This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

An anecdote on the relativity of religious forms

We once heard someone complaining about a few Chinese persons who, while living abroad in Europe, had “converted” to Christianity. They left Europe as “practicing Christians” but once back home they took up their old practices and ceased the Christians. In the view of the person relating this story, they were backsliding, betraying the faith they had found, and it was a great tragedy. But the reality, we suspect, had escaped him. For the traditional mentality, conversion is not what it is for today’s Evangelical. It does not imply the rejection of all other forms or spiritual means. To adopt the spiritual means provided by Christianity when one finds oneself, for an extended period of time, within a Christian ambience, is not some sort of irreversible rebirth. It may be a birth into Christianity, but this does not mean a death to one’s previous religion, if any there was. This is because the means of grace provided by a particular religious form only function within the environment to which that form is home. In a Christian civilization, the best form to adopt is Christianity, regardless of one’s background and even, to some extent, regardless of one’s temperament. Place and culture and psychic environment are all factors that can help or impede a method. When these Orientals converted, they acknowledged this. When they ceased practicing Christianity, they were only continuing to acknowledge the same truth. They left the Christian ambience and once again adopted the form and the method appropriate to their homeland. There is no contradiction, and certainly no sin, in such actions.

We should stress, however, that in this situation, a firm background in the previous religion is implied, as well as a prolonged stay in an alien environment. In other words, the situation in question should not be used as a justification for globe-trotters who would go everywhere and engage in a smattering of practices, not out of necessity but out of a lust for change and spiritual rootlessness. The Orientals in the story had a center, and the possession of a center is what permitted the transition from one form to another.

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