just as God has decreed. Devote Catholics and Christians are not intimidation or discouraged by the anti-christianity contemptuous ridicule and outrageous falsehoods. Praise the Lord, every day former anti-catholics and anti-christians come to know Jesus Christ. We pray to God for those who persecute Catholics, that the perfect loves, goodness and mercy of Jesus softens their hearts. From the Bible by St. James: “we are but a vapor” he was alluding to the brevity of mortal life as compared to time and eternity. As we grow older our perception of mortal life changes, we come to recognize this brief mortal journey as coming to an end. Our thoughts shift to where will I be a few minutes after my mortal body dies. Will I be queuing before Jesus Christ for the final judgement. Ahead of me is a non-believer, perhaps a confirmed atheist. We are now very near a verdict, we will finally know the truth. Jesus we trust you.

    1. Ervin 9:01 Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm for your faith. I have to respond to your use of the word, “falsehoods.”

      Devote Catholics and Christians are not intimidation or discouraged by the anti-christianity contemptuous ridicule and outrageous falsehoods. Praise the Lord, every day former anti-catholics and anti-christians come to know Jesus Christ.

      If you care to look at this link, it states that over 40% of people born in the Catholic faith leave. The numbers in the faith have dropped 3% in recent years. That is not a falsehood but something determined by an independent research firm, Pew.

      1. Praise God! Your numbers are probably correct! But your quest to debunk Catholicism won’t stand the test over the long haul. There have always beet rough roads for Christianity. That’s what motivates us to greater effort in evangelization. You might also want to check stats on how many fallen away Catholics return to the faith after they gain age and wisdom. Many wonderful young people who have been snared by the instant gratification associated with relativism come to recognize the consequences of pornography, promiscuity, alcohol and drug abuse as regressive and return to the faith of their parents to get their lives back. Sadly, atheists only look to find weak areas to embellish and never the good Christianity and Catholic faith communities perform. I suggest you also review PEW Studies on charitable works of the Catholic and Christian Church. Surely it’s not beneath your dignity to give credit were credit is due. I pray you come to recognize that humanity has a fallen nature, I Include myself. Atheists focus heavily on pedophile priests, and ridicule the Catholic Church, laity and clergy as a result of 2% of pedophile priests. Again, surf the net for studies on pedophilia in the general population. Psychologist compare pedophilia to homosexuality, intrinsic to the human race. Where do pedophile priests come from? They are the guys who slipped through the vetting process for priesthood studies. If the liberal media would focus on pedophilia in the general population, as they do on the Catholic Church, we would probably have alarm bells go off. If your effort is to dissuade me from my Catholic Faith, be assured you are failing. Jesus admonishes us to pray for those who ridicule and prosecute our belief. Humbly, I pray for anti-catholics and atheists. I pray that you have a change of heart and join those atheist who convert to Christianity, many of whom are now my favorite Christian authors. May the perfect goodness, love and joy of Jesus soften your heart. Jesus we trust in you!

        1. Evin 10:55 You might also want to check stats on how many fallen away Catholics return to the faith after they gain age and wisdom.

          Good suggestion. I did do that. Only about one in ten fallen away Catholics return to the faith. You can check that by clicking your mouse on the link below. I read somewhere else that for each Protestant who become Catholic, six Catholics become Protestants.

          You assessment of the future, that people will return as they have in past times, is similar to our frequent Lutheran poster. Unfortunately, both views are very speculative. In terms of human history, Christianity has existed for a short period of time. Before that religions were born and died out. While it is possible, certainly, that Christianity could grow again for a while, it is also possible Christianity is nearing the end of its popularity and will eventually disappear like all other religions have in the past.

          1. Catcher

            Jon @ 9;18; “…That people will return (( AS THEY HAVE IN THE PAST TIMES)) when the church was troubled, is similar to our frequent Lutheran poster”.- – – Since I do post frequently, am I to assume you refer to me? I have never said that. Some do, but some don’t. Some do early in life, after starting a family and settling down to adulthood and some do late in life. There are no prescribed timelines. It is equally speculative that they won’t, as is speculation that Christianity will eventually disappear.” That you claim it is “possible”, is not a certainty, and again is speculation. (wishful thinking).

            Which brings us to your “…when the church was troubled”. I must ask what do you mean “troubled”? Which church, and when?

          2. Catcher — I recall clearly you writing more than once the view that young people will return to the church when they have families. I’m not going to take the time to back a 10,000 posts to find it. So, if you say I am wrong in that recollection I’ll just accept your recollection.

