Posted by Jody on Nov 17, 2013 in Politics | 3 comments
Today’s social, economic and political problems are overwhelming. Is there a role for the church in that, and if so – what is it?
Views so far:
The Church only solves its own problems and uses superstition to control its subjects. It has had some bright spots here and there, but overall it’s just another tool of oppression.
Its a total waste of time religion innit?
An organized Church is like any organization. It has its advantages (e.g. it helps to achieve social cohesion through central control) as well as disadvantages (the arbitrary nature of its control, subject to self-serving agendas, leading the followers to choices which may be disadvantageous to them as a whole). The Church is also, first and foremost A BUSINESS, and don’t you forget that! The Church in the sense of a “Religion” is, again, a mixed bag. On the plus side, it unites the like-minded collectives, but on the negative side, it marginalizes and potentially squashes the individualists. It also creates lasting antagonisms between different groups.
As you delve deeper into the analysis of the Church’s historical function, the matter only gets more complex. And the deeper you go, the more abundantly clear it becomes that the Church is NOT so much a “religious” institution, as it is an institution of social control. From that point of view, the church teachings (in MOST religions, though the Roman Catholic Church clearly takes the cake) aim not merely to instruct the followers in “how to live”, but primarily in “how to live in conformity with OUR vision and agenda.”
Church teachings about MORALITY serve the Church hierarchy more than they serve the believers. Morality on that level is, after all, the most sublime form of control. Where the individual morality is “live and help others live” the church morality is “live like we say or perish forever”. This is particularly true of Judeo-Christian religions.
The Church as an organization is frequently cited as the “builder of civilization”. This is difficult to argue against, since all undistorted historical records show that civilizations evolved around religious ideals and have been led by churches – of whatever denomination. But this is NOT to say that in the absence of the unifying and controlling CHURCH, there wouldn’t have been equally unifying and powerful secular alternatives. Thing is, that the power of this kind of Church-enforced unity tends to be so overwhelming so as to marginalize or even totally obliterate any kind of opposition! So even on this issue, the question remains open.
The historical unity of church and state is proof of the real function of the Church – and how little, in reality, it has to do with religion or morality. It is, undisputably, an instrument of political control above all else. Today’s “separation of church and state” is mere smoke and mirrors, when you think about it. Modern governments, though secular in nature, utilize much the same forms of social control techniques; so whether it’s a priest telling you what to do or a politician – at the end of the day, it’s the same thing!
There’s also a lot to be said for the dynamic between church and scientific progress – or lack of it. Contrary to popular (critical) notions, the Church wasn’t always anti-science and pro-blind-belief. As we already said, civilizations sprung up around the church, and a civilization without science and technology can not exist. But the Church also has a rich record of bending science to its needs and, when necessary, fighting it. In that, of course, it is no different from modern political agendas.
The church is also the single most influential force in our lives which teaches us “magical thinking”. I do NOT discount spirituality and I respect everyone’s individual beliefs even when I personally disagree with them. I know many truly beautiful and spectacularly clever people who are also religious. But the problem of Church remains: teaching our children uncritical acceptance of divine authority can only be excused by the authoritarian mindset which assumes that we have no other path to morality and that CONTROL over the population is an imperative. Forcing supposedly divine instructions on the thus-duped populace achieves a willing conformism and a default opposition to free thinking which is hard to fully overcome as the individual grows and develops.
It can be argued that the influence of the church today is a positive counterbalance to the political factions in charge of our economies and lives, because it’s one of the few voices making anything resembling MORAL appeals (even when they’re not sincere!). But in the long-term, neither the church nor any other form of collectivist/totalitarian control are ideals we, as the society of individuals, should be striving for.
The above argument has NOTHING to do with individual religious faith. While I’m personally neutral on that (agnostic/atheist actually), I see no quarrel between individual beliefs and science or wisdom. But the INSTITUTION of Church – just like the institution of government – is a dangerous thing and a source of long-term DISUNITY in our society.
The catholic Church – Builder of Civilization, by Tom Woods
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Absolutely NO spam!
Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress