Actually, sociological studies have conclusively shown that Christianity spread first among the educated classes of the Roman Empire, not the poor and dispossessed as is commonly thought. The Church Fathers were from cultured, wealthy backgrounds.
St. Perpetua is a key example. She was a wealthy Roman noblewoman living in early third century Carthage when she converted to Christianity and was martyred for her faith. Clearly something was lacking in her life, despite the material goods she had in abundance.
The same trend is occurring today in China:
**More educated people in China embracing Christianity to find true meaning of life
As of last year, a recent study estimates that some 100 million Chinese citizens already believe in Jesus Christ and His teachings.**
What exactly is driving the growth of Christianity in a communist country that officially does not subscribe to any religion but whose citizens are mostly those who practice Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism?
Two academics, Rodney Stark and Xiuhua Wang, provide an answer in their book “A Star in the East: The Rise of Christianity in China,” published this year. For them, more and more educated Chinese are becoming Christians to find the true meaning of life in modern times.
Stark, a sociologist by profession, explained that many Chinese citizens, especially the better educated ones, are currently experiencing “cultural incongruity” between traditional Asian culture and industrial-technological modernity. This leads to “spiritual deprivation,” which can best be answered by Christianity, he said.
“The question of what does the world mean, and how do we live in it, persists – and so that’s a major motor in the Christianisation of China, and it explains why it’s the most educated Chinese who are the most apt to join,” the author explained.
He added that most Chinese intellectuals think that traditional Eastern religions “don’t fit the modern world they’re engaged in” and are “anti-progress.”
“They all proclaim the world is going downhill from a glorious past, and that we should look backwards, not forwards. None of them admit that we’re able to understand anything about the universe – it’s something we have to meditate on, not something to try and theorise about, as the physicists and chemists do,” Stark explained.
So I don’t know where this article is getting its facts from. In China - and indeed in South Korea as well - Christianity is the preferred religion of the urban, professional, educated classes, not the poor.
The secularization and decline of Christianity in Europe has less to do with growing affluence IMHO than it does with the fact that for nearly 2,000 years Christianity has been the state religion of most European nations - and thus part of the traditional establishment that people since the Enlightenment have been rebelling against. It’s natural that if you turn liberal in a society with a state church and seek to break from the past, Christianity with be viewed by said person as synonymous with the old order.
Westerners are so conceited. We assume that trends in our societies are normative for everywhere else.