Tag Archives: government

Did Christianity's underdog origins allow the success of Western Civilization?

It’s interesting to note that with the exception of Christianity and some schools of Buddhism, every other major world religion were created as a means for the ruling regime to justify its grip on power as an expression of divine will. The divine hierarchy of the Old Testament’s angelic pantheon reflects and perpetuates the rigid social hierarchy of the ruling elite of its society. The god of the Old Testament demands taxes (sacrifices) accepts no competition (he murders over two million unbelievers) or critical questioning of the law, and presents a facade of voluntary submission (convert or face annihilation).

The New Testament on the other hand, was written before Christianity transformed to an institution of theocratic dictatorship. It presents a personal rather than collective choice (submit or you will burn in hell, as opposed to your tribe/descendants.) This subtle distinction may be responsible for the success of Western civilization, as secular rulers did not feel personally threatened when reason eroded the power of the church. (Of course, that did not stop the church itself from butchering secularists for as long as it could.) This is still not possible in the Islamic and Confucian world, where the secular and divine authority is united in a single institution. The attempt to introduce Aristotelian philosophy by Ibn-Rushd in particular, was wildly successful in the West, but because rational questioning was a threat to current regime, it was snuffed out by the institutionalization of doctrines such as the taqleed.

In Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam, Mahayana Buddhism has allowed a similar erosion of divine authority, creating the “Asian Tigers.” In this light, Communism can be seen as an attempt to preserve the union of divine and secular authority.


Filed under Mysticism