Christendom is dead…long live Christianity!

We can rightly say that Christendom, which has dominated Western culture for over 1,600 years, is dead. Long live Christianity! I’ll explain what I mean in a moment. After long exchanges with atheists here about what Christianity is or isn’t, I thought I needed to address this head on, because if we think Hitler was a Christian, we’ve definitely lost the plot! But before I get to that, I’m personally very glad about the death of Christendom because we can finally stop conflating what Christianity is with a cultural and geopolitical religion.

For this reason, I think it’s more  appropriate to call our current situation a “post-Christendom” culture. I’m using the term Christendom in the historical sense…

“In its historical sense, the term usually refers to the Middle Ages and to the Early Modern period during which the Christian world represented a geopolitical power that was juxtaposed with both the pagan and especially the Muslim world.” (Wikipedia)

In other words, Christendom is a cultural and political power that may or may not express Christian values. Biblically speaking, Christianity, or the “Church,” is Christ’s body of believers on the earth made up of those who have given their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and are empowered by His Spirit by faith to follow His teaching.

Conversely, you cannot say you’re following Christ if you’re not actually following Christ. I know that’s deep, but Jesus made it pretty clear.

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

When Christianity became a legal religion in the fourth-century Roman Empire, the idea of Church began a slow but significant shift away from what it was during the first three centuries. I wrote about this in “How Constantine Changed Christianity” so I won’t belabor the subject here.

What is a Christian?

Jesus defines what it means to be His follower, not religious organizations or individuals. The New Testament expands on what Jesus’ said.

The biblical term “Christian” (Acts 11:26) simply means “follower of Christ.” And that should look like something.

For instance, as a disciple of Christ begins to submit him or herself to Christ’s teachings and with Holy Spirit, he or she should begin a transformative trajectory toward looking and acting like Jesus.

Christianity is not a club you can join or because you were born into a Christian home. It doesn’t matter if you go to church, although believers do meet together in church gatherings. And there are believers in every Christian denomination.

Christianity doesn’t have grandchildren. Every person must make their own decision to leave their self-absorbed lives to follow Christ. It’s a lifestyle of faith and trust in Christ and a progressive change in mindset (called repentance, renewing your mind).

To be a “Christian” is to consider yourself “dead to self but alive in Christ” (Romans 6). We see Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as our death, burial, and resurrection. Our life is now hidden in Christ.

3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Col.3:3 NIV)

As I’ve said many times, you could sum up all of Christ’s teachings and those of the New Testament as other-centered, self-giving love. It ultimately looks like the Cross of Christ. Whatever doesn’t have this value is not a Christian value.

In practice, these values look like walking in forgiveness, humility, not seeking revenge, loving your enemies, not being greedy, covetous, manipulative, not treating the other sex as objects of self-gratification, not judging others, and treating others as you would want to be treated.

A Christian is changed from the inside-out. Paul told us that our new life is not based on following religious rituals or rules but upon receiving His love and grace by faith, and if we’re following Him our lives should begin to reflect the good fruit of that love.

22–23 But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:

joy that overflows,
peace that subdues,
patience that endures,
kindness in action,
a life full of virtue,
faith that prevails,
gentleness of heart, and
strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. (Gal.5:22-23 TPT)

John said if we say we love God but hate others we are liars (1 John 4:20-21). This is the only true way we know that someone has been following Christ. These characteristics begin to be revealed in their transformed lives.

All of these ideals can only be truly lived out by being empowered by God’s grace.

11 God’s marvelous grace has manifested in person, bringing salvation for everyone. 12 This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age.  (Titus 2:11-12 TPT)

God is love, therefore “ungodliness” is whenever one acts contrary to God, which always in in other-centered, self-giving love.

What a pivotal time to be living in!

With the veneer of Christendom being peeled off of people’s minds, we can see the true bride of Christ begin to shine forth in stark contrast to the darkness and confusion of our culture (Isa.60:1-4). We’re no longer religious orphans driven by fear but sons and daughters compelled by our Father’s love.

And we’re not here to proclaim judgment. Our ministry is to proclaim liberation from bondage and sin and to declare reconciliation to God.

19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Cor.5:19-20 NIV)

As we connect our hearts to Christ, we are connecting heaven to earth. And everyone is invited in join in. It’s called the good news that brings great joy.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 38 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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120 Responses to Christendom is dead…long live Christianity!

  1. John Branyan says:

    Interesting take, Mel. I’d not heard Christianity differentiated from Christendom. I’m doubtful that Atheists will care since conflating the two is helpful to perpetuating their worldview.

    Christianity is astoundingly simple to understand. So, people add layers of complexity in order to justify “ministries” of various shapes and sizes. I was at a church recently and the “Minister of Engagement” was my contact person. Not trying to be disagreeable but, I think we still have a long way to go before Christendom is actually “dead”.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You can see from KIA’s and Jim’s comments below that what you said is true. You’ll definitely hear from them if their straw man version of Christianity is messed with.

      I do agree that there’s a lot of “ministry” still going on that’s more program driven than what the core of Christianity is about, but Christendom itself was (and arguably still is to a degree) a cultural phenomenon of the West and a geopolitical power. The Holy Roman Empire first, later Christianized Europe and America. A lot of good things came from it, too, but it totally confused what it means to follow Christ. Instead it became a cultural religion for many.

      • John Branyan says:

        Western Christianity is awash with church “brands” that are promoted over the simple gospel. T-shirts with church logos are everywhere. Ask the people wearing the shirt what they believe and the answer is, “Our church is awesome!” When these dimwits encounter atheist dimwits, it creates the perfect, fundamentalist storm.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ask the people wearing the shirt what they believe and the answer is, “Our church is awesome!” When these dimwits encounter atheist dimwits, it creates the perfect, fundamentalist storm.

          Unfortunately, that’s true. The rank-and-file Western Christian has a pretty poor understanding of why Jesus matters. And, as you said, the real power of the Gospel is simple, so people are transformed without understanding the theology behind it. The problem is, they are taught what to believe instead of how to believe. Then they get attacked by ex-Christians who also don’t understand why Jesus matters. Voila!

