The discussion of Xtianity in the linked post from yesterday had not a few readers. People are puzzled by the issue of religion. The context of the ‘eonic effect’, while controversial, gives one a sense of the transformation underway in the religions of the Axial Age. If a movement as superficial as the New Atheism can make headway against Xtianity it is a sign that that religion is in trouble, or maybe not, but simply in motion toward new future. I think that Xtianity suffers from being obscure to its adherents: they are beset with mysteries they can’t resolve, and therefore are unable to adapt intelligently to the circumstances of modernity. That was originally an aspect of the strength of that religion: noone could tamper with it because the way it was put together was hard to grasp. The negative result is that its adherents were always in a state of confusion. But now in modern times it seems that the result of the Reformation was to lead via religious transformation to some form of secularism. But now that secularism is being redefined as an atheist fundamentalism, and a complete negation of all religion, with a narrow scientism that can barely handle science, let alone religion.
I think that one resort for Xtians is to devise a sort of exit strategy to a form of secularism that is robust, philosophically grounded, and subject to canons of Reason. That was actually the Enlightenment project in action, and we can see that figures such as Kant, Hegel, and even Schopenhauer were a mysterious coda to the Reformation attempting to bridge religion within secularism as respectful of human autonomy, proposing an ethics based on ‘reason’ rather than divine command, and so on.
One of the limitations of the western reformation was its focus on Xtianity, without grasping the place of religious diversity in world history. But here it is interesting that at the height of the Enlightenment figures such as Herder, and then a host of figures among them Schopenhauer proceeded to perform the element of integration of the larger legacy bringing that to what we see now, the immense second act of the Reformation called the ‘New Age Movement’. That confuses people because of the Eurocentric bias (on the surface) of the modern transition. But a closer look shows the way a larger global legacy is being subject to the late phase of the Reformation. The Euro-centered modern was always somewhat limited thus, and we can see how the ‘Enlightenment’ as an age period puns with the Indic term at the core of Buddhism and its related religious parallels.
That shows a fundamental lack in the early modern transition, but as we see it was corrected almost immediately and at the same time as the peak Enlightenment gave way to the era of nineteenth century’ ‘new age’ in motion. So Xtians must see this larger picture and begin to respond to it. Xtianity can’t really survive in its present form as a faith-based and prayer-focussed ‘bahkti cult’ (to use the Indian phrase) based on Jesus. The significance of sufism to Xtianity should be a vital consideration for any debriefing of Xtianity, but that potential has never born fruit in anything much.
But Xtianity has a immense asset that no atheist cultism can really challenge: its remarkable history in itself! With or without doctrines (too many of them later concoctions of Roman Synods) that history is its own mysterious proof of religious fundamentals. We can see something stupendous in that history, in the wake of the Axial Age as that period gives birth to occidental monotheism, buddhism in India, and to the secular fundamentals visible in the phase of Axial Age Greece. So Xtians can see that the legacy of Revelation, misunderstood by them, can be clarified to a larger consideration of world history in motion, which also shows secularism and religions of various kinds emerging in parallel. That hint should be a step toward a new understanding that can find a place in the secular sphere without succumbing to its degenerate forms, visible in scientism, and/or the ‘new atheism’. Again we see that the design of Xtianity will defeat most efforts to tinker with it. That creates a conservative force that is all or nothing: since you can modify the religion, you may simply reject all of it.
In any case the simple format of traditional Xtianity is mostly a creation of the early Catholic church, and has, as Luther pointed out, no absolute basis.