Sunday, July 03, 2011

Is Christianity Facist?

One of my former philosophy students wrote to me asking a question: "a guy I work with said he believes that christianity is fascist, and I just wanted to know what you thought about that."

I responded (and, BTW, thank you B for the question):
Re. your question: Christianity has nothing to do with facism (if by 'facism' we mean: an authoritarian form of government). While it's true that an individual who calls himself a "Christian" also calls himself a facist, this does not mean "Christianity" is facist. Or, I might view an individual "Christian" as being "facist." I cannot logically conclude that, therefore, "Christianity is facist."

This reasoning fails:

1. Adolf refers to himself as a 'Christian."
2. Adolf acts like a facist and calls himself a 'facist."
3. Therefore, Christianity is facist.

Obviously there's no logical claim of inference from 1 & 2 to 3.

To see that authentic Christianity is not facist (nor can it be equated with any political or economic ideology) simply read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, attending to the words of Jesus. His kingdom, he says, is "not of this world." Therefore it cannot be equated with political or economic ideology. "Facism" is a good example of what the real Jesus could not have been talking about.
So I think someone who believes that "Christianity is facist" believes something that is false. "Facism" is neither a contingent nor essential (definitional) attribute of 'Christianity'.
For one example of how actual Christianity is not linked to political and economic ideologies, see Greg Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church.