Friday, July 3, 2009

Why the Catholic church has succeeded

I am not sure if the Catholic church has started to lose followers lately, I think they have, but they sure have been successful as a church in the past as far as getting a crowd. In Brazil, I have heard that the Catholic population to be as high as 85-90% and that is just one country out of many that have Catholicism as their main religion. Why is that so?
I was thinking this morning about a conversation I had in Sunday school a while back with someone who was not in line with our Baptist belief. She was convinced that her friend, who was not religious, but very good, would not be sent to hell by God. "He, in fact, was better than most Christians she knew." And you know what, it makes sense. I think that is why Catholicism has been successful, because according to our natural beliefs, it makes sense. We all tend to know what is "fair" and always want to be treated fairly. Catholicism says, basically, that if we do more good than bad, we will go to heaven. And that is what comes naturally to believe. And since everyone believes themselves to be basically good in their own eyes, we will all go to heaven.
That is the main reason I think it has done well, but there are others like having an official representative for God, offering plenty of works based services, being state run often times, and other things that I can't think of right now. But for now, here is a video to watch:


Jeff Selph said...

I think part is that they've always been fairly organized and as a result, quite funded. I know some of the money is ill begotten, but they still have it and use it. I'm not claiming to be a fan, but maybe organization isn't as previously reported.

And that video is funny. We either used it in a service a while back or at least talked about using it. I can't remember if it made it in the service or not.

Daniel said...

First, HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!!

Second, The Catholic church has historically been pluralistic. If you can become a Catholic and keep large chunks of your old religion why not become a Catholic? The Catholic church has even been known to adopt other peoples objects of worship as saints. Imagine how many converts they could get if they said Buddha was a saint. said...

the employment at my job in FL was probably 60% Puerto Rican. most of them were Catholic. and all the stuff you mentioned in your blog was all too familiar. not saying that to be insulting, of course; i love them all. also kind of shocking how highly they regard the Pope.

Seda said...

If you look back at history, one of the main reasons that Catholism is so successful is that they killed everyone who was not Catholic, or tortured them until they recanted their own religion and adopted Christianity. It took a long, long time to stamp out the old Celtic and Germanic religions, and the method was, first, evangelize, and convert the leaders; second, make it a state religion and require everyone to worship accordingly. Adopting pagan holidays and rituals, and all the other stuff you mentioned, made it more palatable, but the main reason is that they killed the opposition until it became engrained in the culture.

Seda said...

Oh, and they were really bloodthirsty in Latin America!

David and Sarah Carrel said...

Very true about being organized Jeff. And yes Daniel, you can adapt it to whatever religion pretty much by calling a leader a saint. Actually, here in Brazil, Catholicism, though not admitted, is mixed with the African Spiritist religions and they worship the same gods with different names.
Seda, you are right about the crusades and stuff. The fact that they could easily be part of the church made it pretty much a no brainer decision. Convert, not be killed, keep worshiping and living the same as before, just with a couple mass visits a year. Oh, and the bonus of getting more holidays. Less work, more parties! I could almost go for that. Here in Brazil they have a bunch of days off, some for saints, and others for other reasons.
Oh and Seda brings up an interesting point: Why are the Catholics called Christians still, when they worship Mary and other saints just as much as Jesus?