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Aug. 16th, 2022 | 10:08 am

Reading Bertrand Russel Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects.
There is no other book that aged so badly in its content while being so modern in its influence on the cultural and political landscape.
One may see clearly the faults both inherent in its treatment of historical facts and arising from proclamations and assertions upon which so many educational and legal practices are based.
Bertrand Russel is both an extremely deep and extremely shallow and egotistical thinker, and ingenious insights are immediately followed by grotesquely corny phraseology, befitting bolshevik propagandist, not an academic.
Say, it is difficult to explain that Russel fails to see that the Church's initial impulse was to create a social institution that balances the Roman imperial state apparatus that falls apart as it grows and abandons the early Republican religious principles of universal charity and sanctuary for the feeble and disturbed souls. The primary impulse for the new religion was not fear, but the disturbed consciousness of the disempowered individual, entangled in the imperial bureaucracy. Ameliorating this sense of guilt from forced by the State, yet obviously bad actions, was driving most prominent individuals, i.e. Augustine of Hippo, to seek spiritual comfort of righteous thought and righteous action.

The Church was taking many important functions that the State and its imperial cult simply failed to deliver.

Christianity did not assault sexuality as such, but it restored the Roman republican ideal of steady monogamous marriage - which was tried, but never achieved by the emperors, starting from Augustus. Indeed, this was achieved by abandoning promiscuity and oppressing the adulterers. Some, like Augustine of Hippo, did it voluntarily. Sure, it was done - sometimes - in rather a crude way. Still, it was better than the chaos of divorces, plaguing the Roman empire and an proliferation of the lawyers in the upper class, draining intellectual and material resources from the rest of the society.

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rex_weblen

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from: [info]rex_weblen
date: Aug. 16th, 2022 - 01:49 am
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>...Church's initial impulse was to create a social institution that balances the Roman imperial state apparatus...

This is questionable. To be honest, I think the initial impulse is hard to impossible to determine as sources on first century Christianity are limited to scripture, apocrypha and patristics.

In my opinion, the initial impulse was a confusion of Jewish diaspora after Roman-Jewish wars. And the initial orientation was far more political and separatist towards Rome, but not in a direct militant way, maybe.

Of Course, it evolved to fit its imperial environment. But then it spread to other nations like Ethiopia and Ireland, which was not under imperial rule. So, I don't think the interaction with imperial Bureaucracy was that crucial.

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balalajkin

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from: [info]balalajkin
date: Aug. 16th, 2022 - 03:38 am
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I reckon, it is almost beyond doubt that the fist Christian communities were expecting the End of the World, which was limited to Roman Empire as the observable universe. So the preparation for this collapse of the empire had to be made by salvaging the best of the best, i.e. the righteous ones, but these individuals are to be found - henceforth, proselytism, - while the righteousness has to be embodied and maintained in a social institution - henceforth the Church.

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