What is Christianity? What is its essence? What is absolutely essential to it and what can be adapted to local conditions? And how does one determine this? And finally, what should be done about people who call themselves Christians who, whether intentionally or not, in some way compromise on what is essential? Before, I have tried to avoid these types of questions, not because I don’t believe they are important, but because they would complicate further the difficult problems I have been considering. This has given some the false impression that I am willing to compromise, or even totally disregard, matters of ultimate truth, for the sake of lesser, purely material concerns. That is not what I am doing.
I am not a relativist. I believe there is One God and that there is One Truth. But that God is not Yahweh. And that Truth is not Christianity. Nor is it paganism. As I said before, I believe that different religions are appropriate for different people, because people themselves are different and not interchangeable, and therefore there is not, nor can there be, one true religion for all people everywhere. That there is Truth but not One True religion may seem like a contradiction, but it is not. Ultimate Truth is beyond any religion, any scripture, any ritual, any god. Different people use different means to reach the same end. The proper spiritual means for the people of Europe is paganism. It is true that paganism degenerated over time, but that says nothing about Christianity. Whether Christianity is or is not also an appropriate spiritual means for the people of Europe depends on if it preserves what is essential from paganism, which in its true form, is prior to and superior to Christianity. Of course, I am well aware that Orthodox Christians could not accept that position, nor do I expect them to, but as I said before, I am writing from a non-Christian perspective.
At one time, it seems that Christianity was, or was believed to be, appropriate for the people of Europe. The Church was the center of society, most considered themselves to be Christian, and there was not too much conflict between Church and state. This is no longer the case. What happened? For many complex reasons, some of them having to do with Christianity itself, some having to do with the specific circumstances of the Holy Roman Empire, Protestantism happened. And in part due to the violence that resulted from the conflict between Catholics and Protestants, eventually Christianity in Western Europe was largely replaced by secularism.
I have not attacked secularism because that is already done more than sufficiently elsewhere. The secular society cannot be reformed and must be destroyed. I have instead criticized the Church, something that may still be able to serve as the foundation of a new civilization in the West, in the hope that it can be reformed and renewed. And beyond simple criticism I have made some recommendations. But it is probably true that even if the Church was to adopt all of the recommendations I made, those changes would not restore the Church to the position it held in Medieval Europe, in part because it would make the Church look unreliable and compromising. While great discretion and indeed secrecy would be a requirement for successfully implementing any of those changes, they would still remain flawed in that they would appear to be more effective at preventing Protestantism, rather than at solving the long term problems created by Protestantism.
However, I still think it would be valuable to understand the reasons for considering these changes. While it is true that Christianity preserved elements of pagan culture to varying degrees, from a non-Christian perspective it is outrageous that the mythology of Thor and Hercules are reduced to folklore, while foreign Hebrew mythology of Abraham and Moses is elevated to the status of sacred scripture. While, in my view, unconvincing arguments can be made for the unique status of Christian civilization, I do not believe any argument can be made for the special elect status of the ancient Hebrews, other than that it is a part of Christian dogma. Essentially what I am saying is that I have a much higher regard for the culture of the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Norse, the Chinese, the Indians, the Aztecs, and indeed of many other cultures than I do of the Hebrews. It is odious both to my reason and my sense of pride to believe that stories and beliefs of that people are more important, and according to the Church infinitely more important, than the stories and beliefs of my own people, and of all the people of the world. It is not that there is anything wrong with Hebrew mythology, or that I have anything against those stories, but rather that it has been elevated far beyond its proper place. It is the mythology of a particular people. It is not universal. That the Church takes it to be universal is one of its greatest errors, and that error is responsible for a great amount of conflict and destruction.
With that being said, even though I am not a Christian, and have serious objections to many aspects of that religion, I still greatly value the Christian tradition, and I do not want to see it destroyed. I genuinely mean this. While I recognize that if the Church is destroyed, Europe will be destroyed along with it, I have a high regard for the Church independently of that. So what is to be done? How can Christianity be brought back to the center of European life? What responsibility does the Church have to bring this about? And the Church does have a responsibility, as the Church could have never become what it did without the people of Europe. It has a duty and obligation to them. Retreating behind its stone walls is not an option as that would amount to cowardice and betrayal.
Evangelism is clearly inadequate to this task. Much stronger measures are obviously required. But does the Church, even a small part of it, have the will to do what must be done? If the Church is legitimate it will fulfill its obligations. If it does not, then outsiders would be fully justified in removing and replacing the existing leadership and making whatever changes to the Church they believed were necessary.
Perhaps, somehow, Christianity can be brought back to the center of European life, and without making the kinds of dramatic changes that I have considered. I don’t know how. I don’t think anyone knows how. But if it is to be done, it is the responsibility of the Church, and its alone.