I presume this will get quite a mournful article. It’s not that I’m
happy with what I’m going to note here, I’d really like it to be the
other way round. So disprove me if you can, I’d be grateful for that.

The problem starts with the sad fact that we as Christians in the
Christian Western world don’t experience God for real. There are some
believable reports, but not enough and not obvious
enough to serve as a contemporary justification for ones faith. Most
are not believable, though: they’re too close to the entropy lowerings
that happen by chance in a life full of dynamics and interaction. It’s
a point of selective perception: we select the favourable chances out
and call them “acts of God”, and ignore the unfavourable chances as
“that’s just life”. This would not be possible with obvious works of

The first thing to note is that is is no exceptional case. We’ve got
other cases like that reported in the Bible. For example this:

“Now the young man Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli.
And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent
vision.” [The
Bible, I Samuel 3:2, ESV

So I won’t suggest general cessationism as the “doctrinal solution”
here. Instead, it “just happens” (for some reasons yet unknown to me)
that God does not acts or speaks in some areas at some times. I will
call it “geo-cessationism” or “living in a cessationist area”. It seems
as if God would let people alone at times with just the historic fact
that Jesus dies for them and that they can get saved by believing that.
Of course Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to be always with us, and this
might be the case, but then, the effects of the Spirit are untraceable,
neither in our own nor in other people’s life in cessationist areas, so
that it is impossible to use the effects to justify ones faith in the
Holy Spirit and Jesus.

For us, this means that we need to be able to cope with such a
situation. Here’s my suggestion for the various aspects of a coping

  • You have to justify your faith from other sources. From history,
    and /
    or by moving to or visiting an area where God acts today. This is more
    difficult and less reliable than experiencing God himself, but it is
    just that way.
  • You’ve gotta live your life pretty much on your own. You may
    spread your life ‘n sorrows before God in prayer and you can expect him
    to listen. But don’t expect him to help practically. (There will be
    some rare cases where he does, rejoice in them. But don’t expect this
    to happen for any single case you pray for, as it won’t happen in the
    average case and “hope deferred makes the heart sick” [The
    Bible, Proverbs 13:12, ESV
    ].) From God’s side, all that is there to
    help you is the general truth in the Bible (you need to read,
    understand and apply it yourself), the community with your brothers and
    sisters and their loving help. That’s pretty much compared to not
    believing in God, but it lacks His concrete help, like, by prophecies
    for you and stuff.

So while it seems possible to cope with living in a cessationist
area, it’s no box of chocolates. So may I be surprised with
experiencing God’s acts, here or otherwhere, not too far from now … .

Start date: 2008-05-10
Post date: 2008-05-10
Version date: 2008-05-10 (for last meaningful change)

Lately, I read Bob DeWaay’s article “How pietism
deceives Christians
“. He argues against what he calls “pietism”,
namely, “a
practice designed to lead to an experience that purports to give one an
elite or special status compared to ordinary Christians.” [Bob DeWaay: How pietism
deceives Christians
]. He strongly argues that sanctification is the
work of God:

If the “secret” to a higher order Christianity is based on
something we
discover and implement (the secret to the deeper life), then it makes
sense that some Christians could achieve a higher status than others.
But if salvation AND sanctification are God’s work through His grace,
then we are all in the same boat, and there’s no higher order. [Bob
DeWaay: How
pietism deceives Christians

This could lead to the conclusion that human activity has no place
at all in sanctification, as there’s no improvement that humans can
reach. This is an error. There’s no improvement just because we already
in Christ what we become through sanctification.

Also look to the many exhortations in the NT. God integrates people
into their sanctifiction process. DeWaay knows this, as he mentions:
“If a teaching is called pietism but teaches no more than what God has
always used to sanctify Christians, then it is not really pietism.”[Bob
DeWaay: How
pietism deceives Christians
]. And sanctification never introduces
higher-order Christianity, as it only makes us what we already became
in Christ:

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time
those who are being sanctified. [The
Bible, ISV, Heb 10:14

Intermediate result: man’s activity is integrated into the process
his sanctification.

So, to desire change towards holiness
should not be termed “pietism”. It’s a work of faith. Also, to do
something in that direction shouldn’t be called “pietism”: generating
ideas, trying something. But note, these ideas are just to
practically help those with a desire to change. They’re not meant to
generate a desire for change, because those without any desire for
holiness need an initian conversion to Jesus instead.

