Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Disestablishment and the rush hour of the gods

In postwar Japan, the occupying forces, principally American, insisted on freedom of religious worship for all Japanese. As a result, so many new religious movements came into being that scholars of religion were forced to distinguish between shin shukyo (new religions) and shin shin shukyo (or new new religions).

Neill McFarland, a sociologist writing in the 1960s, described this spiritual free-for-all as "the rush hour of the gods". It’s a memorable phrase and one that’s still accurate.Today, Japanese new religions number between 200 and 500, depending on who’s counting. Some put the figure as high as 3,000. With a membership of 1 in 5, new religions account for about 25-million Japanese. They’re also being exported around the world....
from 1776 through 1850, the combined market shares of the Episcopalian, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian denominations dropped from 55 percent to 19 percent of all religious adherents. ... American rates of church membership have actually risen throughout the past two centuries.
My emphasis.

The one holy and catholic church multiplies by division.

No comments: