As far as I can judge , so far the major “schisms” in the history of Christianity have occurred at approximately 500 year intervals:
Ca 312-500 AD: “Christianization” of Europe at sword-point
1054 AD: East-West Schism
1517 AD: Beginning of Protestant “Reformation”
Early 20th Century: “Modernism”/”Fundamentalism” split among Protestants
I’ll admit that the intervals themselves are rather “fuzzy’, but you get the idea:
“Christianity” has been in an accelerating state of “fission” since 1054 AD, and the process appears to be speeding up.
The “NALT” thing appears to be an attempt by “Liberal” or “affirming” groups who self-identify as “Christian” to point out that they’re not all “like that” (“That” being, presumably, the batshit-crazy sort of Fundies.)
Here’s the thing: judging by the past history of “Christianity” up to this point: the most anyone can reasonably expect from this that it will culminate in yet another “faction” which is incapable of engaging in dialogue with any of the other variants of “Christianity”.
As it stands, none of the 3 currently-existing “factions” of Christianity actually think the others are “True” Christians. I could go rummaging around for it, but I’m not going to bother. Just go over to Google and do some search, and you’ll figure out that (many) Eastern Orthodox consider (many) Roman Catholics to be heretics. The sectarian squabbling between Protestants and Catholics is pretty damn obvious, too.
Fundie Protestants tend to summarily disregard both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Cathololicism as doctrinally corrupt, “Satanic Counterfeits”.
Quite frankly, the NALT thing will most likely culminate in exactly the same thing.
What’s going to be different this time, is that there’s a vast (and rather strident) atheist/anti-theist/skeptic/”freethought” community (many of whom happen to be Ex-Fundies, as I’ve covered in another post).
So, the NALTs are going to end up caught between Fundie literalists, the (slowly decaying) husk of “mainline” Protestantism, Roman Cathlicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy — all on one side. On the other side, they’re going to be endlessly pecked to death by the most militant ex-Fundie atheist/anti-theists.
For a glimpse of what they’re up against, read the following articles:
The other thing militating against NALTs in the long run is: they aren’t in a position to torture/slaughter their way to hegemony. Historically, Christianity resorted to that sort of thing fairly frequently:
So, yeah: the NALTs are going to try to “reclaim” Christianity from the bigoted idiocy, snake-handlers etc. I’m not sure how that will work.