A friend of mine, in the course of doing some research, solicited my opinion as to why Christianity lends itself so easily (and automatically, I would add) to tyranny, as even a cursory glance at history will reveal. The following post was my response.
What I wrote wasn’t what he was looking for as far as the objective of his research is concerned; but for my part, I submit that it sums up precisely the very core problem with Christianity, and why it not only historically has been a bulwark for the worst kind of violent and despotic societies and governments, but has also been a routine and systematically applied defense of so many vile and destructive institutions and practices within those societies and governments: chattel slavery, organized genocide (e.g. the Holocaust), organized torture (e.g. the Inquisition), public execution (e.g. Salem Witch Trials, John Calvin’s stake burnings in Geneva), economic and political discrimination (e.g. Jim Crow laws, resistance to women’s suffrage), routine open and violent condemnation of categorically innocent and law abiding persons (e.g. the blistering denunciations of gay and lesbian citizens). Yes, these, to name a few. And there are many more examples.
So, in short, why does Christianity lend itself so perfectly to tyranny, abuse, violence, torture, murder, and the wholesale enslavement, both literally and figuratively speaking, of the masses? As I reveal in my post, the answer is simple, and it is the same answer which is fitting for ALL evil and oppressive philosophies: It does not know “What is man?”.
Period. Full stop.
When you have no reasonable defense for the existence of the individual human, then humanity in general becomes, by definition a false idea. An illusion. A lie. Or, at best, a thing. Lifeless. Soulless. Meaningless.
…it can be forced (and it MUST be forced…for humanity, in the despotic construct, is fundamentally unable to THINK) into either sacrificing itself of its own volition (which doesn’t actually exist in the despotic philosophies; man has no volition), or is forcefully sacrificed on its own behalf by the Priests/Elders/Kings/Officials of the Collective and the Primary Consciousness (which can be and usually is one and the same, and is defined as that which is assumed to be absolute TRUTH: God, the Government, the State, the Party, the Tribe, the Race, the King, the Dictator, the Leadership, the People, the Workers, the Poor, the Company) in service to the absolute “truth” and “good” of the Primary Consciousness and the Collective, which gives all meaning and all moral value to the individual, right up to the point where there is no existential/metaphysical distinction. You are either a member of the collective, wholly subordinate and enslaved to the Authority of the Collective (and the Primary Consciousness), or you don’t exist. You have no rational metaphysic. There stands no definition, no qualification or quantification to the substance which you observe to comprise yourSELF.
“SELF” has no translatable concept or construct within the Christian metaphysical component of its belief system. And in Christianity, the reason why it can almost always be found on the side of the oppressor, and willingly so, is because it flagrantly assumes, as a perfunctory part of its foundational philosophical concessions, that there is no such thing as individual human beings. If you are not part of the group, admitted and affirmed by the proxies of God, your life is literally meaningless.
This is the fundamental assumption behind all tyrannies, and also Christianity (which is inherently tyrannical in its orthodox forms), as we have seen it practiced for almost its entire existence upon this earth.
And now, with no more ado, here is my reply to the issue in question, posited in the title of this post:
Here is what I have come up with.
It has been rightly said that the question of tyranny boils down to this particular question: Who owns man?
But the question which still remains to be asked is: Why is this a question in the first place? Meaning, what are the presumptions which allow man to think that this question is somehow legitimate?
The answer is found in the root ideas about man’s existential nature, which is why I focus so heavily on metaphysics. The implicit assumption behind the question “who owns man?” is that man somehow can be owned. But the only way this can be assumed is if it is believed that man, as a matter of his existential being, is not in fact absolute. On the other hand, if we concede that man IS, and that he EXISTS, then we must also concede that he is absolute. For man cannot both be IS and IS NOT; existing and not existing at the same time.
At the root of man is an absolute existence, period. Which means that man’s ability to be conscious of his existence is likewise absolute. Absolute means infinite, which means that there are no boundaries to the metaphysical essence of individual man which includes his consciousness. If this is true, then no “other” can claim to own him because no other can exist in such a way as to make such ownership ultimately efficacious and reasonable. Man acts in service to his own existence because he MUST, because everything he thinks and does is a direct function of his inherently absolute and infinite being. This makes man’s interactions with God, other people, and the environment inexorably relative to HIMSELF.
Therefore, I would not even argue that man can own himself because in the case of an absolute, infinite SELF, ownership is besides the point. “Ownership” is merely a concept man uses to qualify a particular form of relationship he observes in his environment. It is a tool he uses in service to the standard of SELF, which, as I have said before, is the only objective and legitimate standard of morality and truth which can be claimed.
