Using the ‘eonic model’ creates a way to unify secular and religious histories, at the price of a final secularization of religion. But the meaning of the latter is poorly understood by secular humanists. The issue of theism versus atheism isn’t really the point, although ‘atheism’ is in the ascendant against the hopeless muddle of theistic belief systems.
Our model transcends the duality of material/spiritual and seems to operate as a kind of ‘Gaian’ mystery generating civilizations in concert with human free agency. Clearly something is operating at the global level and over long periods of time. The correct category is ‘evolution’ defined carefully in term of the data of history. But this is a complex process of the ‘evolution of freedom’ and current darwinian-style scientism is no match for the complexity involved.
In this context the emergence of israelitism is seen as an aspect of the axial age and this generates (next to persian zoroastrianism) a world religion (next to the parallel islam). We can see that the issue here is not really the action of ‘god’. The same process that produced monotheism produced secularism.
We can create a generalized leftist exit vehicle for christians (and jews) beyond their now primitive belief systems and these can be something more robust than reductionist science. There are many ways to do this, but the basic point is that christianity/judaism parallel to the atheist buddhism emerged in the epoch of the axial age and begin to recycle in the onset of the next, modernity. The left needs an anthropology that can carry the monotheist into postcapitalist because the tenacity of these legacies remains very considerable.
The question of jesus remains after all this time unsolved and it seems merely the aspect of a savior religion for a childish human that he is taken as the personal prayer djinn of the devout religionist. Something very mysterious shrouded the early stage of both these religions but they are doomed to collapse now, although there is a need to carry over some of the core religious beliefs involved. That man has a ‘soul’ is lost to scientism, and the nature of human consciousness and enlightenment have been filtered out of the mix. The meaning of salvation requires a new interpretation and method but is not something we can factor out in the perspectives of crude science. In any case the ship has already set sail in the wake of the reformations of the early modern and the future of religion inside secularism is already gestating along a huge number of fronts.
It would be very easy indeed for a new left to create a more intelligent version of all this but it won’t happen with the crude materialism of the nineteenth century. It would be enough to consider a kind of kantian critique of metaphysics and to proceed from there with a method of philosophic debriefing next to a practical study of human consciousness. etc…
In any case the marxist study of religion is completely inadequate however much it seems to reflect a secular stance.
The christian trance is a very mysterious form of hypnosis: our ‘shock treatment’ approach is not disrespectful, rather an inevitable means to wake up the monotheists from their religious hypnosis.