We have discussed here many times the fact that one of the first Reformation churches of the sixteenth century was proto-communist: that of Thomas Munzer who was almost immediately murdered as the Reformation sowed the seeds of what is now the terminal canceration of Prosperity gospel religion.
The idea of a radical communist xtianity is a downright useful one, and its particulars can be explored at great length. But is the idea of practical value? One thing is sure, there could be such a church, and its defining characters could be a very radical theology indeed.
The Reformation is very strange, but the tool for its analysis is the ‘macro model’ of WHEE at history and evolution.com. We can see that the Reformation as an aspect of modernity took up xtianity and made it into a transient of the larger transition. This trick could be done again as we envisage a form of religious/secular transformation challenging the capitalist world that the Reformation unwittingly amplified. That the original era was a dialectic of capitalism/communism suggests that the whole of modern Protestantism is in abort mode. We can repair this by creating the original complement.
But thought has moved on. Still, the reality is that xtianity was so crippled by its own past that a new attempt could easily do better. An xtian church doesn’t even have to be ‘theistic’ in the tradition sense: it can actually do better by adopting the original perspective IHVH beyond the trashy pop theism that came into existence as a new idolatry.
A Munzerian Church could radically heal the bad theology that has cursed its legacy and which is now choking the secular graduates who won’t put up with such idolatrous religion. The issue of ‘god’ can be sublimated into something more intelligent, end of remarkable problem and a new church ready for a new take on modernity. Here the best idea would be to crib notes from the marxist gang, and fulfill the potential of the era of Munzer with a vehicle that can (as a Quaker lookalike?) assist in the transition to postcapitalism.
Xtianity is dissolving because xtians can’t meet the challenge of skeptical thought. It doesn’t have to, save only to set aside all the elements of archaic theology, mindful of the trap of scientism.
Note that the Reformation, in terms of the eonic effect, jumps to a higher level than the original religion which is all too man made by fallible and not very knowledgeable men of the time of Constantine.
We are under no obligation to accept their canon, which was crippled at the start.
In fact, the Reformation passed beyond the ‘Jesus’ figure, as xtianity was recast in the mode of the historical transformations of civilization. Its macro character was a brilliant take on modernity with a capitalist/communist prophecy of the society to come and an end game, soon suppressed later resurfacing with a vengeance.
In a word this new church doesn’t require ‘Jesus’ or the pop theism of ‘god’. Both of those could be sublated so easily into graceful and profound offspring: it is already there in the legacy of the ‘Cosmic Christ’, that curious glyph with a curious resemblance to J.G.Bennett’s ‘demiurgic powers’, entities destined to return on man to ‘see how he has fared’ since their last visit. So what could it be? That’s easy, or hard: the core teaching of Jesus so evocative of everything from buddhism to sufism has a thousand leaves from the Great Book of the Doctrine of Schlemieles. Jesus becomes an icon, no more no less. His resurrection, the issue so troubling to so many, becomes a riddle of looking backward, no longer the obsessive doctrine of the predistigation of an ancient cult. Man is moving into the miraculous as he moves into science, and the ancient riddle will no long seem so important, nor remain the life and death system of belief that was inflicted on the hapless denizens of the roman proletariat.
We can leave xtianity but we can’t leave the church of historical memory: we must attempt to understand what happened with this religion and how: no easy task. That is enough. No doctrines are needed. This church could inherit all the effective tools of social community and personal evolution in the wake of its great sublimation of the world of roman slavery.
In the going such a church could counsel the transition to the man beyond Property in a new Commons of shared life.
What about the Jews and the long tradition of attempted conversion, etc, still quite alive with Luther in the sixteenth century?
I think the question would fall over dead and noone would care, as such. The basic perspective that the Judaic tugboat brought a form of monotheism into existence, and then remained as a parallel stream, could be taken as a historical given, without any compromises, and with complete indifference to the question of jews as such: jews are spiritual vagrants in a strange history that was exploited for an unknown destiny, but crippled by its requirement of birth-membership, and one that was also a strange eugenic experiment, a hint to xtians of the multitasking mystery of their monotheistic experiment, which then had another variant, this one, Islam, a descendant of the Aryan/Zoroastrian as the xtian was of the Semitic. In a word the jewish question ceases to be a problem. A few sperm samples and the great Historic Destiny of the Jews is fulfilled. Being social religious vagrants wandering the Wasteland was actually a very liberating trek, xtians might take note. The jewish question will lead to a new Tribe of Genjus, in the realization of the double-tasking xtian church seeking the man of future. The question of Israel, however, remains, and a post-biblical understanding of the current quagmire of ‘Israel’ is needed given its current tragedy in motion.
The world is moving rapidly beyond the realm of xtianity, and the whole exercise could seem irrelevant. It wasn’t irrelevant to the Quakers who generated abolitionism, so we can’t be sure of the nature and outcome of the question.
But a thousand streamlined exit vehicles are possible for this church given a clear impetus by the thrust of modernity itself. It could be of great use where a vast majority are still members of this religious legacy and unable to accept the very inferior goods of so-called secular humanism (atheist or theist). The richness of modernity is still lost on most xtians, and a radical communist church free of its idolatrous theism and archaic superstitions could also be a vehicle of religious research, social activism, educational focus. We can’t and need not compromise with the long struggles to become free of religion at its dark side, but at the same time the spiritual nature of man has suffered as miscast in the failure of secular humanism to integrate modernity in a larger dialectic. In the nonce, a transient vehicle has foretold the future of any such xtian church in the remarkable latent prophecy of German Classical philosophy, the successor of the Reformation, a prophecy of the mind reckoning its own metaphysics at the boundary of universal contemplation.