The greatest weakness of Christianity lies in the fact that it ignores rhythm. Christianity balances God with Devil, instead of Vishnu with Siva. Its dualisms are antagonistic instead of equilibrating, and therefore can never issue in the functioning third, in which power is in equilibrium. Its God is the same yesterday, to-day and forever and does not evolve with an evolving creation, but indulges in one special creative act and rests on His laurels. The whole of human experience, the whole of human knowledge, is against the likelihood of such a concept being true.
The Christian concept being static, not dynamic, it does not see that because a thing is good, its opposite is not necessarily evil. It has no sense of proportion because it has no realization of the principles of equilibrium in space and rhythm in time. Consequently, for the Christian ideal the part is all too often greater than the whole. Meekness, mercy, purity and love are made the ideal of Christian character, and as Nietzsche truly points out, these are slave virtues. There should be room in our ideal for the virtues of the ruler and leader – courage, energy, justice and integrity. Christianity has nothing to tell us about the dynamic virtues; consequently those who get the world’s work done cannot follow the Christian ideal because of its limitations and inapplicability to their problems. They can measure right and wrong against no standard save their own self-respect. The result is the ridiculous spectacle of a civilization, committed to a one-sided ideal, being forced to keep its ideal and its honor in separate compartments.
– Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah, page 180 ctd.
The issue of Christian hypocrisy Dion Fortune hauled to light has remained the greatest as well as most ignored challenge of modern Christianity and religion in general: the schism between our way of life and way of faith, the gulf between making a living and keeping our integrity.
It stands to reason that it doesn’t matter much what we do during that one hour on Sunday morning, but rather what we do during the 167 hours in between. On that depends whether we are a good Christian or not. And it’s hard to be a good Christian. If you haven’t done so yet, you can take a test here.
Statistics show that a significant number of Christians leaving the church do so because they can’t stand the Christian hypocrisy anymore. Is this an unresolvable dilemma? Are Jesus Christ’s requirements too tough and nobody can step up to the Christian plate? Was Nietzsche right claiming that there was only one Christian and he died on the cross? Are Christians doomed to hypocrisy?
Don’t beat your chest just yet. Despite appearances to the contrary I disagree. This issue isn’t hypocrisy. This is a challenge. This is a struggle. This becomes only a hypocrisy if we give up the fight and turn cynic.
We have to succeed in a competitive society and if we are responsible for a family, our choices become even more challenging. For our bosses, politicians, and organizations like the CIA, ends justify means. Every day we have to make decisions either way and sacrifice one or the other: do what is right or make ends meet. Having a bad conscience is a part of life, it’s a burden we carry. But also saying ‘No!’ and reaching out for honor and glory is a part of life. What makes matters worse is that decisions are hardly ever black and white. Most of the time decisions are balancing acts. We need to analyze grey shades, take many parameter into consideration, and decide case by case.
Having said that, we need to watch ourselves and keep an eye on our morality-reality-ratio. Statistics are hard to come by, but a good guess is possible. How often do people think about God? The recent Hoffman study showed that people think mostly about food, sleep, personal hygiene, social contact, time off, and coffee. During the day, checking messages, social media, and watching TV have priority over sex. Sex becomes important only towards the end of the day, but comes in second behind sleep. Conclusion: people hardly think of God.
Next question: how much time do people spend on religious activities? There is an hour for the Sunday sermon. 66% of women and 49% of men pray daily … let’s say once for ten minutes? That would be 1 + 7 * 10 minutes/60 = 1.3%. Conclusion: an average church goer’s life-religion ratio is something like 98/2.
This is partly a problem of Christian customs. I have spent a lot of time in the Middle East and in Indonesia. I learned to like the Ahdan, the call for prayer. Five times a day, Moslems drop whatever they do, pray, think of God, and their eternal agenda. Christian societies would benefit greatly from church bells calling people five times a day to interrupt work and think of honor and glory instead of chasing money and success. It would surely help to narrow the schism between ideal and honor as Dion Fortunes called it.