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Dumai wrote

if you ask me He didn't fail

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theblackcat wrote

Is the world any less shitty?

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Dumai wrote

jesus' ministry, life, and death imparted a radical praxis of love to His followers that us lefty christians are still trying to fully realise in our lives

i don't consider that a failure at all

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ziq wrote (edited )

His name and even his ideology have been used to slaughter entire continents so I don't know how successful he was in promoting love. His churches also take from the poor to enrich themselves and further their real estate development and colonization of the global South by way of missionaries. The Church here owns banks, hotels, breweries, media outlets, etc, etc, and more land than the State. And they don't even have to pay taxes. His message has been used to manipulate the global population into accepting immense suffering with the promise that they'll be rewarded after they die. Christianity is the capital / state's best friend because it satiates the people in a way that the finest bread and circuses can't compete with. Using fear and shame to prevent us from biting the hand that takes food from our mouths.

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Dumai wrote (edited )

not saying horrible things haven't been done in His name (quakers traditionally refer to that sort of thing as apostate christianity)

but that doesn't negate the value of His message imo, nor the important work many have done with His inspiration

i mean if you think christianity can essentially be boiled down to european colonial ambitions, tell that to the catholic liberation theologians who helped galvanise anti-imperialist movements in latin america

or black liberation/post-colonial theologians for that matter

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ziq wrote (edited )

When 99.9% of Christian history is stained with blood, those rare examples you mention are a drop in a (blood) bucket. Even the most brutal states in history had a few good deeds mixed in with the mass murder, but the world would still be better off without those states by a giant margin.

What percentage of Christians are Quakers vs. The percentage that prop up organized tyranny? It's miniscule. Reforming Christianity is as useful as reforming statism. It just whitewashes all the real harm being perpetrated by Christianity everyday. "Oh those aren't REAL christians." Yes they are. They're the vast, vast majority of christians.

Shame-based religions that teach people to 'turn the other cheek' and not to fight back at tyrants or they won't get into heaven are anarchy's worst enemy. Christianity preaches that 'tradition' must be upheld at all costs, with 'tradition' being the straight cisgender capitalist warmongering patriarchy. A tiny fraction of Christians being reformists doesn't stop Christianity from being the enemy to free people any more than Bernie Sanders existing stops the US state from being my enemy.

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Dumai wrote

"Oh those aren't REAL christians." Yes they are. They're the vast, vast majority of christians.

which christians get closer to enacting christian love on a daily basis?

It just whitewashes all the real harm being perpetrated by Christianity everyday.

given quakers spend a lot of time elaborating what sets us apart from other christians, i don't think this is true. and i definitely wouldn't say it's true of liberation or post-colonial theology considering, you know, that's the precisely the kind of christianity they're fighting against

if christianity gets to be boiled down to "straight cisgender capitalist warmongering patriarchy" then what does that say for secularism and the secular state? i could just as easily accuse secular anarchists of "reforming" a liberal state ideology that was very close to heart of the development of the capitalist mode of production.

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ziq wrote (edited )

i could just as easily accuse secular anarchists of "reforming" a liberal state ideology that was very close to heart of the development of the capitalist mode of production.

You should. All ideology should be rejected.

i don't think this is true. and i definitely wouldn't say it's true of liberation or post-colonial theology considering, you know, that's the precisely the kind of christianity they're fighting against

Fighting against it by trying to reform it; which I don't believe can work. It's not like the Christ's teachings were so special, they were just an appropriation, or at best an adaptation of much older religions from further East.

I don't understand the need to preserve Christianity by making it more 'progressive'. And I was raised Eastern Orthodox, so the Christianity I'm most familiar with is the purest form there is, it's been unchanged for centuries.

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Dumai wrote (edited )

You should.

in that case what we arrive at is a plurality of post-secular, post-modern traditions... which includes, imo, how i practice quakerism in my life

It's not like the Christ's teachings were so special, they were just an appropriation, or at best an adaptation of much older religions from further East.

christianity's early influences were actually mostly jewish (obviously) and greek.

