Thursday, November 24, 2016

Christianity: the root of the West's downfall?

I've recently entertained the idea of returning to Christianity. I was raised Catholic, could never believe significant aspects of the dogma (although I tried to), and have basically been an agnostic my entire adult life.

My change in thought came about in part because of Stefan's interviews with Iben Thranholm (here and here). She makes the compelling argument that the West arose because of the values embodied in Christianity, that veering from those values is destroying the West, and only by returning to Christianity can the West be saved.

It is undeniable that Europeans rose to greatness under Christianity, and that we see the attack on Christianity seems to have preceded the weakening of the West and the frontal assault now being waged on all vestiges of European tradition. As goes Christianity, goes the West. Save Christianity, and you can save the West, it would seem.

When searching the different denominations in my area it's not easy task to find a church that is religiously liberal but politically conservative. The non-theist church in my neighborhood actually promotes Social Justice as one of their core values. Also down the road is the Unitarian Church, which is similarly dogma-light but hippy central. Whether the more traditional churches are more conservative is hard to tell. They at least don't stick out as obviously liberal as the non-theist churches. (Any help on this issue would be appreciated. At this point I think my best option is the Nazarene Church).

During this process of evaluating denominations based on the criteria of saving the Western tradition, the thought occurred that maybe it's not a coincidence that so many of the churches are politically liberal. What if the seed of western destruction resides in Christianity itself?

  • It idealizes generosity and service to the poor. Most proponents of the welfare state would argue that it is effectively our Christian duty to provide state aid to the poor.
  • It urges forgiveness. And in our society the biggest criminals often go unpunished. Retribution serves a purpose in society.
  • It destroys tribalism. All peoples are one under God. Nothing in Christianity inherently encourages a common ethnic or cultural identity.
  • It reserves judgement to a higher power. In our society we reserve justice to the state, which lacks the omnipotence of God. People who can manipulate the state machinery can sin against anyone and avoid judgement.
  • It condemns aggression (although this tenet seems to have no real actual effect).
  • It emphasizes an afterlife and personal judgement. A true adherent has no strong proclivity to fight to improve the material world. The most important goal is to remain pious to get into heaven. Their is nothing inherent in Christianity driving anyone to fight for the nation or to make the nation on great on Earth.
  • It generally promotes that all livers are sacred and we should go about peacefully, turning the other cheek to the transgressions of others and forgiving. That may work well on a personal spiritual level, but is hardly a way to run a nation in the modern clash of civilizations.

Christianity probably served a vital role in making the West powerful. When Christianity was mostly contained to Europe, it served to unite the various nationalities. Europe became something of a regional power, able to launch the crusades in response to Muslim encroachment, because of her ability to unite under the papacy.

Europe became a high-trust society under Christianity. The fear of eternal doom, or excommunication from the Church meant people were much less likely to steal, general less likely to sin. Christianity worked well, as long as most of the people played the game. I would compare Christianity to libertarianism or Scandinavian-style social democracy: it works so long as the people are culturally, ethically, and perhaps ethnically homogeneous.

The Church of yore was authoritarian. Redemption could be had, so long as homage was paid to the Church. In the modern world that bondage has been broken. Each man or woman is free to pursue their own salvation in Christ. We now have a Christian that embodies liberal ethos without the balancing societal order and constraints.

Am I wrong in my reasoning that Christianity and its legacy is killing the west? And if I'm correct, how do we promote western tradition without Christianity?

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