The founders of religions are always idealists. No one but an idealist would undertake such a difficult task as founding a religion. If they are successful then the religion will grow. As it grows, it will develop a hierarchy. This is inevitable even in the most decentralized religion because there must be people in leadership positions to make the religion work. But leadership positions are positions of power, and power attracts sociopaths. So the leaders of any successful religion will tend to be somewhat sociopathic. Sociopaths are more concerned with power than with ideals. So the sociopathic leaders of a religion will gradually reinterpret the scripture of the religion to increase their power at the expense of the original ideals of the religion's founder. And so every religion will become corrupt over time.
Does this corruption mean failure? Not necessarily. What is required to prevent failure is a reformation which is a revolution against the corruption in favor of the original vision of the religion. Unfortunately there aren't many examples of this but the obvious one is the Christian Reformation.
What is required for a successful reformation? Clearly not the organization of the religion itself since the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation had the worst imaginable structure. And I seriously doubt that the scripture or content of the religion matter much since I see nothing special about Christianity in this regard. My theory is that what is required is a group of people with the intelligence to recognize the corruption of the religion and to do something about it.
Medieval Catholicism was certainly very corrupt. But the one good thing about it was that it was eugenic. Those in power in the Catholic Church wanted to maintain order, so they enforced monogamy and they regularly killed petty criminals. By doing this for centuries, they gradually raised the intelligence of Europeans until they were capable of a successful reformation.
It is worth considering other religions in contrast. The Islamic Salafi movement is an attempt at reformation. But no Islamic authority was as eugenic as the Catholic Church was, and therefore Muslims were never intelligent enough as a group to actually implement a successful reformation. Salafism clearly isn't really a return to Islamic first principles in the way that the Christian Reformation was. And so it doesn't work.
Ashkenazi Jews were an intelligent group within Judaism, so why didn't they reform it? The problem here is that the Ashkenazi Jews benefited from the eugenic pressures coming from Christianity, not from any internal eugenic authority within Judaism. By the time Jews became intelligent, the smartest one started leaving the religion as I described here. So rather than a reformation, Judaism just experienced an exodus of its most intelligent members.
So should an intelligent individual within a religion attempt to reform it? Absolutely not, because an individual cannot do this. The masses are herd animals who will follow those with authority. So any individual who attempts to reform a religion will just be considered crazy. In contrast, a group of intelligent people constitutes an alternative herd with its own leadership, so they have a chance to implement a reformation.
So then what should an intelligent individual within a religion do? The only sensible thing to do is to try to form a eugenic group within the religion. This means a group that is designed for eugenic selection so that the intelligence of the group will rise over time. It makes no difference what the original members of such a group believe because if their descendants are intelligent enough then they will be able to understand the original vision of the religion.
Naturally I will advocate my own solution to this problem, namely Arkian Ethnicity. This is not specific to any religion, so any religion can from a group who are also Arkians. But if you don't like my idea, develop your own. The key point is that to save your religion, you must form a eugenic group who will eventually become intelligent enough to implement a reformation.
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