I happen to have a pretty good life, and since you own a computer and have time to read blogs like this, you probably do too. Sure, I have a few troubles, but I have food to eat, a roof over my head, and my family and friends do too. Life is good!
So if you're a happy person, why would you adopt a negative religion, one that preys on people's misery?
I re-read the short blog I wrote about the "GOD IS" posters that Christians are putting on New York subways, and was startled by the ad's contents. Pure negativity. The GOD IS campaign is nothing more than an appeal to our misery. And I wondered, is this what Christianity is? Is this why Christianity is slowly dying?
If this is the best Christianity has to offer the subway riders of New York City, then Christianity is in deep trouble. Take a good look at what's actually on those ads that the Christians are placing on the subways:
God is there when no one else isWhat disheartening negativity! Is everyone really so miserable?
God is husband to the widow
God is the one with your answers
God is aware of your struggle
God is the one who loves you
God is able to protect
God is willing to help
God is a good listener
God is a father
God is able to protect
I don't know about you, but none of these thing appeal to me. Sure there are bills to pay, but a struggle? Hardly. And God has answers? To what? God is willing to help? I'm doing pretty well on my own, thanks. God is a good listener? Yeah, but so far I've gotten pretty good advice from family therapists when loved ones died or I had family problems.
The Christianity memeplex, that complex web of ideas and sayings, evolved during a time in humanity's history when most people were, in fact, pretty miserable. Half of our children died, mothers died in childbirth, sickness, disease, and hunger were rampant. In good years there was plenty, and in bad years everyone starved.
Against this backdrop, when people were miserable, Christianity probably looked like a pretty good answer. Life sucks now? Just hang in there, worship Jesus and Yahweh, and in a few years when you die, life will be unimaginably good. All of your babies and children who died? They're up there, waiting to greet you when you die.
This is what the memetic approach to religion is all about: Understanding why people want to believe things, how these religious memes became so incredibly powerful. These are ideas that had over 2000 years to evolve, adapted, and they became incredibly appealing.
Ideas evolve, survive and are passed on because people want to believe them. Truth only becomes a factor when the majority of people can tell that an idea is impossible. And if you're miserable, these Christianity memes are pretty darned appealing.
Unfortunately for Christianity, the ecosphere is changing. The environment in which it evolved was harsh, and these negative ideas were well adapted to that environment. But as life gets better, these memes find themselves in an unfriendly new place.
Christianity evolved these "negativity memes" – the promise that God will help you out of your misery – during a time when people were truly miserable, and needed something to give them hope. But, while there is plenty of sorrow left in the world, many of us today no longer lead lives of misery. Life is good, and the Christian memeplex of misery is no longer relevant.
That is why Christianity is inexorably disappearing in the developed world. Places like Germany, France and England, where most people are healthy and prosperous, have very high rates of atheism, in some cases over 50%, and Christianity is falling to stunning lows.
The Christians need to reevaluate their memeplex if they want to survive. The "GOD IS..." campaign is straight out of the past, and just doesn't have the appeal it used to. Life is too good in America for Christianity to survive.