Hypocritical Christianity Exposed in Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara

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Hypocritical Christianity Exposed in Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara

Bernard Shaw reveals in his plays a type of religious standard that is not unlike Christianity but with what most people see as a stereotypical view of hypocritical Christianity. Shaw's concept of Crosstianity , as he calls it, shows a religion in which the church preaches what the rich and powerful tell it, scoundrels are treated as equals, and punishment is concerned with prosecution rather than salvation. "Poetic justice" rules judicial retribution rather than redemption. Everyone is inherently the same.

The scene in Major Barbara in which Bill Walker is dealt with for his attack on the shelter is revealing about the concepts of Crosstianity. Walker expects that
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The methods of Crosstianity would have taught a lesson to others about the merits of committing a crime, instead of the culprit himself.

Shaw's view of Crosstianity allows that every person has the capacity for good or evil. Still, it also admits that a wealthy "scoundrel" is seen more highly to the public than a poor one. A man with a bullying nature may be praised if he is a lawyer but would be ostracized if he is homeless. This idea extends itself to the belief that all people are inherently the same, which is not a far cry from Christianity's "all men are children of one father." Also, Crosstianity holds that morals are "social habits," so no matter how well-educated or wealthy a person is, the nature is the same and the only real division between men are the ones that they set for themselves.

The scene of saving Bill Walker also introduces the idea that churches are dependent on the corrupt to survive. If the church becomes destitute itself, the poor cannot be helped or saved, so the church finds itself in the awkward position of accepting money from others. This is only awkward because one of the money's sources may be Bodger, who manufactures the alcohol from which the Salvation Army tries desperately to free their converts. The church leaders must decide whether or not they should accept the money. Most likely they will. Seeing the hypocrisy in the Salvation Army, Walker
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