The classic format of the christian tradition is falling apart and the future of a ‘faith-based’ religion is not good. Hound dogs like the new atheists are snapping at the heels of the christian pilgrim as in the image of the Fool in the tarot deck. The demands of faith no longer work because it is very hard to make this demand any longer. And the whole set of constructs from demonology, hell fire, wish/prayer, direct communication with ‘god’, are no longer credible. There may be a north/south divide in terms of state of the ‘church’ but probably not for long. The question of Islam is slightly different but not much: the erosion process is well underway. We should not regret this: the secular tiding of ancient religions is inexorable. The multiple new age movements have rushed to fill the void and stand as a challenge to the enlightenment theme of reason, although that need not be so: a rational canon of everything from sufism to yoga has already passed into the irrational mix of commercialized ‘spiritual practice’ market places. But these also are already themselves beginning to cede to the steamroller of a new era.
The whole question of christianity is so confused that it would be better to just move on, but there is a counter movement of persistence and the fact remains that the early modern devoted an immense amount of energy to reformations with secular humanism as an after thought.
The question of christian theology is almost a quagmire: we link below to a recent controversy about which I hadn’t heard: the Flavian conjecture. This thesis is puzzling, and easily debunked as a debunking but it illustrates the hopeless incoherence of the legacy: we have no really stable set of facts about the most important issue, jesus himself. But the Flavian hypothesis, which its own propoents can’t seem to understand, can actually buttress, somewhat, the original history of the jesus figure in the most obvious path to its rough falsification. The obvious point behind the theory is instead what we already knew which is that the murky tale of a messiah figure moves via Paul to become a roman underground movement, eventually becoming embedded in the establishment. It takes little more than a viewing of a schlock Hollywood jesus/pic like The Robe to see how the roman establishment might have rapidly seen converts to the catacomb cult.
There is a useful trick to the whole confusion which is to stand back and take a high level ‘it’s obvious’ approach: whatever the exact facts we have tale however modified of a spiritual figure in the era of pontius pilate. His reality may be closer to the qumranic figures as a zealot, but he moves in the rough chronicle given by a common denominator of the gospels, suffers arrest and persecution, and then either disappears or dies and yet becomes a kind of ‘bardo’ vision by certain disciples, leading to a ‘resurrection’ so-called myth.
Despite its murky or fuzzy character it is not an unreasonable account rapidly becoming fixed in mythic elements. One of the ironic supports for the saga is that it is not myth so much as disinfo that seems to veil the historical account. We have suspected a background spiritual process unknown to us orchestrating the whole ‘show’ and this proceeded at high speed from a veil of disinfo to the creation of an expanding cult soon to be a romanized religion. That the gospels are late constructs already suffering romanization in the wake of paul is actually par for the course. The canon is more clever than its agents and adherents and crystallizes around hearsay, clever indeed. In Enigma of the Axial Age we have suggested the complex nature of the emergence of monotheism and its ‘desingers’ conjectured in the category of ‘devangelic’ natural powers, by no means a crackpot idea arrived at by a process of elimination using a variant of samkhya. It will be the task of a future era to lead man to a real understanding here. As the religion of christianity wanes the true nature of its action in the context of axial age monotheism will be a new enquiry.
If we examine the ‘eonic effect’ we note the way that its macro process tends to ‘give a pass’ to humanly created religious aspects, remorphing or amplifying them, but essentially letting man make himself: that might help to see why the reformation arose at all: man has to remake religion on his won and the immense amount of christian renewal in the sixteenth and seventeenth century proceeds apace and then collapses in the enlightenment. But we should note the way a radical revolutionary strain arises at the dawn of the early modern. Perhaps a reminder that the medieval version of christianity had long seen conservatized and been abandoned by the hidden spiritual domain. The sudden contact with a larger dimension in the reformation is a harsh reminder that the later protestant/catholic christianity is a set of mostly human confusions.
So it would be better to decipher the core of these religions and recast them for a secular future. We should not be so naive as to dismiss the hidden reality of a spiritual domain, one that we have cast as really ‘material’ in the sense of samkhya.
The left can take the material as above to create a tolerant and robust vehicle to ‘carry’ the exit path of the christians, reminding these brethren of their radical roots in the early modern and enjoining both a strong element of biblical criticism and a streamlined ‘church of historical memory’ attempting to assess the legacy of a religion of miracles that missed the real miracle.
There is one final point that tends to caution the secular humanist debunking process: judaism, buddhism, arise in the context of the axial age and christianity arises in an exact synchronous correlation with Mahayana which is a secondary phasing of axial age buddhism in the same way that christianity is a secondary phasing of ‘Israelitism’. This concordance is almost spooky, visible to moderns if not antiquity and shows us that there is an independent spiritual process that stands beyond both the secular and the religion. Unraveling that is supercomplex and we should proceed with caution. But the tale that we have fits strangely into the larger confirmation of an ‘eonic’ phasing that produced two religions in distant correlation, compounding the mystery. As the mahayana proclaims the new ‘buddhism’ of savior religions, a savior religion arises in the occident in exact timing. In equally strange timing the results began to wane, the tide receding, in the new epoch of modernity. We have not much, but enough clues to proceed on the left with an intellible debriefing of religion at a somewhat more intelligent level than strange secular humanism….
This account makes no sense, but has a few interesting tidbits…