Will Christianity soon be a non-Western religion?

Will Christianity soon be largely a non-Western religion?

Philip Jenkins thinks so. He writes:

The population shift is even more marked in the specifically Catholic world, where Euro-Americans are already in the minority. Africa had about 16 million Catholics in the early 1950s; it has 120 million today, and is expected to have 228 million by 2025. The World Christian Encyclopedia suggests that by 2025 almost three quarters of all Catholics will be found in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The likely map of twenty-first-century Catholicism represents an unmistakable legacy of the Counter-Reformation and its global missionary ventures.

These figures actually understate the Southern predominance within Catholicism, and within world Christianity more generally, because they fail to take account of Southern emigrants to Europe and North America. Even as this migration continues, established white communities in Europe are declining demographically, and their religious beliefs and practices are moving further away rom traditional Christian roots. The result is that skins of other hues are increasingly evident in European churches; half of all London churchgoers are now black. African and West Indian churches in Britain are reaching out to whites, though members complain that their religion is often seen as “a black thing” rather than “a God thing.”

In the United States a growing proportion of Roman Catholics are Latinos, who should represent a quarter of the nation by 2050 or so. Asian communities in the United States have sizable Catholic populations. Current trends suggest that the religious values of Catholics with a Southern ethnic and cultural heritage will long remain quite distinct from those of other U.S. populations. In terms of liturgy and worship Latino Catholics are strikingly different from Anglo believers, not least in maintaining a fervent devotion to the Virgin Mary and the saints.

European and Euro-American Catholics will within a few decades be a saller and smaller fragment of a worldwide Church. Of the 18 million Catholic baptisms recorded in 1998, eight million took place in Central and South America, three million in Africa, and just under three million in Asia. (In other words, these three regions already account for more than three quarters of all Catholic baptisms.) The annual baptism total for the Philippines is higher than the totals for Italy, France, Spain, and Poland combined. The number of Filipino Catholics could grow to 90 million by 2025, and perhaps to 130 million by 2050.

The changing demographic balance between North and South helps to explain the current shape of world Catholicism, including the fact that the Church has been headed by Pope John Paul II. In the papal election of 1978 the Polish candidate won the support of Latin American cardinals, who were not prepared to accep yet another Western European. In turn, John Paul has recognized the growing Southern presence in the Church. Last year he elevated forty-four new cardinals, of whom eleven were Latin American, two Indian, and three African. The next time a papal election takes place, fifty-seven of the 135 cardinals eligible to vote, or more than 40 percent, will be from Southern nations. Early this century they will constitute a majority.

Will islands of Western Christianity survive in this vast sea of Third World Christendom?

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29 thoughts on “Will Christianity soon be a non-Western religion?

  1. Bede Post author

    One can easily observe the “de-Westernization” of Christianity taking place around the globe.

    A couple examples:

    The removal of occidental aspects from liturgies in Mexico, Central and South America, and the replacement of these with Amerindian or African traditions.

    Pentecostals in China refusing to celebrate Christmas, which they see as a form of European paganism.

  2. roho

    Bede……………..You post some good stuff, but, have you ever been to “Dixie”?……..AKA the “Bible Belt”?

    We got a Christian church on every corner. A church of 100 can have an argument, and you now have two churches of 50!

    We got Christian churches in shopping malls!

    We have “Pulpit Pimps” on every corner, and nobody with a degree in theology!

    This Dog want hunt.

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  4. Kirt Higdon

    Christianity is not of Western origin and was never intended to be an exclusively Western religion, but a universal one. Indeed the “catholic” in Catholic Church means universal – or so I was taught through 16 years of Catholic school education. For the first thousand years or so of the Church’s existence, most Christians were non-European. However, the Moslem conquest of the Middle East and North Africa made most of Asia inaccessable to the Church. Africa was inaccessable for this and other reasons and the very existence of the Americas was unknown. It’s interesting to note at this point that Islam was widely considered, by thinkers from John of Damascus to Thomas Aquinas to Belloc, to be a Christian heresy.

    The voyages of exploration, followed by conquest and colonization, of the Spaniards and Portuguese, led the way to the spread of the Catholic Church and afterwards other Christian denominations to Asia, Africa and the Americas. In my years of Catholic education, we all heard many stories of missionaries past and present, and were encouraged to support their efforts by prayer and donations to spread the Gospel to Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans. It’s great to see all this bearing fruit. Deo gratias!

