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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Chuch of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 11. “THE JESUS TAPES”

The Council of Nicea – What Christianity is really about!

As we have seen, there are many gods with similar stories to those that are found in the Christian Bible. By far the most significant event in the early history of European Christianity was the conversion of Emperor Constantine.

The Emperor was a follower of Mithra until he declared December 25th the official birthday of Jesus in 313 C.E and adapted the cult of Christianity as the state religion.

Constantine found he had several problems with his new faith.

First among these was that Jesus had proclaimed his faith as being staunchly anti-political. Jesus has insisted that his way was a non-worldly, individualistic and non-political way of life.

As a result the Christian texts were not only Anti-Roman (Judea was part of the Roman Empire during the life of Jesus), but since Jesus was also part-Rabbi and part Cynic he was also dismissive of human worldly authority.

If Christianity were going to work as a religion in a state ruled by a monarch who demanded worship and absolute authority, it would have to be changed.

The early Christians had tolerated the emperors and regarded them as a kind of necessary evil.

However, Constantine demanded their obedience both temporally and in terms of faith.

To this end, he merged the office of Emperor with the Christian faith and assumed authority over doctrinal matters.

Constantine’s belief that he was Divine presented a new and unsolvable problem for Christianity.

As long as the Emperor was a pagan, there was no question of the relationship between the church and the state.

The old rule was that the church and the state essentially each did their own thing.

However, the presence of Christian imperial authority led to severe conflicts and disruption.

(In fact, the question of the relationship between the church and a Christian government has yet to be resolved in the West.)

Constantine had other problems as well.

In his view, the Christian church was a powerful tool for unifying the Empire socially and politically.

If the church could become unified, that would provide a balance against the forces pulling the empire apart. The only problem was that there was no established or unifying doctrine.

In fact, there were as many forms of Christianity as there were communities of Christians. (Just like today)

The Vatican itself is built on the papacy of Mithra, who shared many qualities with Jesus and who existed as a Deity long before the character of Jesus was formalized.

(The Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced.)

The church was also severely divided over some fundamental questions.

In particular, the speculations by the Eastern Churches on the nature of divinity were considered grossly heretical by the Latin churches.

This is what would finally call Constantine into action to unify the church. It was the schism between the Arians and the Athanasia’s.

Perhaps the most important task that Constantine undertook was the Council of Nicea.

That was convened to arbitrate a conflict between the Western Church and the Arians to decide the question of the relationship between imperial power and the church.

This council made major doctrinal statements that applied to the whole Christian world, and was the first to centralize doctrinal authority among Christians.

This was known as the Nicene Creed and began the long struggle, lasting to this day, between the anti-political views of Jesus of Nazareth and the views of human authority, which manifests itself as the “Christian Church.

Faced with the task of determining what was to go into the bible out of the thousands of manuscripts available by this time was a daunting task that was taken on with great trepidation.

By compiling a book of sacred writings that they could all agree on, Constantine thought this would give authority to the new church.

Composed of about 300 religious leaders, this council was given the task of separating the Divinely inspired writings from those of questionable origin.

The actual compilation of the Bible was an incredibly complicated project since it came three hundred years after the death of Jesus and involved churchmen of varying beliefs, in an atmosphere of dissension, jealousy, intolerance, and bigotry.

To add to the dissention, they were split into two groups that questioned the divinity of Jesus.

The purpose of the Council was to settle the dispute over the teachings of Arius - that Christ was not equal in divinity to God.

The council (in their wisdom) declared that Jesus WAS equal in divinity to God by a majority vote and declared Arianism a heresy.

Here is another example of human arrogance – they decided….Who was actually Divine? And who was not! What belonged in the bible- and was the actual word of God. And what was not!

A typical headline in the local newspaper would have looked like this!

Dateline - Middle East Times: “Jesus declared equal by majority vote!”
“Jesus relieved, would like to thank all his supporters!”

Sects and Cults;

While we can use the mainstream church as an example of religion that has gone wrong, let us be kind and just look at cults and sects for a minute!

At any given time there are between 500-600 cults and sects operating in North America.

Worldwide that number grows to the thousands, and their basic philosophy and code of conduct is as varied and diverse as their numbers.

It is at first, important to recognize the meaning of the words cult and sect.

We shall discuss cults presently but a sect is primarily an offshoot of an established religion or denomination. It holds most beliefs common with it’s religion of origin plus a number of novel concepts that differentiate and set it apart.

The most obvious North American example of a sect that evolved into a denomination is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons.

Their founder, Joseph Smith, had a revelation from God that the ministry of Jesus Christ continued after his crucifixion and is told in the book of Mormon.

The Mormon sect has since evolved into the Mormon Denomination due to the passage of time and increased number of members.

Within the next few decades, it is even expected to develop into the dominant faith group in the American North-West.

Even though the Mormons have been somewhat integrated into mainstream religious movements of North America, it has not been without a few impediments to their beliefs and practices.

The state of Utah had a lot of trouble achieving statehood due to the large Mormon population and their practice of polygamy.

In due course there was suddenly a new revelation from God that banned the practice of polygamy and so “lo and behold” Utah became a state and everybody was happy.
[Except a few male members who wanted to keep their multiple wives!]

(Of course, there was an answer to this dilemma. The males who were in favor of polygamy broke away from the church to form their own sects of the Mormon faith, and, although excommunicated, continue to this day in the United States and Canada.)

There is a belief amongst these Mormons that men must accumulate “plural wives” in order to achieve salvation! (As opposed to the Muslims who get their “virgins” after salvation!)

Sects can then be considered a process by which a new religious movement is generated.

Most die out quickly, a few linger, and one or two grow into an established denomination of a major religion.

Cults on the other hand, automatically have a negative connotation with most of society, and must be looked at in the context of how the word is used.

In the sociological use of the term, a cult is also thought of as a small religious group that is in a state of tension with the predominant religion.

Therefore, Hinduism could be considered a cult in North America while Christianity would be a cult in India.

A cult is also, in the general religious usage, termed a “small, recently created, religious organization which is often headed by a single charismatic leader and is looked upon as a spiritually innovative group.”

This means that early Christianity and Islam were definitely cults.

In fact, it took the early followers of Jesus nearly 200 years before they had progressed to the point of having an established hierarchy and doctrine that became known as the Holy Roman Church.

Tomorrow: Jihad Inc.

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site www.God-101.com

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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