There are two trends in religion.
For the beginning, there was not a chief of the Christian Churches. There were several great bishoprics, and their chiefs met several times in the so-named "ecumenical councils", but they never chose a leader. It would not be on their line of thoughts at that time. Christianity was spreading from Palestine firstly in Greece and easy, easy in the whole Roman Empire. There were lots of religions in that huge Empire, and no one was dominant. After the splint of Roman Empire in Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire (known as Byzantine Empire), and the collapse few years latter of the Western Roman Empire, the things changed. In the Byzantine Empire the Christianity became the official religion. Of course, the role of the bishops from Constantinople (the capital) became more and more important, but he was not a chief, yet. On the other hand, thanks to the bishop Wulfila, the Christianity was spread among the Goth tribes. Goths, Ostrogoths, Vizigoths and the other tribes, conquering the western part of the former Roman Empire, carried the Christianity directly in the western part of the Europe.
In time, while the Byzantine Empire was decreasing more and more under the stress of the eastern barbarians, the western part of the Europe was developing. In the year 800, Charlemaine gave hand with the bishop of Rome, accepting to be crown as emperor by the bishop. His empire was a fiction; after his death the empire disappeared, but he marked the idea of the alliance between king and the bishop of Rome, who was recognised as chief: the Pope. From this moment on, Catholic Church became a centralised, hierarchical organisation, where the interests of the leaders, and the rules imposed by them, smother the genuine faith. Church and politics are inseparable. As for the balance of the power between East and West, it changed in favour of West. The Occident became more and more powerful, so that Byzantine emperor and his bishop became obstacles in their ambitious way. In the year 1054, the Great Schism occurred. As the Occident had a chief, the Pope, the Orient needed one, so that the bishop of Constantinople became the Patriarch, but he never had the same role. (This explains the future apparition of the protesting cults and sects.)
In time, Orthodox Church has spread toward the East (Russia), while the Catholic one has spread throughout the world, thanks to the colonial conquering. After the WW2, the former USSR persecuted the religion, so that the Orthodox Church hardly survived officially, but just from this cause, it is still strong in people's souls.
Now, as the church Ė any church - has no power, the genuine way is possible again. People ask themselves what the Christianity is. By the way, what it is? Let's see, shortly!
God is not for some chosen people, but for all the people
People are equal in face of God; therefore, they are equals each other.
God is a kind and forgiving divinity, in opposition with former freakish idols.
Through Jesus sacrifice, we are absolved from the ancestral sin, but responsible for ours.
After Final Judgement, there is a second chance, and it depends on us if that will be a good or a bad one.
Like God, we must be kind as well. As one cannot be kind to himself, but to some other ones, it results that we must be kind hearted to each other. People are not only individuals, like in oriental religions, but also some social beings.
Far about 500 years ago, the Protestantism appeared in Europe, trying to surpass the mistakes of Catholic Church. After about 500 years, people's faith in priests did not increase. Consequently, they did nothing, so they are not better. What is the worst, after the first Protestants' model, lots of new ones appear permanently without any religious idea. They say the same slogans and do not see they all are similar one another, or do not want to see. If it is proved that religion was inefficient from this point of view, why it insists? That means it was and is efficient in a different way. Which one? Well, it was certainly useful in politics as an instrument for manipulating people. It is useful today yet as an instrument for separation and split people and spread hatred among them, according to the principle: "Divide et Impera".
Most part of the success of the Reform is due to the invention of the printing. People used to be eager to print anything, and religious topics were being in fashion then.
Anyway, the first Protestants had a doctrine, logic and reasoning. They even believed in their thoughts. The neo-Protestants instead have nothing but hate to each other. As for their doctrine, it is limited to the idea that Jesus will come again and will punish all the people, except those belonging to their particular sect.
Using the Bible like a scarecrow, hoping that, frightening the people, they will become more religious is not a productive way in our years. We are not in the Middle Age. ("Odd is this grimness with which some people keep obstinately us to be sinners. I do not like the quacks wanting by all means to make me think that I would be ill for selling their remedies". Voltaire said it.) The key of the Christianity is goodness, not fear, rational reasoning, not that "believe and don't search". A church apart from the science does not live. Many scientists are believers, but most priests do not understand how that is possible, because they understand nothing.
