Religions, specifically Christianity has an interesting history and consequently an interesting evolution.
Like all religions it originally started as the sole form of government. If a tribe got too big a few strongmen would not be enough to keep it under control, and there were military as well as survival benefits to having a larger tribe.
Ergo, “religion” where an “all powerful god” gave “his people” rules to follow (which amazingly all seem to be the basic same commandments regardless of which religion you choose), otherwise they would endure a “hell” of a new form of government. And so instead of Mog threatening to bash your head in to do what was best for the tribe, people in fear of “hell” started following rules and laws that made for larger, stronger tribes.
Of course religion was an improvement from “Mog the Tribal Chieftain” beating your head in, but like all forms of government, it corrupted it’s leaders. Be it a pastor, a rabbi, an imam, a president or a conrgessman, it didn’t matter. Sooner or later the power of ruling over a people proved too tempting to leaders of all religions and soon they imbibed in the benefits, becoming fat, rich, and lazy.
Sadly for them, even within the most sheepleish of followers, some would still dare to point out the fact or even the risk that the leaders were hypocrites, using religion as a means to simply enrich themselves. Some even dared to suggest there was no god, or that their god was the wrong one. And since this threatened the power of the leaders, they had to go back to Mog the Tribe Chieftain tactics.
These amounted to witch burnings, burning people who wanted to read and become literate, burning people who thought the sun was the center of the solar system. Soon, however, reality, science, self-respect, sanity, and the power of the masses slowly made inroads into debunking religion as government.
And with a lot of philosophy, science, wars, and burned heretics at least some religions were reformed allowing for secular government, most notably in the (evil and hate-filled) United States.
This then relegated religion to where it belonged – largely a personal affair between a man and his thoughts about god and the afterlife that would have no say in what others were to believe in such matters. However, for all the flaws of religion, it did deliver an absolutely enormous benefit to humanity—wisdom
The reason all religions have more or less the same commandments is because it made sense. It was beneficial to society to follow them. And that’s merely the commandments. If you look at all the major religions’ primary texts they are nothing more than life advice guides that has the culminated wisdom of men over the past 6,000 years.
Ergo, religion, for all of its flaws, filled a role in society filling the gap where mere codified secular law could not.
The law does not tell you how to raise a family. Religion does. The law does not tell you raise your children. Religion does. And the law does not tell you how to run your romantic or social lives. Religion does.
The Golden Years
It is here, the crossroads where religion was NOT the government, but served to fulfill a man’s spiritual life, that religion would enjoy its heyday and do the most good. The secular government would provide the rules by which everybody could live together, your religion would teach you how to get the most out of life.
You would love your family and friends. You would respect other people, leaving them be, loving thy neighbor as you love thyself, as long as none of them hurt or harmed you. And if the thought of a universe without a god or a life without an afterlife scared you, then there was always a convenient tale of 72 virgins or sitting at a table playing poker with Jesus and your childhood dog.
There’s just one minor problem. Religion, especially Christianity, could not stop evolving.
Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone
Be it the never ending empiricism of science, the freedom of thought secularism grants you, the leftist movement of the 1960’s, or feminism railing against the “religious right,” people started leaving the church. And like corporations cannot abide decreasing profits, churches cannot abide decreasing attendance.
And so in an effort to stem the flow of congregants leaving the church, the church started diluting itself, sacrificing its standards to appeal to a larger market and therein save all those religious leaders their jobs.
In my town alone there is the church that actually baptizes animals. It’s right next to another church where (20 years ago) I listened to a long haired hippie preacher rail against the evils of capitalism. Which is only one of about a gazillion churches that fly gay banners outside their steeple.
And let’s not forget about the score of female pastors I’ve seen. And you Catholics have GOT to realize your pope isn’t a pope, but a leftist purposely chosen to win a popularity contest with the young and naive generation.
Of course, I am not against any of these things (bar the socialist posing as pope). I think gays should be able to worship. I think gays should be able to get married. I think women can make great pastors. And if you want to “baptize animals” while railing against capitalism, well then by golly you go do that.
The only problem is in doing so you admit your entire religion was not only wrong, but is a money-making operation. And in doing so, you also alienate your customer base of true believers and genuine Christians.
Of course my observations above are only my observations as a PK and outside observer. I haven’t been to church in 20 years. But I vicariously live through other Christian bloggers of whom I have great respect – Dalrock, Wintery Knight, Free Northerner, Chris Bechtloff, and Last Christian Standing. And the common refrain I hear from them is the invasion of feminist thought co-opting and destroying whatever remnants of spiritual wisdom and traditionalism that real Christians may have once enjoyed.
And it’s driving away men in droves.
Be it “man up and marry those sluts” or “you have a Christian duty” or the increasingly feminist lectures disguised as “sermons,” churches may have opened themselves up to the “lucrative” markets of gays, feminists, and young uppity leftist women, but it’s sending men elsewhere.
Of course, I never chartered religious people with terribly great business acumen, but any business strategist would point out serious religious men are better long-term customers for religion than 22-year-old feminist, liberal sociology majors who are “spiritual, but not religious.”
Thus, for whatever short term gain may (and likely, may not) have been had, churches are not only hemorrhaging Millennial followers, but men as well.
“The Church Of St. Leykis”
However, just because the church is leaving millions of men behind, does not mean they won’t search for religion or spirituality elsewhere. And truth be told, most people attend church not only because they want to worship god, but also because of the guidance, wisdom, and structure it provides in life.
And that’s great news for the likes of us, because whether you realize it or not, ROK, Tom Leykis, Dalrock, and the hundreds of others sites that have evolved over the past 10 years to reconstitute the wisdom that was lost since the 1960’s, are a perfect, dare I say, superior substitute. We are the new “church.” And we most definitely welcome any men looking for some kind of wisdom, guidance, even spirituality.
Of course, we are not preaching salvation, advocating one religion or another, or offering any advice on how to make it to the winning side in the afterlife. That is again a private affair between you and your god. But everything else non-religious the church once provided is provided here.
Wisdom, comradery, fellowship, support, guidance, humor, structure, and brotherhood. All delivered without a lecture, precluded by a ton of outdated songs, chants, formalities, and Christian girls who hold you up to Jesus to judge your dateability.
Internet Killed The Mega Church Star
Not only can a single podcast or blog reach millions, but it does so at a millionth of the cost it would take a traditional church to reach the same. Podcasts are also more convenient than early or even late service, allowing you to listen wherever, whenever. The topics are more pertinent and relevant to men today, giving you direct advice without relying on archaic and easily misinterpreted scriptures.
If you’re looking for life advice, rather than being stuck with the local pastor at your church, you have a choice of thousands, ensuring only the highest quality “preachers” make it to the top. And instead of pledging a tithe of 10% to a religion, all you need to do is “buy something on Amazon” or purchase the occasional book (which you were likely going to do anyway). Truth is, I’m surprised a young, enterprising pastor fresh out of seminary hasn’t put together a “digital” church as of yet.
Regardless, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t attend church (or synagogue or mosque). Nor that you should give up searching for one that delivers the traditional religious message and guidance you are looking for. But if you’re in limbo, and in between houses of worship, or just need a classic belt of fire and brimstone truth, about the only place you’re going to find it nowadays is here and on the hundreds of blogs and podcasts that populate the Knowledgesphere.
And we’re damn happy to have you.