  5. Captainchaos

    Who cares if the White race is mongrelized out of existence, so long as we all worship Jebus.

  6. RedPhillips

    Kirt, no one is saying they don’t want Christianity to expand. They are bemoaning the fact that it is declining in the West.

    Roho, Christianity is alive and well in the South. That is a reason to love it. But Christianity is undeniably on the decline elsewhere in the United States and Europe.

    CC, anti-Christian white nats are no different than secular “conservatives.” They think they can save or conserve the West without saving something that is an intrinsic part of what makes the West the West. You want to save your DNA and in the process lose your soul.

  7. Captainchaos

    Listen to yourself, Red. Do you honestly believe that the Japanese would be doomed if they were to abandon Shinto? I dare say probably not. Ironically from your perspective though (for a man who presumably places some value on the genetic continuity of one’s people), as I’m sure you would have the Japanese give up Shinto for Christianity, which would be even less likely to effect the preservation of the Japanese people than either Shinto or a merely secular ethnic identity as Christianity is a universalist religion and therefore militates towards universalism and against ethnic particularism.

    Btw, I got a good laugh out of Kirt Higdon’s maudlin rhapsodizing.

  8. RedPhillips

    “Do you honestly believe that the Japanese would be doomed if they were to abandon Shinto?”

    Their eternal souls are. While you whine about Christian universality, orthodox Christianity is “exclusivist,” meaning it claims to be THE TRUTH and THE ONLY path to salvation. This is why the multicults hate it so much.

    “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 (KJV)

    “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (KJV)

    Anti-Christian white nats and secularists are just alike. You can’t fathom that people actually believe Christianity to be true (the Truth). And not some take it or leave it cultural remnant that is at best one of many paths. There is a word for that belief in Christian circles. It’s called liberalism.

  9. Captainchaos

    Christianity is spiritualized Bolshevism. The soul of a 70 IQ Negro cannibal from Africa is ultimately of equal worth to that of a 160 IQ White inventor according to Christians. And as they are of equal worth, and the soul ultimately has no firm, permanent connection with the physical body, both that Negro and that White man are equally expendable – in fact preference would probably be given to the Negro. Accordingly, it does not really matter if our race is mongrelized out of existence and no more such White men are produced. Isn’t that right, Red?

    Don’t take a rocket scientist recognize the above as rankest nihilism.

  10. Weaver

    CC,

    God loves all, but that doesn’t make all equal in His eyes, nor does it command us to value strangers over our own.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about regarding Christianity and mongrelizing. Where does it say man shall rebuild Babel and abandon his parents?

    -

    Reg. Shinto… if you truly believe Japan could do without a religion, you don’t have an understanding of politics. That’s just moronic, I’m sorry. Shinto gives Japan character and guidance and encourages pride and loyalty. Ideally they’d convert of course, but lacking roots and traditions Japan would cease to exist, genetically and culturally.

    It’s a false dichotomy to separate descent and culture – it’s perhaps you who’ve swallowed Bolshevism.

    Buddhism is perhaps potentially a threat to Japan, but it’s foreign and religion in general largely exists as a sort of combined mesh there, including Christianity.

    -

    It wasn’t a vapid lightning bolt your beloved NS embraced. It chose a Swastika rooted in pagan Europe, which should not today be exclusively associated with NS.

  11. roho

    CC………….You overlook the large amount of christians that have had “Unexplained Spiritual Events” in their lives without drugs, such as pagans………After that experience, FAITH is no more of a challenge than knowing that the sun will rise in the morning?….Life is no longer a puzzle, and those that question God are as funny as those that question gravity?………All of the confusion fades away.

  12. Weaver

    Roho,

    Christianity saved the souls of our European ancestors, but there’s no need to spout lies against their former [diverse] beliefs.

    Using the all-inclusive “paganism” to say drugs were used is entirely false. It’s likely some pagans held a sense of piety without manipulation by priests – it’s likely they sensed the Holy Spirit on some level and were not wholly depraved even if by nature we are so.

    And Christians drink wine as the blood of Christ even today.

  13. Captainchaos

    “if you truly believe Japan could do without a religion, you don’t have an understanding of politics.”

    Careful about the degree to which you conflate the political and the religious there, Weaver. They are not the same. More aptly, for many faith in the transcendence from which guidance is taken for how one ought live in the temporal is clearly a strong psychological need. Of course I am aware of that, and as such, this will color on the political, that is, how men seek to govern one another within the confines of agreed upon and/or established rules.