And again, the result
of thinking and trying is not important, but the existence of this
desire to change (= work of
faith, taking God seriously). Ideas for revival need not be pietism,
but they’re about practicing the basics of ones faith (continuous
repentance, desire for holiness). Now, repentance means “thinking
differently”, and this starts with recognizing and analyzing a problem
(e.g. as done in the article “Oh
we of decadent faith!
“). Repent,
think differently: the Laodicaeans were admonished to go into a
different direction, so it is good to try this / something. Also,
repentance implied “trying
differently”, so it’s a good idea to generate some ideas how to try

Start date: 2008-03-20
Post date: 2008-05-03
Version date: 2008-05-03 (for last meaningful change)

Lately, I got an idea for a new, meaningful definition of [human]
identity and personality:

is, in an abstract sense, the set of differences
by which one instance differs from its type. For example, an
off-the-shelf car gets an
identity by tuning modifications, by its number plate, its history of
owners, the things that are currently inside the car etc.. Likewise,
for humans this means: special body attributes, brain content, and
personal history. As each human being has these, each has an own

is a composite attribute of a human’s identity that can be summarized
as “well-developed individuality”. A human being has this attribute if
his or her identity meets a certain set of abstract conditions. These
conditions deal with: having an independent, free, highly indivividual
or even unique lifestyle, style of behavior, style of thinking. This
needs not to be globally unique, but unique compared to the social
setting where this personality developed. So, personality is the degree
of independence from the imprinting by one’s social environment.

From the observations about identity, there follows an interesting
image of humanity:

What differs one man from another in
the moment of comparison
is a set of bodily differences and a
set of differences in the programming of the brain. The programming of
the brain can be called, in an abstracted sense, the human spirit.
Because both body and spirit contribute to human identity, man is not
simply “a spirit in a machine”, but rather an integrated, highly
complex system of material and non-material (i.e. informational)

This integration is illustrated by the large amount that the feeling
of our body contributes to our current mood and to our character. This
is mostly subconscious, but can be detected by discussing the topic.
You’ll see, for example, that many differences between men and women
can be traced to bodily differences: women have 15% less muscles and
are somewhat smaller, so it’s just meaningful that they call more often
for help, as they got accustomed to that when needing help for bearing
things etc.. Not to speak of the differences in hormonal system etc.,
and their effects. I’d really like to see a detailed comparison of all
the bodily differences and all their psychological and social effects.
That would contribute a vast amount to cross-gender understanding!

Having said this about bodily differences, the spiritual differences
seem to be even greater. Because most body attributes cannot vary much,
the boundaries are determined by human DNA. But brain programming is
completely free (at least in theory). Here, everything is possible. In
practice, the differences are much smaller than they could be, because
social imprinting tries to establish some boundaries. But when trying
to become stronger personalities (see above), the differences increase,
and through this, social intercourse gets more interesting.

Which would be another contribution to the search for life, me

Start date: 2008-04-29
Post date: 2008-04-29
Version date:  2008-04-29 (for last meaningful change)

To say that people “change [in character]” is a widespread
verbalization that we all understand. Saturday it deemed on me that
this is correct as a phenomenological verbalization, but not from a
psychological viewpoint. This difference has consequences for everyday
life. Let me explain:

To “change” in character would imply that we forget some of our
former character attributes. But character attributes are the best
learned attributes of our personality, else they would not be called
“character”. They’re stored in long-term memory and therefore safe from
forgetting. We can never lose any of our character attributes, from a
psychological viewpoint!

What seems to be a change is rather the addition of something new:
we may acquire new character attributes and start acting according to
them instead of according to the old ones. This is a change,
phenomenologically, but learning, psychologically. The old attributes
are still there, but latently, non-active. They’re overdriven by new
attributes, probably because we like the new ones better.

This thought says practically: if you want to “change” in character,
you need to learn. And for learning, you need to know something you
don’t and experience something you didn’t. This is called “new”
knowledge and experiences — so to “change” in character, extend your
knowledge and / or exchange your circumstances.

And from a Christian viewpoint, the interpretation would be as
follows: Christians contain all their character attributes from the
time when they were not Christians. These are called “flesh” or
“fleshly” sometimes. To be a “new creation” means or should mean that
these attributes are no longer active (at least, they should not be).
The inactivation is effectuated by “learning new attributes”
(sanctification), but foremost by “being given new attributes for free”
(as that’s the effect of being filled with the Holy Spirit).

