.....WEIRD.....and the Catholic Church

WEIRD = Acronym for " W estern, E ucated, I ndustrialized, R ich and D emocratic

What caused Western cultures to produce people who are more individualist and nonconformist? Is being individualist and nonconformist preferable?

According to a study published just a few days ago in the journal Science it was the Western Catholic Church that (inadvertently) initiated the formation of this psychology by ending cousin marriages, sex with concubines/mistresses thus creating small nuclear, monogamous households replacing the larger family clans.

The article goes on to explain how this made Westerners less suspicious of strangers and therefore more welcoming. Without clan insistence of conformity, Westerners became nonconformists and more independent.


This is interesting, but what I would like to discuss is how this independents and nonconformity may have had a downside in that it led to divorce, broken families, smaller and smaller families, each with less influence with their children, especially as government run education has stepped in with their own agendas and programs. What can we expect in the future? Perhaps ‘imagine for the future’ is more accurate.

An interesting topic, The article needs broadening though. There is a double edged sword.

My first thought is that there are deeper causes at work than “psychological” causes as perceived or logic of social ideology. There are deeper causes that have made the family weaker. More of a predisposed fate. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Weaker families, weaker faith, weaker establishment religion. Simultaneous.

I’ve never really given much thought as to how long monogamous marriage has been the norm. Did average households once upon a time in Western society involve a wife and concubines/mistresses as a cultural norm? :thinking:

Is there a date or an era that defines the beginning of “Western society”?

Certainly we can point to biblical stories going way back to Abraham wherein a man had multiple wives. (It seems that such stories generally involve people of power and wealth, so even at that, we can’t say it was a norm. But … “the bible”, so you can expect non-traditionalists to use it as a counter example to current tradition.)

We could also say that the concept of “mistresses” is a more contemporary version of concubines. And if so, then even Thomas Jefferson becomes an example. Ditto Prince Charles. And thousands of other such examples. Still, wouldn’t such examples – even in those days – be looked at with a wink, or with moral indignation and not with celebration and progressive inclusiveness?

No matter what else can be found elsewhere in the Bible, we have it straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ: " 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ … " (MT 19: 4+)

And that’s why, at least in Christian circles, taking a second wife/mistress/concubine/whatever is considered morally illicit.

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Jesus’ direct words are indeed the only words I’ve ever taken as a direct commandment from God. As far as I’m concerned, all of the Disciples and all of the Patriarchs sinned before, during, and after their divine encounters, so I take their words with a grain of salt in the pursuit of spiritual wisdom.

As far as the two becoming one, I’ve always been under the line of thought that it had to do with procreation and ascension. A son leaves his father for his wife, and ascends to the role of father when he and his wife’s flesh become one. It also parallels to our ascension from physical to non-physical. IMVO of course.

That’s a part of it.

But Jesus said that in clear context of marriage and of the inseparability of the marriage covenant between spouses.

PS: The fallen nature of each and every person in the Church leadership (and in any other role) does not diminish the moral teaching they propagate. Were that the case, then not a single person has grounds to instruct another in right behavior – including you or me as a parent.

Good enough for me to put all my love and energy into one woman. Not that I want my hands twice as full with a whole 'nother person involved. I like to keep things simple. lol

I disagree with that. The churches bleed membership every year because those houses are filled with pretenders and soap box experts who preach one way and act another. YMMV, but to me they are the Pharisees that Jesus warned me about, so I stick to the 2 or 3 method to gather in His name.

Yes, Churches are bleeding membership for that reason.

I don’t consider it a reasonable one though. If the tenets of a particular faith expression are what you want to believe, the hypocrisy of others in that church do not change the tenets. I am there for the faith, not for the perfection of others who are there. I know I’ll be breaking moral tenets myself. We all are sinners. Every person in every church is a sinner – and if I choose to abandon a creed because someone else (especially a leader) has sinned, I will find myself without a church anywhere. My job is to grow closer to God, and one way to do that is to decrease my own occasions of sin – and I do that by striving to follow the tenets of my faith, among other things.

A trite platitude: “The other Apostles didn’t leave because Judas did…”

On its surface is campy, yet it holds a truth all the same.

The churches bleed membership because of the behaviors of leaders. To me, people who leave for that reason are using it as an excuse to abandon adherence to a faith expression. It’s easier to be your own version of a god rather than pledge actual obedience to a creed.

It’s not the adults who know why they’re there in the first place who are leaving the church the moment their parents can’t force them to anymore, and that reason is perfectly valid for young, impressionable minds that depend on the fronts presented to them for guidance.

You break a kid’s heart, and they’ll find their own way, every time.

I think I may have derailed this thread a bit and I apologize. I’ve noticed @Meriweather’s absence, and I hope all is well.

It’s both.

But yes, having cheated the past few generations out of real catechesis in favor of kumbaya and entertainment, it’s not surprising that younger congregants don’t even know why they are there.

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In an average week in the United States this year, 100 to 200 churches will close for good.

I left the church deliberately many years ago. But I have noticed that even extended family members who haven’t formally broken off with the church have nevertheless drifted away from it. Much rarer to see that person who faithfully shows up for services every Sunday.

And the church of my youth is not far from seeing its final day.

Christianity itself isn’t going anywhere IMO, it’s just in the early stages of another “renaissance” of sorts.

People are slowly understanding that Giant Invisible Man In The Sky myth is not cutting it anymore.

I think there is some truth in that requirements that people cannot marry cousins or other close relatives does reduce the dominance of clans.

On the other hand the Orthodox Church has similar requirements that ban marriages even for second cousins, but modern industrial society did not start in Russia or Greece. Here is a current list of forbidden marriages:

I think that an important factor was the relative geographical isolation of northwestern Europe. Grassy planes extend from eastern Europe across the Eurasian continent, and invaders from the east repeatedly devastated the country.

The “Sky” is inside “God”

Looking outside you can only see footprints

Christianity is growing world-wide. But decreasing in affluent areas. It is good news for the poor. Not so good news for those who idolise pleasure and wealth.

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Growing in raw numbers. But Christianity is not growing as a percentage of the total population. It is remaining fairly static as a percentage. Catholicism and Protestantism are growing slightly as a percentage, but the Orthodox Churches and “other” branches of Christianity are shrinking.

Islam is growing, mainly due to the fact that its adherents, on average worldwide, breed faster than Christians.

Worldwide, Christianity will likely hold its own, but it is losing ground in Europe and North America.

Islam is growing because in most regions leaving Islam incurs a death sentence.