This photo won a Pulitzer Prize, depicting a priest holding a soldier who dies in Venezuela (details here).
We tend to go to church to remember that we are Christians. To light a candle, to pray, to feel mentally uplifted. And yet, Christianity is not the buildings. Not even the church canon or its typical rules. These are of course very important elements carrying significant symbolisms and functions (on multiple levels), no one denies that. But if one looks at life and at the world with a clearer eye, he will see that its most Christian moments took place outside the buildings and outside the formal framework of some liturgy – many times not even by Christians.
In moments of despair, death, pain and agony.
Christianity is not us either. Why should it be? Wy have we won the title of “Christian”? Because we do superficial things that even a child could do? Basically, I don’t care much what Christianity is. In moments of despair, death, pain and anguish, who would care anyway? And yet, it is in such moments that we remember again something that was once obvious to us.
In light of the coronavirus, many talk about the need to shut down churches, socialize only on the Internet, banish Christianity (interesting how more massive gatherings of Muslim communities in Europe have not gained so fierce enemies…) and declare Science as our new religion. For that reason I feel compelled to simply point out the following.
1. Science is ALREADY our new religion. For centuries now. So don’t worry about this one. Nobody does anything unless they hear the priests bearing the name “scientist” today. And I mean no one. Even Hitler was listening to scientists when he conducted eugenics.
2. Yes we should be careful not to spread a virus if we are sick. This is not about science but about common sense. The kind of logic that all people have. I mean mainly those people who believe that the world exists because someone made it (and not by accident), those who do not believe in an infinite number of universes that exist simply because someone wrote it in a scientific paper. But let us not get carried away from the subject… The Archdiocese in the US has made an interesting and logical announcement I think for that matter, which you can find here.
3. Priorities: What is more important? To close the subway or stop the Holy Communion? Shut down buses and workplaces or stop Holy Communion? How many will get sick by commuting in the subway and how many by the Holy Communion? Why do we always get into church matters first and foremost? Is the Church really so powerful today? Are there so many believers?
4. Scientific data: Despite what many people believe, science is not clear on the matter. There are scientific researches which claim that Holy Communion does not transmit diseases. I hereby enclose a related scientific research which you can find here. As the research concludes: “In conclusion, there is experimental evidence suggesting that sharing a communion cup contaminates the wine and cup. However, there has never been a documented case of illness caused by sharing a chalice reported in the literature”. Let everyone decide on their own and on the data they have at hand, but let us stop tagging people who will go to Communion as “obscurantists” so easily.
5. Other information: At times, there were priests who used to associate with leper and people with tuberculosis, to which they offered communion as well. Nothing happened. (you can easily find those cases on Google yourself) And this is another scientific indication (for what else is science than extracting conclusions based on systematic observation) that things are not so dangerous as people believe they are. I am not saying to go or not go to religious practices during a pandemic. And even if you believe, you might be humanly afraid to go – let’s not forget that Peter himself denied Jesus out of fear. This decision you will make based on your doctor’s advice (or the guidelines issued by your government). I am saying however that things are not as black and white as atheists claim they are.
6. Mystery: And I am not even going into the metaphysical issues about what the mystery and what the Holy Communion really means, the body and blood of Christ, et cetera. If you do not believe in these things, leave them where they are. Others believe them. And not because they are stupid. But because they are not. And they like the philosophy a little bit. Ah, and because they do not stupidly believe that there is only matter in the universe.
Many have wandered whether religion and Christianity in particular is against knowledge. Not because of it being related to the “dark” Middle Ages (a story which has been discredited a long time ago by Harmonia Philosophica; read the relevant article “Middle Ages – An enlightened era“) but because of the famous story of God forbidding Adam to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
This story, along with the hostility of the church against enlightenment (something which is completely justified; read the relevant article “Enlightenment was darkness” in Harmonia Philosophica), has made many people wander whether the church has any dogmatic stance against knowledge per se.
The short answer: Yes. But only because it values knowledge!
Let me explain my self. Knowledge is something which for millennia was held in very high esteem. And for that reason it was kept away from the majority of the people who were not worthy of it. This was not only a church thing. Think of Pythagoras for example. His students had vows not to reveal anything they learnt to the non-worthy on the penalty of death. Think of the alchemists, who encoded everything they wrote so that they don’t fall into the wrong (not worthy) hands of the people outside their closed cast.
