Originally posted by misterhype
Originally posted by Doc Velocity
The major religions of the world, on the other hand, have survived essentially unchanged for hundreds and even thousands of years...
that doesn't make them right.
And it isn't even true.
Religions, like everything else, are in a constant ferment of change and evolution. Consider how Christianity has changed since its foundation. It
took centuries before even the basics of doctrine crystallized, and as soon as that happened there was dissent and schism. The Christianity of the
Dark Ages was little like that of the Middle Ages, and the scandals of the Renaissance popes and the Avignon antipopes were nothing like either. And
then there was the Reformation--which only the profoundly unhistorical see as a return to some earlier state of native grace.
Consider how the Roman Catholic attitude to science has changed: the church that burned Giordano Bruno for supporting Copernicus now believes in the
possibility of intelligent life on other worlds and endorses the theory of evolution. Meanwhile, Protestantism has divided into a plethora of
different sects and degenerate twenty-first-century cults, with many doctrinal and liturgical divisions between them. We all know, I hope, how the
story has gone from there.
As for the Eastern church--the Orthodox congregations--that is another story entirely.
Even the fundamentals change. The doctrinal split between East and West goes back nearly a thousand years. Since then, there have been so many
The same is true of Islam. The monolithic entity perceived by Westerners conceals a multitude of sects and approaches to belief, from liberal groups
that call themselves neither Sunni nor Shia to spit-flying bearded fanatics, from Sufis who cultivate mystical mind-states with the aid of music,
dance and hashish
to Dawoodi Boras who live and die in the grip of a moneymaking scam perpetrated by their sect authorities.
All living religions are in a process of constant change. Modern-day Hindu 'nationalism' shows the influence of Western ideas of 'race purity' and
political action unknown in ancient India. Even Buddhism, a religion in decline, has changed under the influence of political change in Sri Lanka,
Thailand and elsewhere.
An interesting example of the ever-changing nature of religion are the degenerate, loosely Protestant consumer-Christianity cults so popular in
America. Most followers of these cults believe they are revivalist in nature, based on 'that good old-time religion'; in fact, they are nothing of
the sort. Doctrinarily, they peddle positivist feelgood pablum ('purpose-driven lives', and so forth) that are in direct philosophical and doctrinal
contradiction to mainstream Christianity, whether Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant. Their indulgence of bigotry and intolerance, based on selective
readings of the Old Testament, are a very modern phenomenon, part of that fearful rejection of modernity and global integration that is called
fundamentalism, and which is, sociologically speaking, a child of the twentieth century. Their rejection of the scientific worldview is yet another
These sects, with their megachurches adjoining vast car parks and filled with high-tech communications equipment, are on the cutting edge of social
change in the twenty-first century, yet their followers think they are preserving old ways and views. A mediaeval schoolman would not recognize them;
neither would a old-fashioned Calvinist or a pillar-dwelling, self-flagellating eremite of the Dark Ages.
'Essentially unchanged?' I don't think so.
[edit on 23/12/09 by Astyanax]