The Dark Side of Christianity

I just watched Return of the Jedi again. It always gets me thinking. It seems to me that Christianity has a dark side, just like the Force. Like the Force, it is powerful, but its power takes on different characters depending on those who seek to use and experience it for good or evil ends. And of course, this means that somehow we have to discover a way of discerning good Christianity from bad, just as with the Force or with any religious tradition. This is the thing that undermines many good Jedis and turns them into Sith, and many good Christians and turns them into fundamentalists. If one simply follows the power, then the dark side may seem to bring its own evidence. That’s where the power is, so it must be right. How can we counter such logic?

Are things like love, kindness, patience and self-control self authenticating as being good? If not, how is a Jedi, or a Christian, or anyone else to find his or her way?

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  • You’re so weird. Maybe that’s why I love you.

  • Isn’t this true of all human endeaver. Capitalism can be a force for good or ill depending on the motives of its implementers. Hitchens et al want to endow religion with special power when the real power resides in our human nature.

  • C.S. Lewis said something like that in Reflections on the Psalms: that a person should count the cost before becoming a Christian, since Christianity can make him into a nice person, or into a Grand Inquisitor.