There are a lot of non-Christians who read this site who are alienated from Christianity for various reasons which they tend to assume are inherent to Christianity. This isn’t their fault. They weren’t raised as Christians and have likely been repeatedly told this by Christians. We’re constantly told that Christianity is incompatible with “racism” and “anti-Semitism” and that there is something called our “Judeo-Christian values” and other such nonsense. There are also American conservatives who say that Christianity is only incompatible with White identity.
Years ago, I originally bought into this myself. As I became more familiar with the history of Christianity, I ceased to believe it because you can’t find any number of modern concerns in the past. It began to dawn on me that a lot of things which I used to associate with Christianity are just a product of our own times or the more recent past and the culture that surrounds us. Some American Protestants are fanatical Christian Zionists while European Protestants have a much cooler attitude toward Israel. Similarly, American Protestants become less interested and worshipful of Jews the further back in history you travel from the current era of televangelism. Philo-Semitism and Zionism is at an all time high because Jewish power is at an all time high, but that wasn’t the case in 18th and 19th century America.
Most non-Christians are familiar with the big divisions within Christianity between Roman Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox. They tend to be less aware of the split that has developed within Christianity since around 1800 over how to respond to the growth in power of the secular world. Christianity isn’t the foundation of our social order anymore. Now, liberalism is the foundation of our social order and Christians are split between liberal Christianity, which has tried to chart a middle course and accommodate the secular world, and more orthodox versions of Christianity, which have also been influenced by the same big shifts in mainstream culture.
Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that you wanted to study religion in the Soviet Union. Could you understand religion in the Soviet Union without understanding communism? No, you couldn’t because the dominant communist ideology had a distorting effect on Christianity. This seems so obvious to us when we think about non-liberal regimes. We don’t think as much about how the dominant ideology of our times has shaped the world around us.