Communism is Secular Christianity 44

The idea that compassion is the essence of morality, entered history – to become in time a significant ethical philosophy – with the teachings of St Paul.

St. Paul, the author of Christianity, preached to his converts that they must “love all”.[1] How to do this was explained by the writers of the gospels. Forgive them if they harm you. Turn the other cheek. Love the sinner though you hate the sin. It was an ethos that preferred love to justice (in contradiction to Judaism which held justice to be the highest value).

St. Paul went to extreme lengths in explaining how a follower of “Christ Jesus” must conduct himself in relation to other people.

He must humble himself until he was no more in his own eyes than “the filth of the world, the scum, the muck that is scoured from things.”[2] He must live for others, sacrifice himself for others, the only use of his life being for others. Not only every other individual, but the collective of mankind was of more value than the Christian’s own life. The plight of others is what matters, never your own predicament. Your only legitimate happiness must be a product of your giving and yielding to others.

So fanatically against self-consideration was St. Paul that his  ideal Christian society was one in which there was no private property. Share all you have, he told his followers. And the reason he gave for this is particularly pertinent: So that you’ll all be equal in worldly possessions.[3]  

Disdain for private property, and the idealizing of equality also entered history with Christianity.  

St. Paul went even further. You must be prepared to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice.”[4] You must not be privileged above others. As a Christian you must renounce your  individual wants, talents, aspirations to serve the collective. That way, you are buying the approval of “Christ Jesus”, by whose grace – and only by whose grace – you may be “saved” to live eternally with him. Yet all your efforts to be good according to Pauline precepts might not after all, however painstakingly pursued, buy you that ticket to heaven. And since God is all-knowing, your fate is pre-determined.

To the Christian, this life was only a time of preparation for eternity. What mattered for the Christian was what happened to his “soul” after his bodily death. Naturally, it became a cult of martyrdom. Christians took up their crosses to follow their Lord; joyfully sought crucifixion for themselves, or death in the lion’s mouth in the Roman arena. Some wore hairshirts. Some sat on the top of tall pillars for years. Some died for “Christ Jesus” in battle with followers of other faiths, or with rival claimants to the certain knowledge of Christian “truth”.

And while human life continues, the Church will be the only power on earth. Both the Catholic and Protestant churches became totalitarian tyrannies whose spies tirelessly sniffed out heretics to be tried, imprisoned, tortured and killed.

When would the eternal life of bliss – or agonizing punishment – begin? Immediately upon your own death, or at the end of time when “Christ Jesus”  will judge the quick and the dead? The answer remains unsettled. But there will be an Apocalypse, a cataclysmic event which will change everything, marking the end of days, and then – if not before – the chosen will live happily ever after in the perfect state of  heaven, ruled over by the all-powerful government of the Triune God; while the rejected burn in hell.

Thus Christianity.

What other ideology claims the moral high ground by justifying its every deed by claiming it to be in the service of the weak, the exploited, the injured, the underdog? Or to put it another way, Justification by Compassion?

What other dogma has it that the plight of the collective matters above all? What other teaches that it is it the duty of the individual to sacrifice himself, his personal wants, talents, aspirations to the greater good of the collective?[6]

In what other ideal society is private property abolished – “so that all will be equal in worldly possessions”? Who decries “privilege”? Who holds equality as the highest ideal?

Where do we find revered texts predicting a cataclysmic event that will change everything, after which the chosen will live happily ever after in a perfect state, under the rule of an all-powerful government, while the rejected will be excluded, condemned, punished, and destroyed?

In the name of what political orthodoxy were totalitarian tyrannies established whose spies ceaselessly sniffed out heretics to be tried, imprisoned, tortured and killed?

The answer is Communism, learnt from the unquestionable authority of Karl Marx.

Marxist Communism insists that the only power must be the Communist Party.

It predicts an inevitable Revolution as its all-transforming Apocalypse. After the Revolution the faithful – those whom the Communist Party spares – will live happily ever after in a perfect Communist state.

