12/17/2011 | Share this article: View CommentsBy WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, anachronism means: a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place; especially : one from a former age that is incongruous in the present.
Christianity is an anachronism as it comes from the ancient world and does not fit the facts of modern science, morality, or politics. But, curiously, the majority of people in the Western World fail to recognize this easily established fact.
Christianity is based on a collection of scripture written 2,000-3,500 years ago by Iron Age primitives in a superstitious, pre-scientific age. This was an age when kings and emperors and their like, individuals of great power, ruled every nation. A nation’s laws, and its national, international, and military policy, were almost always decided by one man and reflected his beliefs and judgment alone.
The Enlightenment (also known as The Age of Reason), of the 18th century, brought the recognition that mankind benefits from questioning all authority. Enlightenment philosophy is the foundation of modern Western science, morality, and political structures. In a very real sense, Enlightenment philosophy IS modernity. And it’s here to stay, because it works.
Here is the key point. Over the past three centuries then, from kings to democracy, from priests to secularism, the tide of civilization has been away from authoritarianism and toward plurality. We have learned that we need all of us involved so we can cross-check one another and avoid extremism.
After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russians turned their government over to Joseph Stalin, and crackpot ideas supported by him led to the deaths of some 25 million or so. Mao doubled this in China. And when the Germans turned away from democracy between the world wars and put all power in Hitler’s hands, it took him just 12 years to destroy his nation, as well as much of the rest of Europe. There was no cross-checking on these men, and they followed their imaginations and emotions unfettered. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
In the same vein, the Bible is filled with crackpot and extremist ideas because it was written by independent authors. There was little or no cross-checking. The result was a litany of outrageous tall tales that would be considered mythical and silly, even by Christians, if they were in any religion not based on that Bible.
Note also that religions, too, have drifted into extremism, because there is no cross-checking between them. There are thousands of religions, and thousands of Christian sects, since their leaders can’t agree on many important points. These leaders don’t seem to think it very important that most or all of them must have it wrong, since their foundational beliefs are contradictory. Clearly, in politics, science, or religion, where there is authoritarian rule, there is extremism and stubborn error.
Conversely, in most of the Western World today democracy is the norm. In this system, there are two or more parties which must compete for votes, so ideas are routinely hoisted up the flagpole to see how many will salute. Extremism is thus avoided, generally. In America, we have a system of checks and balances so that the President is kept in check, as is the Congress and the courts. All three establishments maintain checks on the power and influence of each other, and a free press holds them all up to public scrutiny. Free elections ensure that we never go to extremes of conservatism or liberalism; the pendulum swings back and forth between them, but far from the extremes of either.
The scientific method was developed only around 400 years ago, and also depends on checks and balances, experiment and peer review, the opposite of authoritarianism. Modern science demands that no description of a scientific principle be accepted without evidence from the real world. When it comes to knowing how the world works, we can only know what we can detect with certainty, and we cannot detect “miracles,” the supernatural, gods, heaven, hell, or souls. So called “miracles” underlie all Christian theology, and miracles have no place in modern science which claims that the laws of nature are inviolate in all places and at all times. Miracles are an anachronism.
Because of the trend of secularism since the Enlightenment, the religious don’t make the rules for most of us. And, because of this, we have not accepted the most pernicious of Biblical moral commands. We don’t allow slavery, or kill homosexuals, adulterers, or people who work on Sunday. These rules are anachronistic and only very backward cultures like the Taliban and conservative Islamic nations take their rules from their authoritarian religious works.
The Bible, Christianity’s foundation, is a story of the supernatural. God is supernatural, as is Jesus, the Holy Ghost, heaven, hell, angels, demons, Satan, and Jesus’ life story is full of supernatural miracles. Yet, the history of science provides a long, one-way record of discovery, in the opposite direction, away from the supernatural. Thousands of things once thought to have supernatural causes, like drought, fire, rain, thunder, lightning, disease, human birth, etc., have been shown to have purely natural causes. And how many things once thought to have natural causes have been shown to have supernatural causes? None, nada, zero. What do you think, is there a trend here? Could we make any dependable scientific predictions using this trend?
Think about it: science discovers, proves, and explains things for practical benefit, while several thousand contradictory religions and sects exist concurrently today BECAUSE none of them can prove anything. That’s right, no religion, Christianity included, can actually prove anything concerning the supernatural, because they can’t even produce any serious evidence that there is a supernatural. This is where the “leap of faith” proposition comes from. If you’re going to become a Christian, then you’re going to have to perform a leap of faith, because no one can actually prove any of the Jesus story is true. And that story, by any modern standard is bizarre. After all, Christianity is essentially a death cult, since it glorifies a human sacrifice to an angry god. It has to be accepted strictly on emotional grounds, or rejected.
The Bible is crammed full of magic, which perhaps made some sense in that primitive era of rampant superstition. There was hardly any knowledge of the laws of nature, so anything and everything was possible. Today, we know the world simply doesn’t work that way, despite the words of Jesus.
In Mark 16:17-18, Jesus unequivocally states that certain signs shall accompany a True Believer. A True Believer is one who can cast out demons, heal sick people just by touching them, and drink poison without injury. Neither you nor I have ever been able to do any of these magical things, and neither has anyone in the whole record of history; not the Pope, not Oral Roberts, and not Fred Phelps.
No one, in fact, has ever been able to do any of these things. The inescapable conclusion, based solidly on modern science, on the rules of logic, and on the words of the Bible itself, is that either there has never been a “True Believer,” at least since Jesus, or Jesus (or the author of Mark) was making stuff up.
Besides being false, this Biblical nonsense is anachronistic as it has no rightful place in our modern world. Now, when will the rest of us realize this?