    • Mel Wild says:

      I thought this short clip explained what I mean by Christendom pretty well (and how we got here)

  2. KIA says:

    How fortunate to be able to accept and take credit for all the good Christianity has done and simply dismsd the bad as “not truly Christianity” but merely Christendom. Congratulations all around.

    • jim- says:

      Whether intensional or not, the natural outcome of Christianity leads to an affinity for torture and misery. The creators of the religion either couldn’t see the miserable effects, or they could. Incompetent or intentional? Doesn’t matter anymore. The propaganda is so thick you can taste it like garlic in yogurt.

      • KIA says:

        Nope Jim. You have it wrong again, silly atheist, truth is for Christians. “Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord” if it isn’t good and perfect it must be Satan’s work. Amen

        • jim- says:

          The two opposing forces seem to mix quite freely, and with divine command and grace anything goes. However, Mel does call for some decent behavior in the post. Have to give him credit for that. However you prop it up, less religiosity has led to safer society, but unchecked Abrahamic faith? History lessons show us that free-range religions have a habit of imposition.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Whether intensional or not, the natural outcome of Christianity leads to an affinity for torture and misery.

        So, following Christ naturally leads to torture and misery? Wow! You sound like you have some unresolved issues.

        • jim- says:

          Not me Mel, the history of Christianity and torture is not pockets of crazy little masochists forcing their communities, but widespread in virtually every hamlet. One thing leads to another, and faith leads to force. Even in the micro (families) it bares out as mere routine. Daddy finds jesus after the enormities of his youth, then the kids are force fed, indoctrinated, protected from the evil secular world and restricted from academia—then doomsday looms and isolation. Daddy uses his freewill (once he finds god) to take away my freewill at every opportunity. Happened to me, it’s happening at many of my neighbors homes right this minute, and the Abrahamic world is full to the brim of this behavior. It is the natural course. Whether intentional or not, it’s the way it is.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Not sure how this relates to what I said. Anybody can certainly point to a lot of atrocities in history done in the name of Christ, but the point is, they did these things in total opposition to Christ’s teachings, and they will be judged for what they have done. In fact, it’s especially evil when done in the name of the One who loved us so much He died for us. But, again, this is not an argument against following Christ; it’s an argument for evil people projecting their issues on others and calling it Christian. You cannot find any teaching of Christ (or the New Testament) that would condone any form of bondage or torture. Quite the opposite.

        • jim- says:

          I agree Mel, but I also don’t. It is a package deal, and as one thing leads to another, so do the steps of region lead to another step. The outcomes have a long, long history. While love is the greatest commandment, the system of faith/religion leads to the eventual misery of all those who don’t believe if religion is left unchecked. The past 200 years things have stabilized. Is that because of more religiosity? No, of course not. Each generation is worse than the last according to the statements, yet here we are statistically the safest time in history to be alive. Not because of faith, but in spite of it.

        • John Branyan says:

          “While love is the greatest commandment, the system of faith/religion leads to the eventual misery of all those who don’t believe if religion is left unchecked. ”
          Who would you suggest be put in charge of keeping religion in check?

        • jim- says:

          Fortunately we have a separation of. church and here in the US. Other countries are not so fortunate. There are those in our country that want theocracy, or at least want religions influences to be unchallengeable. Any disagreement is a “war on christianity” which is absolute knee-jerk propaganda.

        • John Branyan says:

          So…
          Who do you suggest be put in charge of keeping religion in check?

        • jim- says:

          Your deflecting the failures of 1000+ years of domination/majority religiously and politically, and according to your 70-80% majority things are the worst in the history of the world. What would make it all better for you, a post 1979 Iran? That’s what happens when abrahamic religion gets its way. It’s very obvious when you tune out the apologetics.

        • John Branyan says:

          Didn’t see an answer to the question question. Who do you think should be given authority to tune out apologetics and prevent abrahamic religion from getting its way?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Your deflecting the failures of 1000+ years of domination/majority religiously and politically, and according to your 70-80% majority things are the worst in the history of the world.

          And you are conflating these failures with the teachings of Christ, rather than the failure of human beings to actually follow Christ. And, besides, that’s all we ever hear are the failures of the church in the public discourse! Certainly nothing to hide there. Unfortunately, that’s about all most people know about Christian history.

          Here’s my point. All you have to do is look at the teachings of Jesus and see if you can directly correlate this history of misery and suffering to what Jesus taught, what He himself said is needed if someone wants to follow Him. If you are honest, I think you will find that evil humans who were doing the very opposite are at the bottom of these things, and they are nothing like the Christians who are following Christ around the world that never receive mention. Even a superficial examination of history would reveal yours as a sweeping generalization fallacy.

        • jim- says:

          Jesus said a few good things no doubt. He also said if you’ve seen him you’ve seen the father, and we all know how that worked out. All I’m saying Mel, is the system of yours leads to this misery. And the more faith and less evidence for belief the better. Less evidence = more faith = more zealots and then opresión. At first on a personal scale then family then country. It works. I can illustrate it in a diagram and compare it to every society of unfiltered monotheism. This is a system that leads to essential sharia 101. I do think you mean well but abrahamic faith is the epitome of unintended consequences.

        • John Branyan says:

          “All I’m saying Mel, is the system of yours leads to this misery.”
          Please explain. I can’t find a single teaching of Christ that leads to oppression and misery.
          You seem to be forcing your personal religion on Mel.

        • jim- says:

          All the comments are there john. You have yet to observe this very basic fact. It’s pretty easy unless your just looking to bury my points in a sea of comments

        • John Branyan says:

          Jimbo – I’m eager to hear your points. You have levied the charge that Christianity leads to oppression and misery. I’m not taking your word for it.
          Give me a single teaching of Christ that leads to oppression and misery.

        • Mel Wild says:

          All I’m saying Mel, is the system of yours leads to this misery.

