Christendom Analyzed Links
Site Section Links
"Is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?" Nietzsche
Religion as product
One of my friends, a
businessman, once remarked to me that religion was absolutely the best
business product. Its production, promotion and enjoyment are protected by the
U.S. Constitution, and if promoted smartly, the profits can be enormous.
The manufacturing costs are negligible, the packaging and warehousing
costs are nil, the shipping costs are minuscule. Better yet it's all
done in cash.
Within this context,
why even talk about God? Why run all the risks? It really is a very
dangerous thing to do. People are very defensive when someone
challenges their belief system. You take a chance of emotionally disturbing
yourself and exercising someone else's latent anger. When people talk
about God or religion they often hurt other peoples feelings and
threaten their psychological comfort level. Some people have learned
that they best get along with others if they do NOT talk about
God and religious concerns.
The lived reality of Christianity throughout history just is not appreciably different from what one finds in other major religions. A strong case can be made, in fact, that the history of Christianity contains considerably more violence and destruction than that of most other major religions. Kimball, Charles, When Religion Becomes Evil, Los Angeles, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 2002, p. 27.
Our idealism is crying out for spiritual unity
In the context of all these negative things one possible reason as to why people continue to run the risk and so blatantly and forcefully talk about God and promulgate different ideas is that deep within us our idealism is crying out for spiritual unity. We just naturally feel that other people should be like us in spiritual matters such as purpose and values. This may be the reason why we DO talk about God.
Within the context of why we DO talk about God, a constructive reason as to why we SHOULD talk about God is based on the reality that a person's concept of God surely conditions a persons character. The psyche of Man always takes on the character as that of the conceived God; it is a natural part of our nature that we model after and grow into that conception. We literally become like whatever "God" we visualize and "worship".
Most Christians think that the primary dogma and doctrinal issues of Christianity were settled long ago, with the differences being largely superficial. These issues consist of the Trinity, the dual nature of divinity of Jesus, day of worship, nature of heaven, state of the dead, nature of angels, marriage, divorce, sex in heaven, Holy Spirit, inspiration and revelation, baptism, God as lawgiver, etc. Probably the most widespread agreement is that the Bible is the word of god, but this too may be an egregiously wrong equation and it too, can be fundamentally challenged and is hotly debated.
It is far from being true that these primary issues are largely settled, for everyone of these is hotly contested within the ranks of Christendom. Practically each one of the various sects and denominations disagree with others over several of these, not to mention the primary splits between Christianity and Gnosticism, and within Christianity the split between Catholicism and Protestantism.
Furthermore, Christendom is divided into conservative versus liberal strains, orthodox and unorthodox, fundamentalists and dispensationalists, and other factions that cross denominational boundaries.
Another aspect of context for the Christian is the one concerning the state of Christendom, its growth, its tenor, and its numbers. Christianity is losing its relevance in the mind of modern educated man. Church attendance is down sharply for both Catholics and Protestants in general in the western, educated world, and only in the third world where ignorance and superstition reign is it growing. And what is growing there is a version of Christianity that is very unpalatable to the enlightened mind.
With about 200 separate denominations looking down their noses at each other, with some of the old, mainline entities having undergone splits, does anyone think that this state of things is what Jesus had in mind? After two thousand years of confusion, major doctrines and dogmas going in and out of vogue, not to mention the major split between Catholicism and Protestantism as to the foundation for authority, not to mention the looming and troubling foundational disparity between the Northern hemisphere and Southern hemisphere brands of Christianity, does anyone really think that we have it about right? That Christendom is on the verge of going somewhere or doing something significant?
See: Religious Diversity
One further point of context is that we are still being pushed around in the back by Thanatos, the avoidance of death, and still being pulled around by our nose by Eros, the seeking of fulfillment. The human condition, characterized by the utter failure in both of these enterprises, reigns supreme with no end in sight.
Below is a link to one of the strongest and most negative articles on the foundations of Christianity. However, this article does NOT destroy the authenticity of the Gospel of John nor the gospel of Thomas and the message of Jesus therein.