Someone mentioned to me in Internet email that the centuries-long shrill ranting among Christian brand names about who is a "true Christian" and who isn't a "true Christian" evidences its origins in a phenomena which doesn't get underscored directly. Indirectly the phenomena is well understood and acknowledged -- by non-believers, any way.

The phenomena is the way that Christian deity constructs change over the years. The argument about who is a "true Christian" and who isn't a "true Christian" is an artificial construct which is itself predicated in the fact that the Christian deity constructs mutate with time, economics, social circumstance and, of course, political expedience.

A religion is defined by what the religious do -- their actions -- not by what's written in a religion's mythologies. The Christian myths are perfectly suited toward supporting or defeating any belief or claim one wishes to make. It has always been so, from the horrid way Christopher Columbus treated the populations of the New World, through Hitler's genocide of the pretend "Chosen" Jews, to the enslavement of blacks on the North American continent -- Christianity has always been defined by actions, not words.

Later generations point at all those which proceeded it and glibly pronounce, "Oh, they weren't TRUE Christians" and then go on to enumerate the activities of what the Christians did which some how makes them "not true Christians." Said generations -- in the act of pointing at the activities of Christians before them -- are doing so because they, too, understand that it is actions -- not words -- which define who is a "True follower" and who is not.

The contemporary Christian is the only Christian who has the possibility of being a "True Christian." Of that smaller pool there exists thousands of brand names, sects, factions, and fractions, some of which acknowledge the "True Christianity" of others, most of which do not -- always based upon a selection criteria that is ambiguous and itself changes from day to day. When the next generation of Christianity comes along, the contemporary generation is relegated to the realm of "not True Christian."

I think this summation -- and the phenomena of the changing deity constructs which drive it -- has a great deal of merit. What is permitted under the gods one day is socially, morally, politically, or economically frowned upon the next. Humanity creates their gods and goddesses to support the majority or minority agenda of the day and the religious apply their ambiguous labels to an ideal which had nothing rooted in historic fact.

I've always argued that when one joins a religion, one is making a statement that one is in agreement with what that religion has historically stood for. The opposing argument has always been to point at what the religion has historically instigated among its followers and to glibly demand that they were "false" followers some how. This allows the claimant to retain club membership while not having to admit their deity constructs have changed.

Another aspect of this phenomena, I think, has an analog to virus, germs, and all the other species of plants and animals.

A species doesn't exist as a collection of organisms which hold a specific set of attributes. A species contains a number of individuals which all hold a large variety of physical, emotional, and cognitive differences. The species is defined as a central point around which all the differences revolve. A mutation among the species is described when the center of the collection of attributes shifts thereafter the physical, emotional, and cognitive attributes of the mutated species resolves around the new center.

I think that a religion is like this -- it seems that this is pretty much self-evident, in fact, inasmuch as we have a bewildering variety of brand names, factions, sects, and fractions of a fairly large number of religions. There is likewise a central focus point which defines Christianity (and all other religions after they reach a certain age) and, like a living organism, it mutates according to the social, economic, and political expedience of the day, causing the center to shift over time.


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