You can tell that humanity is a scared and disorganized herd of monkeys because there is never a single convincing explanation for any event, even the most important ones to our present day. Consider for example Christianity.
The official narrative used to be that Christianity unified Europe and moved it away from the pagans, who were prone to anal sex and other weird and promiscuous practices, and that Christianity formed the basis of our modern time, including The Renaissance™ and The Enlightenment.™
A counter-narrative arose which said that Christianity was an invader, that it oppressed the pagans and destroyed them in service to moneyed interests, and that it then erased evidence of the superior past and injected its mediocrity in place of the pagan wisdom. In this view, Christianity was the corruption of the West and gave rise to Leftism.
Maybe both have some truth to them. Let me retell the story:
Wealth is death. Any society which becomes wealthy faces a trap: its old purpose is now gone, since it has conquered that which stood against it, and now it needs to find a new affirmative purpose or entropy takes over. But, this is difficult, since that purpose needs to be arbitrary and immutable, yet qualitative, which means most people simply do not understand it, and it is impossible to get a consensus together. Either it is imposed by force, or it does not happen. Without purpose, society turns inward, and focuses on human individuals and their desires instead of the ecosystem they form together that allows civilization to happen.
The herd arises. When a civilization becomes wealthy and loses purpose, and then turns toward a facilitative society or one geared toward fulfilling the needs of its individuals, it quickly produces a herd of individualists, or those forming a collective of individuals dedicated toward the principle that every individual — and each thinks only of himself when saying this — should be forcibly included in society. They want to clear away restrictions against their personal participation, so they come up with the idea of “equality,” or that every individual should be equally included. This means that no objections against any one of them can stand, with a few exceptions that rapidly dwindle in number.
The herd controls. The herd uses control, or the idea of regulating people equally by method in order to eliminate dissent, in order to force other people to accept the lie (that each person should be included regardless of abilities, genetics, class/caste, character or past behavior) so that they avoid the truth (that people are different and belong to a hierarchy in emulation of the order of nature). The goal of the herd is to diminish virtue, or the desire to do what is right/good independent of whether personal reward in the short-term arrives in response. The herd therefore likes anything that accomplishes its goal of breaking down organization, order, distinctions, hierarchy and virtue: pedosexuality, drugs, promiscuity, atheism, communism, anarchism, whatever.
The herd seized Christianity. Naturally sane people, back when Europe was pagan, were pagan. Why were they pagan? Paganism is an outpouring of culture, not a third party known as “religion,” and so to be German (for example) was to have certain customs, practices, calendar, cuisine, beliefs and rituals… most of which we would now consider spiritual or religious, but for them were just part of being German. This is why paganism makes no sense as a religion; it is, like conservatism, a folkway and as such has no ideology or over-riding and underlying central theme, but instead is a collection of memories, experiences, stories, and other fragments of wisdom. For this reason, the sane people were pagan, and the herd saw this new foreign religion as a way to dominate these naturally sane people.
The herd reprogrammed Christianity. The herd uses everything as a means-to-the-end of its own power; instead of using an ends-over-means analysis, where all things must serve a purpose, the herd short-circuits this decision and makes its own power the only end and regulates means/methods in order to do this. For the herd, Christianity was a property which could be renovated and made into a weapon. Contrasting this was the natural adoption of Christianity: as a written religion, and one of a single layer of interpretation instead of the many depths and obscurities of paganism or reality itself, Christianity had the power to unite people. And so, many switched over to it, and at the same time that the herd was infiltrating, the good people were pushing back and making something great of Christianity. Many inspired acts and works came of this process, but the herd won in the end because its message was simpler and thus, more popular.
The herd hijacks everything. Once upon a time, there was a strong European tradition of being experimentalist, or willing to take on new thoughts and test them out. To the herd, this was a powerful symbol and signal of intelligence and self-confidence, so they promptly hijacked it, and turned it into liberalism — a bias for new ideas over working ones — and bohemianism, or a desire for behaviors which flaunt cultural norms and prioritize selfishness. They did the same thing to Christianity, turning a reverent religion (a Judaic interpretation of Greek and Hindu ideas) into a personal religion, at which point it became another adornment for the individual, and its real message — that the ideal is measured in terms of consequences, not feelings — was forgotten.
Christianity became a pretext. If you want to eliminate your enemies, set up an Official Truth™ and then use that as a backward justification for crushing all who do not obey it; in this case, it was simple to categorize any dissidents from the herd thinking as “pagans” and then have the mob of well-meaning but thoughtless people without accountability crush those “pagans.” Since many of the sanest saw religion as a type of ideology, and preferred to stick to their folkways, many were “pagan,” but did not see it as a type of competing ideology as the new Christians did. For the pagans, their beliefs were simply a description of the world, and the possible causes, effects and consequences which confronted human decision-makers. But those ideas — realism — opposed what the herd wanted, and so it used Christianity as a pretext to crush the dissenters.
