Bloody Trail of Christianity! Bloody Trail of Christianity!!

CHRISTENDOM:

We will now examine the history of this religion that claims to bring mankind nearer to God.
The history of Christendom, with its wars, inquisitions, crusades and religious hypocrisy, has not helped the cause of Christianity. Devout Muslims and others point to the moral corruption and decadence of the Western ‘Christian world’ as a basis for rejecting Christianity. Indeed, the so-called Christian nations have lost their moral rudder and have suffered shipwreck on the rocks of greed and self-indulgence.

Historian Will Durant explains that the church took over some religious customs and forms common in pre-Christian (pagan) Rome- The STOLE and other vestments of pagan priests, the use of the incense and holy water in purifications, the burning of the candles and an everlasting light before the altar, the worship of the saints, the architecture of the Basilica, the law of Rome as a basis for canon law, the title of Pontifex Maximus for supreme Pontiff and in the fourth century, the Latin language . The Roman church followed the footsteps of the Roman state.

In spite of the clear admonition from their founding prophets and written in their books, the Christians of the second century took to the trappings of pagan Roman religion… as is only human!
While historians have written about the dark side of Christian history, their words have largely stayed within the confines of academe. And a few have written of Christianity’s role in creating a world in which people feel alienated from the sacred. Why at a time when so many are searching for deeper spiritual meaning, isn’t there more accessible information about the history of the institution that are purported to convey such spiritual truth?

Orthodox Christianity is embedded in the belief in a singular, solely masculine, authoritarian God who demands unquestioning obedience and who mercilessly punishes dissent. They believe that fear is essential to sustain what they perceive to be a divinely ordained hierarchical order in which a celestial God reigns singularly at a pinnacle, far removed from the earth and all humankind.
Christians disagreed about everything from the nature of God and the roles of men and women to the way one finds enlightenment.

The bible repeatedly exhorts people to ” fear god, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Blessed is everyone that feareth The Lord.” Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell.” The third century Father, Tertullian, could not imagine how God could not demand fear:

” But how are you going to love, without some fear that you DO NOT LOVE? Surely such a God is neither your father, towards whom your love for duty’s sake should be consistent with fear because of his power; nor your proper Lord, whom you should love for his humanity and fear as your teacher.”

” God’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven” became the watchword of the early church leaders.

A reign of fear ensued, as they believed that people should fear their earthly ruler as they fear God!
The orthodox insisted that one could learn of Christ only through those who had experienced this resurrection, the apostles, or those MEN appointed as their successors. This confined power to a small few and established a chain of command. It restricted the avenue through which one could discover God. The church fathers now claimed to be those appointed successors and thus the only ones who could enlighten others. To this day, the pope traces his authority and primacy to Peter himself, ‘the first of the apostles’, since he was first witness of the resurrection.

Christians disagreed about the very nature of truth. To the orthodox, who believed that truth could come only through the successors of the apostles, truth was static and never changing. They thought one should learn God only through the church, not from personal inquiry and not from one’s own experience. Blind faith was considered more important than personal understanding. Bishop Irenaues cautioned not to seek answers such as every one discovers for himself but to blindly accept what the church teaches, unquestioningly.

Others, however, believing that Christ’s spirit and presence could be experienced by any one at any time, considered the truth to be dynamic and ever increasing. Some Gnostics believed that the truth and GNOSIS, or knowledge, was found, not by looking to the church but by looking within oneself. Self-knowledge would lead to k owing God.

A Gnostic teacher, Monoimus wrote ‘Look for God by taking yourself as the starting point… Learn the sources of sorrow, joys, love, hate … If you carefully investigate these matters you will find him in yourself’

The below is akin to venerable Buddha’ s own admonition:

“Doubt everything, find your own light” (my favourite quote).
Just as the orthodox wanted to control truth, so they wanted strict control over who could dispense that truth. Early Christians differed sharply about the role of the church. Gnostic Christians who valued personal exploration believed that the structure of the church should remain flexible, while the orthodox Christians insisted upon strict adherence to a singular church.

Bishop Irenaeus (he compiled the first list of biblical writings that resemble today’s New Testament) insisted there could be only one church and outside that church, there is no salvation. He said of the church” she is the entrance to life. All others are thieves and robbers”. Clement the bishop of Rome from 90-100 C.E argued that God alone rules all things, that he lays down the law, punishing rebels and rewarding the obedient, and that his authority is delegated to church leaders. Clement went as far as to say that whoever disobeys these divinely ordained authorities has disobeyed God himself and should receive the death penalty!

Long before the church’s attempt to control spirituality would take its devastating toll, the seeds of tyranny were evident in the ideology of early orthodox Christians. Their belief in singular supremacy limited the way one could understand God and it eliminated any representation of shared supremacy. It encouraged a fear- based authoritarian structure that segregates people into positions of superiority or inferiority, restricts personal empowerment and demands unquestioning obedience.

Although orthodox Christians represented only one of many early branches, within a few centuries they had effectively suppressed the diversity of early beliefs and ideas. Orthodox Christian beliefs became synonymous with Christianity and thus started the greatest blood let that was the scourge of organized religion!

At this juncture, it is pertinent to reflect on the story so far and come to conclusion from what we know in our daily lives and what we have read from their holy books. They may impress and mesmerize children but a thinking adult should be able to surmise that the presented laws of the bible, the Talmud and the Koran or any sacred scriptures, the petitions of the prayer book are of human creation. They are products of human insight, human desire and human vested interests. They are reflections of particular times and particular places. They are passionate propaganda in religious and political arguments married together. The stories of king Saul were written by the priestly employees of his enemy, King David. The tale of Jezebel was composed by her prophetic opponents. The sacrificial ritual of Leviticus was designed by the priests who would benefit from it
Human need, not divine aloofness, is responsible for what the Jews did and said. The motivation to record events and happenings was no dispassionate need to keep a diary. It was the obvious need to use history to push political programs and religious ideologies. Is the story of the covenant between Abraham and Yahweh a journalistic observation of an actual event? Or is it a justification for the Jewish claim to Canaan?

It is dangerous to pick your heroes and villains when you are only able to read one side of the story. The rabbis made sure that their view of Jewish history would prevail when they suppressed and destroyed opposing points of view.

As the victims of religious censorship and oppression, we should be aware of our victimization. The enemies of the rabbis might have given us a more balanced view of early Jewish history if their writings had survived.

Let us now enter the era of Emperor Constantine to see the progress of orthodoxy and the splintering of the religion into several factions, starting with the parting of ways between the West and the east orthodoxy, the part the ‘spirit ‘ part of the triune creed played in it, at the end of which we would be about half way, the best is yet to come, as we attempt to put the pieces together.

I suggest another coffee break.

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