I’ve been watching ‘The Tudors’ on Showtime a lot lately. The show deals with the life and public policies of King Henry the Eighth and the enduring link between politics and religion. With little extrapolation, one can further understand how much of our present day theology is based upon the whims of the European aristocrats of that time period.
In a nutshell, Henry split the Church of England from Rome in 1534 because he was in love with a woman that was not his wife. He wanted a divorce or annulment, but the Pope would not grant it to him. Consequently, he split from Rome and essentially forced all of his citizens to renounce their allegiance to the Pope and declare him as their religious leader. In turn, the children of these citizens were raised under these newly reformed doctrines, never having been given the choice to choose their own faith.
Centuries prior to Henry the Eighth’s rule, a similar thing happened in many places in Europe when Christians conquered and/or converted most of the pagans. As their empires expanded, the rulers imposed their religions on the people they conquered, and those people passed on their new religions to their children. The point is, when someone is instructed from birth that certain ideas are true, it’s very difficult for them to ever be able to freely evaluate for themselves whether or not these beliefs are right for them. Parents imposing their values on their children before allowing them to learn to think for themselves will rarely result in a free thinking child. And the values that many modern day Christian parents impose on their children are unknowingly based upon a Bible which was tailored by choices on what texts to include or not to include motivated by the political and church (not religious) reasoning from about 1200 years ago.
One of the prevailing philosophies of early Norwegian black metal (as well as the Nation of Islam) is the rejection of the religion that had been forced upon their ancestors. My parents aren’t into either black metal or the Nation of Islam, but I do appreciate the fact that, in their recognition of many of the hypocrisies of the Catholic Church, independent of their belief in God, they raised me free from direct church influence. As a result, I’ve had the freedom to explore religion from an independent outsider’s standpoint. Thanks Mom and Dad!