Harmonia Philosophica in general is a testament to that belief. Its articles are written in such a way that they draw people away and which seem to convey nothing more than a vague hint to what they were meant to convey.
The Fathers of the Church have explained that eloquently: God doesn’t forbid Adam from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for no reason. He does so because Man is not yet mature enough to handle this knowledge. If we had the patience we would be allowed to eat from the tree; we are part of God Himself anyway aren’t we?
So the church doesn’t want to forbid knowledge in general. But it wants to impose respect to knowledge as such. Knowledge is not something you read in Wikipedia (Read the articles in Harmonia Philosophica by the way against Wikipedia). Knowledge is something which you should earn with sweat and huge effort. As Buddhism says, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.
Since as early as 17th century – the era of René Descartes and Benedict De Spinoza – opposition to the church and faith in “logic” was starting to be the new fashion.  Later on, in an era of revolutions during the 1789-1848 period, the reaction to the secular powers became synonym to reaction to the church as well, since the latter had been closely related to the first for so long.  Finally and after many “battles”, science finally seemed to have “won”. Everyone cheered. Together with the democratization of the world, the rise of atomism and the obviation of the privileges of the few, the church was defeated. The masses had – at last – a saying in how things were going to be in the world. And it was going to be a “logical” world at last!
Was the Enlightenment enlightenment or just a… blackout? How many times had the masses the correct answer to ANY philosophical problem? What will we see if we look at the history of human civilization? Did the world “suddenly” progress in the 19th century or did we progress thousands of year ago and ever since we are in a constant decay?
Ancient Greece: Man started to wonder about his existence. Philosophy was born, along with theatre, tragedy, arts, geometry. Man questions and tries to answer big metaphysical questions. Nature is in the center of human thought. Man simply participates in the marvel of existence.
33 A.C. A man died for the sins of all people. The world seemed to change. Love appeared for the first time at the very core of a new philosophical system. Man can be God. A new era seemed to emerge.
Temporarily. The years that followed humans forgot the teaching of this Man. And the world became darker and darker every passing minute… Rome fall from the barbarians. Constantinople fell from the barbarians. And later on was completely destroyed from the other barbarians of the East.
The remains of Christianism were strong enough to act as foundation of the European civilization , but not strong enough to withhold the tide of darkness stemming from the inner soul of the barbarians. The barbarians who never stopped worshiping the moon or the sun, instead of the light within our soul. A few enlightened (with the true meaning of the word) men continued to spread and live by the teachings of Jesus but few paid attention.
17th century. While science and logic were on the rise, few people noticed the deafening silence of one of the wisest thinkers of that time. Pascal [Blaise Pascal] stood silent and troubled  next to the hordes of people enthusiastically screaming “rationalism” with no one paying attention. The masses had already decided on the path they would follow…
18th century. The world’s first freemasons’ Grand Lodge was established.  The new religion without God demanded space.  Some enlightened people still advocated the logic of believing in God (e.g. Newton) but the many were already too excited to listen. Some few suggested there were limits to the all mighty logic (e.g. Kant) but even fewer listened. Philosophers keep talking about how everything must be based on logic and not faith. While science and logic set the foundations of their imperium, many cheered when Rousseau [Jean-Jacques Rousseau] talked against the church but few paid much attention when the same man spoke against science, as if it were the greatest evil of all times.  (this is why wise people should talk simply to the stupid, because the latter will use whatever they like and throw away the rest) Man was now considered as tabula rasa and should be taught nihilism, should be made to understand that he is just a gear in the vast mechanism of the soulless universe.
19th century. The era of revolutions against the establishment, part of which was the church. The era of optimism. The era of communism. The era of logic. Nietzsche [Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche] wrote that God is dead and everyone cheered. Few people understood that the great thinker wrote that phrase as a sad conclusion  and not as a triumphant cry for science, which he hated as much as he hated rationalism (he was the founder of irrationalism after all).
