Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Worst Thing

The worst thing that has ever happened to Christianity was its legalization in 313 and then the subsequent adoption as the 'official' religion of the ancient Roman state - empire.  From this time on, Christianity became integrated into the power structure of the times.  Germanic and Slavic tribal 'kingdoms' saw the uses of Christianity as chief ally to the achievement and maintenance of power.  Evangelical reformers in the West in the 16th century saw the same, as did Catholic powers. Orthodox Christians in non-Christian lands saw it as a communal defence mechanism.  Christian ethics and morals were supported in the more liberal democracies as a route to common ethics and morals even where Christianity in recent times was implicit rather than explicit.

What we know of the historical Jesus - and what those of us who are Christians, believe about the Christ,  show a man or an incarnate aspect of the Trinity who was not integrated into the power structures of his day  and did not seek that.

On the other hand, neither is there any historically disciplined evidence, or supporting exegesis  that he supported an overthrow of secular power structures - at least not in a direct fashion.

What was taught in word and deed, was to think outside the box, to put it in modern terms.  The proposal - and that is what Christianity is at one level - a proposal - was to change an individual's personal approach to others.  This is a truly revolutionary idea.  Standard issue revolutions merely put in place another regime which over time devolve into the same old thing.  Only a personal alteration of how one views the world about you holistically and organically is truly revolutionary.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

communications technology and religion

Cross posted from my History of Religion facebook page:

A TED talk that, on the surface, does not deal with religion at all - but given the interrelated nature of literacy, printing and the 16th century reform of western European Christianity - and the ongoing impact of communications technology on the Muslim Arab world... and the damaging failure of Christianity outside of evangelical Protestantism to understand new technologies.....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cultural conflict

The conflict between ultra Orthodox and ultra liberal Judaism continues in Israel