          All I’m saying is you’re making a sweeping generalization that is fallacious.
          So, you have empirical proof that this is always true? Christianity always leads to misery and suffering? And, even when it is true, you need to answer, did the misery and suffering come as a direct result of Jesus’ teachings or did it come as a result of human beings doing something otherwise?

        • jim- says:

          His teachings obviously lead to human beings doing otherwise. Well said Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, Jesus’ teachings would lead a person to other-centered love, not causing misery and suffering.

        • jim- says:

          Mel, to illustrate my point, the entire point of your post is trying to separate the Christianity from what Christianity has caused. You want to call the oil bad and the oil-well good. You have admitted by presenting this post that it is a global failure and has to be redone to be appealing. You are trying to walk away from the effects of religion and continue investing in this sunk-cost fallacious life by repackaging the same thing.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I’m not trying to walk away from anything. Pointing out the evils of things done in the name of “Christianity” in history is talked about all the time! People know a lot more about these things than any of the good things that were done. It’s no secret. But you seem to want to deny the good things in history done by Christians who were actually following Christ.

          My point is that you cannot show me anywhere where Christ would condone any of these evil things done in His name,so the only logical conclusion that one can make is that these were done contrary to Christian values, not because of them. Jesus will tell these people, “I never knew you. Get away from Me you evil people.” (Matt.7:23)

          Again, this is NOT to condone or deny what evil things were done in the name of Christianity. It’s to say that these things were not Christian values according to Christ. They were done by evil people. Period. And evil things are still being done by evil people that have nothing whatsoever to do with religion or Christianity. So, yours is a genetic fallacy.

        • jim- says:

          Mel your mistaken. Literally every sect has broken away because it wasn’t producing the desired outcome. It’s not a genetic fallacy but a observable reality. I completely understand the defense mechanisms when so much time and so much mental fortitude has been invested in a lost cause. It’s a lot like socialists, thinking this time they’ll get it right, but the ideology is flawed from the onset. Christianity has proven itself to be the same effort.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Haha. First, that’s a fallacious straw man that totally ignores all the good things we’ve inherited from Christian values. Second, failure in following an ideology is because of flawed human nature. The fact is, we still have a LOT of evil things being done without religion or Christianity. Much more evil has been done for political reasons than any other. Almost all violence done in America today is not related to Christian values at all. The unprecedented and exponential rise in school shootings has nothing to do with Christianity. The 20th century was full of evil things done in the name of secular progress. Science gave us the atom bomb and biological weapons of mass destruction. If you strip Christianity away from culture you still have evil people doing evil things. You can hide from it if you want to and blame it all on Christianity or religion, it doesn’t change the facts.

          And, if you are right, and Christ’s teachings are to blame, then you should be able to show me that these evil things were done according to Christ’s teachings, because following Christ is the definition being a Christian. Still waiting…

        • jim- says:

          “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
          ‭‭Mark‬ ‭16:15‬ ‭
          “And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”
          ‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:5‬ ‭KJV‬‬

          Our laws are not their laws. Our laws are to set one above another and maintain a divide. Sort of a Jim Crow kinda love.

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, you’re quoting Scripture where Jesus says that we’re not to force Christianity on people but let them make their own choice is evil. Are you making a point here?

          Our laws are not their laws. Our laws are to set one above another and maintain a divide. Sort of a Jim Crow kinda love.

          Sorry, this is just incoherent. And I’m not interesting in your opinion. I would like you to show me where Jesus’ teachings lead to misery and suffering in our culture.

        • jim- says:

          Your going to excuse the Luke scripture of wiping the dust off their feet as a testimony against them? We all know the symbolism Mel. Of course, who knows what jesus really said since nothing you have is actually his. Just some guesses that from the starting gate set people apart from one another.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, I know what it means. So, how does letting people reject Jesus cause misery and suffering in our culture?

        • Jim, now you do realize that you are quoting from the 4th-century Hellenized Gentile Christological slanted version of the Gospels and not necessarily from Yeshua’s/Jesus’ Sectarian Second Temple Judaic/Messianic version, yes!? 😉 😛

        • jim- says:

          Lol. Common people…

        • True. The ones who know or understand very little about the FULL context of Jesus’ world and have no idea they read (if they do at all) a modern “bible” that is severely amputated and slanted. Good point. 😉

        • John Branyan says:

          BRAVO!
          We must always remember that nobody has the FULL context on any subject since numerous data points from myriad sources past, present and future means the truth will always be evolving. The only thing we know is that we can never know.
          BRAVOOOOO!

        • jim- says:

          On top of that, you pointing out other problems outside of religions problems is a masterful deflection of the obvious.

        • Mel Wild says:

          On top of that, you pointing out other problems outside of religions problems is a masterful deflection of the obvious.

          LOL! Now look who’s deflecting.

        • jim- says:

          I gave you your refresher scriptures mel. No deflecting. You have nothing

        • Mel Wild says:

          And you’re in denial of the obvious point. If you can point out the evils done in the name of “Christianity,” which I readily admit were done, then you MUST ALSO accept that this is not just a Christian problem. You must face the fact that murderous and evil people like atheists Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Stalin did in the 20th century, or that secular science gave us eugenics and weapons of mass destruction that can cause human extinction, that have NOTHING whatsoever to do with Christianity and are arguably the most evil and frightening things ever imagined in the mind of man.

          No, sir, I’m sorry to burst your anger bubble here, but you are the one who is cherry-picking history and in denial of the inherent human problem facing all humankind.

          So, unless you can provide evidence that the misery and suffering caused by “Christians” were based on Jesus’ teachings, your argument is fallacious.

        • jim- says:

          I don’t get angry mel. Your projecting. When you feel every argument is fallacious, it goes full circle to the fact this is the type of argument religion generates from its core. Fallacy? Funny thing Mel, if you look up the fallacies website, virtually every category has religious examples. It’s so easy to see unless you employ faith. The key to the mysteries is unbelief. This is about like listening to an alcoholic that only had “2drinks”. Late into the night we go with roundabout explanations when the answer is as plain as the nose on my face. And I have a big nose buddy.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You don’t get angry. Right. Well, you come across just like a de-convert who is angry about Christianity. Like an angry-ex you only see what’s wrong with your former lover and deny any evidence that would point otherwise. Besides, I really am not interested in your opinions about Christianity. You can prove me wrong by pointing to a teaching of Jesus that leads to misery and suffering in our culture. You made the accusation, you must back up your claim. And we both know that the answer to that one is as plain as the nose on our faces.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You want to call the oil bad and the oil-well good.