    “That’s just moronic, I’m sorry.”

    By doing violence to my words you also do violence to your own credibility. Not necessarily “moronic,” just ham-fisted.

    “Shinto gives Japan character and guidance and encourages pride and loyalty.”

    I did not say that it doesn’t, now did I, although you imply that I did. But, if you imply that said laudables could not potentially be evoked from another source, another belief system, I think you are skating out where the ice is thin.

    “Ideally they’d convert of course, but lacking roots and traditions Japan would cease to exist, genetically and culturally.”

    New traditions could be forged, new myths created. Take NS as an example. But I see no reason to abandon what works for the Japanese. My proposal was merely a thought experiment for Red, you know, I think of something that wouldn’t have occurred to him and get him to think about it.

    “It’s a false dichotomy to separate descent and culture – it’s perhaps you who’ve swallowed Bolshevism.”

    Well now, if a given culture has become unadaptive in the sense that it no longer facilitates the genetic continuity of the group that formed that culture then that culture may well have to be gotten rid of in lieu of something more adaptive, wouldn’t you say? But, but, it is not that simple, tradition, tradition, I’m sure you object. Again, I refer you to the startling alacrity with which National Socialism captured the German people. And do not make the mistake of getting hung up on NS’s selected symbology. It could well have been different. The faithist impulse is more easily satisfied than you may care to acknowledge. Or, perhaps alternatively, the APPEARANCE of tradition can satisfy the faithist impulse to the degree that at least the appearance of venerability is needed to satisfy faith. Let’s face it, most are too dumb and/or lazy to actually research for themselves the contention of whether or not a given symbol really was once was of importance whose significance has been long forgotten. Could just be bullshit, but since you’ve got the power, they take your word for it, isn’t that how it usually works?

  14. Weaver

    But, if you imply that said laudables could not potentially be evoked from another source, another belief system, I think you are skating out where the ice is thin.

    Part of the strength of Shinto is it’s uniquely Japanese. It’s been altered in the past and could of course be moulded somewhat differently.

    Or, perhaps alternatively, the APPEARANCE of tradition can satisfy the faithist impulse to the degree that at least the appearance of venerability is needed to satisfy faith. Let’s face it, most are too dumb and/or lazy to actually research for themselves the contention of whether or not a given symbol really was once was of importance whose significance has been long forgotten. Could just be bullshit, but since you’ve got the power, they take your word for it, isn’t that how it usually works?

    Yes, but that’s a foundation of sand though. We today mostly all obey a manufactured set of values and identity, but we also all know it’s false. Even the dullest will occasionally sense the emptiness even if he doesn’t understand it.

    And the awesome power of the mass media is a very recent phenomenon. I doubt it’s previously been possible to brainwash people at this level, and I don’t think it’s ideal now that it is either. I wouldn’t want to live in a society built on lies except perhaps as some necessary short-term solution.

    The fox-like elite that would rule such a society would be self-serving and greedy. There’d surely be little piety nor nationalism among the elite who are aware that all is BS.

    Take NS as an example.

    NS is built upon new myths?

    I’m always hearing bits about NS from Germans on the internet, but they never fill me in and I’m too lazy to read more about it, though I’ve at least read that book on the Holocaust finally…

  15. Weaver

    I’m somewhat envious of the Japanese and their heritage. I don’t hardly know what the Celts believed, and I only have bits from the Germans. If I want to know where I came from, I have to look to the Romans and Greeks and to others.

  16. JW

    I consider myself a “white nat” and I’m not anti-Christian. Preserving Christianity is important to me.

    While it is true that quite a few WNs can fairly be described as being anti-Christian a great many of them are either Christians themselves or at least very pro-Christian. But some paleocons aren’t extremely pro-Christian either.

  17. Patroon

    Anyone who still wonders why the U.S. Catholic Bishops favor immigration one only needs to read Phil Jenkins articles. They know where the numbers are. If they are going to fill pews and collection plates with Hispanics to replace the growing number of pagans/securalists in our society that USED to go to church, they will do so and will not care whey they come from. I may disagree but I understand way they think the way they do. The Catholic Church in the U.S. has always been an immigrant church. It always will be.

    However, perhaps we can possibly get them to agree that allowing large numbers of Muslim or allowing the Saudi government to expand and fund Muslim madrassas across the U.S. is a really, really bad idea.

