sorry to disturb you,
but I feel that I should be heard loud and clear.
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears,
And all the people that you made in your image,
See them fighting in the street,
‘Cause they can’t make opinions meet,
I can’t believe in you.
Did you make disease, and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the devil too!
XTC, Dear God
As I mentioned before, I have been reading God Is Red by Vine Deloria. It is fundamentally an analysis of Native religion compared to Christianity. It is an indictment of Christianity itself. Many Native American cultures were finally destroyed when the US Government made it illegal for them to practice their traditional religious ceremonies. Perhaps, whether intentional or not, Vine believes that by undermining Christianity the same can be done to civilization.
Unfortunately, unlike traditional cultures, civilization and religion are not integral parts of one another so that approach won’t work. In fact, I think he nails this on the head over and over – Christianity is the bastard step child of civilization and so it changes as civ needs it to change, it is the apologist of civ, it is an escape from the realities of civ, and it is the opium of the masses that keeps civ chugging along no matter the cost. But, and this is important, were Christianity to lose its legitimacy, the system would simply create something new in its place and keep on plugging along.
In any case, all of his pointed discussion of civilization has gotten me seeing a pattern that I never recognized before. I wrote the other day about anthropomorphism and the church. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m starting to wonder if the church itself is based upon doublespeak. Bear with me.
Thous shalt make no idol — so the church envisions an anthropomorphic god.
Salvation is based upon personal, individual salvation. A direct communion with god. Yet the Albigensian Crusade was raised to destroy the Cather church because it dared to suggest that man could have a personal relationship with god. Granted, in this case we are looking at a degenerate Catholic Church. But it is not only the Catholic Church that has dismissed religious experience in favor of religious dogma.
Another Commandment: Love thy neighbor…, yet Christianity has been the single greatest destructive force on the plnet, such that the commandment should read Love thy neighbor so long as he believes as you do, else annihilate him.
Everyone believes (regardless of religious belief) that a primary purpose of religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is to remove the fear and consternation over death. Yet it appears that Christians carry more fear of death than any other subgrouping of humanity.
Christianity preaches that one be responsible for their own actions, yet, again, no other subgrouping of humanity has become nearly so deft at shifting blame, externalizing responsibility, blinding oneself to the consequences of their own actions.
I’m sure there are more, and perhaps better examples of what I am seeing. What I am trying to decide is whether this is a systemic result of Christianity, or more a side effect of civilization. Perhaps most appropriately, it is a necessary result of the two systems working together. As Vine says in the book, Christianity is a reflection of the culture within which it exists, whereas native religions and cultures are virtually one and the same. So where Christianity requires an ethical system to be defined, for its adherents to follow as best they can, in traditional cultures, ethical behavior is a side effect of the total world view of the people.
Hmmm… I’m still trying to reach for a key to this that I am unable to quite grasp. Something in this seemed really important in that moment of epiphany, but as I write it is seeming both obvious and irrelevant. Anyone have thoughts? Perhaps then I can grasp and explain what I’m feeling.