          So, if the “oil well” is bad, you certainly can show me what teaching of Christ would lead one to do evil things.

        • John Branyan says:

          Still waiting for a specific teaching of Jesus that leads to oppression and misery.
          Please support your point.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Hey John, Jim seems to think he answered your question with this verse (I provided two translations):

          And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” (Luke 9:5 NKJV)

          The Message Bible says it this way:

          “If you’re not welcomed, leave town. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on.” (Luke 9:5 MSG)

          And the Matthew version says “If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”

          Apparently, this is causing all kinds of misery and suffering in Jim’s world. Sounds like a first world problem to me. No, I don’t think he answered your question either.

        • John Branyan says:

          Jim blocked me on his blog awhile ago.
          He doesn’t like being asked to support his statements.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Your inconvenient interruption with the obvious wouldn’t look good on his echo chamber when they’re busy congratulating each other on how much smarter and more insightful they are than us.

        • For Jim,

          We may have discussed this briefly over on other more grounded, more equitable blogs somewhere, but it applies here for you and your stance on the overall status and condition of the world and humanity compared to 50, 100, even 200 or 500 years ago. From Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor, who says (and with the facts/stats to back it up) “why the world is actually becoming a much better place” to live. It is an outstanding interview in the Washington Post earlier this year. Here are some excerpts:

          Looking at the news, we often think things are getting worse and worse. However, in your book, you make the powerful and deeply researched argument that things are actually getting better. Can you please explain this conundrum?

          Pinker: Think about it: If you arrived in a new city and saw that it was raining, would you conclude, “The rain has gotten worse”? How could you tell, unless you knew how much it had rained before that day? Yet people read about a war or terrorist attack this morning and conclude that violence is increasing, which is just as illogical. In fact, rates of war have been roller-coastering downward since 1946, rates of American homicide have plunged since 1992, and rates of disease, starvation, extreme poverty, illiteracy and dictatorship, when they are measured by a constant yardstick, have all decreased — not to zero, but by a lot.

          But even if civilization is improving from a birds-eye view over the long-term, things can get still worse for many years in the short-term, right?

          Pinker: Progress is not the same as magic. There are always blips and setbacks, and sometimes horrific lurches, like the Spanish flu pandemic, World War II and the post-1960s crime boom. Progress takes place when the setbacks are fewer, less severe or stop altogether. Clearly we have to be mindful of the worst possible setback, namely nuclear war, and of the risk of permanent reversals, such as the worst-case climate change scenarios. … Of course life is bad for those people with the worst possible lives, and that will be true until the rates of war, crime, disease and poverty are exactly zero. The point is that there are far fewer people living in nightmares of war and disease.

          Is this optimistic outlook primarily U.S.-centric or does it vary dramatically depending on the part of the world?

          Pinker: The progress is not particularly American — indeed, the United States is an outlier among rich Western democracies, with a stagnation in happiness and higher rates of homicide, incarceration, abortion, sexually transmitted disease, child mortality, obesity, educational mediocrity and premature death.

          The countries with the highest levels of well-being are in Western Europe and the [British] Commonwealth, and the countries with the most dramatic improvements in well-being are in the developing world, which are slashing their rates of poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy. And while inequality is increasing in the United States, it’s decreasing in the world as a whole, because poor countries are getting richer faster than rich countries are getting richer.

          […]

          Although you argue against extreme political and religious views, many of the humanistic values you extol have for centuries been promoted by spiritual and philosophical traditions. Are you arguing for a secular society?

          Pinker: Yes, I believe in the First Amendment prohibition of an established religion, and any other attempt to make collective decisions based on parochial dogmas rather than universally agreed-upon reasons. But many religions themselves have evolved to incorporate the lessons of the Enlightenment, and have de-emphasized supernatural beliefs and Iron Age morality in favor of our best understanding of reality and the ideal of universal human flourishing.

          I highly recommend reading the full interview. It is excellent! I’ll give the Wash Post link in the next comment since Mel moderates comments with links — hence, he’ll have to eventually approve it. It can be found by a Google search too, entitled “A Harvard professor explains why the world is actually becoming a much better place.” 🙂

          With these hard global facts Dr. Pinker provides it certainly shows that the problem of evil ultimately winning the Earth(?) is a diminishing delusion as long as more and more humans, societies, and nations become increasingly more educated with BROAD curriculums and perpetually improving fields of study thru under-grad to post-grad — two big ones: neurology and psychology (mental-illness & care)! These two sciences are making HUGE strides, along with genetics!

          All that said, we still do indeed have many pockets in the world with horribly poor education standards where only one, maybe two subjects are taught up to about an 8th-grade or 9th-grade level. Those regions/cultures are typically the ones with the highest rates of superstitions or religiosity as you appropriately mentioned. 😦

          Great comments btw Jim.

        • John Branyan says:

          Jim claims that the teachings of Jesus lead to oppression and misery.
          Do you agree?

    • Mel Wild says:

      How fortunate to be able to accept and take credit for all the good Christianity has done…

      Say what? What am I taking credit for? So, are you saying that Jesus cannot define what it looks like to follow Him?

      • KIA says:

        Mel, your post is one big “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Haha. I have no idea how you got that from this post. Not sure you understand what a No True Scotsman fallacy is. You must’ve heard that from Tildeb. Ask him. He’ll explain it to you.

        • KIA says:

          Really no idea at all? How about I paraphrase what I understand your post to overall be saying?
          “All that bad stuff… Not christianity but Christendom. Because… No True Christian would do those things. Must be all those religious people Misusing christianity” no true Scotsman in a nut shell.