          3. Catcher

            @ 10;03; And I did qualify it, as I did in the past. I also said some do, some don’t, a far cry from your blanket statement.

            Now—-As to your; “When the church was troubled”. Who? and which church?

          4. Catcher

            As to the attachment, ie. “Benedict option”; A bunker mentality is a poor witness of the faith, and is laughable.

          5. Catcher 10:44 As to the attachment, ie. “Benedict option”; A bunker mentality is a poor witness of the faith, and is laughable.

            If the world is not noticing boycotts to Disney and Target, why would it notice a boycott of everything else? The more logical reaction to falling numbers comes from marketing in the business community. If sales of the product are soft at the current price, lower it. Making the faith less demanding and more likable.

          6. Catcher

            Jon @ 12;48; You have no intention of “buying ” anything, no matter what marketing strategy. Anything done to make it desirable for you to accept would render it non-Christian. Your point is- – – pointless.

    2. entech

      And yet the Catholic Faith endured to become the largest denomination in the world.
      That is true.
      A little of the gloss wears off when you consider that at one time it was 100% and is now a little less than 50%

    1. entech

      I have tried to be reasonable for a while ???

      @3:41 I have pointed this out before, people that enable this behaviour are as bad as those that commit it.

      Following very close behind are those that try to draw attention from it bit pointing out the other cases, other cases which no one denies.
      Those in virtual denial, refusing to acknowledge that it happens.
      There are some that are so far gone they have been known to talk about priests being victimised by a hostile and anti-Catholic press.
      I am sure you qualify for some other related sins.

      A while ago at the time of the holocaust memorial the Trump government was widely castigated for not mentioning the Jews, the counter punch was that they weren’t the only ones. This is true, they were only about 60% and they were at the top of a long list. When you have people like some appointees, Bannon, for example, this is the first step towards holocaust denial.

      Carefully consider where your own steps lead you, certainly not in the footsteps of St.Paul.

    1. entech

      To whatever extent Pell was negligent, and, make no mistake, it seems a question merely of levels and degrees, it is completely baffling that Pope Francis doesn’t see this as a divine opportunity to put his foot down and show that “zero tolerance on abuse” really, truly means zero tolerance and, therefore, demand Pell resign.
      This is especially true given Pell’s admission that, among other things, he knew first-hand a young boy was being abused by a cleric named Brother Edward Dowlan in 1974. “With the experience of 40 years later, certainly I would agree that I should have done more,” Pell said.
      In fact, if he had gone to the police or church officials then, he might have stopped Dowlan. Instead, the cleric went on to abuse dozens of other young children as Pell kept the secret and climbed the church hierarchy, all the while knowing about Dowlan and others like him.
      When one of the attorneys for a sex abuse victim pushed Pell, asking why he, then head of an education division of a Catholic school, didn’t do something, he shrugged.

      Same source Matt. I have said I would accept the Popes zero tolerance but it is becoming more and more difficult.
      Cardinal Pell has a long history of keeping knowledge secret and worse, hiding it all, slowly reaching a very high position in your Church.
      Instead of aiding the cover ups by diversionary tactics a moral position would be to condemn all acts of abuse and demand that abusers and their protectors be removed from your Church.

      Your talk of morality is a mockery, you should be ashamed.

  4. Jinx

    The classic problem of the fanatic: an inability to discern a distinction between public and private spaces and the expectations of each. Nobody’s religious liberty is at stake with gay rights; people continue to be free to believe what they want and worship how they choose. What people are not free to do is to take discriminatory action and behavior into the public sphere. This is no different than the way we treat racial discrimination.

  5. Patricia Twist

    Patricia 19:50 Faith is alive and well here in Henning, Minnesota! Children and adults us their telephones to connect with each other, and I personally don’t have a television set or a smart phone. Spend time reading God’s word, the Bible, praying for those who are lost, helping those in need and Worshiping and learning to know Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit! God is still in control!

    1. Paricia 7:04 Thank you for posting those thoughts. I seldom watch TV and don’t have a smart phone just yet either. A former student in California sent me a smart phone for Christmas but I haven’t gotten around to firing it up yet. You spend your time reading the Bible and praying. I spend mine reading about people like you who read the Bible and pray. I don’t understand why you do that.

  6. gdpbullsht

    Rod Dreher, the author if the book “The Benedict Option” is an Orthodox Christian, not a Catholic.

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