The problem with Christianity, as always, lies in the assumption that man’s conceptual abstractions are causal (beginning to end, cause to effect, first to last, up to down, past/present/future, etc.). Man “observes” that he comes from “nothing”, or “unconsciousness”, or non-existence into existence, and then, when he dies, he reverts back to his unconscious non-existence (or, if you believe in an afterlife, man goes there in “spirit”, whatever that means). But the point is that almost as soon as man’s brain develops into a full blown and efficacious awareness of SELF, he concedes that he is directly a function of nothingness (non-existence, un-consciousness). And of course what this thinking ultimately leads to is the idea that man is not, in fact, metaphysically absolute. His root being is foundationally a contradiction in terms. He is an IS operating as a direct function of an IS NOT. This is of course impossible and logically indefensible. And man should really know better, but after thousands of years of Greek philosophy, his thinking has evolved to assume that truth is somehow rooted in illusions and mystery; which means that man’s very consciousness cannot be trusted.
What this inevitably leads to is the idea that man’s metaphysical essence–his existential IS–can be parsed, and in fact IS parsed. Man metaphysic is no longer absolute. The assumptions which necessarily follow this idea are one of two:
A. There is no absolute, really, so the man with the biggest gun and the willingness to liberally apply it gets to make one up (usually himself).
B. There IS an absolute, but man is not it…so whoever claims (again, by force, fiat, lies, deception…it always goes back to force, which is why Christianity worships at the altar of “AUTHORITY” above all else)…yes, whoever claims to “know it” and to “serve it” as its earthbound proxy is “divinely” mandated to rule.
The explicit assumption regarding absolutes (that are not man, and thus, unknowable by man…and this is key) is that that which is absolute, in order to in fact be absolute, MUST demand the sacrifice of everything else in favor of its infinite morality and truth. If man is allowed to be “free” then he presents a necessary limitation to the absolute truth, by definition. Therefore, man must either become a direct function/extension of the absolute, or he must be murdered in order to eliminate his “natural” affront to its perfect absolute-ness. Christians call this man’s “sin nature”. Or his “original sin”. These words are merely euphemisms for man’s existence.
And this where Christianity neatly fits in. Notice how in practically EVERY “orthodox” version of the faith man is morally and metaphysically subservient to God. Even Paul D. (whom I adore) believes in his “slave to unrighteousness/slave to righteousness” paradigm that it is man’s root metaphysical SELF which is ultimately changed, as if the infinite absolute of man’s existence can be parsed. But the fact is that the same belief which leads to man’s justification also continues into sanctification…that is, it leads to man’s sanctification because the metaphysical nature of man cannot be changed. To say that man can somehow be altered at the root of his singular, metaphysical IS is an impossible contradiction (wholly enslaved to sin versus wholly enslaved to righteousness to the point where no matter what man does or thinks, his position as a slave in either construct must remain unchanged).
But the truth is that the individual, basal SELF of man does not change. Rather, his foundational BELIEFS change, and THAT is both why he is saved and why he is sanctified. Which is why I submit that he can indeed lose his salvation; because if man no longer believes that he absolutely IS, his reality no longer can be reconciled to his own existence. There is NO MAN, rationally and practically speaking, to be saved unless man BELIEVES that his existence is in fact efficacious and absolute. Because belief drives action, and belief combined with action defines just how the metaphysical essence of man will be efficaciously manifest (measured by the observable affirmation of the SELF and all SELVES) in his environment; it will wholly inform his interactions with God, the world, and his fellow man.
According to all interpretations of Christianity, man cannot truly own himself because man cannot truly BE himself. He is always and forever a walking contradiction, a breathing and blinking mystery. An impossible dichotomy of determinism and free will, good and evil, truth and lie, etc., etc. This of course affects his epistemology, making man utterly incapable of apprehending truth, because he always sees it from a broken, contradictory metaphysic. And since that is the case; since man is not absolute and therefore must be unaware, and is not the absolute standard of truth and morality, on existential par with God, man MUST be ruled; compelled to service or to death. Otherwise, as I said, he is an offense to the “real” truth.
So why does Christianity lend itself so well to tyranny? For the same reason as every other despotic notion does: it cannot define man in a way to make him reconcilable to his own actual existence.
In Christianity, man is farce. So what happens to him is ultimately irrelevant.