While Communism posits no divinities, it declares that something superior to man’s will determines what must inevitably happen – an hypostasis named History.

It rejects the notions of a supernatural authority and a non-material existence. But the rest of Marxist Communism’s essential doctrine is derived from only one source – Christianity. Though neither Marx nor any of his apostles seem to have been aware of it.

The current head of the Pauline Christian Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has tackled this subject.

AP reports (January 11, 2015):

Pope Francis is insisting that his concern for the poor and critique of the global economic system isn’t some novel, communist-inspired ideology but rather the original and core “touchstone” of the Christian faith.

He is right about that. Communism is inspired by Christianity, not Christianity by Communism.

Some U.S. conservatives have branded the first Latin American pope a Marxist for his frequent critiques of consumerism and focus on a church “that is poor and for the poor”.  But in an interview contained in a new book, Francis explains that his message is rooted in the Gospel and has been echoed by church fathers since Christianity’s first centuries.

Again, he is right.

“The Gospel does not condemn the wealthy, but the idolatry of wealth, the idolatry that makes people indifferent to the call of the poor,” Francis says in This Economy Kills, a study of the pope’s economic and social teachings. …

Wrong. Early Christianity did condemn the wealthy. The Gospel of Luke, for instance, tells a story to make that very point.[7]

Specifically, Francis summarized a verse from the Gospel of Matthew which is the essential mission statement of his papacy: “I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me, clothed me, visited me, took care of me.”

And overlooked the question why “I” was in prison.

“Caring for our neighbor, for those who are poor, who suffer in body and soul, for those who are in need: this is the touchstone. Is it pauperism? No. It is the Gospel.”

Right.

He cites church fathers dating to St. Ambrose and St. John Chrysostom as expressing the same concerns, and noted somewhat wryly that if he had said the same “some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily”.

Well recognized! Though I cannot resist mentioning in passing that the two saints, Ambrose and John Chrysostom, whom he cites as being especially zealous about caring for the suffering, did not extend their compassion to everyone, they being among the most vicious preachers against the Jews in all history.[8]

How interesting it is that the Pope felt moved to say, not that Marxism and Christianity are different, but merely that of the two similar ideologies, Christianity came first.

To be compassionate is not of course morally wrong. But as a cause so high that in its name human lives may be sacrificed, moral superiority hypocritically claimed, a monopoly of power be instituted, and the unique possession of Truth asserted, it is hideous.

And hideous is the history of both Christianity and its daughter Communism.

*

Afterword on Charity:

The “first” letter of St. Paul “to the Corinthians”, chapter 13, is a rather good poem declaring love, or charity, to be the highest virtue. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. … And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Whether the poet meant “love” or “charity” has been a bone of contention in Christendom. William Tyndale was sentenced to be burnt at the stake by the Church of Infinite Compassion for translating it with the one word rather than the other.

As an aside, I don’t believe that St Paul was the author of the chapter. It is far too well written to be from the pen of such a clumsy writer as he was. For an example of his poor writing, see his authenticated letter to the Romans.[9]

But what of charity – regarded by Christians as love in practice? Though I am not against it, I do not see it as a great virtue. It is no solution for poverty – just prolongs it.

I do think charity is preferable to Communism/Socialism as a means of redistributing money from those who have earned it to those who have not, private enterprise always being preferable to government control.

But still it is unjust.

To give it is very satisfying to the ego. And contrary to Christian dogma, there’s nothing wrong with self-indulgence.

But as self-advertisement it is repulsive.

Ideally, charity would be practiced only by consenting adults in private.

 

Jillian Becker    January 14, 2015

NOTES

1. Love one another, love all. 1 Thess.4:9 , Rom.13:8, 1 Cor 13. All quotation is from the King James Version of the New Testament.

