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Well stated!

It is something 'else' that keeps these societies stable and successful.

What is it?
Good question

Stable and successful - relatively.

Perhaps it is the reduction of fear (a.k.a. stress?) that comes from knowing that the state will support in times of need. That there is an effective social safety net.
The reduction in fear that comes from relying more upon evidence and reason and less mysticism and superstition. Even the superstitious nonsense that remains tends to be more of the milder reiki/acupuncture/dreamcatcher type than the coarse, bullying hell and damnation type.

Musing - a thought - just come to mind so not thought through -

The more stable/successful societies (as measured by their citizens comfort and prosperity) are mainly democratic socialist states - though the degrees of democracy and socialism inevitably vary one-to-one.

Socialism can only exist in a society where people feel that they can afford to care for each other - including strangers. (?)

Most religion is sold by appealing to natural selfishness - either through personal reward or personal punishment. Such as.............

The undemonstrable concept of a "soul" facilitates the equally unevidenced ideas of Heaven and Hell.

The insistence upon a loving God who consigns its creatures to eternal pain.

The chosen advertising logo of of the cross (occupied or not) with its symbolism as an instrument of torture and agonising death.

The creation of irrational guilt by the use of John 3:16 as emotional blackmail (whilst hoping that no-one notices that you are being asked to admire an incompetent God who committed filicide to cover up his inability to fix his failures).

- all intended to focus the unbeliever's attention on their own condition rather than that of others.

Perhaps life is better when we return to our happily interdependent (mimicking as best we can our hunter/gatherer origins?) societies. Maybe we are naturally more when we co-operate than when we fixate upon ourselves?

You might not be surprised to know that I sometimes wear a facemask which bears the legend

Grumpy
Old-fashioned
Lefty
Atheist
 

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Most religion is sold by appealing to natural selfishness - either through personal reward or personal punishment. Such as.............
I would argue that a large part of Christ's, and the early church's, teaching runs counter to that.

The widow and orphan...whatever you do unto them...those who are forgiven much, love much... and on it goes.

The American gospel is very selfish I would agree, and does focus on things like wealth, American exceptionalism, Israel and America's role in saving it.
 

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I would argue that a large part of Christ's, and the early church's, teaching runs counter to that.

The widow and orphan...whatever you do unto them...those who are forgiven much, love much... and on it goes.

The American gospel is very selfish I would agree, and does focus on things like wealth, American exceptionalism, Israel and America's role in saving it.
Your argument may well be right - I don't know enough about how the early church proselytized to comment - though I do seem to recall that it was considered largely a religion of slaves and servants - those who's prospects of a good life could not be less in a theoretical next life than in their only earthly existence.

The problem with "Christ's teaching" is that we don't know what, if anything, Jesus of Nazareth taught.

All we have is a selection from a larger group of works, written 40+ years after his death, by people who didn't know him. And, as illustrated by the erroneous story about his being born in Bethlehem, we know that some of what the Gospels say is fiction written to meet the writer's agenda - in that case to try to sell a version of Judaism to the Jewish community by claiming Jesus's birth was the one foreseen by Micah.
 

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The problem with "Christ's teaching" is that we don't know what, if anything, Jesus of Nazareth taught.
I was just talking about what he was reported to have said, not opening an existential can of worms. What he is reported to have said, and the way the early church functioned, runs counter to your theory above.

Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
 
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