Christism is a theological-philosophical movement, named for its understanding of Jesus as a simple teacher of morals, in direct contrast to traditional Christ-worshiping Christianity. Thus, Christists adhere to a strict monotheism (which they call kinetheism) and maintain that Jesus was a moralist, and serves a purpose by maintaining a social order through moral codes, and in no sense the "son" of any god, nor God himself, in anything other than a metaphorical or symbolic sense, furthermore if he is a divine figure, they do not accept him as such within the parameters of their faith.
For most of its history, Christism has been known for its rejection of several traditional Christian doctrines: including the trinity, the soteriological doctrines of original sin and predestination, ordination, creeds and dogma, "miracles" or other supernatural occurrences, and most especially biblical inerrancy. In C. Marzel Welsh's Register of Native Religions it is classified among "the 'puritanical' family of churches" for its unflinching severity in stripping religion to its most basic elements.
The Christism movement, although not called "Christism" initially, began in the 1890's at the University of Ezinge. Among the adherents were a significant number of scholars. In Faeland the first Christist Church was established in 1904 in Servon, where today's Faelish Christ Union headquarters are located. The first official acceptance of the faith on the part of a congregation was in Oderns, from where Martin von Gruyter began teaching a formalized doctrine in 1908, and was appointed rector and revised the Prayer Book according to the new faith later that year.
Dr. von Gruyter writes: “The death of Christ is widely understood as the death of the god-man [a divinity incarnate on earth] and also as part of the continuing Jewish historical narrative. The former is mythology, and as non-Jews, the latter is irrelevant to the world at large. However, the death of the abstract god [a "god in heaven"] whose transcendence radically separates human existence from its divine essence can be seized upon to invigorate the entire human race."
The modern age is atheistic, but marked by an ever stronger religious spirit, albeit one that has evolved beyond theism. Religion demands sacrifice, and in primitive religions, this sacrifice was of a loved one or a first born: one was asked to sacrifice one's nearest and dearest to the god. This spirit of sacrifice was refined so that, in time, we no longer sacrificed others, but sacrificed ourselves instead. Priests, clerics, ascetics, monastics, etc surrendered their will, their freedom, and their strength to god, in order to spare the rest of humanity. Having completely sacrificed themselves, the next logical step in this course of abstraction was that taken up by traditional Christianity: sacrifice of their own god, the one thing in which all had placed their hopes and faith. Having sacrificed god, they turn back to the Earth, the worship of rocks, gravity, and so on: trading in god for science (a new liturgy), and worship that instead.
Morality, and specifically the morality of Jesus, has different roles within society, and should not be read as a blanket, unchanging pattern of behavior with a universal end for all practitioners. To the ruling classes, it is a means to relate to their subjects and to keep them in line through the implementation of laws based on "higher" codes. To a rising class, it teaches self-discipline and prepares it for future rule. To the masses, it teaches them to rest content in their lowly position. But morality does not only serve others' purposes.
Christian morality has purposes of its own. Primarily, it seeks to preserve and care for the human species. This means preserving the majority who are sick and weak of spirit. As a result, it comes to value the suffering and the weakness in those it cares for. It effects a total reversal in our moral valuations, so that weakness and suffering are considered "good" and health and strength are considered "evil." While we can admire the "spiritual men" of the priestly classes, this devaluation of all our noble instincts has bred a race of mediocrity and banality through the multiplication of suffering (pity).
Christist interpretation, on the other hand, concludes that the only purposes in shepherding the weak or sick or poor is for the greater good of the species. In affect, then, the lower in the social ladder one goes, the more strictly bound by the moral code one is. The result being that the strongest in the culture or species retain the deviations from normalcy, and are given room to test their new traits, while the lowest classes help to protect and advance the very rare mutation or trait which only exists at the top. An oft-quoted passage that Christists often employ:
Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it. Something similar also happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or "moral" loss without an advantage somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have occasion to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man may see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening of a man or of a race.
According to Christist scholars, morality was originally a matter of saying that virility, strength, freedom, and the like were good, and that their undesirable opposites were bad. This morality was reversed by the Judeo-Christian "slave revolt of morality," where those who were neither healthy, strong, nor free (namely, the slaves) came to resent the people in positions of power and identified them as "evil." They then came to identify themselves--the weak, the sick, and the poor--as "good." This is the remarkable reversal of the ascetic priest or saint, who finds power in a turning-inward of all aggressive instincts. This religion gestated in the womb of ancient Egypt, with the aggressive dieites being worshiped by the ruling and original priestly classes, all the while the slave religion was coming into its own parallel to the ruling system.
Over time, this Christian morality fosters and rewards the sicknesses and weaknesses that we should be working to overcome. It persuades us to rest content in our weakness rather than to try to grow strong. Because the Christian instinct has grown so powerful, even the strong among us are susceptible to its restraining power.
Christist interpretations let this morality control the classes toward the bottom whilst acknowledging the superiority of those at the apex of civilization.
