Western experts’ observations often are based on statistical information that church attendance is declining day by day. What is the situation we have here?
Before answering this question, I would like to reflect on the problem of quality of life. It’s all right when the standard of living is high, but sometimes it indirectly leads to the increase of sins. It doesn’t mean that we should not fight against poverty, but the raising of living standards, when it separates people from the religious zeal, indirectly leads to the sinful course.
People living in severe conditions work hard for survival. But a man, having abundant goods, if he’s far from Christian values, falls into various sins, whereby he leaves the Church. Maybe Christ meant this fact when He said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:24).
Psychologist, scientist Erich Fromm, who is famous for his sharp criticism of capitalist society, in his work, entitled “Healthy society”, has presented statistics about the quantity of crime, vicious manners of life in various countries. It is surprising that the rates of murders, suicides, crimes, alcoholism are highest in the world’s economically developed countries such as Denmark, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, the United States of America and others. It means that man, if he’s far from religion, after satisfying his natural needs, goes to the satisfaction of unnatural, sinful needs.
Particularly in western countries, the decline of church attendance is also due to this fact.
Passivity means that people are more interested in other items which are material and fleeting. When a man considers the material things as being above everything else, as Jesus Christ says, he’s serving not God, but Mammon (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). Thus, focusing solely on material things injures the faith and removes the man from high religious values.
Christ did not reject material part of human life. From this perspective, we can even say that Christianity is material, materialistic religion because God, who is a soul, has incarnated, became material. God has created not only the spiritual, heavenly world but also this material world, the universe.
In the prayer “Our Father” Christ taught to pray for daily bread (Matthew 6:11, Luke 11:3), fed many people by multiplication of food (Matthew 14:17-21, 15:32-38; Mark 6:41-44, 8: 1-10; Luke 9:13-17; John 6:9-13). But first and foremost He taught to supplicate for the God’s kingdom, God’s will and righteousness (Matthew 6:10, 33; Luke 11:2).
When a man violates this sequence and prefers material things to the most valuable realities, he injures his faith. Therefore, the problem of the lack of confidence in religion first and foremost must be examined with the observation of individual human life.