So I'll start this off with a warning: this is going to be a very long post. If you don't feel like reading a lot of words, click away now. I will spare no syllables on this one.
Before I can really get into why Christianity naturally leads to fascism, it would be helpful to define some things. Firstly, what the hell is fascism? It's kind of thrown about like some bogeyman in the world of politics, and most people don't know it as anything more nuanced than "what Hitler and Mussolini did." Here is a straight up copy-paste of the definition of fascism from Merriam Webster.
fas·cism | \ ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi- \
Definition of fascism
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
Secondly, know that I am only talking about Christianity. This thread is not relevant for any other religion because I am using sources only from the Bible, and mostly focusing on the New Testament. The parts of the Old Testament that I do use will mostly be things that the typical practicing Christian will still find to be relevant, so it still bears inspection here.
So the big things to focus on here are the exaltation of nation and/or race over individual, centralized power under one supreme authority, and forcible suppression of opposition. The more keen of you readers probably already see where this is going. For everyone else, allow me to start attaching strings to thumbtacks on my bulletin board.
Let's dig into some examples of these criteria being met. For the sake of brevity, I'll condense these three factors into individual terms that are the most succinct: Nationalism/Racism, Authoritarianism, and Censorship. These are the three key factors that need to exist for a system to be called Fascist, but other factors can and do exist. Propaganda is a big one, but usually goes hand in hand with censorship.
Example 1 (Nationalism/Racism): God makes the Israelite people his chosen people. I won't bother citing chapters or verses for this one because chances are that most of you have at least skimmed a page or two of Genesis and know this to be true almost on a by rote status. This is a prime example of nationalism because the idea that a specific nation or race is simply favored by God and that other races are simply less in his eyes is literally textbook Divine Ordinance. English monarchs made these same claims to justify the colonization of the entire world, colonists in the Americas used this idea to promote Manifest Destiny, Japanese warlords used this to excuse the massacre of Nanking during the world wars. Asserting that God favors a specific group of people is always a slippery slope to genocide, and genocide there was. You have any idea how many wars are fought in the Old Testament? Too many.
Example 2 (Authoritarianism): This is honestly the easiest one to find examples for because there's so much to choose from. I mean come on, this is the book that outlawed shellfish and having a wank, it's not that hard. But nonetheless, I'll provide the details:
Women should be submissive and bow to the wills of men, never teaching them or talking back to them unless prompted, because women are inherently worse than men because of Eve's sin (1 Timothy 2:11-15); God is the supreme god and no other can be held before him (Exodus 20:3); (Basically every other example is just a different chapter and verse with a slightly different wording of the above examples so you get the idea.)
Example 3 (Censorship/Propaganda): You shall not make any images of God or use his name in vain (Exodus 20:4-7); You shouldn't argue about your faith (2 Timothy 2:14-19); You should spread the word of God to all (there's literally so many examples for this one that I couldn't do it justice by having just one, so here's a list: https://www.openbible.info/topics/spreading_the_gospel)
To sum up this portion of the thread, Christianity hits the nail on the head when it comes to fascism. It's right there in the text. Hell, the Bible is basically a how-to primer for fascism with an in-built motivation system called heaven and hell. But to understand why this is such a big problem on a world scale, I need to talk a little bit about sociology.
You might be thinking that you could never fall for fascism, being non-Christians. I'm here to tell you you're dead wrong. You see, Christianity is so pervasive in the world purely because it lays the foundation for unstoppable spread through fascism and imperialism. If you know anything about history, you know that spread it did. England alone partially or completely colonized every country in the world except for a half dozen that it didn't deem profitable enough. When the world as it is in the modern era is built on the roots of imperialism and colonialism, that culture is left behind.
Do you think the opposite of good is evil? Do you think there are only two genders and they're inextricably linked to your sex? Do you think a man's surname should be passed down and not a woman's? Do you think things like food and shelter should be earned through labor instead of doled out? Do you think that people are naturally self serving? Do you think that children aren't deserving of the same rights as adults? Do you think poverty is a necessary evil? Do you think women who dress in revealing clothing are to blame if they get sexually assaulted? Do you think that doing good deeds isn't worth it if there's no reward? These are all philosophical standpoints that, if not questioned critically, you probably subscribed to at some point in your life or still do subscribe to now as a person living in a majority Christian culture. These aren't beliefs that are universal. In fact, they're not even all that common outside of a Christian worldview. You may not believe in the book, but if you were raised in a place that has a majority of Christians, you more than likely are heavily influenced by its values.
