If we Europeans look at the Euro barometer regarding the constant and steady decline of religious influence in Europe we can only rejoice to the fact that the age of Enlightenment is progressing steadily. In fact the latest figures show that only 51% of Europeans believe in a God, 29% believe in some form of spiritual life force and 18% are totally devoid of any such beliefs. Furthermore we can safely say that of the 51% of believers 85% across the EU are in fact mostly women of a certain age, those that lack or are at the lowest grade of formal education and those who adhere to extreme right wing ideologies.
However the most important factor, and in this respect we really have be grateful to our collective understanding of our past, and the negative impact that religion has had in Europe since the collapse of the Roman Empire, especially Christianity, and having created a system of Government that has very strict rules on the enforcing of the Separation of Church and State. Of course some European nations are more evolved than others, such as France, England and Sweden, and others still have a way to go such as Greece, Italy and Ireland, but overall the picture is very positive.
That cannot be said of the USA. A country where economics, politics and Christian religious fanaticisms have been allowed to mix to such an extent that it has created one of the most potentially dangerous mixes in human history. The growth of evangelicalism and fundamentalism in the 1980s was a phenomenon that extended well beyond the religious sphere into the cultural and political. Known by many names (born-again Christians, evangelicals, Pentecostals, The New Religious Right) these Christians, mostly Protestants, whose core political grass roots are what could be defined as a mixture of lower middle class mixed with an unschooled and frustrated working class and a poor “white trailer trash”, which has grown in numbers like no single Protestant denomination ( 35% of the population of the US is Evangelical). In the 1980s fundamentalists, or militant evangelicals, shared a disregard for modernity as sinful and insisted on the inerrancy of the Bible, the doctrine of dispensational pre-millennialism in regard to the Second Coming of Christ, and the separation of their churches from other Christian groups that did not believe as they did. Those who understood their political potential manoeuvred these disaffected part of the population and actively pursued an entrance into the arena of conservative politics. This was possible in the States because of a very fluid system of Government at Federal and State level, and the instinctive aversion of most Americans to a strong central Government.
The industrial and financial elites of the country quickly saw the potential of Evangelist Christianity as a political tool with which to manipulate the political process. The social behavioural obsessions that plague Evangelical Christians, such as Creationism, strict adherence to the Bible (which one is still not clear), racism, pseudo sexual morality, anti-abortion stances, anti-homosexual stances, and their extreme right wing political mind-set not too different from Nazi ideology makes them perfect political tools, easily controlled and led.
A perfect example is represented in the following documentary:
One of the scariest documentaries I have seen in a while.
But it does show the real nature of the beast. There is no doubt that the evangelical entrance into the politics first occurred in the mid-1970s with the election of Jimmy Carter as president. Americans watched to see what an evangelical really looked like and how one would function as president of the United States in a changing pluralistic society He didn’t and in fact he was a one-term President because he wasn’t re-elected for a second term.
Of course going into politics requires money and the right executives to lead and manipulate the political base accordingly. In 1979 a Lynchburg, Virginia, television preacher and fundamentalist, Rev. Jerry Falwell, founded the Moral Majority, a religious organization whose goal was to mobilize Christian believers for conservative political purposes. He was funded by some very rich and influential men and corporations. The Moral Majority formed chapters and local affiliates in all fifty states and sought to register conservative voters; influence local, state, and national elections; support conservative candidates; and combat liberal groups whom, it was argued, had come to dominate the nation.
Another choice of the Industrial Elites that joined Falwell on his crusade to “correct the morality of American politics” was Richard Zone of the Christian Voice, a conservative political lobbying group formed in 1978. These could be groups, and others identified the Republican Party as the more adept to carry their message, and could be classed as “the beginning of the end of American Republicanism”.
One of the premier books to capture the spirit of the new conservative Christian political movement was Richard A. Viguerie's The New Right: We're Ready To Lead, first published in 1980 and revised in 1981 after the national elections.
Viguerie, a conservative activist and publisher of the Conservative Digest, hoped to transfer conservative religious zeal into the political arena. His book focuses on the years of planning the behind-the-scenes effort to create the conservative political explosion that the media and the public witnessed in the 1980 November election. The book tries to justify the New Extreme religious Right ideological theories to the mainstream and lays out their vision of a Christianized American political landscape. It is a book that should be read carefully and more than once to basically understand the danger to collective humanity that these people pose.
