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Jennifer

As someone who was raised as a Lutheran, I always felt that the evolution of religion would be a doing away of the church (any church). Indeed, there was no need for a middleman. Sure, people might still like a place to gather, but ultimately, no one else was needed for a connection with a creator, and if anything, we might feel a stronger connection if we didn't have pesky men telling us how horrible we were, and how we needed them to help with God, while those pesky men were often doing more horrible things than we could imagine...

FDChief

I think that this inescapable conclusion is what has forced the Protestant sects to fall back on the insistence that to be "Christian" you need to be in a "community". In practice, I think it's a practical response to the human tendency to invent fantastical personal curlicues and idiosyncracies to our beliefs and habits when not forced into a group and, thus, forced to more-or-less conform TO the group-mean consensus.

So the Protestant prelates that came after Luther saw the plethora of sects and intra-sects and "heresies" and schisms that arose from encouraging every Christian to be his own Pope, and hurriedly tried to force the laity back into some sort of enforced order governed by the Just and the Good.

Of course, the result of THAT was the eventual bifurcation of Christianity into those to whom faith was merely a comfort and a habit - meaning that over time it would lose its appeal and they would slide towards irreligion - and those who clung to their faith as a protection from the obvious random injustice and cruelty of the world around them, meaning that they would become ever-more rigid, intolerant, and spiteful towards anything or anyone that threw shade on their rigid, intolerant faith.

So here we are...

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