A survey of Australians shows that church attendance has fallen about one third over the last 16 years. A number of other “religion” parameters such as belief in heaven and god have also fallen although running in parallel with this is an increasing interest in spirituality, separate from religion.
This trend is part of a broader trend in society away from “authority” figures and institutions in general and to a greater desire to find ones own way rather than be told which way to go. We see this in declining church attendance but also declining regard for judges, police politicians (of course) and dare I say even doctors.
Ultimately the problem we have is that people have used authority badly and come to feel that it is the position they have which confers importance upon them rather than position being recognition of what they bring to it. In other words putting a robe on me does not give me moral authority if I do not have it without a robe. If a person is corrupt, putting them in a police uniform does not change who they are. Yet we see time and again the excuse of position being offered when people are caught out.
There is no doubt in my mind that the response to child sexual abuse by the church has contributed to its loss of credibility. There has been more energy expended trying to defend people and position than trying to resolve the issues.
In other fields similar problems emerge. Reports of two undercover policemen arresting and charging a skimpy barmaid for showing too much buttock will leave many wondering why the police are not spending their time investigating murders and robbery. A similar thought goes through my mind every time I cruise by two policemen under a shady tree holding a speed radar.
The medical profession is not immune to this trend and is also guilty of undermining public trust by its own actions. Reports of researchers and doctors being paid by pharmaceutical companies for research which invariably is favorable to the sponsors does not help credibility. Neither does beat ups like swine flu.
Despite overwhelming evidence that this is not a major threat, health authorities are at it again with claims of chaos and horror to come. This is after a vaccine, which was not needed, was rushed to market and then withdrawn from use in children under five following an unexplained death. Official pronouncements of safety do not sound good in these circumstances. Little wonder that peoples confidence is shaken.
Meanwhile we are constantly told that the whole reason for vaccination is that people are protected against the illness they are vaccinated against. This flies in the face of the actions of the WA health department after a case of measles was found. A frantic search was done to find all possible contacts. If the herd immunity principle works, then why the panic? Interestingly one of the three cases was a paramedic who you would assume was vaccinated.
A two page circular to doctors gives “useful “advice like conducting an examination in a room which can be left vacant for two hours and avoid “suspects” using the waiting room. And who are these suspects? People with a fever ,cough and sore throat. The average doctor would of course not see many of them in winter would they? Apparently people born before 1966 are automatically immune!
Now measles is not a pleasant illness and vaccination has contributed to its decline. However generations survived it in much lesser circumstances than we enjoy today. If the whole purpose of mass vaccinations is called into question when one case is found is it any wonder that people become questioning.