Thursday, June 04, 2009

Bigger government, less in church?

Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde seem to have done an interesting study, "State Welfare Spending and Religiosity." Chuck Colson wrote a commentary on this study called: "BIG GOVERNMENT: An 'Inverse' Relationship."

The premise of the study by Gill and Lundsgaarde is that the bigger the government gets, the fewer people attend church. In essence, they found an "inverse relationship between religious observance and welfare spending." I have not read this study myself, but Colson writes: "Put more simply, the more a government spends on welfare, the fewer people go to church."

My question would be whether the study indeed proved such a causality and how they did it! It is one thing to prove a link between the amount that government spends on welfare, and the number of people attending church, yet it is something completely different proving that government spending is the cause of fewer people attending church. At least, that is how I read Colson's commentary on the study.

Can the causality in a post-Christian west, not be the opposite? When there are fewer and fewer Christians being involved in Church and community projects, would that not cause the growth of government and welfare states? For centuries there have been a delicate balance between church and state. The strength of the church in the past precluded the state from overpowering its citizens and from becoming a nanny state.

With fewer people attending church, and even fewer being able to discern between right and wrong (just look at how many so-called Christians voted for Obama, who stands for anti-Christian beliefs and ideas), it is clear that a vacuum has formed. A vacuum being filled by growing governments in the west. When the church no longer knows the difference between right and wrong, why should anyone attend church? A church unable to stand on what is right before a holy God will not be able to do what is right when the government does not stay within its Godly given mandate.

So, again, what did the Gill and Lundsgaarde study really prove? Did it not just prove the obvious, to which they perhaps added a causality slant? I don't know...

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