Progressive Politics and the Church

The last issue of Ny Tid had as its main topic ”Vänstern & Kyrkan”, and indeed it included quite a number of contributions to this topic. But I find that what I am going to write does not fit as a comment to any one of those articles, which is the reason why I am writing it to this blog.

And I begin with the question why there is any church at all: As the basic reason I see a certain problem in the functioning of the brain – to imagine something means that the brain has to put a construction together from stored impressions, so that any attempt to imagine what might happen after death will fairly inevitably result in ideas about an afterlife (whereas the rather logical idea that there will be NO afterlife, i.e. something similar to a dreamless sleep, is impossible to imagine, because a dreamless sleep does not result in stored impressions which imagination could work with). Which is one of the reasons why religion is something rather inevitable. Worries how to get a good afterlife give power to priests who claim to know how. Of course there are traditionally also other reasons (e.g. the wish to get a good life already before death, and how to achieve that), but I think it will not harm in this context if I stick now to the worries about the (suspected) afterlife.

The church has traditionally been playing to quite some degree on these worries about the approaching afterlife; in order to get to Heaven one had to follow the commandments of the church, while the church was (and still is) in turn basing its authority on the Bible. And with this the Christian churches created another problem, from which they are still suffering: Instead of writing up something like a new Bible, as Islam was doing (where the Qur’an is THE central source of authority and Mohammed THE ONE prophet, although Islam is quite obviously an offshoot of the Old Testament and even includes elements of the New one), Christianity was basing its authority on BOTH the Old and the New Testament. Which gives every Christian group the possibility to pick its own rules from the vast collection of rules prescribed by the Bible: If one decides to follow the teachings of Jesus (especially JUST Jesus, not Paulus and not either the Apocalypse), then even the political Left has not SO very much to object against the teachings of the church. But if one rather prefers the experience of feeling victorious over sinners and infidels (in the line proclaimed by, e.g., Genghis Khan), the Old Testament (which is, after all, also a part of the Bible) offers a vast number of possibilities: want to kill witches? kill homosexuals? stone to death sons who are not living up to the expectations of their fathers? The Old Testament even demands it! But the church does not manage to cut loose from the Old Testament, thus has to try and SOMEHOW to live with the activists of this line of religiousness.

Altogether: The church has got itself entangled in problems which it is obviously unable to handle successfully by itself. Thus, it will be the job of progressive activists (e.g. on the political Left) to create ”trends” which the church will have to follow if it does not want to lose very large numbers of its followers (cf. the interview with Esa Ylikoski in Ny Tid). Because, if we see what is happening if the church gets power (as e.g. in Central America, USA, Africa – see the article by Annika Hamrud -, and according to my own experiences even in parts of Germany), it will USE this power, and give power also to representatives of the Genghis Khan- inclined believers among its followers.

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