The shelf-life of Christianity

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Henry Plantagenet's picture
The shelf-life of Christianity

The shelf life of Christianity…

The founders of Christianity took many years to settle on which “holy books” were going to be included in the Christian Bible. So they had plenty of time to decide what the message of Christianity would be. During the course of this examination they considered and rejected a number of texts for the Bible. But still after all that effort, they made a tragic mistake which, among the monotheistic faiths, is unique.

The predicted the end of the world, and they said it would happen soon.

Jesus told his followers a lot about the kingdom which God would create, when the End Times came. He gave detailed explanations on who would be welcomed into the kingdom, and who would not. And, most significantly, he specified that it was coming any day, in a man’s lifetime, and that everyone needed to prepare for it, even if that meant ignoring your family and everything else. John in the Book of Revelation echoed that sentiment, warning right off the bat that the End Times were coming soon. The other major religions ruminate about the end of the world, but only Christianity made it that specific – it’s coming soon, so get ready!

Coming soon.

On the basis of that prediction, many disciples abandoned their families to go preach the word – if the world was ending any day, what did their wives and children matter?

Then the disciples got old, wondering why the kingdom hadn’t come as promised, and then they died. How disappointed they must have been – like Red Sox fans of the last century, they waited for decades, confident, positive that paradise had to be coming to them….and then nothing.

And then new Christians came along. Year after year, generation after generation, the new Christians predicted that Jesus was coming back any old day now. Twenty eight separate times the faithful got excited over a prediction that “this is it!” They offered many explanations for the dates they chose as the end of the world; less often they offered explanations as to why their predictions failed.

So like Vladimir and Estragon, the Christians wait for Godot to come, and he never comes. But do they question whether he’s ever coming at all? Do they wonder what he could be waiting for?

According to the Bible, a huge proportion of mankind will be killed in the End Times. Is that the problem? Back in the time of ancient Israel God killed in large numbers at the drop of a hat – Noah’s flood, Sodom, the Egyptians, the sinning Israelites in the Sinai desert – and then ordered the Israelites to do even more mass killing in his name. Has God lost his Mass Murder Mojo?

How many centuries does Linus sit in the pumpkin patch, before he realizes that the Great Pumpkin isn’t coming? It’s been two thousand years, so….Another thousand years? Another ten thousand years? At what point do we openly declare faith to be insanity? When can we publicly laugh at the Bible and the people who read it?

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TW Duke's picture
I have hope. With the advent

I have hope. With the advent of this information age, I think the younger folks can find things out for themselves as never before. No longer relying on teachers, priests, imams, clerics, politicians or even parents and siblings. Things are moving quite fast in this regard. Sadly, I think it is inevitable, there will be confrontation. On what scale...who can say?

Henry Plantagenet's picture
And we can hope that the hard

And we can hope that the hard-core believers are, what's the phrase, aging off the system. And that the high tide of fundamentalism came 30 years ago when they built the Reagan coalition, which is now falling apart.

mattyn's picture
Religion as a whole in the

Religion as a whole in the western society is on a massive downwards slope and although you may be correct in what you say, it is important to recognise the morals which religion teaches.

TW Duke's picture
Amen. Oooops sorry.

Amen. Oooops sorry.

TW Duke's picture
Being from Canada, it was the

Being from Canada, it was the Reagan/Mulroney coalition that bothered me, and as they say up here...when the U.S coughs Canada catches a cold.

mysticrose's picture
I think Christianity will

I think Christianity will still have a century to stand as the world's most dominant religion or even more than that. With the massive numbers of Christians all over the world and the power that Vatican have, that religion just won't be forgotten easily.

mattyn's picture
Yes certainly another century

Yes certainly another century but I would not say as the most dominant religion, I think Islam will soon become the most 'dominant' one. Regardless they will both still be very populous towards the ends of our generation.

Spewer's picture
There are built-in defense

There are built-in defense mechanisms to make it impervious to reason. For example, all you have to do is decide that the timetable isn't literal... "It refers to a 'church age' instead." Or "A day to him is as a thousand years." See how easy that is?

Then there's always diversion: "We're not supposed to worry about when, but rather worry about our own readiness when it happens." Or "Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it's not true."

Don't forget the prophesy where a sure sign of the end times is war or rumors of wars. That's always the case somewhere, so it is continually reinforced.

You have the threat/guilt trip angle: "Wait a minute... You're not calling god a liar, are you? Guess what happens to people who do that! Do you really want your faith to falter and disappoint him, after all he's done for you?"

Plus, once people accept the supernatural, it is no longer possible for them to reliably distinguish fantasy from reality. That way, pointing stuff like this out kind of bounces off.

So it's loaded with artificial preservatives added to extend shelf life - junk food for the mind.

mysticrose's picture
You're right, Christianity is

You're right, Christianity is very good and mastered the art of diverting, brainwashing, and even blackmailing! I'm very thankful I was able to get over that religion! I feel much better then.

mattyn's picture
I can completely understand

I can completely understand why you see Christianity in this light, however I believe these are simply views which do not reflect the religion as a whole. Christianity is as corrupt as any other religion but fundamentally it is a cause for good in the world.

