Christianity with its humble roots as a Jewish sect in 30AD, has risen to become the world’s largest religion with more than 2-billion adherents globally. Throughout its history, Christianity has been attacked and threatened with extinction on many occasions, only to find a champion to come along and propel it forward into the monolithic structure that it is today in the 21st century. Modern day conflicts between Eastern and Western cultures are played out in the war for Palestine, or the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. These violent clashes are basically seen as a fight between Islam and Christianity, with the aggressor viewed according to where you live in the world.
However, looking strictly at Christianity, it’s biggest and most dangerous aggressor, is itself. As the comic strip character Pogo once said, “we has seen the enemy and it is us.” Christian lore is rife with tales of Christian adherents consuming their own over a difference in ideologies. A classic example today is the Molotov cocktail that passes for Christian belief in America. As long as Christianity stays on its basic and simple message of love and tolerance toward all, which has withstood the test of time, it prevails. However, when it veers off path and into politics and moral judgments, it becomes a lethal concoction that few are willing to swallow. This is readily seen in the American movement of people out of and away from organized Christian religion.
A historical way of looking at this phenomenon is to look at the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. The Orthodox Jews wanted orthodox rules, laws and regulations imposed across the board, in spite the fact that not even half of the Jews were orthodox in the first place. Needless to say it did not work and nearly tore apart the new state before it really got off the ground. The same sort of situation has been roiling in America for the past 30 years with the Christian right demanding their ultra conservative ways be enshrined in the United States Constitution Christianity combined with politics gave birth to the Moral Majority and other similar groups, who have literally tried to take over government and instill their morality, and way of life upon all other Americans regardless of their personal belief systems. Christianity may be monolithic, but America is not.
Studies have shown that people are not less religious or less spiritual. They are however, less inclined to trust their lot to modern day Christianity causing a huge drop in the numbers of the faithful. It is not unreasonable to want preferential treatment for one’s own belief system, but it is completely misguided and off Christian message. Early Christians survived in hostile countries surrounded by other religions, laws and moral beliefs, thriving in their own beliefs quietly and with conviction. It was this quiet faith that attracted others and allowed the religion to blossom and grow, which is just the opposite of what is happening today.
History has shown that using Christ’s name as a battering ram is not an effective way to draw converts. Staying on message, the original message put forth by Jesus is what works time and time again. Christianity is consuming itself, losing credibility right and left. It will return to growth once it re-embraces the old message of loving each other and everyone else in the world regardless of faith, lifestyle, race and other quantifiable differences.