The struggle continued. Most people who got involved with Christianity were normal people who thought that religious guidance might be a good thing. Some became true believers in the religion itself. This explains why Christianity was such a mixed bag: some good, and some evil. But this makes sense, given that a religion is comprised of humans, and they approach it with different motivations. Just because they join a faith does not automatically render them uniform with the same goals and principles. Instead, like civilization itself, it provides an aegis under which individual accountability takes a back seat to membership in the group, and often by distributing negative effects among the group, protects the aberrant individual from responsibility, and so increases the presence of deviancy over time. Paganism did not have this sense of group unity because it was not ideological.
And so, we are left with the usual moral ambiguity of human life. Saying “Christianity is bad” is as nonsense as saying “Christianity is good,” because Christianity is composed of individuals, and the quality of interpretation varies with them. In fact, the people who have something sensible to say would most likely be saying the same thing under Christianity, German paganism, Greco-Roman paganism or Hinduism.
If the past hundred years have done anything, it is to integrate some of those old pagan folkways into Christianity, both subverting its fringes and strengthening its core idea of the impossibility of separation from God. From Old World Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi:
Old World witchcraft is glimpsed in shadow because the shadow’s edge is the threshold of the portal to the inside. Stepping across the threshold and coming back again are what brings about realization. They reveal the difference between witchcraft as something to do on the weekend and witchcraft as something much larger and greater than the witch. Old World witchcraft is empowering and transformative. It is more than a philosophy and a self-image; it is how we interact with our connection to, and relationship with, all things.
There is a reason why witchcraft is traditionally linked to the night and intimately connected to the moon. In a mystical sense the moon is a form and is formless at the same time. From earth’s perspective the moon appears to change shape in the night sky and even disappears entirely for three nights each lunar cycle. Its shape is not constant like that of the sun and stars. Therefore, it becomes a metaphor for altered states of consciousness. To stand beneath the moon in a state of receptivity is to invite the “otherworld” into our mind, body, and spirit.
Witchcraft, paganism and the occult group together because they are informal religions based on the idea of natural balance instead of human order. That is to say that humans fit within a natural order, instead of asserting an order of their own over nature. This concept is also found in Christianity, but under-emphasized because of the need to promote a personal morality.
This shows us the distinctions between modern Christianity and pagan faiths:
Exoteric. Christianity is written, like the law or theory, with the idea that it has only a single level of interpretation. If people read the text, they may argue over the finer points, but the basics have been communicated to them and they can follow the religion as if an ideology or symbol. This means however, that since no depth is expected, anyone who masters the basics can then twist the religion in any direction they want, and selectively cite it because the meanings of each passage are clear and therefore can be addressed in isolation, instead of as part of a tapestry of obscure ideas designed for those with the natural capacity and long-term dedication to pursue them.
Personal. If Christianity has a fatal flaw, it is its individualism. Many people (idiots) confuse the core of the West with individualism, when really it is a contrary principle, which is “reflection” or contemplating the world and self to figure out how they work, instead of taking the self at face value and assuming that it is more important than the world. Christian morality is concerned with the rightness of actions in the context of the rules of a god, instead of effects in reality, for the most part, and this is a weakness because people then focus on avoiding “bad” behaviors but do not dedicate themselves toward good ones on a level above that of the individual.
Foreign. To my mind, this is what will doom Christianity in the next hundred years: we cannot hide the fact that it was invented by people speaking a very different language in the very different area of the world known as the middle east. Maybe the Jews were European, but evidence suggests they were at least hybrids shortly after the events of the Bible, so they are not a fit with those of us who are European in descent.
It is for this reason that many are tending toward exploration of Christianity at its more logically-consistent extremes, much like the orthodox Catholics or Bruce Charlton pursuing Mormonism. They recognize that the core doctrines of Christianity are under assault and thus deviating from their Greek/Hindu origins into more Asiatic ideas which were originally at the fringe but become the core.
In my view, it makes the most sense to simply sit out this war. There is a lot to like in Christianity, and most of that comes from the Greeks, Nords, Germans, Hindus, Hittites, and others who contributed to its core. At the same time, it is committing suicide because, having achieved supremacy, it had no second act and so has passed into irrelevance as distrust of organized systems has risen.
Within a century, Christianity will not exist, having been replaced by an informal faith more like our pagan origins simply because people do not trust formalized faiths. The Bible however will live on as a resource used by those people, and it is likely that the churches will again become sacred places. European greatness existed before Christ, but will carry him forward into a new era.