Fighting against it by trying to reform it; which I don't believe can work.

i think christianity, properly understood, is radical. please don't dismiss marginalised groups fighting against the material circumstances of their oppression just because they're doing it in a way you wouldn't. and be careful drawing too much of a comparison between religious "reformism" and liberal political reformism. george fox was technically a religious reformer, and what he helped build was a non-hierarchically organised church. he told oliver cromwell to "lay down his crown at the feet of jesus". to his face.

And I was raised Christian Orthodox, so the Christianity I'm most familiar with is the purest form there is, it's been unchanged for centuries.

that is... not actually true, literally no religion exists in stasis

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ziq wrote (edited )

christianity's early influences were actually mostly jewish (obviously) and greek.

That's what establishment Christian scholars claim, but there's clearly strong similarities to the teachings of Mithras, Zarathustra and Buddha... which is hardly surprising since that particular religion was making strong inroads as Christianity was being born in West Asia and Greece:

Buddhism was prominent in the eastern Greek world (Greco-Buddhism) and became the official religion of the eastern Greek successor kingdoms to Alexander the Great's empire (Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (250 BC-125 BC) and Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BC - 10 CE)). Several prominent Greek Buddhist missionaries are known (Mahadharmaraksita and Dharmaraksita) and the Indo-Greek king Menander I converted to Buddhism, and is regarded as one of the great patrons of Buddhism. (See Milinda Panha.) Some modern historians have suggested that the pre-Christian monastic order in Egypt of the Therapeutae is possibly a deformation of the Pāli word "Theravāda,"a form of Buddhism, and the movement may have "almost entirely drawn (its) inspiration from the teaching and practices of Buddhist asceticism". They may even have been descendants of Asoka's emissaries to the West. It is true that Buddhist gravestones from the Ptolemaic period have also been found in Alexandria in Egypt, decorated with depictions of the Dharma wheel, showing the Buddhists were living in Hellenistic Egypt at the time Christianity began. The presence of Buddhists in Alexandria has led one author to note: "It was later in this very place that some of the most active centers of Christianity were established".

Jainism also shares strong similarities with Christianity:

The concept of the Trinity is almost certainly borrowed from elsewhere.

that is... not actually true, literally no religion exists in stasis

How has Eastern Orthodox Christianity changed in the past few hundred years? There hasn't been any kind of reformism that I can perceive. It prides itself on maintaining that sameness. The monks here still live the same way, and in the same places as they did almost 2000 years ago; rejecting the outside world. The church services are exactly the same as they've been for hundreds of years, given in the same ancient language even.

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Dumai wrote (edited )

first century palestinian jews would not have known too much about buddhism, nor would they have been very amenable to what they did know. there's a chance some small buddhist influence survived in christianity's hellenistic roots, but not much research has been done on this thesis and i'm not aware of any direct textual evidence for it, so i'd be hesitant to jump to conclusions too quickly. for the most part, right now it's conjecture. the similarities are not so major that they indicate appropriation, nor is the evidence strong enough (a few buddhist gravestones in alexandria does not prove buddhism had any impact on the christian community there).

ancient christians, jewish and gentile, would have disapproved strongly of what they saw as pagan religions, so you're going to need to do more than point to other trinitarian traditions to prove that they influenced the holy trinity. the hellinistic jewish concept of logos, alongside neoplatonist thought, have stronger evidence for direct influence (as in, we actually have ancient christian texts that refer to them directly and positively, and many others that indicate some borrowing took place). so again, the non-jewish influence on early christianity seems to mostly be hellenistic.

and just to be clear, i'm not saying christians have nothing to learn from buddhism. i actually think we have a lot to learn! i i just don't think there's much evidence buddhism had any significant influence on the early church.

How has Eastern Orthodox Christianity changed in the past few hundred years? There hasn't been any kind of reformism that I can perceive. It prides itself on maintaining that sameness.

you don't really need to outline any conscious act of reformism to show that a religion might change in the space of hundreds of years. it's impossible to preserve anything in total cultural stasis, let alone a massively diverse denomination of 250 million people in a number of different cultures. if you want one example, then take russian orthodoxy; the russian church was more politically independent as a patriarchate than it was under the holy synod, which obviously affected its doctrine regarding state, along with its identity as a community in relation to the state. those two things would undergo a profound change again after 1917, and again when stalin relaxed state atheism practices during WWII, and again under khrushchev... it goes on. historical circumstances matter a lot in religion.