The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
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02-12-2011, 07:51 PM
The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
I've always agreed with what my History 370 professor said; that Christianity was created and used by those in power to keep those without power subjugated. But there are a few aspects of Christianity that don't seem to be advantageous to rulers, so I thought we could dissect the various teachings and values of the religion through the eyes of a political leader.


Afterlife

-This one's a no brainer. Promise your subjects rewards and happiness in the life after this one to keep them from seeking to improve their position in this life. It also sustains a level of contentment, giving them something to hope for rather than realizing how screwed over they are.


Obedience

"If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land."

"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;"

-Preaching the value of obedience is a must-have for someone intending to give orders and run other people's lives. Less rebellion, less squalor, and slaves that don't talk back. Follow my rules or risk going to hell.


"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord."

-And by getting everyone to obey their elders, the only people you need to win over are the old people... which shouldn't be too hard since they've been commanded to obey.


"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."

-Again, very obvious.


Wealth

"The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all."

"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. "

"Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

-First the poor people are told that they are just like the rich, because we are all God's children. Then they are told that they are in fact better off than the rich because of the riches they will possess in the afterlife. So poor people are convinced to stay poor and even to give what little they have away. This certainly eliminates the threat of class warfare or peasant uprising.


Then you're so busy praying and keeping the Sabbath holy and avoiding sin (or else you must answer to Satan, the ultimate threat used to reduce crime) and fasting that you don't have time to remember that you are getting the shaft in life and should consider NOT listening to what these lords (Jesus is also called The Lord, strangely enough) and noblemen are commanding you to do.


The ones I don't quite understand why they would be included in a system designed by rulers are:

Sexual Behavior

-I suppose the refrain from sex and pro-celibacy attitude could be attributed to keeping the peasant population low to reduce the risk of an overthrow, but what's with the hatred of homosexuality? How does condemning man on man action help your kingdom in any way?


Animal Sacrifice

-In a time without processed foods and a Starbucks on every corner, how does advocating using your food supply in blood rituals benefit anyone? Was this just an attempt to make this religion look as legit as the other religions of the time? "Look, we have animal sacrifices too! Take that, Apollo!"


Thoughts?

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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02-12-2011, 09:00 PM (This post was last modified: 02-12-2011 09:05 PM by houseofcantor.)
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
Buddy Christ for President - 2012 - The Lord hath Risen!

Well, it's a thought. Tongue
I mean, all the "goods" in the Bible reduce to a couple of paragraphs. Most of everything else is much like you describe; the individual control structure of morality artificially scaled up for nationalistic governance by the elite, who act as regents for the hypothetical godhead.

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02-12-2011, 09:14 PM
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
My guess would be that they were popular hold overs. Much like a presidential candidate would espouse popular beliefs in order to grab votes. Christianity in the past I'm sure used popular consensus to sway fencers, just like they walked into places and stole rituals and holidays.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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02-12-2011, 09:59 PM
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
There is nothing unique about the Judeo-Christo-Islamic religions - as witness that all three come out of the same set of books and the same geographic region. Those stories were inherited from older civilizations, reworked a bit, remixed, told and written in different languages, with some minor adjustment, each time, to the people and circumstances.

All civilized religions work the same way; have the same function and basic elements. Reverence, acceptance, sacrifice, pie-in-the-sky, privileged patriarchy, specialness and xenophobia. The ceremonies and vestments and architecture differ somewhat (not that much!) but otherwise...
And they all do work, so long as the leadership - both secular and religious - does its assigned job. But the elites grow fat, lax and greedy, and the people stop believing them and turn to another religion. There always is another religion, another ideology, whose missionaries are waiting to fill more bodies with their own spirit.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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02-12-2011, 10:04 PM
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
I would argue that the discrimination against homosexuality is simply because they thought it was gross/weird or something. Being hetero, the idea of being intimate with a man doesn't appeal to me, though I couldn't care less if others roll that way. I don't like carrrots, doesn't mean I want to assault all the carrot eaters Tongue Just so my stance is clear, I'm saying the authors of the Bible thought it nasty, so they condemned it.

Better without God, and happier too.
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03-12-2011, 10:42 AM (This post was last modified: 03-12-2011 12:07 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
Oh, the anti-homosexual thing is more than distaste; it's political, too.
Patriarchies subjugate women and own their children and make as many little soldier and worker ants as they want. Enfranchised adult males (sp!) outside of that power structure might form very different values and influence the dynamic.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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03-12-2011, 11:45 AM
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
(02-12-2011 07:51 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  I've always agreed with what my History 370 professor said; that Christianity was created and used by those in power to keep those without power subjugated.

It's uncertain whether Christianity was ever consciously "created" by anyone, in the same way that no one ever manufactured the languages we speak (design doesn't prove a designer!). It's entirely possible that the usefulness of Christianity is just coincidence, or is part of why it has proliferated after its start (survival of the fittest?).

Your professor may believe it, but even he could be wrong. If it was just a tool of political oppression, I think the actual object of worship would be the political leader (like Japanese Shinto or North Korea's state religion).

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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03-12-2011, 12:13 PM
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
...or the pope, or kings anointed by archbishops in the name of god, or kings who claim to be the bastard son of a god, or the earthly incarnation?

Nobody deliberately constructed most religions, which are organic growths out of cultural memory. But the elites of each civilization make use of whatever aspect of the prevailing belief-system serves their purpose: cherry-pick, as the USians are doing.

However, Christianity and Islam are exceptions already: their "holy" books were cooked by a committee and a self-serving prophet, respectively.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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03-12-2011, 11:24 PM
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
I to a large extent take the bible's stance on homosexuality as similar to their stance on tribal lineage. While yes homosexuality and spilling of seed can lower the amount of children, I see the real focus being that they need enemies for the people. So to have the unclean, cursed and damned allows everybody to focus on something other than the rich overlords. The amount of time spent on hating gays could've been used for quite better purposes. Just like the amount of time spent trying to flesh out a book of parables.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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04-12-2011, 01:20 PM (This post was last modified: 04-12-2011 01:28 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: The political benefits of instilling the Judeo-Christian god on your citizens
That's right, too - i forgot to mention scapegoating. All hierarchies need layers; an orderly procession of kiss-up, kick down. Civilized political/ religious systems need pariahs to look down on, and sinners to punish. Whores, degenerates, blasphemers, lunatics, half-castes, lepers, aliens... whatever presents.
But i still contend that in the case of sexual orientation, they saw, and still see, a live political threat. The institution of marriage and legal paternity are so central to land ownership and aristocracy - to the concentration of wealth and power - that any liberalization of, any alteration to, the sanctity of that institution as laid out by the anointed might eventually pose a challenge to their system of rule.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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