Real Christianity actually HAS been tried, and it worked pretty damn well
America is on fire. The world feels the heat of its turmoil. Success has many fathers, they say, but blame is an orphan. Except there is always one child the commentariat is willing to single out as the cause for America’s—nay, the West’s—decline. And that scapegoated offspring, is, of course, Christianity.
Hey, don’t shoot me! I’m just the messenger.
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"Charity" is the greatest evil ever unleashed upon the West and the greatest argument against Christianity that has ever been demonstrated.
It is the idea that taking resources from your children to give to diseased pathetic strangers... Because they are diseased, because they are pathetic, because they have no potential they could ever live up to that would ever compare with what your children could do with those resources... that that somehow makes you a good person instead of a traitor to your kin and people, and indeed it makes you better than the person who puts their people and family first.
For 1000 years Christianity was uncontested in Europe, and now it might genuinely come to an end because a society was finally foolish enough to implement the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth and Love their enemies, and to keep forgiving over and over "Until seventy times seven times", to love every man as a brother, even though they do not love them in turn...
Communism, Progressivism, Social Justice, these are simply Judeo-Christianity applied in Earnest and literalness with fullness of scope that only a multimillion-strong bureaucracy with access to income taxes could realize.
It is not a coincidence that at the center of the modern progressive state religion is an American pastor "Dr." Reverent Martin Luther King, nor that 3 generations of Americans consistently failed to register outrage as his teachings destroyed the civilization their forefathers had built, and deprived their children of the excellence and opportunity they had known...
Because in their minds everything he said was True pure morality! If he was wrong he was just too earnest to clear in his morality whereas they knew all the morality he spoke having been raised in Christian churches and American public schools and had the same moral lessons drilled into them, they just happened to be a bit more nuanced and see the complex realities of life...
They couldn't respond in outrage to the abhorrent values he spoke or the clearly awful things it'd do to their country, society, and children... because at base they already believed he was morally correct, and that THEY were the ones being wicked and immoral in hoping to preserve the greatest golden age that had ever existed for their children, instead of willingly sacrificing it on the alter of "the brotherhood of man".
Ayn Rand was 100% correct when she called Altruism the systematic betrayal and "sacrifice" of oneself... but she missed out on the most horrifying depths of its depravity: Altruism is the betrayal and sacrifice of your children
This old take again. I have seen this a lot over the past decade, including a piecedoesn’t specifically bring up which naturally follows when the question is: “Christianity is to blame, so where to we go from here?” A common, Very Online strain of thought is that, if only we could RETVRN to true Euro-pagan vitalism, sprinkled with a healthy does of Ayn Rand’s hatred of the weak, and some Nietzsche, I guess, Western civilization would return to its pre-Christian glory days, where Spartan parents were free to toss sickly babies off a cliff; pirates and barbarians could rape, loot, pillage, and slaughter; and human beings—yea, real ones!—could be sacrificed to the All-Father. All sex would be forced (something Ayn Rand would like, actually) and, why, we could even have slaves again! Wouldn’t that be nice? None of this cucky charity stuff!
Kulak focuses more on the “charity” part than the “Christianity” part, but since his argument is that this type of charity is an outgrowth of Christianity, specifically the teachings of Jesus that Kulak cited, I think focusing on the Christianity part properly puts the horse before the cart.
I haven’t quick rebuttals to Kulak’s argument, but since this is the internet and quick rebuttals are no fun, let’s overthink things!
First, the problem we isn’t too much Christianity but too little. Because what gets called Christianity today in too many sectors of America, isn’t really Christian.
The West hasn’t been Christian for about 200 or 300 years. The stuff Kulak rails against is the result of divorcing Christianity from God, which is weird because Christianity is a religion, but welcome to the Enlightenment where we want all the good stuff about Christianity without it’s animating principle: God.
People do all kinds of things in the name of God that they won’t do in the name of the GDP. Defending one’s homelands is one.
Christendom survived a good 1,800 years without throwing its borders open, without turning against its various nations’ populations, and without descending into a suicidal death spiral.
I know what you’re thinking:
We only hear about the nations that survived, blah blah blah. But it is undeniable that a lot of them did, and that Christendom fought and repelled hoards of invaders many times, and even reconquered land in the name of Christ.
Further, when Jesus said “love your enemy” and the other phrases BASED PAGAN RANDIANS line to use as examples of Christianity’s fundamental weakness, they neglect the twin facts that:
(a) Jesus never instructed anybody to lay down and be complicit in their own destruction, nor that of their families, friends, and nations, and
(b) None of His disciples, later followers, the church fathers, or anybody, understood Jesus to say this either, until things went off the rails at some point in the 18th and 19th centuries when the role of Christianity in public life was deliberately and systematically eliminated.
