Greece is a wonderful country. Athens is a great city. In many ways it is the archetype of a polis. At the center is a hill, at the top of the hill a temple that remains the heart of the city and the soul of Athen’s history. The citizens take immense pride in the Parthenon and millions come each year in tribute to it.
But no one worships there. No one has for over a thousand years. Athena’s day is long past. The same effect is slowly overtaking many great cathedrals in Europe. The flood of tourists often seems to wash everything else away.
Lest anyone miss the point, Salt Lake City is less than 40% LDS. The Tabernacle is subsumed into a tourist stop. How long before Temple Square goes the way of the Acropolis?
We are increasingly living in a post-Christian world. While the Christian Churches are actually gaining strength in many third world countries and (to some extent) in the ex-soviet block, first world countries more and more seem to think they have no need of God or Christ.
Religion to many is a cultural heritage, like Stonehenge or cave drawings or petroglyphs, to many it is not seen as having any meaning or place in their lives.
What are the message sof Athens and Rome, England and France, for us in our lives? Will we, like the Anglican communions, find ourselves split in an American-centric liberal fringe and a massive core of traditionalist third world believers? Or, will the Salt Lake Temple fade to nothing more than a tourist destination? How do we escape the fate of other Christian fellowships in the post-Christian first world?
Discuss? Extra points for references to Brigham Young’s comments on this point.