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, how does “no true Scotsman” apply here? The point of this post was to differentiate Christendom (a geopolitical power that dominates a culture or country), which “may or may not express Christian values,” with what it means to be a Christian, biblically speaking.

        • KIA says:

          Yup. You did your best to muddy the waters from what you were really trying to say, but in the end, it’s still a No True (Scotsman) Christian fallacy post. Have a good day.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yup, you make accusations without providing any proof. Typical. Have a good day.

        • KIA says:

          Not so much a personal accusation as an observation. You’re testy today

        • Mel Wild says:

          Testy? Right. Whatever. What evidence do you have to back up your “observation” about what you think I meant. Exactly how does this post represent a No True Scotsman fallacy? Be specific.

        • John Branyan says:

          Pastor Mike is trolling you, Mel.
          “Have A Nice Day” is a sufficient response to anything he says.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Obviously. Makes a great case in point, though.

        • John Branyan says:

          The “mistreated non-believer” act doesn’t work anymore. The atheists launch their insipid comments into the conversation and claim any response is proof of abuse. It’s boring.

          I’m currently waiting on replies from KIA, Nan, and Jim. I’m not expecting replies because that requires thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness is hard.

        • KIA says:

          Mel, I was trying to respond to jb. My comment is being held in moderation. As Elvis once said “Please release me, let me go”

        • KIA says:

          Might even say “easily angered” per the opposite of 1 Cor 13

        • KIA says:

          Ru sure you’re a True Christian ™ ?

    • John Branyan says:

      Christianity is repenting of your sins and striving to live a Holy life.
      There’s nothing “bad” in that.
      Have a Nice Day!

      • Nan says:

        But see, JB … the question then becomes, what is a “Holy life”? There are children who die because their parents think it’s “Holy” to deny medication and instead “pray” for their recovery. There are those who think it’s “Holy” to murder or beat up gays, blacks, and other “deviants.”

        I understand where you’re coming from, but this is why there’s so much discussion on exactly what Christianity is. It’s easy to sit back and make a proclamation on its meaning, but oftentimes it doesn’t play out in real life. And this is often because self-definition is the culprit.

        • John Branyan says:

          Can you think of any examples of leading a holy life has caused good things to happen? Most people don’t equate holiness with beatings and child abuse. As you said, it’s easy to sit back and make proclamations.

        • Nan says:

          Perhaps the word “holy” is the culprit. Going along with Mel’s blog topic, maybe a better description would be “striving to live a Christ-centered life.”

          You realize, I’m sure, the primary reason atheists and non-believers react and fight back on Christian blogs is because it’s so easy to SAY things about what Christianity is but so few actually demonstrate it. Naturally, each self-professed believer thinks they are representative of bible teachings, but too often their actions (and words) indicate otherwise.

          No, in answer to your unspoken come-back, atheists are not the final judge. But when Christians try to insert themselves into the lives of non-believers, it’s human nature to resist.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Going along with Mel’s blog topic, maybe a better description would be “striving to live a Christ-centered life.”

          Yes, that would be what holiness looks like. The word, “holy” (hagios) simply means dedicated or separated. When we choose to follow Christ we’re moving away from a self-indulgent lifestyle to one compelled by love to live other-centered (2 Cor.5:14-15). Of course, no one is doing it perfectly but that’s the heart of it.

          You realize, I’m sure, the primary reason atheists and non-believers react and fight back on Christian blogs is because it’s so easy to SAY things about what Christianity is but so few actually demonstrate it.

          That’s very true. And I actually think that many of the “rank and file” Western Christians are not even taught to go deeper than a superficial belief in Jesus. They react in fear more than love. That is the problem, and I am against that kind of “Christianity” as much as anyone.

          But following Christ always results in a progressive transformation, and it happens in the crucible of putting our mind and hearts on the potters wheel, if you will, to be molded and shaped into the image of Christ. A lot of human beings, especially in the affluent West, prefer the comfort of remaining unchanged and self-indulgent. This is usually where the ugliness rears its head under the guise of Christianity.

          But whether people are demonstrating Christ-centeredness or not has nothing do with what it means to follow Christ. And there are examples of Christian believers around the world who are doing a good job of exemplifying Christ-centered lives, at the cost of their own comfort and, for some, putting their own lives in danger. But we never hear about them. We’re just interested in what’s wrong (which is another human issue!)

          No, in answer to your unspoken come-back, atheists are not the final judge. But when Christians try to insert themselves into the lives of non-believers, it’s human nature to resist.

          Let me say this. Every person has a right to call injustice or evil for what it is. If a “Christian” is doing it, they should be called on it. There is no excuse for doing wrong. And, certainly, resistence to someone trying to force themselves on anyone. Hey, I resist when atheists come here and insert their dogmatic certitudes about naturalism. That’s human nature.

          I, along with a lot of believers, are seeing the beginnings of this shift that I’m talking about, and we are hopeful that the church will get its act together and get back to following Christ instead of just about everything else. It may take a 100 years to see significant change but it’s worth the fight (against ourselves) because of what Christ offers the world is nothing short of breathtaking and transformational. We certainly need to get the log out of our own eye. But the first thing that needs to happen is that we have to prune back to what following Jesus actually is (according to Jesus). We’re far from that at this time.

        • Nan says:

          We’re far from that at this time. — A-WOMEN to that!!

        • John Branyan says:

          Christ-centered life is fine with me if you prefer that term.

          If I understand your comments, you are expressing opposition to hypocrisy. We completely agree that many (probably ALL) Christians fail to live fully Christ-centered lives. There are certainly self-professed believers who think they represent bible teachings.

          But surely the solution is not to abandon virtuous principles because “nobody lives by them”. The Atheist suggestion that Christian theology is the cause of society’s ills…is ludicrous. Atheism, being merely a lack of belief, offers no suggestions for proper living. You can’t live a lack-of-belief-in-God centered life.

          So…do you have a suggestion for how we should deal with hypocrisy?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So…do you have a suggestion for how we should deal with hypocrisy?