Don't take this information lightly. You may think that you're immune to the toxicity that comes from Christianity specifically, but ultimately you can't ever truly inoculate yourself against fascism or bigotry until you see and understand who is planting the seeds of fascism in the first place. Being aware of your surroundings ensures you don't become prey.
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Do you think things like food and shelter should be earned through labor instead of doled out?
I've been trying to figure out why this is listed among the other presumably undesirable attitudes that you question. Every human being needs to feel useful and valuable. Just observe a class of six-year-olds when the teacher asks for volunteers to do a task. When people have their needs doled out for free, their value is set at zero in their own minds and in the consciousness of society. Furthermore, the systems used to dole out these "benefits" inevitably put tremendous power in the hands of the dolers and the tax-collectors who fund the systems. Human beings are reduced to faceless numbers in their ledgers.
We're all going to have to confront this situation when AI takes away our jobs. The end result could be a monolithic structure dominated by bureaucrats and AI experts, with the rest of us turned into drones or recycled into Soylent Green. Imagine a future in which bureaucrats and Microsoft are stomping on a human face forever. I'm sure they'll encourage religion, because it's great stuff for keeping the proles quiet.
Welfare may be necessary, but the way it's funded and administered in modern centralized welfare states is highly toxic and conditions people for a nightmarish AI-fascist future that would have scared Hitler and Stalin.
I can't accept that Christianity leads inevitably to fascism . I think it can be shown that Christianity (especially protestantism) supports capitalism .
It is my opinion that fascism is the result of capitalism taken to its logical conclusion . This has happened only a few times in history as far as I'm aware.In each case, capitalism first ,then fascism.
The weakness of the argument of Christianity leading to fascism is made clear by having a look at democratic Christian in societies in which that has not happened. Perhaps begin with Central , western and Northern Europe ,then move to say North America and Australasia. In Eastern Europe (Russia) Christianity led to Communism ,the antithesis of fascism.
I strongly recommend you have a look at the book cited below
" The Protestant Ethic And The Spirit Of Capitalism" Max Weber
"The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (German: Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus) is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by American sociologist Talcott Parsons in 1930. It is considered a founding text in economic sociology and a milestone contribution to sociological thought in general.
In the book, Weber wrote that capitalism in Northern Europe evolved when the Protestant (particularly Calvinist) ethic influenced large numbers of people to engage in work in the secular world, developing their own enterprises and engaging in trade and the accumulation of wealth for investment. In other words, the Protestant work ethic was an important force behind the unplanned and uncoordinated emergence of modern capitalism. In his book, apart from Calvinists, Weber also discusses Lutherans (especially Pietists, but also notes differences between traditional Lutherans and Calvinists), Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, and Moravians (specifically referring to the Herrnhut-based community under Count von Zinzendorf's spiritual lead).
In 1998, the International Sociological Association listed this work as the fourth most important sociological book of the 20th century. It is the 8th most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950.
I dunno, all the Finns I have met seem very happy with their cradle to the grave "welfare" state. As do the Norwegians that I used to do business with. In fact all the nations that have such terrible socialism such as free medicare, free education, generous unemployment payments coupled with re skilling and re education programs consistently are in the top 5 happiest countries. They produce world class artists, musicians and prize winning authors, many of them more radical than anything the rest of the world produces.
New Zealand is a 'welfare" state and yet thousands of people cue to migrate there every year.....go figure, it must be horrendous knowing that you and your children will not starve if you are unemployed. You will not have to bankrupt yourself and your family if you fall ill....
Fact is there is absolutely no need to work for the bulk of the population in developed countries. There is enough wealth in the 1% of mega rich to pay everyone the average wage and allow them to choose to work, not to work, to volunteer or pursue their dream of artistic endeavours.
I repeat, there is NO NEED for a working population except in fields such as agriculture, healthcare etc. There will always be those who wish to help their fellow humans. As AI becomes more prevalent then this need to for a working sheeple will disappear. It just needs a change of culture.
what an awful exitence.
@Old Man Shouts: New Zealand is a 'welfare" state and yet thousands of people cue to migrate there every year.....
