The idea for a Munzerian/communist version of Xtianity is one thing on paper, but quite another in the context of actual realization. One look at the Middle East and the completely incomprehensible Israel turning into a monstrosity suggests thought-systems that are played out and infested with self-constructed demonology. The condition of Israel especially is the fag end of a cycle of religious civilization. A leftist rewrite works much better on paper, frankly, but the other reality is that people don’t abandon played out ideas, and we can expect a considerable continuation to the Axial Age legacies as they overflow into a new era. My take on Munzer and Xtianity is simply a reminder that the modern age attempted via the Reformation to refound these ancient religions, but the result is still inchoate.
One alternative is historical review: what actually happened in the cycle of religion since the onset of the Israel to Xtianity cycle? Can we understand this history before we move into a new future. These are not trivial questions. The attempts by proponents of Biblical Criticism to assume this task have not been fully successful. The reason is the suspected hidden history of gnosticsm operating in the background. And there modern secular thought is almost more confused than the ‘exoteric’ discourse of theologians.
But a streamlined Xtianity able to move into the future with a robust take on modernity and radicalism might be the one exception to the rule well stated by Yeats: another lineage feeds the crow…
One reason for this retrograde fixation is the sterility of Iron Cage thought patterns unable to even do evolution much less reason through the complexities of religious antiquity.
The simple and most obvious path is to create a secular perspective. But even this in the current culture is proving hard going. The new atheism is such a strangely crippled gesture that people begin to look backward to what they are losing in the Axial Age legacy. The sudden flood of buddhist/new age reseeding is thus likely to help to a degree in the attempt to figure where we came from, but that is not really enough. In this context the larger history of antiquity is beginning to offer a larger context for the recreation of a robust secularism that can interpret entities actually more advanced than core modernism.
Another thing is emerging: a sense of the cosmic dimension of religion, evolution, and civilization. In Last and First Men I proffer a few hints in the Preface on this score: the work of J.G.Bennett was one of the first in modern times to begin to see spiritual dimensions beyond the planetary closed world the ancient religions inhabited. This dimension was present in Xtianity closer to its source period, but rapidly degenerated into preposterous angelology, and a new set of spiritual myths, concoctions would be better. The real point was the mystery of cosmic beings who were based on a form of materiality and its spiritual extensions that existed in a realm beyond human understanding. The issue was to free thinking from the theological quagmire of supernatural fictions. This is the one approach to getting past the idiocy of ‘design’ versus ‘materialist’ debates that have so haunted evolutionary biology.
The real point is to ask how man evolved, and this requires asking as to his real nature and consciousness and whether this was a natural evolution or the application of new ‘software’ to hominid bodies. Man can neither do with or without the idea he has a soul, and in relation to this lies the tricky depth of his ‘consciousness’ which is capable of a very extraordianry devlopment: where does this come form?
And at this point we have to wonder at the veiled hints of this in the history of religion. So the idea suggested of a new Munzerian Xtianity really points to a revolutionary new view of man, his evolution, and a hybrid of archaic and futuristic, downright scifi elements. With a religious or spiritual/secular mode that can find its way through the mythic mystifications that are so characteristic of the impasse of science and religion.
The opening of Last and First Men hinted briefly at something I didn’t want to become a quicksand pit for the book: the relationship of the modern left to a radically new but concealed form of cosmic spiritual action, disguised momentarily behind ‘materialism’, in the analog emergentism from a ‘transition’ that we see in antiquity and the Axial Age, now with a new and as yet barely detectable dimension seeking its realization in the ‘new age’ to come.
So that was my point: the realm of futuristic ‘Munzerian Xtianity’ already exists, as it were, and is an hyparchic virtuality in the process of realization. A similar explanation of the confusion of emergent Xtianity (and prophetic ‘judasim’) in the realm of prophecy and eschatological vision is a strong hint that this kind of process has already had a considerable planetary existence, wll before the age of Darth Vader and his popcorn universe.