The minute I write posts like this I get a little leery. The interpretation is too difficult or unclear for the very people discussed and in reality I see little chance for a reformation of the reformation. Xtianity is too tricky as a religion. That’s why people move toward buddhism, say, and end up confused in another direction. And the swing toward atheist scientism has introduced still further confusions. The situation is almost maddening.
Discussions of religion are misleading. If we note that abolitionist Xtians championed the end of slavery we can end up thinking this is a plus for that religion. But the reality is quite different: a close look at the macro effect shows the way in the same timing a sudden small group of Xtians turn abolitionist. We can’t depend on the larger movement of Xtianity for anything like that.
These confusions are why I always revert to my model of the macro effect. It tells us some strange things. I think the real spiritual domain is almost ashamed at the confusion world history has created. Look at the onset of monotheism. The macro model shows it to be in concert with its opposites! The Israelites thought god was intervening in their history. But if he was he was also intervening to create buddhism, and confucianism. The whole game is nonsense. This makes the real history of monotheism almost impossible to understand: it is highly unlikely that ‘god’ in the sense common had anything to do with either judaism or Xtianity.
And then in the Reformation we can see the same: ‘god’ is not intervening in history. Rather the macro model reflects a different process, one that is simultaneously creating the reformation and the rise of science.
We are off base on these questions because our minds are tuned to simpler problems. A real humdinger, the whole of world history, is so far beyond our grasp.
I always want to give Xtians a break because it has good overall record. But its real moment was the challenge it gave to the Roman Empire.
In theory a reformation of the reformation can create a new religion for the future, but already chaotification has confused all parties. A close look at the macro effect shows how little compassion any human institutions can provide. Then suddenly around the divide point in the model a surge compassionate politics tides in the modernist theatre. We can’t give Xtians the credit for that.
We see that the Reformation was induced in a large movement beyond the duality of science/religion. The movement thrived abundantly then stalled in the Enlightenment as a new set of ideas emerged. We can see how an attempt to reach a higher level emerges in someone like Kant. After that the system plunges into a phase of scientism, incidental atheism, and the age of positivism. That outcome is after the ‘divide’ and thus we suspect a downshifting sudden devolution from the real Enlightenment. But the ‘real’ Enlightenment is inconsistent. We see atheism suddenly surging, but new forms of Xtianity influenced by the phase of German classical philosophy.
This is a limited description. But the point is the nuttiness of discussion on all sides. The real outcome as secularism was far too clipped and limited to serve as a substitute for religion. In a way the problem was visible as early as Spinoza whose brilliant work was not broad enough and the background text of the period of Kant et al.
Discussions of religion and secularism are thus maddening because all sides are too limited. And already we are seeing the return of brutality after the brief surge of social compassion after modern transition. Handwringing from the Popes isn’t going to help. The slide is almost ominous: look at the way in less than two decades one of the great experiments in modern politics is now mired in the quicksand of the torture question.
It is important to study the reality of Xtianity before the rise of modernity.
In general all the gains of social compassion spring from modernity, not the other way around. The original achievement of Xtianity here was far earlier and before even the medieval period.