Start date: 2008-04-28
Post date: 2008-04-28
Version date: 2008-04-28 (for last meaningful change)

During my service in the German army (Deutsche Bundeswehr), I made
an interesting experience. During the basic military education, there
were many situations and circumstances that really sucked. This got on
our nerves, and all of us were really frustrated and pissed off. Now,
when the situations sucked beyond a certain threshold, the interesting
experience was a paradox reaction on my part: at that point, I suddenly
felt well and relaxed and acted bold and audacious.

One instance was when we had a training unit with rifles. It was
raining like all the water had reached its “best before” date. There
was a shelter section spreaded on the ground as a mat for each of us,
to dissassemble and reassemble our weapons on. One of them seemed like
it was not properly waterproofed and was dripping wet. We complained
about that, and nobody layed down on that. The corporal commanded that
one of us should, in order to start the weapon disassembling. Nobody
moved. All of a sudden, I thought this would be fun, stood up and
throwed myself down on that wet mat. Another instance was, in the same
education, one of us had to stay with the weapons during lunch. I
thought it was fun to eat in 10mins after all the other, and
volunteered for that task.

There were other instances like that: there’s a threshold when other
people start to go mad, and I get relaxed and into best mood. On the
other hand, I am often depressed while other people are in their best mood, namely, in
everyday life’s routine. As most of my life currently is made of such
routine, the latter is the normal case and I did not experience the
former for a long time. Until today, which reminded me of that part of
my character.

I stood at the car station and waited for the train to go to my home
town. There was a public announcement that the train is to arrive at an
undetermined time, due to a contact wire damage. That sucked. Than a
woman who stood nearby called her partner and yelled at him to come by
car and pick her up. I myself was in depressed mood all day, but that
cheered me up. People start to go mad? Then I’m going to relax. I sat
down on my Zarged aluminium box, got my notebook, PDA and headphones
and started some transcription work of voice notes. While the world
outside was like hey-go-mad: trains arriving without public
announcement and with wrong destination signage, train personnell
yelling at travellers, travellers yelling at train personnell, people
demaning public announcements (“Damn, can anybody tell us all where
that train goes.”). All that cheered me up for the rest of the day …

Perhaps I should take a close look at life, to recognize that it’s a
war of its own sort. That would make me relaxed and cheerful for the
rest of my life.

Relax, folks, this is war!

Start date: 2008-04-24
Post date: 2008-04-24
Version date: 2008-04-24 (for last meaningful change)

In my recent “Oh
we of decadent faith!
” I recognized that both individuals and whole
societies can become “decadent”. Let me add now a thought how
developments in societies and in individual lifes are comparable in

Think of society as something with a “feeling” (how it feels to live
in it) and with life conditions, just like an individual. With the
difference that conditions and feeling change much slower than with
individuals, and that effects are much bigger.

Within individual lifes there is something like a “conceit /
depression cycle”, coming from the fact that life conditions influence
the “feeling” (life perception) with a delay in between. This can be
depicted by two sinus graphs, phase-shifted by a quarter of the
wavelength. One graph depicts the subjective condition (feeling / life
perception) which alternates between conceit and depression. And the
other graph depicts the objective condition (quality) of ones life.

This pattern can also be found in societies: from history it appears
that all advanced civilizations eventually
became decadent and then disappeared again; so it seems that there’s an
implicit element in advanced civilization that causes decadence.
Regarding the objective conditions, there is decadence (falling edge)
and revival (rising edge). Regarding the subjective conditions, there
is conceit and depression.

We can even use the model of oscillating systems further. There is a
reason why the cycles in society are so much longer than in personal
lifes. (In the U.S. society, the cycle lenght is approx. 70 years,
which is the gap between revivals; in Germany the cycle length is
probably nearly twice that much, as half of the cycle seems to be
1945-2010.) The cycle lenght of an oscillating system is determined by
its eigen frequency, that’s the characteristic frequency of that
system. If the oscillator is “soft” (long loading time / high
capacity), the cycles get longer; and a society has a much higher
capacity than an individual … .

