To the editor: The organizing principle of any society is war, where the authority of the state over its people resides in its war powers. That authority often calls upon its religions to support the prosecution of war. For a millennium, the greatest impact on war is Christianity, fought in the name of the Christian God. Historically, it’s impossible to separate war from Christianity.
In the war powers game, nothing can be left to chance. What’s at stake, however, is not necessarily obvious. There’s little discourse today about the validity of Christianity’s central dogma. Resurrection, the belief in the raising of the dead, makes Christianity the largest and most active proponent of afterlife.
Without resurrection, Christianity cannot survive in its present form. For the American society, then, to maintain its organizing principle that its authority of the state over its people resides in its war powers, so too, it’s imperative for Christianity to maintain its organizing principle that its authority over its adherents resides in the continued belief in resurrection.
The classical assumption is that the more people believe something, it’s considered normal behavior. Yet, science has no sound, rational reason to conclude life-after-death is normal or possible. Therefore, the never-ending question of why we can’t end war is deeply tied to the belief in Christian afterlife.
True to form, as Euro-American involvement in the Ukraine War grows, the Medieval Christian narrative employs the spiritual branch by authoritarian leadership to call to arms the faithful. Victoria Smolkin, professor of history at Wesleyan University, told CNN January 7, 2023, “Putin has been putting forward this concept of the so-called Russian World and that concept is grounded in Russian Orthodoxy.” In part of his Christmas message in 2022, Putin said, “Church organizations prioritize their support for our warriors taking part in the special military operation. Such massive, complex and truly selfless work deserves sincere respect.” Well, here we go again, making war that’s “grounded” in belief-dependent orthodoxy and dogma.
In the reality of all things, nothing unreal exists. Religious and spiritual orthodoxy and dogma is make-believe, seen only by fantasists with delusional disorders. It isn’t just a question of people teaching and holding beliefs about purported reality despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. It’s that people who hold beliefs should do no harm to others, not even in defense of deeply held beliefs that others do not believe in or agree with.
Moreover, with a high percentage of those who believe they have somewhere to go when they die, risks an increase in potentially deadly and reckless callous-disregard for other people. Why should believers respect the life of others when they believe they have their own personal life-after-death?
If you truly want harm reduction to bring about peace in our time, “not” believing in life-after-death is undoubtedly the greatest deterrent to war and life-threatening violence. If you have nowhere to go when you die, you might respect the life and death of others as you would your own.
Brattleboro, Jan. 30