SammyShazaam's picture
Christianity certainly is

Christianity certainly is just as corrupt as any other religion. But it's not like we're here arguing over *which* religion to choose, lol! Remember, you're on an Atheist board :)

SammyShazaam's picture
Interesting question.

Interesting question. Christianity has had an awfully long run, hasn't it?

When I flip through the media these days, I feel like it's on it's way out. So much of what popular culture seeks out and supports is so completely against the teachings of Christianity that I don't know what I'd do if I were a believer. Of course, as everyone's pointed out ad infinitum, theists are really good at ignoring facts.

But still, I don't see this world getting any easier for them, especially as the years crawl on and Jesus hasn't walked back in yet.

I give it another 200-400 years tops.

... can we get a betting pool going here? That would be so much fun :) We can throw the pool in to an annuity so that in 200 years, the offspring of the winner can collect!

mysticrose's picture
I do wish Christianity will

I do wish Christianity will end soon because it only resulted to a lot of unhappy people such as the homosexuals, the married priests, the people who want to use contraceptives and the people who feared hell all through their lives.

mattyn's picture
I wouldn't wish away any

I wouldn't wish away any religion, there is still much room in the world for religion to do good. There is a lot of issues in every aspect of the world but not too many forces for good, most religions are however.

Zaphod's picture
I think one reason religion

I think one reason religion important because it give you a group of at least a few to many people who all agree on certain things these things can come in handy from time to time when you need a group of people to support a cause and it's already something they are in line with. Unfortunately, this often turns out more to be used by people for ill means but it helps keep some people who would do horrible things in check to know there are large groups of people out there who would stand against them. More important than religions is a confetti or fruit salad blend of them to also keep the other respective religions in place. Unfortunately, atheist often lack the will or desire to congregate as religions do on as frequent of timetables. This makes religious people much easier to source in a timely manner than atheist political groups can be used to the same end.

mattyn's picture
You have highlighted some of

You have highlighted some of the most fundamental benefits of religion and why it is important that it does not completely crumble. Religion gives people hope and a cause in times when they have little.

Zaphod's picture
I agree with your sentiment

I agree with your sentiment here, and will often point out that religion can often be a good thing as well as a bad thing. I too agree that there are times when people may need religion and its good that it is there for some people for some it helps them cope for others it helps give them something to believe in.

TW Duke's picture
Look around and listen. The

Look around and listen. The hope is false hope and the causes, more often than not, are pursued with malice and with no regard for differences of opinion.

Zaphod's picture
Yes what you say is also true

Yes what you say is also true, but its a good thing and thank whatever there are other religions out there to help keep each other in check to some degree. I fear the day that population in any given area move to more than 60% of any one religion. It is the various religious groups in existence that make it hard in some areas for religions to dominate such a large percentage of the population. Usually when a religion gains this much share what follows is the path to genocide. Remember though it is small groups of people compared to the whole that carry out these deeds. Its just the numbers as a percentage of the whole make these small groups intimidating.

Extremist know about these numbers and they watch them and use said numbers to their advantage. When a large enough percentage of the masses is taken up by one group the extremist in the group tend to grow more extreme thinking they have less resistance. When other groups look at the numbers they also put up less resistance. Very often these numbers are used as a media weapon to weaken resistance while at the same time bolstering moral of the people carrying out such deeds. I will say this much though, the atheist in these areas are the likely first to die and others larger groups put up more of a resistance though often these other groups eventually sub-come as well. This Is probably the most important reason I can think of that religions are needed to in a way balance the populations levels offering more belief structures and create division of the masses. Without any religions at all people would still need to contend with political belief systems.

If you don't believe what I am saying here go to the CIA world fact book and look up the statistics of places with high levels of Sunni Muslim population I choose this group because nowhere else is this point can my point be displayed more prominently. I am not saying that just because some one is a Sunni Muslim they are a bad person in fact this on whole is simply not the truth at all, most Sunni Muslims are fine people. But , If you are looking for countries in the middle east that have had genocides in the last twenty years look into countries with very very high levels of Sunni populous. Using the population of Sunni Muslims as a percentage of the whole you can gauge the political climate in the region of your study by comparing how much of the whole populous Sunni Muslims make up.

I am not saying Sunni Muslims are bad people. More what I am saying is, take any group of a hundred or more people and you are likely to turn up with a few bad apples this is true with any group, be they religious political or what have you. For example: 6 out of every hundred people is a KNOWN multiple sex offender, kind of scary when you think about that it, also makes me wonder how many are unknown.

I think most extremist leaders of any kind are in the game for some kind of ulterior motive but It is these bad apples who make the whole look bad. Anyways, gather enough data and you can make a clear picture of how these bad apples will act and what will be happening in the near future in various areas. Not to sound too sinister but you can use these macro effects to determine future moves in things like stock markets, defense sales, oil demand ect...

mysticrose's picture
There are different groups

There are different groups that we can create aside from religions and likewise these groups can also help us support each other, give hope and inspire everyone like groups that will not divide the world and create better understanding to the true nature of every human being and groups that are against all kinds of discrimination and inhumane actions.

Rob's picture
Give all of that stuff

Give all of that stuff another 100 years tops and people will indeed laugh at how crazy it is to believe in such things.The world has evolved quite a bit and now we all think of believing in poseidon, ares and other gods as a load of bullshit too.This will happen to christianity eventually also.

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