From this observation now follows a basic receipt how to minimize or
even eliminate decadence at all, both in individual life and societies:
one can minimize the length of the falling edge (“decadence”) by
raising the frequency, i.e. by using harder oscillators. That means
practically to create a more direct coupling between perception and
reality. Because decadence only arises in the case of conceit, i.e. if
an individual or a society does not see the need to care for itself. If
perception would be adequate at all times there would be no oscillation
at all.

Some hints how to create such an adequate perception of one’s
spiritual and material conditions:

  • removing comfort, as comfortable condition make us think
    everything is o.k.
  • removing all kinds of excess, as a store of resources makes it
    possible to live from that when the earnings have long dropped, and
    thus to miss recognizing that
  • make yourself experience the problems that are there, immediately
  • get yourself in a situation that makes you experience yourself as
    you are; a good example is living on an OM ship, as this is an extreme
    situation that triggers ones hidden “qualities”

Start date: 2008-04-08
Post date: 2008-04-15
Version date: 2008-04-15 (for last meaningful change)

What I call “decadent faith” is, in my perception, an ubiquituous
symptom of us
Christians in advanced civilizations, it aggregates most of our
spiritual illness symptoms. So let’s look at these symptoms, and at
causes and solutions.
But first, let me define my use of terms:

is an aggregate term for specific attitudes, thoughts and
behavior of reborn Christians. Something is covered by “decadent
if it is an inadequate reaction to the Gospel, and if that reaction is
triggered by excess of resources and softness of conditions, not by
scarceness and hardness.

for the scope of this article, shall mean only the basic proposition
that Jesus Christ is the atonement for sin and the way to eternal life.
This article assumes this as true. So we
leave it to others to discuss if decadent faith is at all an

Note that “decadent faith” is no “thing” but a concept: an aggregate
for a set of symptoms that I believe cohesive enough for a common term.
You may believe these symptoms to be unrelated. But in any
case, we started
analyzing symptoms of a problem or problems, and that’s just fine for

Symptoms of decadent faith

Symptoms are the perceivable part of a problem, and might become
clearest by example. So to make
you aware of them, here’s a totally (science-)fictional, exaggerating
text that concentrates the symptoms of decadent faith. Symptoms are
annotated with
proposed names.

Service in the “Cocoon Church of Greatest Richness”

So here I go. What I really like about
the church I’m going to is that it did never made me change in
character in all these 5 years [people
change in homeopathic ways
]. I really cannot see any necessity
to change; changes only would threaten my private pension insurance, my
long-searched-for safe job or the emotional and financial security of
me and my family. I’ve heard about this “sanctification” approach to
Christianty. But it never had much appeal to me, as I’ve never lived
a really unholy life. There might be born-again Christians, but I’d
rather depict me as a born-as Christian because I cannot remember any
event that “made” me a Christian. Rather, I was raised in Christianity
by my parents, who introduced me to that Jesus ‘n’ grace stuff and all
that [conversion experienced
as a smooth transition

Perhaps two years ago, I did regret that
there was so few “history” in my life. A radical conversion
experience is a good amount of history, for example. Because, I was
hardly able to tell my children any meaningful and
justified thing about God. But then, they founded a high-level Bible
study group in our church, and I joined, and suddenly I had words to
teach my children with: the problem of Arminianism vs. Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism,
of supralapsarianism
vs. infralapsarianism
, stuff regarding theism vs. misotheism,
pandeism and panentheism etc. [eloquent
theological verbalization as a surrogate for experience
]. Also,
this group introduced some incense burning and compulsory cassock
wearing in the Sunday service, to increase the “experience value” [liturgy as a surrogate for

Anyway, here we are. Please note the
large, backlighted stained-glass window above the entrance; it’s surely
worth its 25.000 bucks, as we intensely desire to be an inviting,
sinner-friendly church [smooth
church performance
]. Wait … please come here, we’ve gotta
avoid that group to the right. They’re standing there every Sunday and
present their missional living experiences to each other, and share
new techniques [club-style
]. It really sucks to hear them chatting and boasting [club-level “seriousness”]
… they
all present themselves to be super-blameless [hiding weaknesses] [lack of authenticity] [self-conceit (difference between
claim and truth)
]. Until the service starts, let’s rather join
group on the left. This is the high-level Bibly study group that I jus’
mentioned. I
wanna present my newest advancements in higher-order theology to them.
It’s always fun to philosophy with them about God … it makes God
appear more vague and distant and, that way, even more interesting [God,
reduced to a chat topic
]. This
seems to be o.k. for God, as I cannot remember that he has commanded us
to do different at any time [assenting
a theory replaces
impacting faith