For sure the church made mistakes. But the mistakes were due to NOT following the teachings of Jesus and not because it did! Unfortunately few noticed that and the hordes of barbarians found saw a great opportunity to express their hatred and the “My arm aches, let’s cut the head” mentality prevailed. The City [Κωνσταντινούπολη] had fallen. The barbarians won. Now they were just solidifying their power. The poems of Marx to Satan and the image of Lucifer on the cover of the first Encyclopedia of Diderot clearly show the character of a heavily anti-Christianic era. The massive eugenics experiments of the West ling before Hitler (experiments which are actually continued until today), show that the barbarians have won. And the participation of the Clinton’s head campaign manager for the 2016 elections in satanistic dinners along with other prominent members of society, no matter how the establishment tries to disguise them as “art“, show that this era of darkness is here too stay. People is the new power. And the new power wants anything old destroyed. Not because it is wrong. But simply because it is old. God, the One, society are dead. Now the individual (or nature) is the new god.
Belief in the ability of human to control things. This was the main premise of magic. This is the main premise of science. The distance from Romanticism  to Marxism  is so small. When people can have more cars, why even bother listening to “crazy” people like Kierkegaard [Søren Aabye Kierkegaard] or Shestov [Lev Isaakovich Shestov]? The ideological victory of communism  established the destruction of the church and Christianity which so many regard as the “absolute evil”, while in fact it was the basis of the western civilization. Magic and the faith in imaginary things (e.g. parallel universes, fields  etc) won over the pure, primitive and all honest acceptance of one’s empirical data  (seeing the resurrection, experiencing miracles, feeling God, feeling that I exist as a conscious being, knowing that I have free will et cetera). Belief in a new system of ethics rose. A new system of ethics where man as an individual is the new god. The good of society or the cosmos seem irrelevant to the “freedom” of the individual. And of course with no one setting the foundations, each and every one sets his own. Belief in Logic returned. But people had forgotten that logic as founded by Aristotle supported the existence of a First Mover. Having forgotten how Christianity helped create universities as we know them today (part of which were many atheists, like Adam Weishaupt) and was the basis of Humanism in Europe, people “started” believing in the freedom of different opinion for the sake of… difference. But only if the different opinion was non-Christian. [read Religion and Science Unification – Towards religional science, Harmonia Philosophica for the fake cases of Hypatia and Galileo] The world started becoming more logical and we forgot that the most important things – love, emotions, fantasy, inspiration, acceptance, forgiveness, axioms, art, (autoanaphorical) consciousness, ethics, life itself – are not based on logic.
Everybody think that enlightenment showed the way to progress (a Christian idea by the way) through the return to the ancient Greek philosophers but no one wondered for the obvious: if the ancient Greeks had all the answers, then why did they have so much discrimination, oppression and problems? (not to mention… religion) Everybody think that enlightenment showed the way to freedom of the individual, but no one wondered for the obvious: freedom of which individual and from what? We are all part of the cosmos (One, God). How can we be free from Him? Everybody think that enlightenment showed the way to light. But since when does the lights of stars at night have logic? Everybody think that enlightenment rationalized everything. But what is the rationale behind a tear of love? Everybody thought that enlightenment proved to be the end of the “disease” of faith. But isn’t that what drives a scientist believe in the axioms he uses? And how bad is faith in your fellow human and in love? How much “proof” do we need to believe in it? The evolution of thought is a good thing. However, it should be gradual and controlled, under the rule of reason and good sense and not under the shouts of hatred of a social group (anti-Christians) against the others.
The masses won. And they imposed their own illogical logic as the only true logic. The world became cold again as it was in the beginning of civilization. In a forest illuminated by the moon again, man is free to do whatever he wants – but he is already dead inside.
Darkness engulfed the light.
And stole its name…
Science and Religion – Some historical perspectives, John Hedley Brooke, Cambridge University Press, 1991.
The era of revolutions 1789-1848, E.J. Hobsbawm, National Bank Cultural Foundation, Athens, 2008. [p. 308-329]
Important note: Even though it is true that generalizations are to be avoided, they are usually the only possible tool to use when one wishes to analyze and understand a field as broad as the evolution of human philosophical intellect regarding belief in God. Most of the times, the tree makes you lose sight of the forest. Anyone wishing to go deeper into specifics can start his quest from the Religion and Science unification – Towards religional science article or from the List of Articles of Harmonia Philosophica here and here.