  18. Bede Post author

    Patroon,

    Regardless, Christianity will cease to be Western.

    Will Western pockets remain?

    I have been told by numerous paleos that perhaps Orthodox Christianity, because of its inherent ethnic identities, may be the only form of Christianity to remain distinctively Western.

    Have you heard this?

  19. Patroon

    Yes I have Bede and in fact I’ve written about it (http://www.originaldissent.com/forums/archive/index.php?t-5360.html). Don’t be surprised if you see growth in Orthodox Churches because of it. The problem is the converts themselves. I just can’t “join” the Georgian Orothdox Church because I’m not Georgian. There is an Orthodox Church in American (OCA) but it has to be a refuge for traditional culture, not an American version of the Orthodox Church.

  20. Kirt Higdon

    So let me get this straight. If I attend Mass in Mexico or Honduras or Brazil or Argentina, where the liturgy is identical to the US other than being in a different European language, I have participated in a Christianity which is not Western. But if I attend an Orthodox Eucharistic Liturgy (Mass) in Syria or Palestine where the liturgy is significantly different in accord with the customs of those people and the language is a combination of Arabic and Aramaic (both non-European Semitic languages), I have participated in a “distinctively Western” Christianity. Must be because those Latin Americans don’t have enough Northwestern European DNA. Oh but wait a minute – the Syrians and Palestinians have even less Northwestern European DNA. So what’s going on?????

  21. Bede Post author

    Kirt,

    By “Orthodox,” people are speaking of forms of European Orthodoxy – obviously not Syrian or Palestinian.

    And while the mestizo liturgies of Central America have some Western elements, they are not Western. In fact, as the writers at the links provided above point out, the mestizos are stripping their liturgies of occidental aspects and replacing them with non-Western traditions.

  22. Kirt Higdon

    Bede,

    I intentionally named Latin American countries where I have in fact attended Mass, so I personally know what their liturgies are like – no different from the “mestizo” liturgies offered in Spanish at predominantly “mestizo” parishes in the US and differing only in language from Masses offered at predominantly Anglo parishes. And while I’ve never been to Syria or Palestine, I’ve have attended Melkite rite liturgies here in the US among an Arabic congregation and Byzantine liturgies in Slavonic among an East European congregation. These are identical with each other and virtually identical with East European and Mideastern Orthodox liturgies, other than language differences depending on the country. It’s bizarre to refer to eastern Orthodox churches as “distinctively Western” and Europeans adherents of those churches would be scratching their heads wondering what you are talking about. As far as “mestizo” elements being added to Western rite liturgies and “occidental aspects” being stripped out, exactly what is being referred to? The word “mestizo” itself, used for a mixture of white and Indian, implies a partial European background.

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  26. Daniel

    Is Christianity becoming a non-Western religion? This loaded question falsely assumes Christianity was already a Western religion and was never non-Western even though Christianity grew and developed in Asia and Africa long before it developed in Europe. Christianity may be (or rather became) a part of Western culture but Western culture is not a part of Christianity. Even in its origin Christianity comes from the Near Eastern Judaic tradition rather than the Western Greco-Roman tradition. People for too long keep associating Christianity with Western tradition and this in many ways has been harmful to Christianity. I’m not saying that Western culture should dispense with Christianity (not at all, Western culture needs to preserve Christianity), but rather that Western culture needs to stop pretending that Christianity is its own thing, that it is “the Western religion of Europeans and European culture”. This is harmful to Christianity because it pressures non-Westerners who accept Christ into assimilating into Western culture and adopt a culture that is foreign to their own. By keeping Christianity bound up to Western culture, missions become polluted with an agenda of cultural assimilation rather than purely about teaching the gospel of Christ to all nations. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t lament non-Western Christianity but instead celebrate it and recognize its history (being older than Western Christianity). Christianity needs to be independent of Western cultural influences within non-Western cultures, just like it has been before it became seen as a Western religion. Christianity is not a religion bounded by any particular culture but rather belongs to anyone from any culture who chooses to accept Christ.

  27. Weaver

    Daniel, I very much favour your understanding of non-Western Christianity. It is not wanted for other cultures to adopt a foreign culture. However, obviously some pagan traditions must be rejected, though I think they should be approached honestly.

    I fear the reality of non-Western Christianity is closer to Babel though.

    What I think Bede opposes is the West itself being swallowed into Babel.

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