And yet go to New Zealand and see the lives led by third-generation welfare beneficiaries who've never seen a family member work. Look especially at the impact on Maori in New Zealand and Aborigines in Australia. Welfare is necessary, but it needs to be designed and administered more intelligently. I don't know if the Finns have cracked it, but New Zealand and Australia certainly haven't.
Health is another matter. But here again intelligence is needed. Public health systems need to be designed so the patient is a valued customer, not just a cost item. And what about the waiting lists?
No they haven't. Look at the difference in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. I do have direct knowledge of the Finnish system and the Norwegian system. Welfare is not "shameful" and every encouragement and skill is taken to get people off the subsistence programs and into an occupation...whatever it may be.....Our film schools in WA have had a lot of Norwegian students come here to study over the years..why? Because they were being reskilled from previous occupations OR were long term (more than 12 months) unemployed and chose media as a study platform. ALL Paid for by what you would call "welfare" but they call something entirely different...and no loss of dignity. Norway now has a thriving film industry and is exporting talent overseas, it has more than repaid the investment in its citizens....
Yes, intelligence is needed...obviously we lack intelligence in NZ and Aus as the public systems work very well in the Scandinavian countries, and when not starved of funds worked well in the UK...and the French system is brilliant.
Waiting lists are caused by financial restraints....yet a 'private patient" using subsidised state educated surgeons and state educated nurses can waltz in jumping the queue by dint of wealth...that isn't 'intelligent' that is crass inequality. It is STUPID way to run a health system which, when intelligently run, treats according to NEED not wealth.
@Old Man when intelligently run, treats according to NEED not wealth.
Well the private/public patient concept is like the classes on aeroplanes, which is obviously not the right model for health. There are people waiting for years with agonizing, debilitating conditions. That's not just financial constraints. It's also bad decision-making by unaccountable bureaucrats and politicians. Queensland Health just spent hundreds of millions on a hospital supply system that's been broken from Day 1. That money would have paid for a lot of hernia ops and hip replacements.
There is very little difference between religion, and to transition from a religious-based leadership to fascism is inheriting a system already in place. The leadership is considered as where all good ideas come from, dissent is severely discouraged, and the masses are conditioned to accept such conditions, which also include poverty and a hard life.
But I am just repeating what Hitchens has already described.
Nice post, I can tell you put some time and thought into this.
I think it is very relevant, just need to change out some bible quotes for quran ones same for just about any major organized religion.
Yep. I have thought some along these lines as well, just my thoughts are not as well formed as yours.
Agreed. Religion along with borders, (closely related really!) A utopia to me would be one language, one world, no borders, no religions, everyone is truly equal. But even I know that is very likely an impossible dream.
This is another one that mystifies me. Why do women put up with this? I can see the advantage for certain chauvinistic men, but why do women put up with this? They are half the world population, and in many parts of the world where christianity is still being widely practiced, these women are free to vote and make their own choices for the most part. I guess I continually underestimate the power of mass brainwashing from a young age by everyone's most important peers. I do get it is all part of the control. But why women willingly bear these chains, even when it is pointed out to them and they could do something about it...
That one always cracks me up. At least where I live, god name is used in vain, probably 10 to 1 over normal use. If we counted the average times the word "god" is used, and categorized them, god's name in vain even by devout followers has to be the strong majority of the use of the word.
Yep to me, fascism is basically just ultimate control of the many by the *very* few. To me all religions are a form of control, so seems only natural to me that religion and fascism is closely related. They don't even have to hide it, except for the ole' : "man behind the curtain" trick of wizard of oz fame. Make up imaginary god, control all education and dissemination of information, voila, control of people that is low maintenance. All you gotta do is find the particularly gullible ones to teach their gullibility to others.
In yes or no form: no.
I also don't really believe in "good" or "evil." To me it is more a transaction of personal gain over others, and then a whole lot of subjectivity thrown in. Culturally if we all only served our selves, we would still be under one million population living in caves, trees, etc. chasing around game and eating roots/grub.
No. What is the point of the word "gender" if all it means is biological sex organ presence. Who gets to decide that is what the word "gender" means?
I think family name/surnames are kind of an outdated silly concept at this point. And most certainly only male surname is, at least to me, blatant sexisim.
We have more than enough resources that no one should go hungry or be without shelter to the elements. Or possibly more importantly, access to clean water that will not sicken them.
