Flat White

Bring back Christianity

4 May 2022

4:00 AM

4 May 2022

4:00 AM

Around 5,000 years ago, humans mastered writing. This marked the transition from prehistory to history. It’s a fraught calculation, but there have been around 80 billion individuals in this historical period. The most famous is Jesus, whose birth is celebrated in the world’s biggest annual festival and also sets our calendar. 

Jesus is so big it’s difficult to soberly assess his impact. Perhaps a useful tool could be to imagine someone like Jesus, but with a nondescript name that isn’t glazed over because of omnipresent familiarity – a name like Doug.

Doug was born in the perfect time and place if the objective was to make the most positive impact on the direction of mankind.

No geographical feature has witnessed more history than the Mediterranean Sea. A generation before Doug was born, the greatest civilisation of antiquity had made a ‘Roman Lake’ out of the Mediterranean. The Romans were cruel to those who defied them, but so long as Caesar was honoured and modest taxes paid, their subjects enjoyed a remarkably laissez-faire existence during the Pax Romana. Merchants, soldiers, scholars, travellers, lovers, and the lost circulated in a glorious melting pot of trade and ideas. It helped that imperial overlords were accepting of their intellectual limits and curious about foreign learning.

There were endless religious traditions in circulation, but most were self-evidently based on fables. The holy books of the Judean people, however, were in a category of their own. The clearly ancient accounts of Abraham, Moses, David, and endless other rich characters had the ring of authenticity and depth. Across the Roman world, many became convinced the Jewish writings did indeed have a divine breath. As the Pax Romana was getting into its stride, an estimated one in ten Romans had, to some degree, converted to Judaism. This remarkable reverence for the Jewish scriptures is largely obscured by what comes next.

Doug was born into a rural Jewish family. At the age of 30, he became a controversial religious teacher at odds with the religious and political establishment. He gained such a following the Roman authorities could sense trouble brewing and decided to snuff him out. Rather than quash the populous movement, Dougism went viral.

The Great Fire of Rome was in 64AD. It raged for almost ten days, consuming two-thirds of the great city. Emperor Nero falsely blamed the Dougites, which tells us that within just three decades they were a significant enough presence in faraway Rome to provoke imperial ire. For the next two centuries Dougites were subjected to waves of harassment, but their numbers compounded as slaves, women, and the poor were attracted to the humane teachings. The revered Jewish canon was soon expanded to include equally sublime writings about Doug. Modern secular scholars dismiss the references to miracles, but agree these documents provide a remarkably accurate window into everyday life and thinking in the first century.

The Romans had been devoutly religious for a millennia so it was startling when Emperor Constantine, in 313AD, declared himself a Dougite. Other emperors had done wacky things, so Constantine’s conversion could easily have been a one-off, but soon after half the Roman world had voluntarily converted to Dougism. One of the pivotal moments in world history came in 380AD when Dougism became Rome’s official religion. The worn-out city of Rome may have fallen in the fifth century, but Roman greatness powered on in Constantinople for another 1,000 years and continues to this day in the West.

The Roman gods had celebrated conquest and cruelty – Julius Caesar was a superhero when he wrote home from Gaul boasting, ‘I’ve killed a million!’ Under Dougism, the most revered were those who risked all by travelling to distant and dangerous lands to convince people to abandon pagan gods with all their hocus-pocus and love of war and instead embrace peaceful and productive Dougism. One of the endless examples is the Vikings – they were barbaric monsters until they knelt before the new faith.

Dougism teaches us that God knows all our thoughts and deeds. He is anxious for us to strive to be good and when we die we will all receive an assessment of our life followed by a judgment. Dougites say belief in Doug as the Son of God is the great virtue from which all others flow. None of us know for sure if there is an afterlife (it’s the unfathomable mystery), but regardless this formula spurs positive life decisions.

Most Australians are the product of around 70 generations who faithfully adhered to Dougism. Since the 1960s, there has been a sharp decline in Dougism across the Western world – in particular among Protestants who have dominated the UK and America for the past three centuries and therefore world affairs. At Federation 96.1 per cent of Australians consideration themselves a Dougite. In the 1970s, a pop star compared his fleeting popularity to Doug and asked us to ‘imagine no religion’. Many of us did, and Dougism has fallen sharply in Australia since. In the 2016 census 52.2 per cent of Australians said they were a Dougite. The 2021 census data is out soon – it’s almost certainly going to be below 50 per cent. If so, it’ll be the first time since antiquity that our civilisation has not been majority Dougite. Is this good?

Every society since prehistory has had religion. We may think we can abandon religion, but we only create a vacuum. A ‘religion-free’ mindset rejects the concept that God knows our thoughts etc and so we are more open to embrace self-indulgent and self-evident lies. If no one can monitor our inner thoughts, what’s the harm in accepting a falsehood if it is seemingly in our interests to do so? Those lies are now piling up and consequently, we are on the precipice of western decline.

The great liberator William Wilberforce noted, ‘By all who are studious of their country’s welfare, every effort should be used to revive the Christianity of our better days.’

Christianity has been Western Civilisation’s most fundamental ingredient and Western Civilisation has been a darn good thing. We would be foolish to abandon the great faith of our ancestors. Its impact has been so positive its fundamental veracity should not be entirely dismissed.

Bring back Christianity.

John Ruddick is the Liberal Democrat’s lead senate candidate in NSW

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