Early Christianity was beset by an influx of “pagans,” and before long it became a pagan religion. Gone was Jewish law, gone was the monotheism, gone was the concept of the relationship between God and man that was distinctly Jewish. The putative Jesus may have been from the tribe of Jews were he a real person but the religion that grew was distinctly pagan, bathing in blood (of the Lamb), planning for an afterlife in Heaven (not a Jewish concept), multi-theistic (three-in-one), and in competition with the other gods for a piece of the action. Jesus, by his chroniclers, becomes Greek, in name and style.
And I wish I had a better word; pagan, like heathen, means a country person. This is about hundreds of religions, gods, goddesses, pantheons, great mythical deeds, and it is reduced to a single word: pagan.
Yesterday, I made comments on the New Atheism, which is to me a misnomer, having little that’s new. But the growing body of archeological knowledge does indeed put an end to any doubts that the Bible is based in historicity. The Bible, old or new, is mythmaking.
And in this new age of atheism we see a similar paradigm. Christians are now becoming atheists, de-converting at an unprecedented rate. Just as the pagans brought paganism with them into Christianity, Christians are bringing Christianity with them into atheism. It is difficult to imagine it otherwise that in a Christian culture all bits of Christianity would be left behind in the transformation. So we hear Tim Minchin in “White Wine in the Sun” singing about how he really likes Christmas. We see Dan Barker conscripting what appear to be Sunday school songs into atheist ditties. And the myriad ex-ministers bring their gospels with them, ostensibly to use in debates but still unwilling and unable to part with them and embrace atheism with a blank slate to be filled in.
I’ve often criticized Bart Ehrman because he seemed to me to have a hard time letting go of what he perceived to be historicity in the writing of the Greek Testament. But often, I’ll read something later that disproves my critique, showing that there’s more there than appears at first look. But these people have made an industry of using their knowledge to disabuse others of the notion of the cohesion and agreement of the scriptures, and in doing so have given a Christian flavor to the atheist milieu.
This naturally leads me to wonder if the time will ever come when non-belief is so common that there is no longer a market for biblical criticism; if there will be too few left to care about it.
We stand on the shoulders of giants tripping over the bodies of theocratic con men.
As I pointed out yesterday, we need all sorts of people in our quest to disseminate knowledge in a superstitious world. Today, we speak out against the Christian culture that we live in, tomorrow we may be free from it. But it is much too early to rest on our accomplishments – there are some very serious and insidious elements in our country ready to overwhelm any weaker than themselves. The alternet.org article I read yesterday about the invasion of the evangelical body snatchers in our military was chilling because of the scope of the problem and the methodical takeover of a hierarchical organization in spite of Constitutional protections. This is only one area of attack. Populating the state and federal governments with ideologues has been going on since there was a government. Packing the seats with fellow travelers worked in Texas to revise history and textbooks and the inane Tea Party movement consists of clueless people manipulated like puppets.
What is the matter with Kansas? Or Florida? How can people be manipulated so easily? I live in a rural area and am always surprised at how many people are not jingoistic or misinformed. But there are plenty of those, too, and they vote. Speak out, New Atheists, loudly and strongly against the mindless surge of the controlling meme that plays upon the ignorant. We’re growing, and to some our growth is a threat to be countered at all costs.