When I became a Christian, I accepted that there were natural and revealed religions: and Christianity was a revealed religion. It was an ‘historical’ religion; which made claims about human history and ‘therefore’ (it was said) some history must be taught, learned and accepted.
A natural religion like the animism of hunter gatherers was the natural and spontaneous spirituality, and paganism was an elaboration and formalisation of this spontaneous animism (totemic religions being a half-way house). Hinduism was perhaps the highest development of this spontaneous paganism – yes, it is full of culturally specific detail, but something like the polytheism of Hinduism would form in all civilizations (eg Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome), by culturally inflected spontaneous developments…
Zodiacism, for example, is a hypothetical natural religion which, I’ve claimed, follows when a critical mass of people in a population are Luciferians (which I claim is also a natural religion via the emergent biomoralism of pathological narcissism).
In other words, the idea was that we could Not work-out Christianity for ourselves, from our spontaneous inner feelings and reactions, and natural ways of thinking about the human condition and the world in general. We needed to be told about Christianity; or brought-up in it.
The idea was that – if a bunch of young children were raised from infancy to adulthood, on an island, cut off from the world, they would Not become Christians. This was the rational basis for Christian missionary work.
But there is another way of regarding Christianity as a natural religion. I sometimes think of this as a ‘cosmic’ view of the work of Christ: that what Jesus did was to change the cosmos.
Is this true? I believe it is true; and I hope it is true!
Because if it is Not true, then Christianity is on its way-out; because the records and teaching of revelation, and the ways that people are interpreting it, are by now deeply tainted and corrupted.
Revealed Christianity nowadays points away-from Christ and towards the totalitarian System of this world. Revealed Christianity has it that Christianity must be changed and fitted into the mainstream, dominant, global ideology.
The question to ask is whether a loving God (our Father, the creator) would allow a situation to exist. Would such a God allow a situation in which his children – who wished to find it – were unable to discover and discern the truth; because the history was lies, the priests and pastors were political ideologues, the rituals were degraded, and everybody was trained to interpret the world through the lens of politics?
I do not accept such an understanding.
Setting aside the fact that this flagrantly contradicts his eschatology, I wonder if Charlton has considered the intellectual consequences of getting this wrong. If, contra Mere Christianity, the Christian worldview is supremely intuitive, then there’s nothing to be gained by believing either way. In that case the heart will have its way, sort of like a solipsistic Calvinism.
But if traditional theology is right, and the ataviste is wrong, and furthermore we’re entering an age when children are being misled and statistically do not think or read independently (see Twenge), then this would be a cope which precludes and excuses Christian intellectuals from working on the most pressing intellectual question of our time. We might also wonder why the enemy is expending so much effort. He certainly appears to believe it’s important to pervert the understanding of children.
That would be almost as bad as getting Pascale’s wager wrong, and you’ll please note this dichotomy has the same logical form.