Ok, lets proceed, service starts soon
now. But … umh, wait, I’ve gotta get rid of some bucks over there.
No, these are no posters from Misereor, these are the depressed, needy
and sick members of our church. They don’t feel like going to church,
or cannot walk. So we
pay some psychiatrists, physicians, social education workers and life
coaching people to get them on track again [social distance]. Umh …
yes, we experimented with doing that on our own ten years ago, but that
was when our church had less fund. It was also very stressy … these
people are hard to love if you meet them, but paying money is o.k. for
me. You see, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, not the people who
are that far away as Africa!

Please come here, we need to sit a good
distance away from that old guy there. He’s always going to ask me why
my wife no longer comes with me to church. I told him again and again
that she has a higher-order cultural taste than us and finds our church
performance quite boring [church-going
to make for a nice change, not out of necessity
]. I even took
two brothers with me and told him. But this guy won’t change his mind.
may he be to you like the publican and sinner.

Well then, let me prepare you for the
sermon somewhat. Our pastor will speak about 500 sentences, and most of
them contain “grace”, “blood”, “lamb”, “atonement”, “expiation”,
“righteousness”, “depravity” and a few more words, in varying order [overrepeated religious
] [lack of
experience-backed faith, even among preachers
]. If that seems boring to you,
remember that truth is not always the most exciting thing on earth, but
the most valuable. And surely, the words of our pastor are true, as he
learned them on the noble “Bible College of Greatest Richness” where he
went just after school [true
words without power
] [true
words without effects in peoples’ lifes
]. Perhaps
you’ll one day reach the state of us regular
visitors: we hear these sermons but don’t analyze the sentences
mentally to
understand them while hearing. We don’t need to, as we know the message
of God’s grace from child age, and also the fact that we’re believing
it [the Gospel is a mere
habit, not fresh content
] [the gift of grace does not touch us
any more

But … ok, I forgot something. Before
the sermon we will now hear some reports from our TDTF (theological
discovery task force), which will point out the most interesting new
doctrines [new doctrins],
theological debates [theological
], theological systems [creating a distant Jesus]
and promises [hoping mostly
for things, not Jesus
] that came up in
the last week. The meaning is fairly clear, isn’t it? No? We’re going
to keep the people interested in new things. That’s valuable — for
example, it
opened the door to the heart of the Athenians for Paul.
(Did you never read Acts
? … tsss tsss). And, after all, it’s awfully necessary as
the people won’t come to church if they get bored here [dependence on amusement and
]. What do you think why we finally allowed in
(since 2021-12-02) to fall over, wave banners, laugh out crazily [extremely “charismatic” faith style],
train telepathy with God, do holy-spiritual telekinetics, make healing
oil with soused relics, and more like that. We’re simply bored most of
the time [being bored more
than 5% of ones time
] and need something to do (and we think God
will understand). Some like fundamentalistic, theological discussions
better [being a conceited
], some like pietism of various forms better [searching higher-order Christianity]
and some like the spiritual gifts better. Our church offers all these,
so no one needs to get bored.

What do you mean, you suspect these
activities to be not central in the Christian faith? It all starts with
Jesus, that’s right. But I rather suspect that Jesus ist not central in
Christian faith, as sin is one of the least significant problems for
the people here. Man, the people here learned about Jesus, grace and
forgiveness from their earliest childhood on. Most of them asserted to
be sinners before the age of nine, and lived a sheltered, relatively
sinless life from then on [to
never have experienced ones dreadful quality really
] [infinite pride/sin cycles,
resulting from not seeing ones badness
]. We don’t need much
grace, as we don’t have much sin [moderate meaning and effect of law
and grace
]. So we needed to fill our practical faith life with
other occupations … do you want to blame us for that?