2. 1 Cor.4:13

3. 2 Cor 8:14

4. Rom.12:12

5. Become the lowest of the low. Phili.2:3; Let us abase ourselves; be fools; 1 Cor.4:10; Be humble, and associate with the lowly. Rom.12:16; Do only the most menial work for a living. 1 Thess.4:11,1 Cor.4:12; Bear affliction –  persecution, injustice – with patience. Rom.12:12-14,  even with joy. 1 Thess.5:16,18

6. It is well documented that numerous loyal members of the the Communist Party, in the USSR and its satellite states, were persuaded by the Party to let it kill them for the sake of the Party. An interesting account in English of how the Communist Party thus devoured its own is Under a Cruel Star by Heda Margolius Kovály, whose husband Rudolf Margolius was a martyr to the greater, humaner, compassionate cause in Communist Czechoslovakia.

7. Luke 16:19-31

8. 379 A.D.  Vicious writing by St. John Chrysostom and St. Ambrose in Milan who said: “The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are lecherous, greedy, rapacious. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. They worship the Devil. Their religion is a sickness. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. Christians may never cease vengeance, and the Jew must live in servitude forever. God always hated the Jews. It is essential that all Christians hate them.” He was called the Bishop with the Golden Tongue. St. Ambrose, Bishop of the Church offered to burn the synagogue himself. St. John Chrysostom’s Homilies against the Jews may be found here.

9. eg. of St. Paul’s confused thinking and poor writing, Rom. 5:12-18: “12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”

Posted under by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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  • I had been planning to write a similar themed article on my own blog, but you pretty much said it all so I think I will just link to your article, if you don’t mind.

    Over here in the U.K. the problem is more pronounced than in the U.S. The bishops have a right to be in the House of Lords, there is not the separation of church and state that was so wisely enshrined in the U.S. constitution. Our bishops constantly urge us to take in more migrants, even those attempting to enter the country illegally, regardless if they are hostile to democracy and free speech. Some of the migrants may even have terrorist sympathies, many probably have no skills to offer, but the bishops do not seem to be concerned about those things. The bishops also routinely interfere with attempts at welfare reform. The idea of the protestant work ethic seems to be more respected in the U.S. as well. Perhaps this is why the Church of England has been losing so many followers.

  • I feel the writer knows very little about Christianity. Simple, end of story.

  • Kerry
    • Interesting article. And yes, although written by a Christian or someone sympathetic to Christianity, it does support my contention.

  • Kerry

    Jillian, Here is a pretty good article from The Federalist by Marc Fitch that speaks pretty well to the things you point out point out time and time again.

  • There has been enormous interest in this essay. Literally thousands have been visiting it over the last three weeks or so. It must be because some group has heard of it and either likes it or hates it enough to spread the link. I’ve been wondering what group it could be. Catholics? The Vatican itself? Socialists? Bernie Sanders fans? The Obama administration in preparation for the Pope’s visit?

    • liz

      That’s an interesting mystery. I wouldn’t think many would have reason to like it, as it exposes aspects of Christianity and Marxism that would be disturbing not only to Catholics and leftists, but to Christians in general, which doesn’t leave many!

  • liz

    I don’t know how I missed commenting on this 6 months ago – I know I read it.
    Great essay! A very clear comparison of the striking similarities in the two belief systems. A study of history bears out the direct connection between them. Ayn Rand explained the overarching philosophy that connects them – altruism, and the motive behind it, which is to manipulate people into collective submission to a totalitarian authority, whether it be church or secular state.
    Islam has the same goal, but just implements it in a less subtle fashion – it dispenses with altruism in favor of terrorism.
    It’s interesting how the Pope is so gauchely letting the cat out of the bag for all to see, and his faithful subjects are scrambling desperately to cover for him.
    No, no connection at all here, folks, nothing to see here. This is not socialism, and that’s not a pathetic little man behind the curtain of “papal infallibility” .

    • Exactly so.