No. Are there really people out there that think they should not? If we are talking about right to vote, right to access to controlled substances, that question is a lot trickier, there are certain brain developmental conditions one has to consider.
I think it is if we all want capitalism, (which is taking over the world far more then any religion of late,) and capitalism is arguably better then the more feudal systems that predate it, or any other system that has been widely practiced. But, capitalism still leaves A LOT to be desired for improvement.
Another tricky one for me that is hard to: yes/no.
I would love it in a perfect world, that woman can wear whatever they want, when ever they want, where ever they want. But! If a [edit to change to male] man dresses like a vulnerable sex worker, and walks into a dark alley alone with no protection in the worst part of town, I think he should be blamed for making a series of poor choices, with one of those factors being what he chose to wear. But again in a perfect world, a person should be able to wear whatever they want and not get sexually assaulted. It does not mean the man gave permission, or the assault is any way even slightly justified, but I think we can all agree it was a very poor series of decisions made on that man's part.
I actually believe all activity we do is "rewarded" that there is some sort of personal gain to it, or we would not do it. I spend some time volunteering, I don't have to, but I do gain from it. I feel better myself, helping others.
So how did I do?
Also, I feel monogamy is a mostly christianity thing, (which of course christianity borrowed from religious ideas before and during the rise of christianity.) Reading up on the history of marriage, it could be more aptly described as transaction, with women being the property, another one I am slightly mystified so many women insist on getting married. To be noted I am happily married to a women and we have an amazing and great relationship, but at the start I resisted the idea of marriage in part because I felt like it is a stupid tradition that is extremely sexist. (We just made our wedding our own and knew we did not agree with the original idea behind marriage and made it our own.)
I actually have become increasingly aware of that in the last few years reading and posting here.
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@ Jared Alesi
It is a great conspiracy theory, but your apologetics are not objective.
Christianity is such a broad a vague term. So it is erroneous to make categorical pronouncements.
How does your theory explain fascists like governments in places far removed from Christianity, like China?
How does your theory explain fascists like governments in places that had never heard of Christianity?
Here are some facts about the Bible that contradict your theory.
Sorry, just off the top of my head. Didn't have time to reference them.
The "chosen" people where not favored becasue of there ethnicity.
It was an if/then arrangement. It was based on their actions, not on any prejudice.
It was becasue of their faith and obedience that earned them the favored status.
The favored status is open to all. When you join the group and go by the rules, you get the favors.
If you don't you are the same as those who did not join.
It is like a contract or a marriage.
If Abraham had said no to God, and instead some guy named Alesi had said yes to God.
Instead of being called an Abrahamic faith it would be called an Alesi faith.
You are chosen becasue of your choices.
Much like someone who is "chosen" for a sports team - they earned it and can loose it.
There is one blood and no difference in Christ between races or genders.
The early Christians had all things common.
The early form of government in the OT was by Judges who were appointed or elected.
At least one of them was a women.
There are many (some say more) women leaders mentioned in the NT than men.
Christian leaders are to be servants, not lords.
Re: Jo's response to Jared
...*addressing forum over PA system*... Attention! Attention in the forum! Just a quick announcement to let you all know you may not want to miss this! Our dear Jo has just addressed Mr. Jared in a manner that appears to indicate Jo believes Jared to be something of a lightweight on these boards. I'm already preparing a batch of my special eggnog! Old Man, bring the choco bombs! Cog, you bring your banana pudding! Logic, would you be kind enough to provide the popcorn? Aside from my eggnog, it will be BYOB! Gather around quickly! I already have the front row reserved!... *turning off PA system*... *giggling with glee*... Oh, boy. This should be fun....
God's Little Liar vs Jared? I am in the front row for that one.....I've got choc bombs, Jaffas and a very nice cask of shiraz.
Also I've arranged the Blood Bank to carry emergency supplies...this could turn nasty....
Eric the Rainbow Farting Unicorn Who Lives in My Garage will be there as well as Walter the Pink Wombat Who Lays Square Poop. Make room for them even though they are intangible, invisible and beyond your powers of perception.
@Old Man Re: "Make room for them (Eric and Walter) even though they are intangible, invisible and beyond your powers of perception."
Already got it covered. Special intangible and invisible seats prepared for them in front of the front row. They will have the best view in the house.