Christianity consists of Germanic, Mediterranean, Jewish, Egyptian, and Babylonian ideas. If you were to reduce the western ethic to the jeffersonian bible, and natural law, you would have the germanic elements of it. Indo european aristocracy is what separates the west from the rest. Christianity takes much too much credit for the success of Europe which is as much the product of aristocracy (distributed governance) and its dependence upon trade rather than direct organization of production and heavy taxation, as it was the church. The church was weak, and that was a good thing. It provided literacy, administration, status, and licensed the conquest of unbelievers or violators of the church, in a land where the production of outputs was fairly constant, but the rulership readily changed. It is not the church per se that troubles me, but the use of levantine mysticism instead of aristotelianism and stoicism.
We mix our philosophers in every civilization:
– Chinese use Sun Tzu, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Mao, but call themselves buddhists.
– Americans use Aristotle; Jesus, Peter and Paul; Smith, Hume, Jefferson, Hamilton and Paine, but call themselves christians.
Socialists use their false prophets: the marxists, but call themselves atheists and scientific.
– Germans use Aristotle, Kant…
– French use their authors …
– Muslims (judaism 2.0) reduce it to two books …
It’s hard to dispute the success of Christianity:
– (a) the church desperately worked to rebuild western civilization after the fall of the empire – even if it played a part in the destruction of western civilization itself.
– (b) wherever christianity goes today, wealth follows (eventually), because of the extension of kin love and trust to non-kin.
– (c) christianity somehow imbues us with idealism and this produces great thinkers.
– (d) the institutionalization of kinship love, the extension of property rights to all and to women and the prohibition on cousin marriage were profound advances.
I reduce post-medieval ‘scientific’ Christianity to a personal philosophy:
– sovereignty (non-submission: each man is the master of his fate),
– do no harm: respect property (property-en-toto), and;
– chivalry (try to help everyone you possibly can),
– paternalism (take personal responsibility for the various commons),
– piety (humility and self skepticism as a defense against hubris; the love of all life; the requirement that we create beauty; and awe at the universe great and small).
and combine that personal philosophy with a political philosophy:
– natural law (universal law, necessary for mutual prosperity)
– strict construction (not hermenuetic interpretation)
– mono-logism (one logic of ethics, and many contractual adaptations)
– universalism (if it is indeed true, then it is true for all men)
In other words, a political philosophy of cooperation.
And I view all other political models as a failure to solve the problem of politics (cooperation in the production of commons).
Everything else is merely theatre. Not that theatre is not important. Theater is ritual, and rituals bind. The more expensive the rituals, the greater the binding.
This vision of Christianity is a vision of the empowered. The vision of Christianity for the unempowered, and for the weak must be different. We can have multiple religions to achieve this, we can tell multiple narratives, or we can create multiple ‘saints’ (gods and heroes) for people with different needs to pray to, that symbolize different ends.
– sovereignty to submission;
– prayer as request for will and wisdom from a hero whose soul (memory) lives on in all of us;
– seasonal rituals celebrating life on earth rather than lives of prophets
– worship of life, beauty, joy and friends, to salvation from suffering;
– many gods for many different people to one god for all;
– fairies, elves, dwarves, trolls, forests to angels and deserts.
– the ancient temple to the medieval church;
because one-ness, monopoly, and authority are cancers for the human mind and spirit.
I am pretty certain of:
– – buddhism for the feminine (defensive control of the impulsive mind)
– – stoicism for the masculine (offensive discipline in furtherance of action)
– western myths and fairy tales
– truth telling as the most important normative commons we can construct.
– grammar, rhetoric, logic, scientific method (testimonialism), economics, history, as producing higher return in current civilization than our current emphasis on abstract calculation which will soon be replaced by machinery.
And the trouble in the modern era is:
– these are masculine prophets and philosophers. Women in each civilization, not only ours, seek to restore the matrilineal order, parasitism and de-civilization, through the newfound power of the state. The only solution I can come up with is to make use of voluntary exchange between classes and to give women a house from which to negotiate those exchanges, rather than empower them through democracy to destroy civilization. Science is reversing a century and a half of feminist and socialist pseudoscience. But it is happening slowly. Whether too slowly is the open question.
(I am still working on religion. so this is just my current thinking)