          As an atheist, Jim’s answer would logically have to be, no. As you know, atheists claim to be content and belief free, which means they have to borrow from outside of atheism in order to make any moral judgment at all. Furthermore, one cannot call someone a hypocrite without first defining what the genuine person is, and in order to do that, you must appeal to some moral standard or ethic. And if this is a subjective standard, as some suggest, then who’s to say who is the hypocrite?

          So, logically (and ironically), an atheist cannot call Christians hypocrites without first appealing to Christian standards with which to judge the person’s behavior. And if they say we’re not being “Christlike,” they’re appealing to Christ and admitting that Christian values are something different than the straw man examples in Christian history they love to point out. Of course, then we’re back to the argument of my post. That’s why you probably won’t get an answer.

        • John Branyan says:

          I’m not expecting an answer. I’m just hoping they will ponder the question.

          And if Nan has a solution to hypocrisy I sincerely would love to hear it.

      • KIA says:

        Jb, please define “sin” and “holy” for me.

      • KIA says:

        Jb, please define the terms “sin” and “holy” for me

  3. This is awesome, Mel. I appreciate your clarity. Also, I was just delighting in ye olde saying, “The King is dead. Long live the King.” That’s always struck me as somewhat comical, but in faith it has some profound connotations.

    It’s actually not “religion unchecked” that gives us problems, it’s human power left unchecked. You can take the “religion” out of the equation and you still have the problem of people. Many atheists believe that the problem is just religion, so in their line of thinking, if we just remove the “religion” part, we will have solved the problem. But history, facts, truth on the ground, clearly demonstrate that some of our greatest humanitarian failings, from the early Roman Empire to Pol Pot, were not born of Christianity at all, but rather tyranny and the human will to power, power left unchecked.

    That said, I to frequently complain about religion, bureaucracy, Christiandom, and churchians. Churchians often leave me confused,like are you actually following Jesus Christ or the institution of churchianity? We aren’t called to be living in no institution. Just saying. 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      It’s actually not “religion unchecked” that gives us problems, it’s human power left unchecked. You can take the “religion” out of the equation and you still have the problem of people.

      THAT’S exactly it! Ding ding! 🙂 You win the prize. 🙂

      But history, facts, truth on the ground, clearly demonstrate that some of our greatest humanitarian failings, from the early Roman Empire to Pol Pot, were not born of Christianity at all, but rather tyranny and the human will to power, power left unchecked.

      Yes, let’s wait a couple hundred years and see how many more secular atrocities we will witness. More murders in the 20th century, under the hopeful age of secular progress, than all of human history combined! Religion didn’t invent eugenics, the atom bomb, and biological weapons of mass destruction. What’s interesting is that most non-government atrocities in the Western world from the 20th Century on are not religiously motivated either. For instance, the exponential uptick in school shootings are not religiously motivated. And our supposed affluence in the secular West is only made possible by taking advantage of the poorest countries in the world!
      Meet the new boss…same as the old boss! LOL!

  4. I don’t believe in atheists. Agnosticism I understand. It is scientifically impossible. In order to make that statement about,” there is no God” a person must have all knowledge; he/she must know everything. The smartest person in the world would have less than 1 percent of all knowledge, but even if this person had 2 percent of all knowledge, they would have to admit God might exist within the remaining 98 percent of the knowledge they don’t have. It is impossible to claim something doesn’t exist if you don’t know everything. An agnostic is a person who says, “I don’t know if there is a God”.
    Just my opinion based on science. If you wanted to go biblical, one could say ,”it is foolish to say there is no God”, Psalm 14:1.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I agree with you. Agnosticism makes sense, atheism doesn’t.

    • John Branyan says:

      Brace yourself.
      You’re about to be hit with the “Atheism Is Not A Belief” Hammer…

    • Nan says:

      In essence, Virginia, we cannot say a god (of any religion) exists any more than we can say a god doesn’t exist. It’s essentially an unknown factor — on either side. Where the dispute comes in is when people claim their view is the “correct” view.

      The agnostic is actually the smart one because s/he simply says “I don’t know.”

      • Mel Wild says:

        So, then, Nan, if I understand you correctly, you cannot fault someone for believing in God since you cannot prove what they believe to be wrong. Is that correct?

        • Nan says:

          Why does “fault” enter the picture at all? Thousands believe. Thousands more do not. It’s as simple as that. What creates the “problem” (and I use the term loosely) is both sides try to convince the other side they’re the ones that are “wrong.”

          I don’t deny that from my personal perspective, believers are living in a fantasy world. But until they discover/accept/agree/recognize this, they aren’t going to change. End of story.

          Of course, as any dedicated writer will tell you — no “story” is complete without “tension.” 🙂

        • Mel Wild says:

          Good point. I agree. The person who actually committed the evil should be blamed, not a worldview, especially when what they’re doing totally contradicts what they say they believe.

          And I don’t deny that from my personal perspective that atheism is ontologically incoherent, and I can logically prove it. But until they discover/accept/agree recognize this, they aren’t going to change. So there we are.

          And tension is good, otherwise I wouldn’t even write these posts.

        • John Branyan says:

          Nan writes: “You realize, I’m sure, the primary reason atheists and non-believers react and fight back on Christian blogs is because it’s so easy to SAY things about what Christianity is but so few actually demonstrate it. ”

          Nan also writes: “What creates the “problem” (and I use the term loosely) is both sides try to convince the other side they’re the ones that are “wrong.”

          I don’t recall ever telling Nan she’s “wrong”. She’s never actually told me what she believes now that she’s de-converted. I’d wager that she won’t even elaborate on what “fantasy world” believers live in.

        • John Branyan says:

          How am I living in a fantasy world? What do I need to discover/accept/agree/recognize in order to join reality?

  5. jim- says:

    The definition of Christendom is the result of Christian teaching. In a nutshell

    • John Branyan says:

      You ever going to tell us the teaching of Jesus that leads to oppression and misery?
      Or were you just saying random nonsense?

