The Development of Christianity

Changing Horses,” by Sara Ronbinson, Orcinus, 24 November 2006, http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/11/changing-horses.html (hat-tip to Tanguerena at John Robb).

The history of religion is characterized by fanatical movements that started out full of ecstatic zeal to change the world one person at a time. From the Wahabists to the Methodists, religions are usually founded in a rush of passion — which (if it doesn’t fatally fracture in the intensity of the initial torrent, which is the fate of most new faith groups) gradually subsides to a calmer, more intellectual and inclusive order. In this second phase, the groups typically become more outwardly-focused. They [Religions] start dealing with the world as it is, instead of as their theology tells them it should be. Most of what we think of “mainstream” churches started out in the first phase, but have by now been in this second one for a very long time.

The Mainstream Churches Sara is referring to – the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran, the Presbyterian Church (USA) — may have gone on this path, but I doubt it. Indeed, few major religions start out in this way.

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A Patient Victor

Christianity is an inherently political religion. The faith of the carpenter utilizes insurgent warfare methodology to develop a deconflicted fighting force that the Romans and Jews wisely resisted. Indeed, Christianity turned inward after it conquered Rome, which goes against Sara’s hypothesis.

Broadly, the same was true for Islam as well.

One Man’s Descent Into Madness

Jonah Goldberg links to a New Yorker profile of Lou Dobbs.

An excerpt:

Dobbs’s rabidness provokes his critics. Not long ago, the Times columnist Thomas Friedman told a law-school audience, “And then you have a blithering idiot like Lou Dobbs, in my view, who’s using the platform of CNN in a news frame. . . . This is not news. And so we have a political class not making sense of the world for people and that’s why the public . . . is so agitated.” The Economist said that one might expect “CNN’s flagship business-news programme . . . to strive for economic literacy,” but, instead, Dobbs greets “every announcement of lost jobs as akin to a terrorist assault”; The Nation accused him of “hysteria and jingoism”; the Southern Poverty Law Center said that Dobbs “failed to present mounting and persistent evidence of anti-Hispanic racism” in his reports on anti-immigration groups like the Minutemen; one Hispanic group urged Time Warner to take Dobbs off the air.

In his new book, Dobbs says of Friedman, “His name calling would bother me more if he were anything more than a tool of international corporatism and a card-carrying member of his own Flat Earth Society.

Read the whole thing.