Monday, July 8, 2013
Inundated With Churches
Reading our local paper led me to the church directory or what I call it... the Simply Divine Page. Obviously not, for those who know me, but I try to add humor in every situation.
The directory, along with the twenty-five local company ads, listed a total of sixty-four different churches in the surrounding towns. Understandably, the town closest to us with the largest population also had the highest number of churches. With a bigger population, it is understandable there would be a larger diversity in the population and seeing how there are roughly three hundred ten+ different religions, we can expect that we would have a greater diversity in churches as well, but I still would never have expected thirty seven different churches in this still relatively small town. The population is only approximately sixteen thousand inhabitants. Thirty seven - Really? So for every four hundred thirty-two people, there's a church for you.
Churches will claim 44% of the population, on average, will attend church once or more times per week. That would mean the thirty seven churches would enjoy around one hundred ninety people attending each week. But in reality, only 17.7% are checking their butts into the pews on a weekly basis. So what we are really looking at is these thirty seven churches, on average, will have about seventy-seven people attend their services on Sundays and that's really only the popular ones. The heads of those companies placing those ads are more than likely many of those attendees. They'll see the inside of the church more than the average guy would, right alongside those families needing to prove they're something in that town. But I digress, the shallowness of some people is another blog waiting to be written.
It hardly seems worth opening the doors for seventy-seven people. That was my first thought knowing church attendance has been declining and will continue to do so as our nation becomes more secular. Why would we have so many churches when less and less people are showing up? Maybe they should consolidate like schools. Saves costs, boosts numbers... why not? Seems practical enough to me.
The obvious reason they won't though is because each church is different. For each denomination or faction there is a different vibe about it or what is to be believed about their god is a titch different than the next church. The traditions or rituals in each church are different, too. Hmmmm... why would that be? Because the ONE TRUE WORD of god really isn't... obviously! I often ask myself why those selecting a religion don't ever think about just that one sticking point. One book is supposedly the only guide, but why then so many fucking editions AND interpretations?!? When will believers realize that humans wrote that book and humans are explaining that book? That alone should have sent them in the direction of understanding the history of the bible. And then maybe, hopefully, even more research as to the actual validity of that book.
I'm guessing most won't dare question what they have been brought up with. Especially those that have dug even deeper into their religion due to community pressures to assimilate; they will never venture out and do the research. I feel sad that they won't think for themselves and remain locked up in a system that will only do its best to retain rather than educate.
As long as questioning is deemed sinful behavior or problematic for the elders to deal with, this is the reason the doors will remain open. Even if they only have a handful of people showing up. When that handful can't support the salary of the clergy or make the rent, only then will those doors finally close.
It will be interesting to see how soon that will happen. All the indications look promising. The younger generation is leading the charge to change things up. And hopefully shut things down... like churches. We've simply got too many of them. Really...
*For those who like facts and figures, click here for more great information. I'm an information whore so I spent a considerable amount of time there absorbing the numbers. Fascinating.