Monday, October 26, 2009

Christianity

After many hours of studying Nietzsche and who knows who else, thinking, etc... my basic objection to it as a cultural value independent of whatever truth there is or isn't in it is that it requires everyone in society to have the purity of a monk. This is not new with me, I'm just repeating it from someplace else, but I can't quite locate who said it. Nietzsche seems to be too vitriolic to have done so, but you never know, he might have. The sort of thing that Christianity preaches as how you should act is a mini-model of going out in the desert and living very frugally and not doing anything else. There doesn't seem to be any sort of middle way that takes into account the actual complexities of the world, not to mention the complexities of human desire among other things. Either you're with Mr. JC or you're against him. Everything else is just straw. Sure, there are Christian socialists and even Christian anarchists, but my guess is that if you really got down there with them they'd be a heck of a lot more liberal than most Christians, even though what they're proposing is an application of Christian ethics to society. Otherwise, they'd be the most extreme of them all, and this is definitely not the case.

I don't want to live in a cave separate from The World and Worldly things. I don't want to resign myself to isolation. I don't see my choices as being complete withdrawal on the one hand and crass materialism on the other.

All this is modified by wealth and power too as well. Once Christianity became a State religion and got followers who were both powerful and wealthy the hypocrisy started, so that now lots of rich people become superficial Christians while breaking every non-convenient commandment they can, acting superior to everyone else in the process hoping that their Christian faith will prevent people from objecting to what they're really doing in the world.

The power aspect feeds into the conservatism of contemporary U.S. Christianity. I'm convinced that one of the reasons that poorer white folks in the South and elsewhere are more likely to be Christian is that they feel they can vicariously become powerful by associating themselves with it. Same thing with patriotism and nationalism when a conservative whack job president like Bush is in office. Christianity is a way for folks who don't have much to feel like they're better than their neighbors, particularly if some of their neighbors are black and brown and don't follow their particular sect. Fundamentalism Christianity of the kind associated with white people is a great feeder into white supremacy.

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