      “Pope Francis however contends that Communism is really
      Christianity. ‘The Communists have stolen our flag,’ he said.”

      http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/260206/pope-forgets-oppressed-cuba-daniel-greenfield

      • liz

        Good article by Greenfield. How low do you have to stoop to ignore the persecution of Catholics in Cuba, so you can make points for communism, and similarly, to ignore the slaughter of Christians by Muslims so you can make public relations points with them?
        And I love the irony that his heroes, like Chrystosom, spoke like true Muslims regarding the Jews!

  • Kevin VandeWettering

    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40. What you do. Not what you want to force other people to do by coercion or gun point.

    Where does it say. Thou shall send centurions to collect money for the poor? Never mind that almost no one is poor in the US by historical standards or even 50 years ago.

    • Thanks for your comment, but please would you clarify your point, Kevin VandeWettering? I don’t grasp what you’re getting at.

      • Kevin VandeWettering

        You are blessed for helping the poor. If it was your duty, you wouldn’t be blessed for it. Jesus didn’t even always help the poor.

        —–
        Mark 14:3-7

        3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

        4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a]and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

        6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want.

        Charity is voluntary. Communism is not. Otherwise Mark would read:

        And lo the Lord was fined and arrested by the IRS for not giving up his perfume.

        Charity is between you and your own conscience. That’s Christian. Taxes are between you and the tax man and are enforced with a gun.

        On a personal note, have you ever done a charitable thing and have it really screw things up worse. I have.


        “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. – Matthew 14:5

        ….. a lot of the people we’re giving welfare to….

        Haven’t you ever been charitable and had the person just screw you with it? I have.

      • Kevin VandeWettering

        Mark 14:3-7

        3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

        4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a]and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

        6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want.

        Christian charity: Voluntary.
        Social spending: Mandatory.

        Christian charity: Collected with a basket.
        Social Spending: Collected with a gun or coercion.

        Christian spending: You can decide whether your charity is apt and whether you are sinking your money in a rat hole.

        Social Spending: The rat decides what you owe it and makes more rats.

        Nobody really has a problem being charitable or generous with deserving people. Do they?

        • I agree with your point, which I now understand. Private, direct charity is much better than state redistribution. Absolutely. In fact, we make that very point in the post. I also agree that the “poor’ in Amercia are not generally poor.

          I wish you would just leave out the word “Christian” before “charity” and “spending”. Your point remains exactly the same without it.

          And I think you might have refrained from quoting Christian scripture to us, especially as – again – it adds nothing to your point. Unless you are trying to show that communism is NOT secular Christianity. In which case, they fail. They do not make such a case at all.

          • Kevin VandeWettering

            That is exactly what I was trying to show. Communism is not secular Christianity. Christian Charity is not taxation. Christian Charity is not forcing other people to be charitable. Even Catholics. You may leave something on the collection plate or not. You may withhold charity from swine. You may see that your “help” is causing more problems than it solves.

            You will always have the poor, YOU can help them any time you want.

            That’s not communism of any kind.

            • The Catholic Church got its revenues from tithes, confiscations, and the sale of indulgences, inter alia. Now it is THE richest instituion on earth – and gives VERY LITTLE in charity: http://humansarefree.com/2012/03/christian-church-is-biggest-financial.html

            • Also go here for an article that tells you that the Catholic Church spends 171,600,000,000 dollars per annum – and you have to look at the pie chart to see what a MINISCULE portion of that it gives to charities: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/08/17/the-economist-estimates-the-catholic-church-spent-171600000000-in-2010/

            • Kevin VandeWettering

              They’res just one little problem with that chart. The Vatican doesn’t own those entities. Let’s chop this tree down.

              98 billion in Catholic hospitals. Hundreds of them. None of them is controlled by the Pope. They are controlled by stockholders.

              50 billion in colleges. Hundreds of them. Also not controlled by the Pope. They have boards of directors like any other college.

              11 billion split between about 50 archdiocese. Each of those is a business entity to itself. That’s also not under Vatican control. That’s upkeep on thousands of churches.

              8.5 billion (other), mostly Catholic primary and secondary schools. They are under archdiocesan control.

