Taking the Temperature of Christianity, International Edition

Over at Conversion Diary, Jen asked her international readers to describe the religious climate in their countries.

The distinct theme of the responses is that it’s mighty quiet in the church house out there. Many people talk about the remnants of a religious tradition in their countries, but nowadays, they say, nobody talks much about religion, and nobody goes to church except the elderly. To the extent that anyone espouses a belief system at all, it’s usually agnosticism or multiculturalism.

This is kind of what I expect from a survey of world religious attitudes (who’s got two thumbs and is really cynical? This guy!). But the great thing about having low expectations it that the little rays of sunshine are that much brighter. And there are some responses that give me hope that we’re not completely lost yet.

RI in East Africa: About 80% people attend church of some sort though it is a predominantly catholic society. there are many churches with active membership – think people filling the church and spilling over onto the road.

Maria in Manila, Philippines: Churches are virtually everywhere in my country, especially in the city. They’re always packed during Sundays and certain feast days. The best part is that the age-range of mass-goers is pretty broad. This is because it’s traditional for all members of the family to go to Mass together–from newborn infants to aging grandparents.

Eunice in Singapore: Church attendance is actually high in all churches here in Singapore. My parish is always full on Sundays, and this is more or less the same for the other 30 parishes in Singapore. There are also a few dominant megachurches (charismatic protestant churches) which attract a lot of the young people, accounting close to 100,000 church attendees each Sunday.

The body of Christ is still alive and active in a whole bunch of places. However, if you think that America is becoming a suburb of Sodom and Gomorrah, this is a good time to note that Christians still have it better in this country than in pretty much anywhere else in the world.

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