"Is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder
of man?" - Nietzsche
Premise regarding Christianity:
Christendom is hopelessly infused–contaminated if you will–with
ancient mythology and "traditional" thinking, structures, ceremonies,
idolatry etc., that have nothing to do with the good news exposited and
demonstrated by Jesus. This unworthy baggage and unsound framework effectively
precludes a reasonable consideration of the truth that he represented. See:
IFISEEUS premise regarding
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. Several of the Christian
radio-televangelists are multi-millionaires, with some worth upwards of
fifty million dollars. The manufacturing costs are negligible,
the packaging and warehousing costs are nil, the shipping or delivery costs are
minuscule. Better yet, the proceeds usually come in the form of cash or check.
If you are one of the credentialed
purveyors–priest, pastor or evangelist–you can get but never have to extend
credit; accounting costs are modest and virtually everything is either
tax-exempt or deductible. The only significant cost in the whole
enterprise is promotion and it is only barely restricted in its scope or
range of activities by the various governmental agencies. Once the
buyer is sold he needs the product on an ongoing basis, and more of it in
emergencies. Still nicer is that you can convince a majority of the people
that the more they have of it the better, yet the purveyor need not embrace as much of the product as he is
urging his listeners to use. And best of all in this climate of
litigation there is no product liability in that if anything goes wrong
in its use, regardless of whatever promotional claims were made, the
product is never considered to be faulty. The buyer is always to
blame! Oh, I might add, the manufacturers and promoters are given
special privilege, status and respect in our society, not to mention
some cost discounts on many other products, services and amenities.
Within this context of confusion and diversity, scam, false religion, the
human condition, etc.,
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. In polite society, it's déclassé!
Why not be like some of these people who
believe that everyone should just have their own ideas and try to be
good, loving, and get along? After all, even close
friends and family members can become disturbed and/or intensely
angry. Societies actually become violent over religious differences and
nations tend to make war against each other in the name of these differences.
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 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 and think 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 person's 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
Doctrine and Dogma Settled?
Most Christians wrongly 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 Jesus
being human and divine, the proper day of worship, nature of heaven, reality of hell, state of the dead,
nature of angels, marriage, divorce, sex in heaven, Holy Spirit,
inspiration and revelation, baptism, God as lawgiver, etc.
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.
It is far from being true that these primary issues are largely settled, for
every one of these is often 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 makor 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 Christendom has it about right? That
Christendom is on the verge of going somewhere or doing something significant?
See: Religious Diversity
The decline of Christian denomination members in America
From a peak of over 17% around 1991, protestant denomination–excluding
Southern Baptist Convention and United Methodist Church–population declined to about 12% in 2019, while Southern Baptist Convention population declined from
around 10% in the 1980's to about 5% in 2019. United Methodist Church membership declined in
population of about 8% in the mid-1980's to about 4% in 2019. Just since
2005 the membership of Southern Baptist Convention declined from 16.3
million to less than 15 million according to it own Annual Church Profile.
Baptisms dropped from 321,000 in 2007 to 246,000 in 2018.
Pew Research Center, studies tracking America’s religious landscape
found that although religious beliefs and practice have been declining at a
rapid pace for people of all ages, the drop-off has been most pronounced
among people ages 23 to 38. In 2019, roughly two-thirds attend worship
services “a few times a year” or less, and 4 in 10 say they seldom or never
go. A decade ago, it was more than half and only 3 in 10, respectively. -
Literally multitudes of decent men and women have left the Christian
denominations after having raised legitimate questions and concerns,
after challenging aspects of the existing dogma, often after having tried to
inaugurate needed changes and reforms, only to be told to work within
the system and that the relevant truth cannot be solely in the domain of a
single person. Can we not see that these denominations and their churches resist
reforms more vigorously than does the United States Congress, more
vigorously than they pursue unity!?
Eros and Thanatos context
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 noses 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.
Enlightened Self Interest
Enlightened self interest is NOT selfishness. They are not the same,
because the key is that selfishness is UNENLIGHTENED, demoralizing,
short-sighted and unethical. We are made to operate from enlightened self
interest, because clearly even God operates that way. To say the least,
Christendom does not generally make this distinction clear to its followers,
and many Christian leaders and spokesmen urge violation of the principle.
Below is a link to one of the strongest and most negative articles on the foundations of Christianity. However,
whatever truth or falsity may be in it, this article does NOT destroy the authenticity of the Gospel of John nor
the Gospel of Thomas and the message of Jesus in these two Gospels.
Forged Origins of the New Testament