The great majority of so called New Born Christians are intellectual morons as exemplified in the documentary the Jesus Camp, but behind them and pulling their strings are some very highly intelligent men and women that have not only a massive economic clout, but that whose life style is the complete opposite of what their followers think it is. It would be funny if it wasn’t tragic.
With the increasing religious right's influence on the Republican Party since the beginning of the 1970's, and growing over a course of years, and still strong today--anti-intellectualism, provincialism, biblical and even messianic rhetoric, dualistic ("good versus evil") moralism, and even American exceptionalism all grew stronger within the GOP and the Regan years were a hallmark, but the real apogee came with election of George W. Bush. The Bush administration's foreign and domestic policies were marked by not just arrogance and mismanagement and blatant corruption that diluted the lines completely between corporate America and the political executive, but America’s standing in the world was specifically compromised by the adoption of hypocritical stances of right-wrong , numerous rejections of international organizations and agreements, and on the domestic front with attacks against science, including medical science (as demonstrated by the administration's resistance to safe-sex education and global distain for women's health issues), and ecology. Its constant and politically motivated attack on the very foundations of America’s public education system, to the point that today the USA for the most developed country in the world scores badly in essential subjects such a science and mathematics in the world classification. All of these things directly reflect the emphases and obsessions of the religious right since the late 1970's and early 1980's--emphases and obsessions usually justified by specific interpretations of biblical passages about "End Times"--including notions such as (to name just one of them) the Antichrist using multi-national organizations, like the United Nations or even a united Europe, to dominate a world eager and ready to give itself to the devil. Also these subject provide the necessary and vital distraction from the real issues facing the country and allow the elites to consolidate power, and ultimately eliminate democracy as a form of government.
Why is all this happening?
In my view, all the problems the world faces today - in particular poverty and its exploitation which has then led to the decline of the imperialist nation states in Europe - cannot be correctly understood without correctly interpreting the history of religion, since throughout human history religious ideology has been the propaganda of choice of the imperialist state. Theology has evolved throughout history as a tool for military recruitment, and as the justification for the existence of both the military and of the expansionist imperialist empires which are created and then supported by the military. Thus the collapse of religion threatens both the future of imperialistic capitalism but also the survival of the military industrial complex.
The notion of the separation between Church and State is a modern novelty, for since ancient times the priest has performed the function of propagandist for the state. In ancient times the function of the priest was as a propagandist whose task was to validate elitism and provide indoctrination prior to induction into the military machine. This was very obvious, since most gods of that time were war gods, and most nations were the ‘chosen people' selected by this war god to conquer the known world and establish an imperialist empire in the name of the war god. One of the more familiar examples of this sort of thing is the ancient Jewish war god of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), and we can also consider less famous ancient war gods, such as Marduk, the war god of the ancient Babylonian empire. Imperialist religious propaganda was quite blatant in its earliest incarnations, rising as it did concurrent with the appearance of the earliest states, and it only became more sophisticated in later times, being forced as it was to become less transparent, lest it lose its effectiveness as a tool of military indoctrination.
This could explain why humanity evolves, technology evolves but all has to change in order to remain the same. Power, greed, egoism, stupidity, remains unaltered throughout the passages of time.
So the function of religion is really to provide the moral justification for imperialist policies and the war that can result from those policies. In this respect a priest or a pastor is worth a 1000 generals. Empires are lost when their elites lose the minds of their subjects. So one can say that Christian Doctrine is in a way unique, because it only has the ability to indoctrinate and brainwash its soldiers but also the people it conquers, those it can’t or won’t be tamed are usually killed, and the genocide is then justified by priest and pastor as a moral imperative. Simply look at the “absolution Contract” between the Church and the Knights of the Cross that were absolved of all sins when killing infidels in the Crusades.
There is no doubt that Christian Imperialism as made some very wealthy men and women, and without going too far back in history it is sufficient to look at the first Iraqi war, the war in Afghanistan, and the second Iraqi war.
Now draw your own conclusions.