      • jim- says:

        Already left one and your scripture promotes an attitude of division from the get go. And that wasn’t even the conversation. I said the system leads to oppressions at a family, community, and national level against children, non believers, and even amongst yourselves, along with pastors that shout incoherence whenever a solid argument is presented. Your asking for something you already have the answer to, and the fact is that your system of belief, unchecked, has caused problems from the onset. The scripture even warns that these things will come because of it. Everybody will hate everybody for HIS name sake. True dat

        • Mel Wild says:

          Wow, you’re coming unhinged. There isn’t a single thing you said here that answers JB’s question or is even coherent.

        • John Branyan says:

          When you first said “the system” leads to oppression I was concerned that you had discovered some oppressive doctrine in Christianity. Now I understand that you’re talking about some other religion that has nothing to do with Jesus.
          That’s a relief!

        • jim- says:

          You can’t separate the two. Christendom is the result of Christ and his teaching. Period. You and Mel distancing yourselves from the disaster of a religion is a good idea.

        • John Branyan says:

          LOL.
          Thanks for playing, Jim.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Even though you can’t support your claim. Right.

        • jim- says:

          “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
          ‭‭Luke‬ ‭14:26‬ ‭KJV‬‬
          It must be hard mel for so much obviosisity to be chipping away. You know this one? This is a gem, but I’m sure there’s another tiring explanation. Jesus wasn’t a nice person, and if this is what a god does for fun, hate to see him mad, if he existed outside of ya’lls imaginations.

        • Mel Wild says:

          What’s obvious is that you have no understanding of this verse.

        • jim- says:

          This is the key to Christianity… confusion. Read that verse (and others) to an unindoctinated lost soul and they understand it perfectly–First try. It is only after the preachers get ahold of them with the long list of excuses does the true nature of your god get buried in the massive warehouse of make believe

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, I suppose you also believe that Jesus told us to literally cut off our hands and pluck out our eyes if they cause us to sin, too? Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of Luke 14:26 would know Jesus doesn’t mean to literally hate your family. This is not about some religious kook leaving his family because he “got religion.” You can’t just pluck verses out of their context and culture and make conclusions. For instance, IN CONTEXT, Jesus is talking about the cost of discipleship throughout chapter 14. He’s talking about where our allegiance lies when you have to choose between following Jesus or putting your allegiance more in your cultural setting (family, friends, etc.) The Message Bible puts it this way: “If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower. You must love me more than your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—even more than your own life!” What does that mean in context of the cost of discipleship.

          I know this is hard to take in our self-absorbed affluent West where everything is about comfort and nobody tells us what to do, but to be a follower of Christ in Jesus’ day cost something. These followers would be ostracized by their families, their synagogues (or pagan temples), often hunted down, persecuted and arrested. If their families did join them into Christianity, they would experience the same persecution and ostracization. It literally meant losing everything. Even today, if you get away from our cozy and comfortable West, people who choose to follow Christ are still facing these kinds of costs. I have a ministry friend in Pakistan. When they become Christians there, they lose everything. Their jobs, their (Muslim or Hindu) family disowns them, and many end up having to sell their children because they can’t feed them (my friend’s ministry involves buying them back for them).

          So, Jesus is NOT saying to literally hate your family. The Greek word for hate also means “let go.” Literal hate would be absurd and totally out of context. He’s saying, you have to make a choice and it will cost you. You may lose everything and it could be a matter of life and death. But, no, the misery comes from the persecutors, not the followers of Christ. You have it backwards.

          What’s ironic here is that by quoting Luke 14:26, you are making a distinction between following Jesus and Christendom. For there is no cost to be a “Christian” in cultural Christendom. It’s part of your culture and everyone will think well of you because you think and act exactly like them.

        • jim- says:

          I knew if I provided obvious evidence you’d have an excuse. I even used king James. No watering needed!

        • Mel Wild says:

          I suppose if someone told you today they were “bad” (meaning cool), or that they worked so hard they ran out of gas, you would insist that they were literally bad people who ingested gasoline.

          Sorry, Jim, you are making an absurd argument here. You cannot ignore the context and culture and idioms of the people it was written to. Quoting King James won’t help you there. No one in their right mind would honestly suggest that Jesus was talk about literally hating people.

        • jim- says:

          How about the obvious effect of this gem “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
          ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭‬‬
          And how about his Noah story references. Seems like he was influenced by a phony fable passed down. If he was who he says, he would’ve corrected this myth, not encourage it “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Need I go on and on? So you can go on and on and on? Every single point of doctrine needs endless explanation. And my point is all this nonsense brought us to where we are today. Nowhere, and you yourself are distancing from its effects.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Every single point of doctrine needs endless explanation.

          And your point is? Yes! Every single point needs to be properly understood. It has to be properly interpreted, both in language and culture. The Bible wasn’t written to you or me. It was written to an ancient Semitic culture in an ancient language. We are reading translated copies very far removed from us. For us to understand it, we must interpret it both into our language and culture in order for it to make sense to us, and then apply it to our very different lives in a very different culture. I’m sorry that’s too hard for you, but that’s the reality of understanding any ancient text or classical piece of literature.

          As I said before, the devil misquoted Scripture to Jesus. He used a Psalm to tempt Jesus to literally jump off the Temple precipice. You are trying to do exactly the same thing here, distorting the meaning to suit your own purposes. That is NOT how you read the Bible. Any novice knows this. Your argument is totally bogus and amateurish.

        • jim- says:

          I agree some context is important. Little snapshots of a 2000 year old civilization and writing from unknown scribes about things that never happened. This entire exercise mel has been a little sidetracked. That is the nature of the faith. It goes round and round. The main point is in your title of the post, and the effect of Christianity is seen throughout Christendom, and the need to abandon the results of a failing system that has been tried and changed a thousand times over because it doesn’t work. Even you see it. As soon as someone finds jesus and applies faith in something that doesn’t exist, this is what we get…”my belief is far superior to your belief and at the tip of a sword we can prove it if left to its own course.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for your opinion, but that’s all it is. You are making assertions but have not demonstrated that it’s Jesus’ teachings that are the problem. You simply make statements, like Jesus teachings lead to misery and suffering, and you can’t back up your claim. And saying things don’t exist or never happened is another unprovable myth that atheists believe (But that’s another subject). So, there is no reason for me to accept any of your assertions here, other than say, yes, there was evil done in the name of Christianity. There are Christians behaving badly. Some of that is just immaturity. But none of that refutes my point. In fact, you made my point by quoting Luke 14:26. Obviously, there is a difference between cultural Christendom and authentically following Jesus. We live in a culture that doesn’t require any faith at all, so certainly it would likely produce very frail Christians. As Chesterton said, it’s not that Christianity was tried and found wanting, it was found difficult and not tried.

