Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Christian Gleichschaltung


Gleichschaltung is a German word that is usually associated with the history of Nazi Germany. It means "coordination," "making the same", or "bringing into line," and refers to the process of establishing a totalitarian system.

But Nazi-ism was not the first totalitarian system nor was it by any means the most successful. That dubious honour belongs to the Christian religion. It is therefore appropriate to apply this term with all its connotations of totalitarianism, tyranny and forcible standardization of culture to the process by which Christianity took over the rich pagan world of Europe and transformed it over the centuries into the arid abstractionism of Christian totalitarianism.

Where it found a rich and varied religious topgraphy, it left a bleak, spiritual desert, much like the actual desert that spawned it.

5 comments:

  1. Christianity no doubt went forth as a bulldozer in the early middle ages, stamping its brand upon a pagan culture.

    But what does a pagan want? Do you want to return to some ideal pre-christian times? That craves for some excessive "reverse engineering".

    What I mean to say is: christianity has merged with paganism since long ago, diffundating and permeating the religious texture so that the two are now inseparable, like sedimentary mudlayers over the years hardening and becoming a new amalgam, a tough mineral sparkling in the sun!

    Should e g hinduism cast off the influences that has shaped it through the years, taking pre-aryan times to be the starting point, removing every influence that has come after those times?

    If paganism shyes away from every influence with christianity then it's a very puritan paganism, an academic construction with a slight "smell of the lamp". Constructive cooperation between paganism and christianity is what I wish for but I'm probably rather alone in this stance.

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  2. Much of what you say is true. But I think it is Christianity that basically has the characteristics of puritanism, abstraction, and academic construction.

    Yes, paganism is still minor, weak, and confused, but I think a growing struggle to uproot Christianity through a process of cultural fision (opposite of fusion) and hold it responsible for its earlier cultural genocide could possibly help to galvanize a paganist movement and lead to its rebirth.

    There is an irony here too because such a crusading ethos is in fact an echo of an important element of Christianity.

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  3. Call me a new age dreamer but in the not too distant future I think the world will have paganism alongside with "higher" cults such as christianity etc. We already see it in Hinduism where idolatry and pagan rites goes hand in hand with Veda studies and meditation.

    Christianity needs reformation, true. It needs to be more esoterical and mystical, and in that process it would come in handy to allow, no, encourage, pagan practises. That would be a win-win situation. But for paganism to simply "uproot" christianity would seem like a energy-consuming rockade of, "Lastly you oppressed us, now let's oppress you!"

    In the future there will be no religions, there will be RELIGION with a thousand faces, among them paganist and christian.

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  4. Hindusim is paganism, so it has that in-built tolerance and flexibility that allows this multifarious situation. However the religion of the Semitic Sky God is quite a different beast. It can only exist by a limited totalitarianism (the exclusivism of Judaism) or the unlimited totalitarianism of world conquest (Christianity and Islam). Both routes involve intolerance of other religions, hence the Biblical expression "I am a jealous god." When it loses this character as modern Christianity has done, it begins to disintegrate. But I would rather paganism killed Christianity than allowed it to die, as its blood might help fertilize the spiritual soil.

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