10 posts

Helmut Hasse

[A letter to Thomas777, slightly modified for the thread]

I am at a place in my life where I wish I could be Christian very much, but I find it intellectually difficult.

For instance it is not clear to me that Jesus existed, or Pauline Christianity is the same as the Christianity of the Gospels, and so on. These historical questions perplex me and I don't feel competent to say much in these sorts of discussions, but there seems to be much doubt. I sometimes wonder how the details of such an old story can be so important...

But on the other hand the imaginative nature of Christianity evidently seems important and as mentioned by Thomas777 on another forum, Christianity is the inheritance of Westerners. How do you balance the demand for historical and universal truth with the truths of the Western spirit?

Niccolo and Donkey
The evidence for Christ's existence complies with the generally accepted evidentiary standards of Classical historical scholarship - there is as much evidence that Christ existed as there is that Socrates existed, from a purely historical perspective. Pliny the Younger, Josephus, and the Babylonian Talmud are the primary source documents. The Catholics put a premium on Pliny especially. Even the Jesuits who are notoriously lapsed put a premium on this in their curriculum - at least they still did as of the 1990s when I went through college.

I think Christianity and the Western ''spirit''/idea are one and the same. We can't extricate White peoples or Western thought and institutions from Theology. Western man's political and historical horizons are conceptually theological - for the reasons I enumerated over on MPC. I've got my own thoughts on the relationship between faith in Christ and politics and racial patriotism but I don't want to turn your thread into some kind of off-point monologue; so I'm going to refrain from raising that question unless you want to get further into it.

There is no "Pauline Christianity" or "Christianity of the Gospels." Paul had a specific task from Christ to be an apostle to the Gentiles, bringing the faith to Greece and Rome and elsewhere. If you want to stick to the synoptic Gospels for some ungodly reason, it's not even going to make sense because Christ's ministry on earth was primarily to the Jews, though he did minister to some gentiles like the Roman centurion which was a case where Christ marveled over a man's faith. Paul established that Christianity was not a Jewish sect, that Jews were apostates, that you didn't need to convert to Judaism before becoming a Christian, and that the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament no longer apply. Also, read Acts 10 for the account of the first conversion of gentiles, Cornelius and some of his Roman soldiers.

The idea of global unity is Satanic. Nimrod was a prototype for the Antichrist. An epithet for Satan in the Bible in Greek is "kosmokrator," world-ruler.

A Christian has a duty to his nation, to be a productive citizen and not a criminal and to hold his people and leaders accountable and make sure they're doing right. The prophets and apostles are found throughout the scripture in the court system and speaking to the political rulers. The kind of faux-patriotism that's just about waving a flag as an idol and shouting about 'my country right or wrong' is not in any way scriptural, but the patriotism that involves demanding that your nation does right and letting it know when it's doing wrong is totally scriptural.

Helmut Hasse

I guess my overarching nagging concern is that I don't grasp why the details of an "old story" are of such critical importance. It seems genuinely hard to pin down exactly what happened.

I found the source of my teenage doubt: . This set of books, particularly Vermes, seems to raise a lot of questions.

Schmeisser, you seem to be acknowledging that Paul led the creation of Christianity as we know it, although as I understand it he was welcomed into existing Christian communities implying there wasn't too much of a break, so I don't know how to square that. I may just be too ignorant of even the basics. Reading recommendations would be welcome and appreciated.

And Thomas, I would be interested in your thoughts on the White character of Christianity. This may be connected to the distinction between Christ's ministry to the Jews in his lifetime and Paul's ministry to Gentiles?

Team Zissou

Why do you need to know 'exactly' what happened? This is not a hostile question; I'm just wondering why this is your first line of inquiry.

You mean the "old story" where God came to earth as man? If that's true, it's the most important event in history; if not, it doesn't really matter at all.

I'm not sure how to respond to a list of 25 books. Are there any particular points you have in mind? Re. Vermes, pop history by ethnic hostiles may not be the best place to get a fair hearing for Christian claims.

You might want to try working your way through the arguments in a book of Christian apologetics, such as: . You'll be in good hands with Peter Kreeft.

It's a faithless premise. Paul didn't lead to the creation of Christianity. God did. You're majoring in the minors, dude. Paul wasn't just working for himself. You think when he was heading to Damascus he was floored by a sudden stroke of logic? Reading recommendations: KJV Bible.

Helmut Hasse

Steamship Time, this is not my first line of inquiry. I am convinced of the spiritual importance of Christianity, of the virtues and beauty of Christian faith, of the creative nature of God, and so on, bringing me close to a pagan Unitarian, leaving me with the "foolishness of the Cross", the unique historical claims of Christianity.

If Jesus died and was resurrected, then of course it's the most important story, though one increasingly buried by time. It may be that I have smuggled in some imported sense of cosmic fairness; i.e. I don't see why one's salvation hinges so much on one's response to events increasingly buried by time. I guess this is a meta-historical concern.

Ash, I guess I would like to know the scholarly consensus on how the "historical Jesus" is reconstructed. For instance, what exactly do we know about the dates and authorship of the Gospels? I understand that there is some dispute not only as to when the Gospels were written, but by whom. Aside from John, how do we know that Luke, Matthew and Mark are apostles?

I will look into the apologetics book you linked to and explore the subject more.

At risk of question begging, it seems well placed to ask, if the White world isn't Christiandom, then what is it? A territorial mass of people arbitrarily aggregated? That hardly seems to be a historically complete description of what we are.

Races are the biological material of a cultural idea that animates men to act in the world, to contemplate and create political structures, to become impassioned towards the creation of art, to determine the parameters of war and peace, and to identify the teleology of life and its demands in accordance with the natural order and the most sublimely creative act of producing and rearing children.

There is a substantial controversy in historical study as to when ''the West'' came into existence, and the Enlightenment assigned a moral and eschatological significance to a rigidly linear view of historical development. This view requires that civilization be viewed as essentially global in scope, and driven by ideas that emerge in relative isolation from history - ideas that are utile or developmental that are subsequently delivered to other peoples by cultural osmosis or by the sheer power of these innovations to alter the trajectory of human thought in a transformative capacity across temporal and territorial obstacles. Diligent and comparative scrutiny however does not substantiate this sweeping theory of progress.

The Classical world in many respects was animated by a historical and spiritual perspective that was the inverse of the European/White cultural orientation - in terms of prime symbolism, artwork, political structures, beliefs, and discernment of time and its parameters. Spengler was correct, in his intuition, that 1000 AD was a seminal period of development of the European form of life; even if his perspective was colored by an idiosyncratic reverence for Gothic culture.

What Christianity became then, as the light of Christ was revealed to men, is the founding idea/spirit of a race of people who became the bearers of the faith. It was not and is not merely an abstraction or a series of moral postulates. The White race was shaped into a world transforming culture of supreme power and majesty by the Providential delivery of God's will to men through the conduit of his son the Christ; rendering us and our historical consciousness inextricably synonymous with the Christian faith.

''Patriotism'' - actual racial patriotism, not territorial fealty - is thus synonymous with Christian piety, is the short answer. I find De Maistre's discussion of the subject to be the most eloquent statement of it, but I don't feel the need to transcribe those essays here.