The American Christian spectrum of churches is in grave danger, as is global Christianity, despite its remaining hold in many areas of globalizing modernity. The secular tide is inexorable, and yet the American case seems an exception as a hideous right-wing brand or brands seems to be on the increase. Sociologists by and large, as far as I can tell, seem to be documenting otherwise, but whatever the case the long-range of history suggests the growing tide of ‘secularism’, and the progressive passing away of Christianity, however regressive the American case might be. It is doubtful to me that the right could do more than a temporary come back followed by renewed waning. One good reason among others is the sheer poverty of the evangelical abortion of religion, with theory and the right to own arms mixed up a toxic brew that can do little but create theological cripples.
But the larger picture of Christianity (and Judaism, which we can set aside for this discussion, noting only the myths of the Old Testament) has all of the flaws of the evangelical mess of pottage and was always a very difficult set of obscurities destined to confuse. I will grant what I suspect, that early Christianity was something very different and quite remarkable, but that we have no reliable knowledge of what that was. One of the best leads is the type of the ‘sufi’. The doctrine of the Resurrection is thus entirely suspect although in fact not having been there subtracts from simple certainties. But the later Christianity has been a basket case for two millennia. We might consider some of the liabilities, one might say absurdities, present in Constitinian Christianity, what to say of the Evangelical brand. Christianity is an obvious fraud:
1. Jesus Christ is NOT your personal savior. The idea that a billion Christians can simply invoke the name of Jesus and be saved is CRAP. Not even the Holy Ghost has the attention span for such a feat. Buddhism got it far better: ‘salvation’ (or their better terms) arises through many lives of meditation and even then may never happen. To stultify and dumb down ordinary usually very intelligent men with the misleading fraud of Christian claims is an immense disservice and in reality something in its own way evil. Along with the endless reign of gibberish called ‘prayer’, to say nothing of the worst gibberish of all, ‘god talk’, about which the Israelites warned, to not even use the term ‘god’, only point to a ‘mystery’, IHVH….Thus whole legacy of god talk is unfaithful to its original legacy. The muddle of ‘god’ was never intended.
2. …we will leave it at that in this post, save that there are hundreds of books debriefing Christianity, its theology, its history, etc…But one should at least grant in good Kantian fashion the ‘dialectic’ of most theological notions and that while they are perhaps they are metaphysical illusions their antinomial antitheses are perhaps also metaphysical. In general we cannot safely dismiss early Christianity using nothing but secular humanism. But we are then left with an indecisive set of ideas. Our tough luck, then. Faith isn’t good enough anymore: the whole game has abused that faith and left an even worse muddle, that of faith used as exploitation and the right to not document spiritual claims.
But in many ways we have to suspect that early Christianity was a strange Con Game to create a tour de force of myth that took off like a rocket in the early centuries of the Roman Empire, which was reaching a kind of cancer of culture and to which the Christian episode did indeed seem like a ‘life saver’ in a cultural sense. It is the original of the ‘publicity stunt’.
In the long run, I doubt if Christianity can endure, but who can predict the future. If the religious right is tempted to seize power for a theocracy they will ignite a new set of Reformation wars, and they surely lose everything. Short of that the whole game would seem doomed