          The only other element in the mix is the human element, which we have empirical evidence (not just in religion but in all areas) that humans behaving badly are at the root of all evil done against humankind throughout history. So, your blaming Christ’s teachings is just another proverbial dog that won’t hunt.

          In other words, you can’t make such unsubstantiated claims and not expect to get pushback from people who know better. But, in the end, you will believe whatever you want on this, so I’m pretty sure I’m wasting my time going further here. You can go and tell your friends how stupid I was on your blog.

        • jim- says:

          Thanks for you opinión Mel, but that’s all it is. All I’m doing is observing the outcome. No props. No excuses. I don’t believe whatever I want to. I follow the substantive evidence.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course, you think you are just observing the outcome, but no one does it impartially without bias. That’s a myth. The truth is, you’ve demonstrated to me that you DON’T follow ALL the evidence, just the evidence that fits your conclusion that Christianity is bad. If you did follow it all, you would be honest and also admit to all the good things that have happened in Western culture because of Christianity. Many honest atheists do this. You would be honest and differentiate between people who are following Christ and those who are clearly aren’t, but you don’t. You just sound like an angry-ex who goes on social media to blast their old lover.

          You’re not talking to someone who doesn’t know the good, the bad, and the ugly of Christian history. And who doesn’t understand Christology. I’m also familiar with most of the atheist’s myths and assertions about the Bible. So, that tact doesn’t work on me either. Not because I’m smarter but because I’ve looked at both sides for a long time. I also know from my own experience.

          But, regardless, no, you are not being honest at all. I understand that you think you are, but you’re only deceiving yourself.

        • jim- says:

          You act as though I have not tried your way Mel. After 50 years I noticed a few glitches in the hoodwink and did a little investigating. Not being honest at all? Jeez man! Not one thing adds up. That not a judgement call. It’s complete blind faith against rational evidence. If only one part were real we’d have had someplace to start. Something to hang on to. The things believed in faith would get one a MHP visit in any arena but religion. I’ll take the odds. If it requires faith to believe, it doesn’t exist.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course, and I have been an evangelical Christian for 40 years and have come to a completely different conclusion that you. So there you are. And my faith has been tested, and I have heard all the arguments against Christianity (ad nauseum).

          Look, you obviously have issues with your experience. I don’t doubt that. I don’t know what those are but I do there’s a LOT of things that require faith to believe in this world, including things we understand in science. And it DOES require faith to believe, otherwise it doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity since we’re talking about something that is spiritual and invisible rather than natural. And science cannot address these things. God is not a being in nature. It takes a different set of senses and evidence. But that doesn’t make it blind faith either. God is much more real to me than you are, and it grows stronger as I walk with Him. But I also had to let my self-centered image of God go and let Him define Himself to me (which is what my book was about). So, again, I don’t know what your issues are but you’re not going to get anywhere with the argument you’re using because an argument didn’t win me in the first place and an argument won’t talk me out of it.

          Gotto go now. In the middle of several projects.

  6. Neil says:

    I can see what you’re trying to do here, Mel, and it all sounds lovely. However, the brand of Christianity you’re advocating is only possible by cherry-picking the bible and dismissing the consequences of two thousand years of Christianity (itself a contradiction when Jesus promised the Son of Man would be arriving in his own time to bring God’s Kingdom to the Earth).

    You cannot ignore ‘Christendom’ as you call it, nor the good news as Jesus saw it. Where, for example, is your advocacy of selling all you have to give to the poor? Your expectation that the social order be reversed? Your demand that believers sacrifice themselves for the good of others? Where your acceptance of Jesus’ promotion of violence (‘I did not come to bring peace but a sword’; ‘cut off your hand and gouge out your eyes if they offend you’; ‘unbelievers will burn in unquenchable fire’)? If these elements are not included then your version of the ‘good news’ is a far cry from that promulgated by your ‘Savior’.

    No, Mel, all you’ve got here is a sanitised, marketable and faux-attractive version of Christianity. The gospel in its true form is as demanding, brutal and nasty as the Christendom to which it gave rise.

    Still, I guess you’re right; I don’t know of a church, cult or sect that doesn’t think it alone possesses the truth.

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  8. Justin says:

    Great article! Do you think Christendom has died or simply been transformed into something new? I wonder if the secular Western world could be understood as a transformation of Christendom

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Justin. Well, the secular world was created from Christendom, so I would say yes. Charles Taylor wrote a fascinating rather scholarly study on this trajectory in his book “The Secular Age.” James K.A. Smith writes about it in his easier-to-read, “How (NOT) To Be Secular.”

      Very early on with the rise of Christendom, it was thought that, “by making room for dedicated vocations such as monks and nuns, the church created a sort of vicarious class who ascetically devote themselves to transcendence/eternity FOR the wider social body who have to deal with the nitty-gritty of creaturely life, from kings to peasant mothers.” (p.32) Thus, the idea of “sacred-secular” is born.

      Following Christ was lived out by the monastic orders, etc., and the rest of the people, from King to peasants were sanctified to fight the wars, engage in trade, and even live lives of debauchery. The monks and nuns were Christians for them. As long as they followed the religious rituals, they were considered “good Christians” even though they may be doing despicable things.

      So, to your question, the only thing that’s been removed from our culture today is the vicarious religious sanctification. But, as Kierkegaard pointed out, it barely resembled the teachings of Jesus, if at all, and especially not the practices of the early church. It was “Christianity” in name only.

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