              4.7 billion in “Catholic” charities that almost all rate in the top ten of reputable charities. Also not under Vatican control.

              What the Pope has control of is Vatican City. That has a GDP of about 300 million. It ran a loss in 2011.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Vatican_City

              This Pope lives in a little Vatican guest house and tries to evade his security so he can drive his old, beat up FIAT. He even turns down free box seats for soccer. He’s a Jesuit. He’s pledged poverty. He takes it seriously.

              As for gold and historical brick a brack at the Vatican? It’s not as much as Buffet or Gates.

              How much influence does the Catholic Church have? About the influence that 20% of the worlds population has.

              How much influence do our top 100 billionaires have?

            • liz

              How much they give in charity, etc, is kind of beside the point. The point of the essay is the connection that exists in philosophy and ideas between Christianity and Marxism, which has been documented.
              Not only are there foundations for Marxism in scripture, but if you study history, you’ll find that there were many early Christian sects that practiced communism, carrying it over from church to government.
              It then developed into a secular version as time went on.

            • Kevin VandeWettering

              If being completely antithetical is a connection.

              “Religion is the opium of the people”

              Night has a connection to day? Dogs have a connection to cats? Punch has a connection to Judy?

            • liz

              They’re not antithetical – Communism is as much an “opiate of the people” as religion is! They both require one to believe in their version of Utopia without the benefit of facts, and to sacrifice ones own interests and property (to one degree or another) for the sake of their collective “cause”.

            • Kevin VandeWettering

              I don’t think Karl Marx would agree with you.

            • liz

              Of course Marx wouldn’t admit that his ideology has no basis in reality, just as religion doesn’t – who would?
              The popes of the past had no problem at all being dictators. The church has been stripped of that kind of power now, so it’s influence only extends to the minds of the gullible.
              And this Pope’s now telling them exactly what his secular socialist counterparts are telling them – to turn from the evils of materialism, consumerism, capitalism, and even air conditioning(!) in order to save the planet.
              Did he need a revelation from God to do that?
              No – just a page out of the Left’s standard playbook, which, ironically, they stole from his! (“The communists have stolen our flag”, he said).

            • Kevin VandeWettering

              My grandma would have called the evils of consumerism being “wordly” The Pope hasn’t had any secular authority at all since 1815. It was very limited for a couple hundred years before that.

              The last theocracy was Spain at odds with the Vatican.

            • Kevin VandeWettering

              Actually, I think leftists are hearing what they want to hear. That’s not the same thing.

              If you were looking for a Pope to say gay is fine and marriage is until you get bored and that women will be priests, I think I would tell my great, great, great, great grandchildren. Don’t hold your breath.

            • Yes, that is the point.

            • How could the Catholic Church give 4.7 billion to charities if its only wealth is “5.9 billions in assets”? The 4.7 billion is the tiny bit of its 171.6 trillion.

              The school teacher has not vowed to a god that he will be celibate.

              Sorry, but there no defense of the history or the morality of the Catholic Church that is not risible.

            • Kevin VandeWettering

              The Catholic Church doesn’t give 4.7 billion dollars in charity. Catholics manage charities with donations of 4.7 billion. “Catholic” hospitals and colleges aren’t owned by the Vatican.

              I’m sure I could point out any moral point you make as more risable than modern Catholics.

              1.2 Billion people would disagree with you.

              The reason you know about the historical evil of the Catholic Church is that Catholics pointed it out centuries ago.

            • No, you are just babbling. Of the historians I read very few are Catholics. And their pointing out their own iniquities doesn’t make them any less evil.

              Catholic hospitals and colleges charge fees.

              All the Ctaholics in the world once believed that the earth was the centre of the universe – it didn’t make it true.

              You are indeed getting boring. I will delete any further comments from you.

            • Kevin VandeWettering

              Evidently there is something right about Islam. It’s survived 1400 years. 1.6 Billion Muslims find it beneficial to abide it or they wouldn’t do it.

