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In this book, using Eric Fromm's distinction between Humanistic and Authoritarian Religions whose implications for Christianity the author explored at some length in his recently published /The Two Faces of Christianity/, he identifies what he believes to be the fundamental psychopathology which has prevented Christianity becoming an unambiguous good for humanity, namely an authoritarian mind-set. Central to this mindset is the idea of God as a controlling force acting on the universe, but separate from it, rather than as a property of 'all that is'. Dr Oxtoby argues that it is this ubiquitous authoritarian thinking, with its emphasis on the need for obedience to imposed authority which lies at the root of the sado-masochistic obsession with pain, suffering and death of the Doctrine of the Atonement.
Applying Eric Fromm's concept of the differences between Humanistic and Authoritarian religions, The Two Faces of Christianity proposes that Christianity consists of two distinctly different religions which co-exist under the same verbal label. The ethical teachings of that inspired Jewish religious genius, Jesus of Nazareth which has traditionally been believed to be the core around which the religion of Christianity has been built, constitute a Humanistic Religion. In many parts of the Christian Church the tenets of that religion have all but disappeared under the spreading influence of the salvation theology of St Paul and his fellow-travellers. Examination of the guilt-ridden mind of St Paul, to whom the authorship of nearly half of the 27 books of the New Testament has been attributed, throws revealing light on how this process has taken place. Paul s notoriously neurotic anxieties about sex are just one of the more striking manifestations of the psychopathology of his split personality which has been a major influence in the process by which the Humanistic religion of Jesus has been transformed into an oppressive Authoritarian one."
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