Monday, May 18, 2009
Why Don't I Bash Christianity?
The Mustard Seed is about the dangers of both atheism AND religious fundamentalism. So why is this blog almost exclusively focused on the fight atheism, whereas the most critical thing I’ve said about Christianity is that it needs to “adapt and change?” Theoretically, I should spend a lot more time bashing Christianity. But I don't. Why?
A few reasons…
1) Contemporary American Christianity is fairly innocuous, and indeed quite healthy (when compared to most of the alternatives). On the other hand, from my perspective, I believe that atheism (or more accurately, “reductionism”) is an insidious cancer for both the individual and society. Bottom line: I think atheism is a real threat, while Christianity (as it’s currently practiced) isn’t much of a threat at all. However, notice how I use the words “Contemporary American Christianity” and “currently practice.” Why do I use those terms? See below.
2) For most Christians, Christianity is not a true “life commitment,” in the way that it has been for most Christians throughout history. People today have a religion in the same way they have a favorite political party or a favorite TV show or a favorite type of music…it’s part of their identity which inevitably takes a percentage of their time, thought, and energy…but ultimately, it’s not a true “life commitment” which shapes and supports their personality and character. Indeed, that’s precisely what makes modern Christianity fairly innocuous, in my opinion. If people took their Christianity more seriously, then perhaps I’d take Christianity itself more seriously.
3) Reductionism dominates the “world of ideas.” What do I mean by the “world of ideas?” Well, it’s the part of society that is truly committed to the search for “truth” and “reason.” They predominate in the scientific and legal professions, and especially throughout the universities. On the other hand, Christianity has mostly stayed clear of that world (although, to it’s credit, it’s been gradually assuming a larger role in recent decades). But even now, Christianity doesn’t seem to have much interest in the fight for “objective truth,” per se. As for me personally, I’ve put my focus on the quest for a “rational truth.” So, since I am fiercely opposed to society’s current paradigm of “rational truth” (reductionism), I have kept my focus on confronting reductionism head-on (as opposed to critiquing the low-hanging fruit of religious fundamentalism)
4) On a political/economic level, I have common cause with Christians…for whatever reason, in recent decades, the Christians have come to understand the corrosions of socialism and tyranny, and have worked to confront them accordingly…the Reductionists, on the other hand (again for unclear reasons) remain strong advocates for socialism and tyranny…Bottom line: When it comes to basic economic and political issues, the Christians are my allies (whereas the Reductionists are my opponents).