It simply cannot be that these
occupations are not according to God’s will … as we wouldn’t have any
spiritual experiences without them. You see, there may be other people
who need God to provide bread for their next day … here, we go
and buy it, and if we don’t have money we raise a credit, and if we
cannot raise a credit we lend from friends, and if we cannot lend from
friends we go on social welfare, and if that fails we go to the local
food bank [seeing no need for
]. And we really enjoy living in this blessed paradise of
fivefold redundancy [missing
the experience that the world is desolate
]. It’s the same in all
areas of our smooth, blessed life [lack of intensive experiences]
[death as a taboo] …
so we’re forced to create some experiences and occupations like
spiritual experiences, Christian culture, Christian contemporary music,
Christian systematic
theology and Christian lifestyle, to not get bored to death [caring about vanities, as abundance
pushed “being a
sinner in a desolate world” below the threshold of perception
] [fiction and art as a main topic of

Ok then, let’s listen to the sermon as is
our duty now … . I think you’ll have an interesting time as our
pastor is always well-prepared for the service [business-style Christianity].

Quick now, lets get to the aftersermon
buffet before all the other people get in queue. After the service,
it’s the best time to train yourself in chatting and smooth social
behavior [small talk,
indicating social distance
]. Especially, please avoid to
disagree with people when talking. My
brothers and sisters here are very damageable, even by moderate
criticism, moderate quarelling in church or very moderate mistreatment
by others [being totally
]. You need to understand, it’s a byeffect of
living this happy sheltered life … they simply never got used to the
intensity of real-life problems.

Also, you must be careful with them for
your own sake. If you point them to their weakness, they might get
angry with you, or might cancel long-lasting
friendship, or might become unforgiving, or forsake church, or
something else. I for my
part think it’s not advisable to put myself into danger [fear of humans] [taking humans more important than

Huh? What’re you saying, guy? You suspect
a church like ours is not viable in a world like this? Are you mad? Did
I bear you the whole day and shew you around just to hear ungrateful
words of a bugger? Did
I explain all these things in holy patience to you just to be treated
like this? You’ve offended not only the Holy Church of Greatest
Richness, but also me as its member.

So get your ass outta here!!

Triggers of decadent faith

According to the definition at the start, decadent faith means
inadequate reactions to the Gospel that are triggered by “excess of
resources and softness of conditions”. So only if we can point out how
abundance and comfort can lead to all of the mentioned symptoms, we’re
justified in aggregating them as “decadent faith”. We mean “abundance
and comfort” both in the material and spiritual realm.

Others might assign
“non-saving, mere mental-assent faith” as an alternative cause for
decadent faith. Here I
don’t, as this article is for Christians only. If you’re unsure if this
applies to you, check
. Basically, Christians are those who take Jesus Christ seriously
… if combined with decadent faith, to a basic degree only.

We will only look at the static aspects of decadent faith: how it
“can be there”, i.e. how it can be a static result of static
conditions. The static concitions include “excess of resources and
softness of conditions” per the hypothesis above, and
unchangeable conditions of man and mankind.

We won’t look at the dynamic aspects. The dynamic aspects include
its genesis as a social phenomenon, and its genesis as an individual
phenomenon. The latter applies to people who experienced a change of
conditions, i.e. those who did not have material and spiritual
“abundance and comfort” from their very birth on. To explain the
genesis of decadent faith, we would need complex models (those using
feed-back). Because, abundance and comfort
normally don’t just “appear” but develop in interdependency with the
of faith.

Ok then, here’s my understanding how abundance and comfort trigger
all of the symptoms of decadent
faith. It’s written in tree-style: a parent entry is a trigger to all
its child (i.e. sub-list) entries.
The order of subsequent entries on one
level of a list however has no meaning, it’s just an unordered list.
Symptoms that are written in grey are those from the fictional text

Of course it’s simplified to let each thing have only one trigger
(we mention just the most important one); that way, the tree structure
stays possible. To
maximize your light bulb moments when reading it, go from leafs to
i.e. from symptoms to triggers.

  • excess of resources and softness
    of conditions —
    This applies both to the material realm (living
    in advanced civilizations) and the spiritual realm (being born into a
    Christian family and culture, or being a Christian for a really long
    time). Therefore, all the effects that follow might be interpreted both
    for the material and spiritual realms. But keep in mind that conditions
    in the material realm also have effects of one’s faith; you may take
    the following citation from Jesus as a direct support for that: “Truly
    I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to get into the kingdom
    of heaven.” [The
    Bible, ISV, Mt 19:23
    • over-education —
      Because excess makes us seek means to use it, for example by converting
      it into higher education than needed to live.
      • God, reduced to a chat topic