Where the mistake lies? From the beginning, we must discern between the two ways of the propagation of the Christianity:
Step by step, by conviction, among the poor people, starting with the apostles and the following missionaries. This was the characteristic way in the first four centuries, inside the Roman Empire. The biblical message used to be optimist: there is a future life, therefore a hope. It depends by our will to make it happy. God is kind and forgiven. (In Byzantine churches Jesus Christ is featured during the Ascension, giving an optimist message, as he promised to come again in a happy kingdom.) This was the genuine message of the Christianity.
With sword, by imposing and constraints, starting with Goths' invasions and, afterwards, by Catholic Church. Besides sword, their arguments were the frightening and intimidation. God ceased to be kind hearted. On the contrary, people were threatened with the Apocalypse and all kinds of punishments. Because kings were considered to be God's representatives on the earth, people have to glorify the God, but the kings too and obliged to raise hymns. (In Catholic churches, Jesus is featured mostly during his passions. The only message is that, if he suffered, we have to suffer too. The penitence would be the only way.) The priests have lost the main Christian ideas, lost Jesus' message of love, and the religion became a mean in the politician's hands. Priests serve no longer the religion, but use the religion for their own interests.
It would seem that the old Greek Orthodox Church is better. I do not think so! It only did not have the same opportunities. Letís do a little history!
∂. In Romania, the most people are of the Christian Greek Orthodox Church, but it keeps by the tradition. In reality people are not bigoted at all; on the contrary, too few Romanians are really faithful. Anyway everybody - faithful or not - goes to the church for some definite events, just because the tradition claims this: marriages, burials, etc. To change the traditional church for another one is mainly a proof of ignorance. A real faithful person may pray in any church, and our churches are open every day, for morning till night, not only during the religious services or ceremonies.
Things are different in the USA, where people came from throughout the world and brought with them all the world's religions. It is natural for them to choose a church after other criterions. I knew persons saying they go to a certainly church because that one happens to be close to their house.
Some people need religion and it as a pity that churches are no longer able to do their duty. Generally speaking, people perceive the religion in different ways, according with their nature. At the extremities, there are:
Those with weak will. They need help and implore the divinity's support for this. They do not want to understand but to believe, because the belief absolves them to make any effort, and gives them a reason for life. Such a religion looks like a narcotic that yields dreams of happy man.
Those with too much will, usually avid of the power. They take advantage of the religion in order to handle those from the first category. The one, who thinks he is above the God, soon will think he is above the rules and the other people.
Between the two extremes, there are those more of less balanced trying to understand and take from the religion as much matches with their understanding.
∂. Jesus' message was resumed in the recent times, because nowadays people understand deeper his message, beyond the ritual and legend, maybe even in the philosophical plan. It is said that Middle Age was a religious period, but it succeeded more in estranging people from the church. Instead now, people come around the church from their own initiative, and - most important - with or without church, they assimilate the Christian morale. How is that? Well, the democracy is a Christian idea. I know it seems odd, and many people would say that it is a Greek word, but it is not in contradiction with my "theory". Maybe I will write about it one day, but now I think how church arrived in this deplorable situation, to lose its believers.
The faiths are responsibly not only for their direct issues, but also for the secondary ones. Thus, the Christianity is directly guilty for the alienation of the man from the nature, but also because, trying to make man better, it made him worse. God asks man to be good with each other. Everyone can be good to another man, but not to himself. The Final Judgement will put in the balance what everyone did to the others. In this way, people are linked each other, interested one another. The Christianity joins people together, but - being together - they reach to do wrongdoing faster than good deeds. People seldom join themselves for good deeds. Much frequently the malefactors does common "business". Meantime, they have built a competitive society, where people could not live without a little wickedness. The society built on the competition is the Europe's invention, consequently an outcome of the Christianity. Maybe a secondary, unexpected one, but it clearly is one of its effects.
But the most dramatic effect is the communism. I know this statement is more than shocking. Let's see! I already showed that democracy is an outcome of Christian theology. It is a small step to see that communism is an exaggeration of the idea of democracy. It is a degenerated democracy. Consequently, the communism is a secondary effect of the Christianity.