            • liz

              Yes, it’s “beneficial” to abide by anything when the consequence of apostasizing from it is death.

  • Alex

    Yes, there is no contradiction between Christianity and Communism. The rebels of Donbass fight under the flags with hammer and sickle and Christ, together.

    https://ninabyzantina.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/mandylion-combined.jpg

    http://thesaker.is/beyond-left-and-right-beyond-red-and-white-framing-the-liberation-war-in-donbass/

    • Thank you for the telling and interesting link, Alex.

  • Bruce

    Just found this: http://www.makingmyway.org/?p=449

    I’d definately agree that communism is nothing more than an attempt to apply early (notably, not modern) Christian values sans god.

    • Thank you for the link, Bruce. I am keeping the article for reference.

      Is it possible to tell me briefly what you mean when you say there’s a difference between early and modern Christian values?

      • Bruce

        Modern Christian values strike me as pretty materialistic compared to early ones. Especially the rise of the “prosperity gospel” types and the Christian dominionists. There seems to be a very strong vein of “I earned it, I’m keeping it” (which is a heck of a lot smarter than giving up all possessions for Sky Daddy’s approval) as opposed of what was demonstrated in Acts, per the article above. Not to mention the huge difference in how the fate of the unbaptized young is regarded. Way back, there were church-approved horror stories that described the torments in hell of unbaptized infants, and now you have the whole “age of accountability” doctrine in Protestantism and similar views in Catholicism. It’s a complete 180 turn.

        • Thank you, Bruce. It seems to me that Christianity is fragmenting even more now than in the past. Some sects are communist-minded – addition to the liberation theologists – the World Council of Churches consistently backed Stalin and all his works. Some sects think they can accommodate Muslim beliefs, and some even actively support the Muslims who are persecuting Christians! There are Anglican men of the cloth who say outright that they do not believe in the Christian God or any god – and still keep their livings. But certain values persist. Recently there was an altercation on these pages between me and a Christian who called himself/herself Liz Smith. (I’ll say her from now on.) She demanded to know what I was doing, other than just saying things on this website, about Islamic terrorism – of which Christians are the most numerous victims after other Muslims. I told her that I do little now, but have in the past tried to track them down, set others stronger than I on their trail. My motivation was to seek justice – to try and help bring the perpetrators to condign punishment. Then I asked her what she was doing. It seems she and other Christians, in some organized way, were trying to bring succor to victims, their fellow Christians. No thought, no mention of justice. No dwelling of her imagination on the nature of the terrible crimes the murderers, enslavers, torturers, abductors, rapists committed. The old Christian nonsense about “hating the sin but loving the sinner” was what it was all about, and forgiveness – ie NOT holding the perpetrator responsible for what he does. For years I tried to work with Christians (extremely likable and highly intelligent people, some of them in positions of political power), but was never able to move them away from their pride in the brave way the victims they reached out to endured their fate. They spoke endlessly of martyrdom. There too, justice had no place. Now I know that the core difference between the morality of Judaism and the morality of Christianity is that while Judaism is in essence a morality of justice, Christianity is a morality of “love”. (I put that in quotation marks because I cannot believe that anyone can really love millions of people that they don’t know, and should NOT love monstrous criminals.) Obviously I approve of the justice- stress of Judaism (though much else about the religion is totally unacceptable to me). To my mind, the cult of martyrdom – which is a cult of death – characterizes C hristianity, not only in the past but very much in the present. I think it is the reason why so little is done or even said about the genocide of Christians being carried out now by Muslims in the Middle East and Africa – most appallingly in Nigeria.

          America has thousands of little Christian sects. Some of them, yes, say wealth is good. Ad yes, some – quite a lot – of them want the US to be a theocracy. In those ways – and no many more – modern in Christianity in America is different from St. Paul’s invention. But in essence it seems to me that Christianity (apart from the cult versions by cranks) s the same as it has always been, with all the moral faults it has always had, and with all the same certainty that it is the supremely – the uniquely – morally right religion.