        Because over-educated middle-class citizens always need something to
    • to never have experienced ones
      dreadful quality really
      Because with excess of
      resources, we build up highly comfortable life conditions that never
      present situations to us that we cennot handle, also we build up a
      Christian counterpart for everything and may therefore live in our own
      parallel universe, separated form the non-Christian world which could
      also show us that we’re not spiritually mature.
      • seeing no need for God

        • moderate meaning and effect of law
          and grace
          who hear about Jesus the Messiah and never exprienced that they
          desparately need him are quickly bored and get on other ideas. The
          cross is not the central element in the faith of many 
          evangelicals as they
          cannot see a need for that and never really understood it. Because
          grace can only be understoof at the point of
          repentance, and intensive repentance experiences are rare in the life
          of many people. Jesus put it this way: “her sins, as many as they are,
          have been forgiven, and that’s why she has shown such great love. But
          the one to whom little is forgiven loves little.” [The
          Bible, ISV, Lk 7:47
        • the gift of grace does not touch us any more
        • the
          Gospel is a mere habit, not fresh content
        • searching higher-order Christianity
          Those who never understood what a big thing it is to be saved
          and that they really needed it, are endangered to search for a “big
          thing” themselves: some form of a “higher” Christian life.
        • hoping mostly for things, not Jesus
        • wanting to live without
          God —

          Because as long as people don’t see their need for God, they can give
          themselves into what man always is endangered to do: trying to be God
        • people change in homeopathic ways
        • self-conceit (difference between
          claim and truth)
          is every kind of
          believing better about oneself than adequate, every kind of not
          recognizing ones true condition. Because
          conceit is always triggered where the outer circumstances are different
          the inner condition. Examples include the times when Israel got blessed
          by God, as this is something it did not earn or deserve. Likewise,
          being a wretched man who never experiences his wretchedness triggers
          the conceit of being
          spiritually mature, comparable to the Laodicaeans [The
          Bible, ISV, Rev 3:17
          • lukewarmness
            • club-level “seriousness”
            • club-style behavior
          • being a conceited fundamentalist
      • ignoring or not perceiving
        God’s education —
        People who never felt an intensive need to be
        educated by God and his Spirit don’t know how to recognize God’s
        education. So they miss it in their everyday life, also because it is
        drowned by all the Christian things around, including the “full blown
        Christian doctrine” that is oh-so-well-known.
      • lack
        of experience-backed faith, even among preachers
        preachers who live in advanced civilizations use the right words but
        lack relevant of
        experiences with what they preach; Paul was a preacher who
        had experienced himself what he believed: he knew by himself what is
        being a sinner and being converted.
        • true words without effects in
          peoples’ lifes
        • true words without power
        • overrepeated religious vocabulary
      • assenting a theory replaces
        impacting faith
      • caring about vanities, as abundance
        pushed “being a sinner in a desolate world” below the threshold of
      • infinite pride/sin cycles,
        resulting from not seeing ones badness
    • stability — Because
      excess of resources allows to level out any changes that are caused by
      external conditions.
      • lack of intensive experiences
        with excess of resources, we have no needs, and therefore no
        intensive motivation or practical demand to experience the concrete
        help of God. Another cause for lack of experience might be “little
        faith”,as this repeatedly kept Jesus from performing miracles in some
        areas while on earth.
        • fear of humans; taking humans more important than
          Because with lack of experience, we perceive God
          as distant, while humans are near, visible and impressive.
        • not really believing —
          Because human beings are unable to believe what is permanently
          invisible in any way whatsoever, and that’s the case where experiences
          with God are absent. The result is that trusting God remains a thing of
          theory, too weak for undertaking venturous steps of faith. This is
          detailed in the article “Oh
          ye of little faith!
        • extremely “charismatic” faith style;
          fake experiences —
          These are “idolatry” in the sense of using
          means to perceive a God as near who is believed to be distant. One
          common means is bullshitting
          oneself. This includes picking out
          some events as “blessings and works of God” that are in fact totally
          unrelated, with the purpose of feeling happy.
        • conversion experienced as a smooth
          Because without big changes in ones
          spiritual condition, conversion cannot be a big change either. People
          who where converted as adults have something to remember: conversion as
          a point, the difference between before and after, the experience of
          having been totally in error (e.g. like Paul: fighting against truth).
          But people who grew up in a stable Christian envirionment just have
          small conversion experiences (perhaps multiple of them), and these are
          endangered by forgetfulness (cf. also [The
          Bible, ISV, II Pet 1:9
        • liturgy as a surrogate for

