The institutionalisation of, and insistence on, some philosophical idea, be that religious or political, is a sure way to corrupt it. It is an unfortunate fact that humans are often dim-witted, ill-educated, and certainly ill-educators. Most rules, and also traditions, stem from some deeper thought and idea, but unfortunately, in the passing of time and generation, the idea has not been conveyed or understood. What remains then are just rules and traditions.
This is partly the reason for the death of Christianity in the west: it deteriorated from being a deep and thoughtful philosophy – and religion – to be nothing more than a set of rules and traditions. With the basis gone, the rules would inevitably change with the evolution of society, but the name Christianity remains, and its rules and thoughts have become obfuscated beyond recognition – and with nothing to do with Christ, except the belief in some-such character called as such.
We have not, and perhaps we should be glad of it, mastered the subtle art of indoctrination – for indoctrination is not, as we often mistake it for, the institutionalisation and insistence on ideas alone; at least, this is not how indoctrination is achieved. The ‘knocking down of doors’ proselytisation has yet to make me a witness of jehovah… An individual becomes indoctrinated with a belief, opinion or attitude not by being told it is true, but by being surrounded by people living as if it is the truth; by being exposed singularly to one mindset. And it is to the mindset of the originators an idea belongs, but mindset, being in essence different and deeper than reason, is not fixed – it is part of the dynamic nature of Man. A fact is a fact, but our culture – it is ever-changing.
Herein lies the problem: one can put words in a persons head, but how does one transfer the feelings belonging to the word – or indeed feelings and a state of mind that is beyond what you have words for? Forgetting the commercialism of today, is this not an essential purpose of art: to say what you cannot put in words. Is not the appeal of poetry that it says so much more than the words that compose it – that it gives not only information; does not only speak to your reason, but your soul. (- And please you modern, secular, scientific person, there is no need to read “soul” only in a platonic or christian sense – it is not flattering to be so limited).
How could Christianity not die then? This “platonism for the masses” could and can never belong to more than the few. It was not killed by the man pointing out the essential illogicalness and contradictory nature of the Bible, but his existence. Reason is indeed common – and our only certain means of communication. I already mentioned other media – poetry, music, art – but we have no means of analysing these; everything is read through one’s own mindset. This is equally true for communication by reason, but reason and logic exists on its own and they are our only means of objective analysis; the logic of a statement is independent of its reception by the reader, while these others media pertain to the mindset and something outside and beyond reason – to the personal.