Jesus and the Overthrow of Religion

Mike Kuhn deals in this IMES blog post with what I call the three ‘prophets of modernity’. He writes:
‘It is striking that Freud, Marx and Nietzsche gave voice to the very critique that is being made of religious belief in today’s Middle East. Religion has become a means to exclude, socially manipulate and exploit people. The critique is devastating because it is self-evident. Religion has tremendous power to mold a society and shape it according to the desires of its overlords.’
He believes that ‘Jesus is the way out of this dilemma of religion’.
Why? Because ‘he was scathing in his denunciation of religious strictures and authority’.
So, concludes Kuhn, ‘maybe Marx and Freud and Nietzsche are inadvertent cheerleaders for Jesus. Maybe the current skepticism of religion in the Middle East bodes well for his Kingdom. It also forces us to ask ourselves if we have domesticated Jesus’ Kingdom by turning it into religion’.

The Institute of Middle East Studies

by Mike Kuhn

Having grown up in the West, I was aware that a trend emerged in the post-World Wars era towards a rejection of religion.  The brutality and sheer evil of the World Wars led many to reject belief in God.  If God is good and all-powerful, how could such evil proliferate in the world this God created?  Much of the debate with atheism in the West has centered on this “problem of evil.”   Though Christian intellectuals have responded, the hemorrhaging of mainline churches in the West demonstrates that skepticism is here to stay and too obvious to be denied.  A culture that recoils from faith in God has increasingly become the environment in which we live and move.

Then I relocated to the Middle East and learned that in this culture, religious faith is ubiquitous.  At least, that was true until recent years.  Nowadays I increasingly detect a…

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Author: DanutM

PhD in theology Director for Faith & Development Middle East & Eastern Europe Region World Vision International

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