          One reason to introduce liturgy, religious buildings etc. in
          Christianity might have been the distance in space and time from the
          life of Jesus on earth. People wanted to provide at least
          some kind of experience when “going to meet God”. But liturgy allowed
          then to reduce
          Christianity to outward forms; and we did this as such cultural matter
          are more fun and easier
          to handle than a relationship to God.
        • eloquent theological verbalization
          as a surrogate for experience
      • missing the experience that the
        world is desolate

        • being totally non-resilient
          Because if you never experienced the world as it is (harsh,
          brute, and full of selfish people), you never learned to deal with it.
      • selfish behavior —
        Because out of the security of a stable situation people allow
        themselves to be selfish, as there is no dependence or need left that
        would force people restrict themselves to better behavior. This can
        also be recognized by the fact that selfish behavior arises in
        stabilized denominations.
    • concentration on the visible
      elements of reality — Because excess
      of resources easily catches the  whole attention by sheer ubiquity.
      • losing the awareness of God’s
        reality — Because where visible
        things fill all our capability of perception, we lose the awareness
        that there is an invisible reality.
    • hiding weaknesses
      It’s always the intention of man to hide everything where his poor
      condition becomes visible. And with excess of resources it becomes
      possible. Highly civilized cultures, when becoming decadent, are
      perfect in hiding
      weakness: we won’t let others see our flat if not tidied up; we get the
      old, the sick and the criminals treated where we won’t see them; we
      kill the impaired before they’re born; we have our private areas and
      taboo topics. And Christians got perfect in hiding weakness, too. Some
      examples for that:
      • death
        as taboo
      • lack
        of authenticity
      • business-style Christianity
      • creating a distant Jesus
        Because such a Jesus cannot
        any longer encourage and demand to be authentic.
      • avoiding all situations, people
        and contents that could
        moral failure
        • social
        • small talk, indicating social
    • being bored more than 5% of ones
      Excess of resources includes excess of time,
      which is boredness.
      • theological quarrelling
        Because discussing the details is a good way to cope with boredness.
        These meaningless detail discussions brought us a wealth of Christian
        books on details … .
      • fiction
        and art as a main topic of discourse
        Because inventing entertainment
        as something to talk about is the easiest way to cope with boredness.
        It indicates that reality (of living in this world, and of being a
        Christian) is too smooth to provide enough to talk about.
      • church-going to make for a nice
        change, not out of necessity
      • smooth church performance
        Because only by a perfect, entertaining performance a church can
        motivate its bored believers to come.
      • new doctrins
        Because being bored makes people long for something new, both
        for the doctrinal and practical part of faith.
      • dependence on amusement and

Decadent faith in a nutshell

This will just summarize the findings … that’s just a description
of the problem of “decadent faith” and its triggers, but not yet any
hint to a solution. Keep in mind that a trigger is not a cause:
therefore, eliminating a trigger is not a solution, it just makes the
invisible for some time.

Decadent faith is hard to detect and to communicate, as it is an
uncommon trigger for a problem. As, normally, problems arise where
something is too few, too little, of too bad quality or in other wise
inferior. But the problem of decadent faith arises where our
circumstances are better, wealthier, of higher quality etc. than we can
handle. “We” means, human beings. Which include a good portion of an
old, selfish nature, even when the Holy Spirit was bestowed on them.
And this old nature takes these comfortable circumstances for an
opportunity to become “more independent” from God.

The practical effects are quite complex and diverse, as detailed
above. And there might be many more. The only thing they have in common
is that they’re failures (“sin”) that is triggered (“simplified”,
“favoured”) by wealthy and smooth conditions. There are other types of
sin which are not triggered that way, e.g. brutality, outrageous
revelries, excessive sexual perversity, outright fights etc.. These
seem to be the only (at least, the worst) sins to us Christians in
advanced civilizations, and that way we succeed in deeming us quite
spiritual. But in deed we are in a very sad, lukewarm, inconsequent,
decadent condition, full of sins of another sort.

So what then now? There’s little more in my head than “Let’s repent,
find our individual way out with the help of God, and then share our

Start date: 2008-03-20
Post date: 2008-04-02
Version date: 2008-04-15 (for last meaningful change)