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"Is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?"  Nietzsche

A look at Christendom

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.
     If you are one of the credentialed purveyors, you can get credit but never extend it, 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 it 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 use 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. 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 other products, services and amenities.

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.
     Why not be like some of these people who believe that everyone should just have their own ideas and try to be good with good will,  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 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.

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 through 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.

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