An idea that first occurs in Frank Herbert's Dune, but it is not a far-fetched idea, since the world of christianity is broad and wild enough to support new growths of all types.

We can speculate on what Mahayana Christianity could be like, although we must recognize that the simplest speculation can predict several distinct possible forms. In addition, given the unpredictable nature of human creativity and insight, plus the possibility of supernatural influence, which by its nature is surprising and inconceivable, the possible forms of MC are infinite.

But let's take a crack at it.

Now, what was added to Buddhism by the Mahayana movement?

  1. decentralized authority
  2. the bodhisattvas
  3. (possibly) the maitreya, or future buddha

  1. The first point could be seen as similar to that carried out by the early Protestant reformers against the Roman Catholic church, when authority was wrested from a small group of men in dresses to a small group of men in pants. MC could take the next step: make each person an authority in his/herself.

  2. The bodhisattvas were previous incarnations of Buddha. They made buddha a bit easier to relate to; they were a great subject for emotionally engaging stories. Catholic as well as Protestant saints and/or heroes leave much to be desired by comparison. They usually have a strong morbid element and don't do much to bridge the gap between your regular Joe and Jesus on a throne. Therefore, MC would need to find a pre-Jesus Jesus, somebody like you and me, but a lot like Jesus, too.

    Introducing reincarnation to the picture would be an easy way to do this, but what would make MC a truly shit-kicking religion that had a chance of catching on in the suburbs would be a non-reincarnated Jesus-in-the-making. One idea could be to say that JC died at the age of 77 rather than 33; drop all the Egypt and Essene and Eastern crap and say that he was a working man, trying to make a living and doing the best he can. Didn't do so great in school, not a sterling success in business... at 40 he has a midlife crisis, says the hell with it, rounds up a gang of layabouts and ne'er do wells, and makes a go of it as a feet-on-the-ground head-in-the-clouds religio-political guru/savant/activist.

  3. The function of the maitreya is to purify the Buddha's teachings after they have degraded completely. What is great about this idea is the recognition that no religion, no idea, no philosophy has an indefinite shelf life. After a while it begins to smell. You can get used to the smell, but give it more time and no one will be able to stand it. So rather than look for a second coming of the old JC with holes in his hands, MC would simply point out that at some point when things got bad enough - not the world, mind you, but MC itself - when MC got far enough off track, then a new JC would come down from upstate to kick ass and take names.

pulled from the flames by The Nodeshell Rescue Team

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