Sunday, February 12, 2012

Christianity's dying wish

Considering its history as a worldwide power structure, it would be quite an understatement today to say that Christianity has seen better days. The fact that it is literally divided in thousands of denominations each exhaustively convinced that all the other ones are wrong about something is  much too striking to be left ignored. Nonetheless, when their faith gets compared with others' in terms of numbers, Christians are ever willing to take refuge under the same comforting and quite unsubstantial umbrella of Christianity. Its symbolic membership of a billion+ scattered around the globe, and divided on questions fundamental enough to justify separate denominations, is certainly a crucial symptom of how clueless people really are about what to make of Jesus and the New Testament. We are looking at about 38,000 denominations. At this rate you could just make one...

Galileo: Christianity's first encounter with reality.

Imagine having to interrogate numerous members of one very large family. At first glance, they all appear to be presenting concordant evidence; but there is one thing you cannot help but notice: They all strongly disagree with all the others on one fundamental part of each of their stories. Essentially, they are all accusing everyone else of lying about one detail or another. To make this even more complicated; everyone swears to be telling the truth, only the truth. How plausible is this? How utterly suspect would this make their testimonies? On what basis could one possibly decide who to trust, without giving special consideration to one over all others, and for entirely subjective reasons? Isn't this how Christians pick their denomination? Besides, how useless would those people be to the case at hand!? You might as well not have called in any of these witnesses.

It used to be that the Catholic Church could dominate people's minds and actions to an extent that it cannot even dream of emulating now, and never again will. On the political scale, it was powerful enough to be taken seriously by the smartest of scholars when it publicly challenged testable natural phenomenons using scripture and dogma. Today, any scientifically literate person, religious or not, would find the idea completely laughable. Historically, whenever archaeologists, historians or scientists from other domains realized that parts of the Bible previously thought to be factual were false or couldn't have possibly happened, Christians plainly denied everything until they were finally forced to reason. In fact, many are still stuck in denial. As a last resort, they declare it conveniently obvious that the faulty parts were no fairy tales, just a few more harmless allegories.

Evil "atheists" having a little chat.
For nearly a hundred generations, the death of Jesus Christ, by far the most important theme of Christianity, had been thought to redeem humanity of an "original" sin committed literally by our oldest ancestors: Adam and Eve. This couple who, according to evolutionary biology, could never possibly have existed, had reportedly performed the very immoral act of snacking from a Tree of Knowledge. How paradoxical does it sound to you that people would write an allegorical story, claim it to be factual, then make its central point the doctrine that we are all doomed because our most distant parents committed the unholy act of seeking knowledge? For a holy book, it surely starts on a bad note. Without anyone presumptuous enough to challenge those teachings, how could people ever possibly have gained knowledge that it was nothing short of a baffling metaphor?

Even the awfully poignant story of baby Moses is now understood to have been fabricated. Modern Jewish historians believe quasi-unanimously that none of their ancestors ever escaped from Egypt. Basically, the book of Exodus is a shameless lie. The walls of Jericho never came tumbling down and nobody conquered Canaan; the Jews were simply not there at the time. God never had to split the sea for them and whoever wrote Psalms 74:13 is just another victim of this mythology. As we enter a new era of enlightenment, scholars are now doubting that Paul of Tarsus wrote half of the New Testament. That's too bad because he is the only one who wrote in it prior to the year 70 at the very least. His writings barely make mention of the many miracles and events that believing in later became a Christian obligation. He even seems unaware that Jesus came as a physical being.

Better not count on it...
Over the last half-century, we have uncovered many ancient apocryphal manuscripts that could very well have been part of the canonical gospels. Obviously, they are not. The sole reason for this is that back then, self-proclaimed authorities one-sidedly determined which ones should be. These are the same geniuses who would rely on scripture to determine the age and shape of our planet. Please consider that since biblical times, people have spent thousands of years reiterating lies and spreading them through conquest, intellectual subjugation and control of the political as well as educational systems. They may claim for their defense that back then, nobody knew better, but to this we can respond: "What then are you for?" It is not becoming obvious that day by day — as a consequence of their repeated incompetence — we pay less and less attention to their opinions?

A few centuries ago, Christianity would not admit any wrongs; it would just torture people for disagreeing. Then it started apologizing to some; after they had died. More recently, Catholic authorities have started asking people forgiveness for raping away their childhood... yet many of them are still alive. At this rate, perhaps we will reach a point where it asks forgiveness for things it is doing right now, or so I remember Hitchens saying. Christianity is on its last stand; it was supposed to help the world but somehow contributed to much of its misery. Today, without the threats and the lies, indoctrinating children is just not as easy as it used to be. As Christianity draws its last breath, it may look back at its past glory, thinking in silence: "If only we had stuck to the program, exactly like the Islamists do, we wouldn't be in this mess, now would we, God? ... God...?"