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Old 01-07-2003, 06:07 PM   #46
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Well for a start there is much less killing in the name of God these days than in say the crusades. And sure you hear about all sorts of corruption in the church, but I would be surprised if it isn't uch less corruption than it was when the church was collecting tithes from everybody... though i don't really have anything to back that up.
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Old 01-07-2003, 06:15 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally posted by SkeeK
Well for a start there is much less killing in the name of God these days than in say the crusades. And sure you hear about all sorts of corruption in the church, but I would be surprised if it isn't uch less corruption than it was when the church was collecting tithes from everybody... though i don't really have anything to back that up.
Are you referring to Christianity only or all world religions in regards to the reduction in religion-driven killing?

I would agree that that organized religion has less of an impact as a socio-political body than it did centuries ago. Corruption has taken different forms – formal indulgences are no longer sold (at least not to my knowledge) but the unscrupulous will still try to tie salvation and forgiveness to donations.
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Old 01-07-2003, 06:25 PM   #48
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i was expressingly talking about christianity there, i should have specified. I have always thought organized religion seemed much more like a political power/money hungry organization than it really should be. But I do think it is less of that now than before.
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Old 01-07-2003, 06:31 PM   #49
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i was expressingly talking about christianity there, i should have specified. I have always thought organized religion seemed much more like a political power/money hungry organization than it really should be. But I do think it is less of that now than before.
Well, I think you are correct on this in that organized religions tend to focus on the bottom line (members, contributions, maintaining order) than on the spiritual growth of the individual members.

I think there are plenty of people who identify with a church body rather than identify with Jesus Christ - in effect making it part of their cultural identity, not their faith.

Think of some of the great cathedrals around the globe. Then ask “when was the last time someone came to faith in this building?”
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Old 01-07-2003, 09:11 PM   #50
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Here's my opinion on it all, and I apologize if I rehash what anyone else has said already. I hate waiting for this stupid modem to download the entire thread, so I kind of rush past it.

First off, I don't believe that the West ever "killed" God. What *is* being killed is our romanticized view of history. In other words, we, as a (post)modern society, have constructed our view of what is "past," whether that "past" is accurate or not.

What has always disturbed me, as an example of this historicism, is often how people will look back admiringly to the 1950s as this semi-utopia before the "dystopia" of the 1960s and beyond. The reality? The only thing that really was that different between the 1950s and later decades was the level of media representation, with the 1950s emphasizing on moralist family sitcoms ("father knows best") and the subsequent destruction of that fiction through the unavoidable reality of political assassinations, race riots, and the then-seemingly unending Vietnam War--all, for the first time, being broadcast nationally. As a result, some people seem to get nostalgic for the "simplicity" of the 1950s. In reality, what they really miss is the blissful ignorance; the days before the media bombardment that forced us to view reality.

Media is what influences our worldview, and reality is irrelevant. The same goes for our views on religion and the seemingly "distant" past of the Middle Ages. How do we envision the Middle Ages? Probably the way we were exposed to it via the cinema; some kind of "Braveheart" / "Robin Hood" hybrid perhaps. The reality? Europe was controlled by a small percentage of people with immense wealth and power, while the rest were enslaved under feudalism, kept uneducated and ignorant. But what was the device to keep this system intact for nearly a millennium? Christianity. Who were the clergy in the Middle Ages? Nobility. The papacy was a position that was bought and sold, and was viewed as another worldly kingdom. People were "religious" because they were frightened into belief--the only way the nobility could force people to live in such utter poverty and, at the same time, actually work to make the nobility even wealthier. Ever wonder why so many medieval Christian cathedrals are just so damn lavish? And do you ever wonder why they resemble imperial palaces of the same era?

What "killed" Christianity? Christianity killed itself by betraying its core values, and people were unwilling to continue with its hypocrisy. The first time people started to realize that there was something wrong with Christianity was the time of the bubonic plague (the "Black Death") epidemics of the 1300s and 1400s. People simply started losing their faith, and it later led to the Reformation in 1520. With all the subsequent fighting that ensued, Europe's religiosity never returned, and America shared a similar fate in our nation's founding. Our Founding Fathers, contrary to religious right propaganda, were children of the French Enlightenment: agnostic unitarians and deists. With the "Great Awakening" of the 1830s, however, Calvinist Protestantism exploded, and reinvented history, creating the myth that our Founding Fathers were devout Christians--a romanticized view of history.

This is what it utterly perturbs me how people try and portray the present as being "exceptionally evil," particularly since we probably have the most peaceful, tolerant, and, dare I say, "Christian" society that we have ever had throughout all of history. The day we abandon the historicist romanticism that has plagued us for all of time is the day we can finally stop putting so much guilt on ourselves; we are the first society to really actually care about integrity and "the Truth" after all.

So, no, the West did not kill Christianity at all. Cultural romanticism of the past has made us think we have.

Melon
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Old 01-07-2003, 09:21 PM   #51
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very well said melon. very.
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Old 01-07-2003, 10:20 PM   #52
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Wow melon, very excellently put!
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