In England you see them, if you pay just a bit of attention, everywhere: former churches.
Big and small, with or without bell tower, monumental or demure. They are transformed in cottages, flats, community spaces. At times the original purpose of the building is evident,mother times it is more or less heavily disguised. But they all tell the same story: here used to gather a Christian community, that has now vanished. Very many of these churches are, from what I can see, Protestant.
Do not delude yourself into thinking that the community has now enlarged, and has moved into bigger premises. They have just vanished as the old generation went to its judgment, and the new did not believe in any judgment not delivered by a television “jury”.
Last time I looked, Sunday church attendance for the so-called Church of England was at 3%. This number alone says it all. The official 25 or more million Anglicans in the country are, officially, a joke, and among the Methodists it’s even worse.
Where the official count says that there should be millions of Christians, there is a huge hole, filled with nothing. Or better said, filled with senseless do-gooders living in a world of easy emotions, and fully persuaded of their own heathenish goodness.
They run “against this”, cycle “against that”, jog “against that others”. They make clown of themselves, as if there were any merit, let alone dignity, in that. They wear red noses or pink bras (as men; yes, they do) and think they are “making a difference”.
They aren’t. Firstly and less importantly, they aren’t because taxpayer-funded (directly or indirectly) or corporate-funded medical research vastly exceeds do-goodism by any standard you would care to find in almost every sector of medical research, and certainly in the basic research. But it’s not even a matter of numbers. It is (secondly, but most importantly) that a human life is infinitely short compared to an eternity in hell. Therefore, to everyone who lands in hell his having died at 72 or 88 is, to all logical and mathematical purposes, infinitely small and therefore infinitesimally irrelevant.
Is, then, not good to spend money on research? Yes, it is. But don’t make of it a religion, because there are things infinitely more important than when one dies, and for which almost no one cares anymore. Like, say, not going to hell. And for heaven’s sake, stop putting yourself at the crossroads with your freaking pink bra, like a Pharisee on cocaine.
The left hand must not know what the right hand does. If you went to church, you would know it. And no. You aren’t needed. Or do you think you can add one cubit unto your stature?
All this is ignored. As churches are transformed into town halls and flats for “modern living”, or in building for a variety of other purposes, “charitable” organisations multiply, and you see all these people – the children and grand-children of those who once would sit in the pews on a Sunday morning – running and cycling, sweating and panting, rowing and skating; all of them with the t-shirt saying to the world how good they are; all of them obsessed with lives ill-spent going on for as long as they can, and uncaring of what must be the eternal destiny of a scary, scary, scary number of people in XXI Heathen England. A country full of people so good, that God to them is a tale, an afterthought, or something for which they have really no time…
As the churches vanish and bells are hears less and less frequently on a Sunday red noses, pink bras and sundry “look at how good I am” t-shirts are everywhere. The old generations were Proddies; but they were Proddies with the fear of the Lord, and an often sincere – if always misguided – intention to live a Christian life, and to die a Christian death. What a difference to today.
Some years ago, the host of the popular UK TV show “Grand Designs”, dealing with the transformation of an old church in a house, said on TV “look, the Lord’s Prayer is on the wall!” as the camera proceeded to zoom on the wall in question.
It was the Creed.
This TV isn’t live. It is carefully edited, and made to a rather high standard. We do not know whether there was, somewhere else, really the Lord’s prayer. But the Creed simply isn’t the Lord’s prayer. Still, No one seems to have noticed.
The basics have gone. Christianity is rapidly fading away even as a mainstream religious flavour. Churches become apartments, or houses, or something else, or are knocked down. Bells are heard less and less frequently.
But look at that clown down the road; yes, the one wearing the pink bra. And another. And another.
Boy, how they feel proud.