The Christian instinct toward weakness and mediocrity is stronger than ever. Science has become supremely powerful in this age because it preaches that there is no meaning at all: there are just the laws of physics and the interactions of matter. In science, the asceticism has grown so strong that it has renounced, finally, its own ideas of God and morality. The final abstraction then destroys not only strength, health, and happiness, but even god, who was previously the only justification for asceticism. This lack of positive faith is a nihilism and a great danger. Humans need something to aim for, some higher goal, or we will give up on life entirely. Science then, according to Christists, has its uses, but we should be careful to not let it become a vacuous surrogate for morality. In order to understand our cosmos, we must operate within it under some sort of plan realting to a theory of mind. A human is incapable of processing external events and stimuli without drawing parallels to itself. To compare existence to nothing has only one logical conclusion: nothing. Death. And life lived in the shadow of death, is sorrow. And sorrow is only good for art. And art will not feed hungry mouths.
The consensus of Christist philosophers is that Christism rests in the ability to say "yes" to all of life, the good and the bad, and to accept it for what it is without any belief in or hope for anything beyond this life. In other words, living beyond good and evil frees humanity from useless pondering. Naturally, asceticism is rejected.
- Under peaceful conditions a warlike man sets upon himself.
- The will to overcome an affect is ultimately only the will of another, or of several other, affects.
- Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.
- Our vanity desires that what we do best should be considered what is hardest for us.
- There are no moral phenomena at all, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena.
- Democratic sentiments tame us and render all equal in mediocrity with no way out. A species of "new philosophers" need arise and lead the way out of this longing for peace and mediocrity.
- The Christian ethic wants to speak for everyone. Everyone should love his neighbor, everyone should act with the happiness of the greatest number in mind. This "herd" morality speaks to our herd instincts. It assumes that we are all the same and should all follow the same rules. Moral relativism is the new ethic.
- Genius begets or gives birth. The only lives of value are the artist and the parent, the progenitors of thought and life, respectively.
- Objectivity is a myth. All knowledge is subservient to subjective opinion. The objective man is trapped in his own lie; he lacks self-knowledge and strong passions, and thrives, nay, survives on a mediocrity that seeks to eliminate everything that is unusual or irregular. Irregularities are the unpolished diamonds of our future. Interpretation of any fact (and what is an uninterpreted fact, anyway?) is a sign that a will is taking possession of that fact, and shaping it into its own opinion of what that fact is.
Christist texts can be categorized in a number of ways. The Western terms "scripture" and "canonical" are applied to Christism in inconsistent ways by scholars: for example, one authority refers to "scriptures and other canonical texts", while another says that scriptures can be categorized into canonical, commentarial and pseudo-canonical. A rather more definite division is that between Christoglossou (the Sayings of the Christ) and other texts (mainly by theologians and philosophers). In general within the religion, there is a tendency to favor yearly reanalysis and incorporation of all new thoughts, guided by heresiarchs who exist outside the original academic clique of the university that possesses all original texts and, to some degree, a status of primus inter pares.
Otherwise, texts may be divided into "historical documents" composed of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth meant to provide simple rules for governing daily life, and philosophical documents meant to provide ontological proofs or justifications for life.
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
The The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, or Jefferson Bible, as it is formally titled, was a book constructed by Thomas Jefferson in the latter years of his life by cutting and pasting numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus. Jefferson's condensed composition is especially notable for its exclusion of all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels which contain the Resurrection and most other miracles, and passages indicating Jesus was divine.
This book has been adopted by the Christist church with some modifications as a replacement for the standard Bible seen in most Christian faiths. In particular, passages which advise apathy or un-lifelike attitudes have been removed. What little references remained to the "divinity" of Jesus were also removed. The point being not the abrogation of Jesus's divine nature, but to avoid confusion, as all men of earth are divine, no one of us is singled out especially so. Jesus's divinity has nothing to do with his ministry.
The Meaning of Life
There is a continually morphing, rewritten, all-encompassing text known simply as "The Meaning of Life" that has as its principle purpose: "to consistently and eternally assign meaning to life, since there otherwise is none."
It is organized chronologically, showing the stages of human life (allowing for these to be updated as life as we know it evolves) and their various general descriptions and purposes. It is organized as a commonplace book, with additions, revisions, commentary, notes, parables and aphorisms continually added to the book, so that the entire document becomes denser and more convoluted, although the final entry of each section is meant to simplify, syncretize and "canonize" all theology before it, even if the entry exists to discredit, mock, or subvert the previous teaching. All understanding and meaning of life are categorically viewed as invalid and worthy of revision as soon as they are recorded, by nature.
At current time, the book itself is housed in a large room, as it has become significantly large. There are plans to continue building a library for all the volumes of this Omniliber (Its other name.). In general the book maintains a superficially constant organizational structure:
Part I – The Miracle Of Birth
Part II – Growth and Learning
Part III – Fighting Each Other
Part IV – Middle Age
Part V - Education
Part VI – The Autumn Years
Part VII – Death
"Part VIII" - The Meaning of Life
Part VIII is the humorous name applied the very final passage in the book (technically a part of the VIIth book):
"Try and be nice to people but don't take any lip, avoid eating bad stuff, read a good book every now and then but don't ignore your friends, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations unless they are starting trouble, in which case it's best to loose the first volley."