Second, neither Jesus Christ, nor the church, viewed charity as “government confiscating your money and throwing it at people that will vote for them.”
One thing Kulak does get right is that what we see is “Judeo-Christianity applied in Earnest.” I don’t know who Judeo-Christ is, but whoever it is, they are not the Christ of Christianity. And there’s only one Earnest I care about.
What Kulak rails against, if I’m reading his argument charitably, is the current, bizarre melange of social justice activism that is most certainly not altruistic or charitable but is in fact hateful and bigoted, directed internally against one specific group in America, and misapplying the trappings of Christianity. These trappings are there because we are steeped in a Christian culture whether we like it or not. That’s rapidly eroding and won’t be the case much longer if things keep going the way they’re going. I predict that people won’t like what comes next very much and will pine for the glory days when there was a strong culture based on Christian principles. If you want to live in a world where, say, Type 1 diabetics are just left to die because medicine is too expensive, is a misuse of resources, and diabetics are sick and useless and they’re weakening the strain so screw ‘em, well, just wait a decade.
The idea that altruism is evil has many progenitors, but Ayn Rand is the most famous proponent of this idea. Taken to its logical extreme, only the strong (and rich, presumably) should survive and should dominate the poors because money = morality,1 let the weak and the sick die out, sterilize the untermensch, and so on. It’s very utilitarian. It also sounds very familiar. Definitely a song I’ve heard before but I can’t quite place my finger on it . . .
Taking care of the needy isn’t a Christian invention, but Christianity placed it, along with forgiveness and redemption (also, presumably, icky things) at the forefront of the faith. One mustn’t dominate the weak and helpless, but care for them as God cares for us. Ease their suffering. Help how you can. That sort of thing.
Arguing that this means you ignore your family or you don’t contest for the faith and fight heresy, idolatry, and other enemies by words or by sword as necessary, is a hell of a leap, but it’s one people make all the time. Not letting diabetics die does it require that you squander your children’s inheritance on people who hate you. That’s anti-Christian (more on that later).
Maybe—and this is radical—maybe charity is something people and not gigantic imperial governments do? Like, you take care of your community? That’s a really old idea that hasn’t ruined any society ever. But if you a people, or a government, who hate their own communities and seek to destroy them through aiding outsiders at the expense of said community, that’s not charity. Calling it charity is a massive category error.
So Kulak, like others, to be fair, blames charity that’s not charity and Christianity that’s not Christianity. “Christendom” hasn’t been Christian since at least the American and French revolutions, anyway. Those two events marked the beginning of the end of the church as a vital force in Western culture, save for at the individual level, which is still massively important.
But that said, Scripture does speak on these matters:
For one, there is, in fact, no Biblical demand to screw your progeny in favor of outsiders. Quite the opposite:
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
1 Timothy 5:8
That’s pretty explicit! So there you go.
Christianity also doesn’t mandate giving away all your wealth to the poor. Christ himself admits it’d be nice, but that it’s impossible to be perfect. However, with God all things are possible:
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Again, that didn’t take much digging. These are pretty famous verses.
What the idiots in charge of things have done, however, is take Christian ideas divorced from Christianity and pretend they’re universal “human rights” while taking God out of the picture. I agree with Kulak that this is a problem.
I also agree that too many American Christians have a bad habit of falling for any huckster with a quaver in their voice and a Bible in their hands, telling them God told them to enact some policy or the other. This might be a result of America being a Protestant nation, with a tradition of one man and his personal interpretation of the Bible being able to start his own church and have it be equally valid to, say, the interpretation of the learned scholars and holy men at the various ecumenical councils.2
The people wrecking the United States have impulses that resemble Christianity because they’re residues of the faith. They’re residues divorced from God. Absent God, these impulses, such are charity, are twisted and inverted, a mockery of actual Christian teaching, and have the opposite effect. Charity doesn’t make nations weak and neither does Christianity.3
But underlying this entire discussion is the fact that Christianity doesn’t matter in the West anymore, and hasn’t for a few centuries. Blaming Christianity for America’s is like blaming your dead mom for something your stepmom is doing now.4
Rand’s ideology, not mine!
As an Orthodox, American-style Christianity is alien and pretty wild.
The arguments that Christianity destroyed Rome (debatable, and anyway the Roman Empire continued for another 1,000 years as an explicitly Orthodox theocracy) and that modern-day churches encourage mass immigration (true) are beyond the scope of this post. As to the latter point, I will say that those are corrupt church leaders and not the faith itself doing these things.
In my metaphor, the stepmom at issue actually is Satan.