Friday, January 22, 2010

Is America Too Nice for Christianity to Survive?

Are you a positive person, or a negative person? Is your life full of joy, or misery? Are you mostly happy, or mostly sad?

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 is
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
What disheartening negativity! Is everyone really so miserable?

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.


  1. ineffiblemind@gmail.comJanuary 22, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    Part of the problem is that christianity can leave people worse off than they would be otherwise and then they feel that they need it.

    For example. 10% of income (pre-tax of course) should go to a church (according to christianity, or the flavor here in the south)

    I have a friend who makes about ten grand more than I do and yet because he gives 10% pre-tax to his church I live far more comfortably than he does and still put more away for a rainy day.

    Then think about people who shun education for both themselves and their children. They are lessening their overall earning potential (in many cases but not all) and deliberately decreasing their exposure to other ideas (memes). Even if they pursue higher ed they often attend christian schools where the christian meme is reinforced.

    And then there is operating within christianity itself a sense of guilt and shame.

    By marking natural urges as "sinful" and then proclaiming that the only way to conquer the 'sin' is to become even more enmeshed in christianity... can be a downward spiral. Even if their life is great otherwise the guilt and shame (some externally imposed and some internal) can cause stress and depression which then effects the rest of their life, both changing their perspective of what is 'good' and possibly leading them to, either through action or inaction, mess up the good that they have going on.

  2. When I was trying to be religious, I noticed an odd generation gap: younger Christians prefer "praise and worship" services and activities, while older Christians do not. I suspect that this relates directly to the amount of hard times that the person has experienced. The Christian memeplex is trying to adapt to incorporate folks with both perspectives, and at least on the liberal end it is halfheartedly succeeding.

  3. I found this article via wikio. The title is somewhat misleading in that I see the values of the Christians as the bible puts it.. We are meek, humble in a lot of aspects and so we allow those that wish to subvert to do so not knowingly but through our freedoms we profess to believe in the enemy, if you allow me to use that term, is taking advantage of.

    Too kind to survive ? Could be..

    Hope this comment helps expand the article in a new light. As for your article nicely written but your use of the word 'evolution' bothers me some nothing I cannot get over.


  4. Menifee school officials remove dictionary over term 'oral sex'

  5. Much of Christianity today has a far too humanitarian flavor for my tastes. Yes, we are to be "seeker sensitive", and reach out to people in need, but not at the expense of absolute loyalty to God and His Word. And it's not all about "my" needs either. The bottom line is this: Pleasing God is far more important than pleasing ourselves, and there will be times in the Christian life when God will ask us to give up something, or to go without something, or to suffer something, for the sake and cause of His kingdom.

    It's time to stop fixating on our personal needs and start actually worshiping our Creator. God is not a cosmic genie waiting to fulfill our every demand.

  6. The above post is the perfect example of why Christianity is a virus that needs to be eradicated. Why should I subjugate my needs to please a nonexistent entity who's only "proof" of existence is a bible written by a tribe of genocidal desert marauders?


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