The nonbelievers Christianity

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The nonbelievers Christianity

Post by cadfael » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:57 pm

A person in these forums once noted that Joseph Campbell was soft on Christianity in his thoughts. I agree very much with that view point. I have read Nietzsche somewhat and he was rather rough on Christians. He considered Christianity to be the greatest blemish on human kind. A liberal friend of mine said that people like Nietzsche and Mark twain misunderstood the Bible. As a result, they did not understand Jesus properly. I did not argue against this because I really do not like to argue or debate. I think especially with a friend. I will say that I did not agree with my friend. I do think that there is the nonbeliever's Christianity in Joseph Campbell's thought. I suggest that the eroding qualities of Christianity according to Twain and Nietzsche exists in Mr. Campbell's thoughts, but Campbell does offer an antidote in the form of the affirmation of life.

What are the eroding qualities of nonbeliever's Christianity? The metaphor of Christ's death and resurrection, compassion, and the holy grail concept. There is also great emphasis placed on the virgin Mary.

I think Campbell carried the seeds of Christianity in his thoughts. Honestly I find that dangerous.

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Post by tonyd » Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:03 pm

Hi Cadfael,
I'm a fan of your namesake in the BBC drama. I must say though I've detected a certain hostility in the Christian church in recent years towards Campbell and guess that he is not on the 'approved list'.

The emphasis of Christianity has typically being on a certain type of morality, of redemption from our 'fallen state' here on earth. Personally I think the churches have served believers reasonably well but reflective people have typically had to find their own way and be careful not to draw too much attention to themselves. Campbell has been a godsend for such people in the modern era as he has provided the tools for them to make sense of a very fragmented world and allowed them to find personal fulfilment and, if they wish, to journey back through the ages tracing the emergence of consciousness from about 50,000 years ago. The different deities or powers that have been visible from this period on have tended to personify in narrative form the greatest concerns and challenges of humankind as it tried to withstand pressures and difficulties in its environment that might have caused a regression, or even collapse, of emerging consciousness.

You can erode a stone or a mountain but not a forest which renews itself in a cyclical manner. The Christian church is monolithic and its authority is being eroded mainly by the media which under commercial influence panders to an ever lower 'lowest common denominator' particularly in the domains of sex and violence - presumably the neural receptors responding to such fare date as far back as our primitive preconscious ancestry.

The Christian church, following its own logic of morality, might continue its work and tackle what Jungians refer to as the collective shadow, that is the evil we are complicit in as being mindless members of a group, a community, a religion or a state and which, untackled, abides in our unconscious behaviour. To undertake the herculean task to loose this invidious Gordian knot the church would first have to face up to certain pathologies resident in its own make-up. If it could then, like when Indra slayed the serpent Vritra, the beneficent waters of Grace might once more refresh the spirit of the hard pressed believer. Even for a non believer, locally at least, there is something poignant in visiting a church and seeing the top ten or so rows empty and the congregation gathered very much to the rear expressing, it seems to me, unease and uncertainty in their church.

There will be new deities in the future. The deteriorating state of the planet is still a largely cerebral problem in the Western psyche but as this knowledge translates more and more into hard experience a new miraculous birth will mysteriously take form within the human psyche clothing itself in some new, and yet old, narrative to help galvanise humanity to the ordeal. Such a new birth though may be many centuries in the making.

I have been taken aback on occasion when attending talks with youthful audiences, to observe a hunger, almost a greed, for spiritual nourishment. Such youngsters make easy pickings for spiritual snake-oil gurus. It's a pity the Christian churches cannot come out into the daylight from their hermetically sealed certainties and update doctrine to make the modern world 'as it is' more meaningful to believers while still keeping faith with their tradition. For many still this tradition is closely allied to their sense of identity.

Tony D.
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Post by Myakka » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:07 pm

I like your idea that there will be new god(s) in the future. They must be the antedote to the rampant consumerism and eternal warfare that are the gods that are really the ones being worshipped by those in power in the United States and most of the world today. (If we can allow that worship isn't something you do for a few hours on the weekend, but something you live through the actions you take from moment to moment and day to day in the living of one's life.)

We need to take back control of our spirituality from the corrupted and corrupting elites. Ordinary people know much more about how to live than they do, in my experience.
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Re: The nonbelievers Christianity

Post by romansh » Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:30 pm

cadfael wrote: A liberal friend of mine said that people like Nietzsche and Mark twain misunderstood the Bible.
Were Twain and Nietzsche criticizing the Bible or Christianity?

I know Twain takes pot shots at certain sayings.
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:38 am


Read Twain's "Letters from the earth." It is a masterpiece that isn't kind to the bible. I strongly recommend it. I imagine non-spiritual Christians hate it.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by Clemsy » Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:32 pm

I agree that Twain takes more issue with religion than religious texts. But I'd have to dust off my Twains to to make sure.

Loved his autobiography, btw.
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