Tuesday 18 August 2020

Christianity: The old ways have failed

At this time, looking around, we can see a rapid and catastrophic failure of even the most devout Christians.

The mainstream churches are essentially dead - because watching stuff online is just more TV; online groups are just social media. Social-distancing destroys society. Any church that states health is their priority, is no longer a church.

What is worse, extremely few (ex?) Christians acknowledge this catastrophic failure. In reality, what has been revealed about Christianity in the past half-year, by the response to the birdemic, is a really Big Thing in the history of the world: and especially the past 2000 years.

We are living through a transition of comparable significance with any in world history: comparable to the invention of agriculture or the industrial revolution - and happening must faster than either. 

Sudden and very complete collapse has affected the traditionalist and conservative and patriarchal churches, as well as the liberals and sexual-revolutionary radicals. Therefore, it really is no use to be harking back, and to pointing at the old ways.

External sources of tradition are broken; the old ways have failed.

Christians are now mostly isolated or in small groups. 'Fighting' rhetoric is nonsense in this context, because we are massively outnumbered and out-powered, and even the law is against us.

The strength must thus be inner - or it will be absent; the fight is spiritual - or else the outcome will be surrender.

Even merely to stay a Christian is very difficult (and clearly too difficult for most 'devout' churchgoers) - but mere stasis is not an option, growth is needed for survival.

Therefore, each Christian requires new (previous untapped - or hardly used) sources of strength, motivation, conviction. Christians must Think and to Be in unprecedented ways - and ways that are qualitatively different from the mainstream of impulse gratification and totalitarian bureaucracy.

We can't get this secondhand, so every serious Christian needs to be actively working on this - every day. The problem is of absolute urgency - it brooks no delay. Once active and faithful Christians are falling-away daily, hourly.

You may be next; and by that time you won't even care; because if the Holy Ghost has been known and then rejected, the route back is notoriously uncertain.

Unlikely as it sounds, Christians can have absolutely solid faith that it can be done.

We are never left bereft; since God is both our loving father and the creator; so there are innumerable ways we can be (and are being) helped; if only we recognise them, and meet them halfway. Thanks to Jesus Christ: the Holy Ghost is ever present, and bottomless well of guidance and encouragement.

Properly considered, the Christian situation is really not too difficult for anybody, and anybody who wants to be Christian can have it and hold it.

But we will not find help and strength if we keep looking in a place where Christianity has departed, if we keep depending on authorities that have abandoned the faith, and who address the body instead of the soul.

We must look in the proper place: the true and indestructible House of God.


Sean G. said...

My brother and I used to talk about how our Orthodox church never satisfactorily addressed the spiritual battlefield we all live in. Going through the motions seemed to be the emphasis. And like finding metal shavings in your cars oil after your car locks up on the freeway, the church shutdown was a sign that things have been bad for awhile and it's too late now—and we ought to have addressed the grinding sound instead of turning up the radio!

TonguelessYoungMan said...

I find that in the United States (and I suspect, much of the western world), the statement "I am a Christian" often actually means "I support Christian values", which in turn actually means "I have a relatively conservative moral outlook by todays low standards" which really means "I'm not actually a Christian, my outlook is a mostly materialist one, but I happen to find certain behaviors distasteful."

Karl said...

You say that the old ways have failed. I'm not sure what you mean as Christianity is 2000 years old and the ways of the last decades or even the last 100 years are very different from the ways of say 500 years, 1000 years or 1500 years ago.

I'd rather say that the modern ways have failed.

Please explain or rephrase what you mean.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Karl - You would need to read my earlier writings on this theme if you need a deep understanding; but my point is that we cannot turn back to the old ways, no matter how far back we might seek. There were metaphysical errors built into the Christian church from very early, and indeed since the Fourth (and first written) Gospel; and these have made the old ideas untenable - not just for practical reasons, but in an ultimate sense.

Radical leftism is both superficially and ultimately incoheren (as is all evil, as a cooperative activity), but it has nonetheless - due to a kind of evolution by trial and error - succeeded in finding and probing at these metaphysical flaws, so that the destructive tendency could not effectively be opposed.

Just one of many possible examples is the problem of explaining the existence of evil in a world that is (supposedly) wholly made by a wholly good and omnipotent God. I know that great philosophical and theological minds have tried to make this combination of assertions cohere, but it just doesn't cohere. The true answer is that God is wholly good but not omnipotent - but all the mainstream churches made God's omnipotence a matter of dogma from very early on; and they cannot or will not give it up while remaining devout Christians.

Another example is the possibility of genuine free will/ agency if God is (as dogma states) omnipotent and created everything from nothing, and controls everything all the time. Just where is the free will supposed to operate in such a scheme? And yet without free will, Christianity has no meaning.

Christians are faced with believing incoherent traditional dogma, or giving up Christianity. Most give up.

I realise that many great Christians have nonetheless believed incoherent dogmas of many types, and I don't object to that at all - but the fact it that it does not work any more here-and-now. It would be great (I mean it) if people would just believe in Jesus, and leave aside the metaphysical quibbles - but that isn't an option. The problems are just too obvious, and mainstream culture won't let Christians forget them.

Human consciousness has changed through history. We are in the second or third generation of most people in the West raised atheist - and all social institutions functioning with the exclusion of God - this has never been before the 20th century (Russian Revolution, 1917), ever, anywhere - it has now spread almost everywhere.

What once was possible, is no longer possible. We must solve our problems starting here and now; and without the help of institutions (which are now corrupt and net-demonic).

Bruce Charlton said...

@Anonymous - OK, but taking responsibility for bold 'fighting talk' would be a start, yes? I can't take seriously online revolutionary rhetoric when it comes from the anonymous, or even the pseudonymous (plus, as it says on the sidebar, I don't publish anonymous comments). We aren't obliged to write in a public forum, we can remain silent; but if we do write, I suggest we ought to take responsibility for it. That keeps it real.

Kyle said...

Perhaps this is a transformation of what it means to be Christian. If you are born in the Bible Belt in the United States (for example), you may identify yourself as Christian, just as the same you would probably identify yourself as a Muslim if you are born in central Java. This is not a direct result of your own active studying, and furthermore, you can see a rebellious act (usually against the parents) where children who come of age equate their own childhood traumas or pathologies on the religious dogmas in which they grew up in. "God failed me" or, "I don't believe in God because why would he allow this and this to happen"... so they abandon it completely. I personally never grew up in that environment (my parents were New Age baby boomers, full on into astrology and crystals and such), but I feel through my own honest search for truth, it's impossible to disprove God and the significance of Christ in this day an age... rather, evidence points strongly to it and the importance of it for living a good life as much as possible. I can say this because I never had any past negative impressions associated with the Church or a dogmatic life.

As the anti-religious, atheistic/marxist agenda gets ramped up, I find myself more and more convinced of my faith in an intellectual and intuitive sense. All it takes is honesty, and truthful seeking. Turn off Netflix, cut out the "noise." My hope is that their will be a counter surge of spiritual/intellectual integrity against this dark clout that has befallen much of the masses.

Thank you for your posts, they are much appreciated!