Christianity's bastions moving to Africa and Asia as West falls into secularism

Christians fill a church in China during a Sunday service.Reuters

Christianity's stronghold has been shifting to Africa and Asia from Europe and the United States as the West continues to embrace secular values at their own risk, according to The Gospel Herald.

This transfer is being reflected in the participation in conferences by bishops from Africa, who deliver a stronger voice upholding traditional Church teachings against proposed liberal changes.

"[African bishops] no longer regard themselves as junior partners in Catholicism Inc.," John L. Allen Jr. of Crux wrote. "This time, they're ready for the board room."

African bishops expressed solid dissent when liberal bishops from Germany attempted to push their agenda, including a "more compassionate tone overall on sexual morality" as well as a more permissive position on "giving Communion to Catholics who divorce and remarry outside the Church," Allen said.

"The message has gone out that this is what synod is saying, this is what the Catholic Church is saying, but that's not what we're saying," said Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of South Africa. "It's not true ... that this synod has taken up these positions."

African bishops also expressed strong opposition to US President Barack Obama's positions on abortion and same-sex marriage, compared to American bishops who opted to "cooperate" with the administration on those contentious issues.

"Those people who have already ruined their society...let them not become our teachers to tell us where to go," Cardinal John Njue of Kenya said in response to Obama's statements endorsing same-sex marriage. "I think we need to act according to our own traditions and our faiths."

The African bishops also spoke against Ireland's vote on legalizing same-sex marriage, encouraging families to have courage and to uphold "Catholic values regarding the family" while turning away "atheism and secularism."

"[The United States] has shifted left over the past 15 years, a direction that finds it now engulfed in moral relativism and embracing behaviours previously considered unacceptable and even sinful," said Dr. Susan Berry of Breitbart, citing a Gallup poll.

In China, officially considered by the Communist party as an atheist country, many have been seeking to fill the spiritual gap that cannot be solved by ideology.

"By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," sociology professor Fenggang Yang of Purdue University said. "It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change."

The Christian population in China may exceed 247 million people by 2030, higher than that in Mexico, Brazil and the US.

"Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this," said Yang. "It's ironic — they didn't. They actually failed completely."

Meanwhile, the secular West is "in for a rude awakening," said Tom Hoopes of Aleteia.

"The party morals we are living make a lot of noise, but they have no future," Hoopes wrote. "It is only a matter of time before we realise we have no clothes on, and no one is coming after us, and that we are running down an empty street in the dark."

Hoopes said it was "scary" to watch "the dying West celebrate its decadence."

"The truth is, life for Christians in the West will get much worse before it starts getting any better."