Replacing One Version of a Faith With Another is a Zero Sum Game.

During the past century, Christianity experienced a meteoric rise.  Now it has stalled in the West.  Islam is taking parts of the world by storm.  It has the same problem as Christianity.  For every convert, someone is stolen by a breakaway group.

During the last Presidential election, there was public discussion as to whether candidate Romney’s branch of Christianity was “real” or not.  As we all know, the arguments over which is right, Catholics, Protestants or a thousand other versions is “the truth” go on and on.

It seems to me there is a need for religion by a slice of human kind.  That is a bucket that must be filled.  It is filled with the faiths each culture comes up with.  The various faiths are generated by the various cultures they come from. Were this not the case, we would not see people in India being majority Hindu and the U. S. majority Christian.

Within the Christian faith, we see pictures of a Jesus with racial features of the locals.  No one religion will dominate the world so long as diverse the cultures that invent them vary so widely.

The Jewish faith was splintered before Christianity.  As soon as Christianity was invented, it too began splintering and has continued to do so.

One explanation is the cultures that invented the religions themselves split up in subtle ways.  The North and South, East and West are all reflected in both the cultures and religions they spawn.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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27 Responses to Replacing One Version of a Faith With Another is a Zero Sum Game.

  1. entech says:

    When discussing “interfaith” issues there is really only one conclusion that they can all agree on, the creation story , well, “Your guess is as good as mine”.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      I would guess the phrase “sovereign God” would not have been used in the Bible had not there been many skeptics at the time saying it was not a sovereign god. Besides the factions mentioned in the Bible who were skeptical there must have been many not mentioned.

      • Henry says:

        Atheistic idolatry has been around for a long time. You are nothing new.

        • entech says:

          Atheists reject your idols and I suppose that is what makes you so upset and make unfounded, false and ultimately stupid statements.
          As you so often accuse atheists of not understanding the scriptures it is the case that you do not understand the nature of non-belief, freethought, agnostic, ignostic or even have a valid definition of atheist.

          Bore, bore, bore I know, but, once again, Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire because they were considered dangerous atheists. The cross then is/was a symbol of atheistic idolatry

  2. Michael Ross says:

    “Replacing One Version of a Faith With Another is a Zero Sum Game”

    Belief in God is the illness and belief in nothing is the cure.

    “All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ results in the purest patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship.” ~President Grover Cleveland

    Sounds like a campaign speech.

    • entech says:

      Belief in God is the illness and belief in nothing is the cure.
      Michael, have you been reading too many of Drifter’s posts late at night and getting this stuff by osmosis.

      Belief in God is not an illness, there are many millions of believers out there and they are not all ill, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t point out that they don’t all believe in the same god and those that think they do have a different idea of what god is.
      As for believing in nothing, well, that is harder than believing in God, believe me I have tried quite seriously. Laurence Krause (atheist and physicist) wrote a popular book about something from nothing and the main thesis is that there is no such thing as nothing. Nothing doesn’t exist! and that is as big a conundrum as people that believe that not believing is in fact believing.

      I do think that the elemental ‘ stuff ‘ of the universe has always existed in one form or other, not necessarily in the matter/energy form we are familiar with, and somehow, for reasons and by methods we may never know, shifts between them. So what is called the false vacuum is not empty and sometimes matter/antimatter particles pop into and out of existence, it does seem possible that somehow, sometimes, they don’t pop out but are persistent and are the basis of a universe, a tiny pop rather than a big bang.
      Why some should be persistent and some not, is not known. Those that are persistent do not necessarily reach a material type universe as we think of it, the initial particles doing all the popping are massless and travel at the speed of light, no mass no gravity and so the Higgs field is postulated, it is this which gives them mass allows gravity to operate and eventually stars and you and me. Now the reason that this has happened (at least once, look in the mirror or out of the window) is not known, beyond speculation at the current state of knowledge and I am quite happy to say that, at this level, it could even be the ‘fickle finger of fate’ or a creator of some kind, I don’t find such an entity necessary, but I know little in the whole scheme of things, people that say they know that such an entity exists really know no more than me and we are all speculating.

      But even if there is a creative entity of some kind that stirs the ingredients and sees what eventuates it is still unrealistic to think that your description is that of the real and true and only such being, that all the others are figments of others imagination is possible, doubtful but possible and in no way indicative of an illness. The illness comes in when adherents of one version start killing adherents of another, usually over some difference which is minor in the whole scheme of things.

    • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

      I think what has become the problem is that too many Christians have abandoned the teachings of Christ.

      When an individual adheres specifically to the core Christ teachings (love all of God’s children as your brothers and sisters; mind your own business; don’t judge others; lighten up and have a little faith that things will be okay; quit being such a victim and so forth) people can live pretty harmoniously.

      Problem is, that philosophy creates a society of equals and control amongst equals cannot exist.

      • Fr. James says:

        Your Jesus sounds a bit like a modern liberal or libertarian. You leave out any pesky moral teachings that get in the way of certain activities.

        • entech says:

          Do you mean love you neighbor, do unto others and all the acclaimed virtues and moral teachings come with conditions. But you god demand unconditional love, is this to be reserved for him alone? a jealous god indeed.

          • Fr. James says:

            How about don’t commit adultery? Unconditional love is certainly true, but by sin we cut ourselves off from God. It is our choice not his.

  3. H.P.Drifter says:

    The Illness resulting in the killings is the final results. When it comes to religion, the discrimination, treating others poorly, the superiority complex, when you know better than others, try to force your views on other people, this is the problem. When you try proselytize others to disrupt debates, when you base your criticism on nonsense or quote the bible on a secular forum like this, this is a problem. You don’t have to be Christian to be mentally ill, it does give you the foundation to head in that direction.

    • Henry says:

      Reality is not your strength. I think fantasy is (would be) very uplifting to you. Have you considered immersing yourself in the arts? If your local community has none, you should consider moving to a location that does.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      @3:29 Re. …”secular forum like this.” Misapplication of the word “secular”. See “secularity”. In the classical sense, “secular” is neither pro or con, and is a perfectly good word when applied properly. Due to the nature of this forum, “secular humanism” would be more appropriate.

      Re. “disrupt debates”, This site invites/ begs debate. Anything that is not in total agreement with the writer would naturally be disruptive. Anything less than obescience to the writer would be disruptive.

  4. H.P.Drifter says:

    Henry when you are able to get cable or satellite TV look around the country, look around the world. It is you who lives in fantasy land, remember Henry, art mirrors life.

  5. Fr. James says:

    Christianity has had no difficulty expanding into a huge variety of cultures and enculturating itself. India has Christians and so does every other continent. The splitting you mention is more a result of fractured human nature then merely cultural influences.

    Religion wasn’t invented. We are inborn with a desire for God. Even atheists spend a great deal of time talking about God. It is a part of what we are.

    • entech says:

      There were Christian in India long before the Portuguese tried to insert their particular brand, offering rewards for converts and an inquisition for apostates, killing for Jesus doesn’t seem quite right.

      • Fr. James says:

        So you admit the truth that Christianity has been enculturated into many societies, thank you.

        Then of course you immediately return to the usual atheist line of attack. I respond by mentioning, for example, Stalin killing over 30 million people. That is so typical of atheists eh?

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