Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Story of Christianity

Most people think that writing a blog which focuses on early Christianity means either that the author is trying to prove or disprove the existence of God.  The reality is of course that nothing could be further from truth with regards to this site.  I have no interest in the question of God, his existence or non-existence.  I leave that for theologians and reactionaries.  My interest has always been rooted in epistemology.  I am interested in the limits of knowledge, what we know and what can be known about a tradition called Christianity.  I find the subject fascinating because we will all one day die and it is interesting to consider how we will be remembered. 

I have always been interest in the act of becoming and passing away.  It probably started when I was a little child.  I don't remember any of how this interest was kindled of course but I imagine that - like other infants - it may have been kindled by someone hiding and then reappearing behind a screen.  I can only remember as far back as the experience of staring at the waves coming on the shore in an altered state of consciousness.

Since humanity - or at least the portion of humanity that I belong - has spent so much time thinking about Christianity, it is interesting to join in the discussion at the twilight of its reign over the earth.  It should be obvious to everyone that this is a religion in decline.  The decline is by no means limited to Christianity.  Western civilization is sick at the core and all attempts to cure it misdiagnose the problem.  Civilization was conceived as one body where there are feet, hands and a single head.  Any attempt to liberate the parts from the head is not a sign of progress but rather of decline. 

I don't say this as a conservative.  I am not passing judgment on whether or not change or decay or even death is a good or bad thing.  The reality is that what passes for 'progress' is at bottom nothing more than symptoms of degeneration of the foundations of social order.  The triumph of individualism comes at a cost.  It's as simple as that.  One can see it in the lineup of television shows on a Saturday for instance.  There isn't even an attempt to define what is virtuous any more.  As Harvard professor Michael Sandel has noted time and again in his books - it's already after the end of the end of the world. 

To this end, to continue with my drug allusions, my favorite part of psylocybin experience was 'coming down.'  It was like a warm, fuzzy, reflective return to nothingness.  The same thing is true with reflecting upon the end of Christianity.  Christianity has reached doddering old age.  It is beyond 'maturity.'  If it were likened to an older person, it could fairly be described as having Alzheimer's disease.  It doesn't even know who or what it is any longer.  It goes through the motions, utters the same formulas but no one seems to know what any of this is supposed to do. 

Is there anyone out there who really believes that those who have been 'sleeping' in graves for two thousand years are really going to stand again in a general resurrection of the dead at the final conflagration?  Come on.  Isn't pretending to believe in something so incredible the exclusive domain of the terminally ignorant?  Again the question has nothing to do with the existence of God or the meaning of life.  There were just some reactionary beliefs which were essentially forced on to people that no one with half a brain could possibly have believed in if given and education and a choice. 

To this end, I continue to think about the story of Christianity.  What a fascinating narrative that tale would be if, as Jesus once said, there were anyone worthy enough to utter it. 

Email stephan.h.huller@gmail.com with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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