"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." --Francis Fukuyama
It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine --R.E.M.
Political economist Francis Fukuyama uttered the above words about a time when history would come to halt. Everything would stop. Well, not really. This is not what he meant. He would go on to speak of events still occurring after this apocalyptic end. History would have to evolve to stay alive. I think the same has to happen with Christianity. I explore this in my new book Jesus Bootlegged. This article is going to introduce you to some concepts in my new book and why I chose this topic.
When I speak of an end to Christianity, I am directly speaking about the end of an archaic out-moded systematic expression of faith. But the end of Christianity is a good thing because it then leaves room for Christ to re-introduce himself outside the confines of a system he never intended to start nor desired to be a part of. He says in one of the new testament gospels that he came to set prisoners free, not to imprison them; he says he comes to give sight to the blind, not to blind them even more. The thing about any structure is that it does what cultural theorist Julia Kristeva once said about language: "It exiles us from the object of our desire." A Christ without Christianity sounds much more historically accurate. We tend to stereotype people and things based on the thing they did best or even sometimes based upon something that's not true about them at all but because their lives were borrowed and mythologized they have become something they are not (e.g., think the hollywood tabloids). I think Christianity can offer so much, but not as it is.
This isn't to demonize Christianity as an expression of faith, but let's be honest, if Jesus is not the progenitor of a systematic expression of faith and people have been claiming he has been, isn't that a perverse misrepresentation of the person of Jesus?
I am not attempting to be inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory, I think that is useless. But this does bring up the point that we cannot call something inflammatory unless it already has characteristics of inflammation.
Christianity has reached its horizon.
Philosopher Jacques Derrida stresses the Greek etymology of the word "horizon": "As its Greek name suggests, a horizon is both the opening and limit that defines an infinite progress or a period of waiting." The horizon of Christianity is on the advent of its own rebirth. It is in a state of anticipatory vulnerability, for us to discover what this infinite progress looks look we have to dig deeper, not into Christianity but rather ourselves. We have to meet the horizons of our own existence.
Everyone is religious. Everyone. Now, before some people feel like I have rescinded their
opportunity to disagree, let me explain. We are religious creatures. We wake up to the
ominous tones of our alarm clocks and mobiles, we slowly open our eyes to a world already
waiting for our arrival, then we enter into the world, not as creators (necessarily) but
rather as people who think we need to be inherently led by habit. Religiosity exists within
us. We are religious people.
We adhere to certain beliefs or disbeliefs, some are dogmatic, some are less so. Some use their beliefs or lack of to defend a need for social activism and philanthropy. Others are spurred on more inwardly into a more contemplative approach to life. This contemplative approach, whereby we enter into discourse with our inner selves and attempt to find a center or a balance to justify our existential and ontological angst, also makes us religious beings.
Jesus of Nazareth was a first-century Rabbi who taught about the need
to care for our neighbour, the responsibility of loving the unlovable, and at times
attacking the religious systems without and within. Some people think Jesus intended
to start a religion called Christianity. How do I define such a belief system? Christianity
has become something it seems it should have never been.
It has been victimized by our inherent religiosity. Religion can be good when used in small doses and intentionally, but when certain people use their religion to hurt and judge others and become the very antithesis of its supposed inspired progenitor, then we might have to look this expression in the face and call for revolution.
This revolution has to start from within, both figuratively and literally. It cannot suspend itself in historical animation and look to the past any longer. We all know what happens when someone gets dogmatic about any belief of any kind. There is tendency that others who are not so dogmatic are marginalized and abandoned by society. Unfortunately, Christianity as a systematic set of beliefs has become this very thing. The only hope for Christianity as a systematic exclusive expression of belief is in its end.
This is what inspired me to write my first book Jesus Bootlegged, a socio-historical look into the life and times of Jesus the Rabbi. I attempt to answer many of the big questions within Christianity, such as: Was Jesus really the Son of God? Was Jesus' death about some sort of salvific tool for the world? Is heaven and hell real? What about other religions? These are just a few questions I dive into in my current literary offering.
Grab a copy.