A failure is a failure. The last few days have revealed a double historical failure.
The German churches are suffering a dramatic loss of meaning and significance and a wave of resignations so strong that they could disappear before the end of this century after 2,000 years of existence. If the exit figures remain as they are now, there will be zero church members in Germany at the end of our century. But the numbers are rising from year to year. It could also happen faster. Cardinal Marx from Munich: “We are at a low point.”
The UN has identified the second “complete failure of the world” in climate protection. Shortly before the next World Climate Summit in Dubai. This second tipping point: in 1990, the world emitted around 20 billion greenhouse gases per year into the atmosphere, today it is around 37 billion per year. The previous 27 world climate conferences have only had one result: the climate is getting worse. And UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres complains: “The world is failing to get the climate crisis under control… We are on the way to climate hell and we are still stepping on the gas”.
Guterres adds: “The gap between what is necessary and what is happening is more threatening than ever.” The 1.5-degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement will never be achieved. Instead, we will experience more and more extreme weather such as increasing storms, burning forests, heavy rainfall and melting ice. We need to phase out fossil fuels quickly. Instead, we are still spending around 200 billion dollars a year on developing new sources of gas, coal and oil. Pure madness in the face of climate change.
And in Germany, there is now the new ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court. It has ruled that the use of corona money for climate projects is unconstitutional. This ruling is devastating for climate protection. The abolition of climate-damaging subsidies would now be the best way to finance the missing billions for climate protection. However, one must also ask how the constitutional judges came to this decision after they made a very broad ruling in favor of climate protection in 2021 and forced the then Merkel government to pass stricter climate protection laws. Funds in the federal budget may only be reallocated in emergencies. In 2021, the climate crisis was still an “emergency” for the Federal Constitutional Court, but now that the climate crisis is getting worse and worse, it should no longer be an emergency according to Germany’s highest court: Judges in Karlsruhe: How do you explain this contradiction?
The church tipping point: The collapse in trust in the churches is so dramatic that 37% of German Protestants and 43% of Catholics are currently thinking about leaving the church. This is the result of a new “church membership survey” (KMU).
But it is not only church membership that is declining year on year, religiosity is also on the decline. Only 19 percent of Germans still believe that there is a God who reveals himself in Jesus. The authors of the study see both churches in Germany at a “tipping point”. In 2023, there will be more non-Christians than Christians in Germany for the first time. The majority have little to do with God or religion, either in their heads or in their souls.
According to the study, Germany is a “post-denominational society”. People feel that the Christian churches and their theologians such as Cardinal Wölki or Archbishop Gänswein or even the Bavarian Pope Benedict have turned Jesus’ message of joy into a threatening message that they are turning away from. This is the real failure of the churches. The male church, which falsified the young man from Nazareth rather than following him, has succeeded in making more and more people today say: “Jesus yes, church no”.
For decades, we have had all the technologies we need to tackle the climate crisis: solar panels, wind turbines, hydropower, bioenergy, geothermal energy and ocean current and wave energy. The world is full of renewable energy. The sun alone sends us 15,000 times more than the entire human race consumes today. And it will continue to do so for several billion years: free of charge and environmentally friendly.
The same applies to the good news of Jesus of Nazareth. By translating the Bible from the Greek, theologians have created a message of fear with hellish punishments. But Jesus spoke Aramaic. The ancient Aramaic texts from Jesus’ mother tongue are very close to his message of joy.
The Pope, bishops and theologians should finally go back to Jesus’ mother tongue in new Bible translations. Then they would have to realize that in today’s translations from the Greek, more than every second word of Jesus is mistranslated or even deliberately falsified. The churches should finally stop trying to constantly “improve” their Jesus. If the words are not right, the whole message is wrong. As long as the churches are on this wrong track, faith in God and trust in the real message of Jesus will dwindle and the taste for the infinite will evaporate.
In 1949, over 90 percent of West Germans still professed faith in God. In 2023, it was still around 30 percent. Nietzsche’s rebellion against the Greek-Biblical religion consisted of accusing it of “slave morality”. He therefore called for a “revival” of European culture.
The historical realization that people are capable of learning gives us hope. The Dalai Lama says: “Ethics is more important than religion”. The world needs a “revolution of compassion”. Or a truly universalist humanism according to the motto: The dignity of man and mankind is inviolable.