The literature of Jewish Christianity was often of a highly symbolic kind, with much wordplay and hidden meanings to be found in texts. Gnosticism and Roman Mystery religions, and then Gnostic Christianity, used an intensely non-literal and symbolic form of writing. Text was two-tier. The outer religion was the kind seen by the populace.
It was a simple story, a myth, often a rewriting of existing myths in to a more modern form or using updated characters. The inner religion was revealed to initiates. They were told the true meaning of the story and what each character, event, word and object in it represents and means.
The illusion of the story of a literal event was revealed to be meaningless and ahistorical. Gnostic Christianity, closer to these, was suppressed by the fledgling roman Christian church, and the oppressor was naturally more literalistic and legalistic. Pauline Christianity - the type that prevailed - accepts Christian texts purely on the basis of the outer religion , the outer meaning: the literal text. With the Council of Nicea, and onwards, an authoritive collection of texts was compiled canonized , and as was already customary, competing texts were burnt, suppressed, and heretics who stood by them were killed and vanquished.
This is a continuation of the process of literalisation -- a final complete authorized version is inherently a more legalistic formation than a loose and open canon. He declares that the Holy Scriptures are a treasure from which all the true wisdom in the world has been drawn; that every philosopher and every poet is indebted to them. He labors to show that they are the standard and measure of all truth, and that whatever is inconsistent with them must necessarily be false' And what a terrible legacy became of that mode of thought: it is only true if it says so in the Bible.
The hallmark of ignorant, dangerous barbarianism and fundamentalism. Thankfully for the study of truth, the process of secularisation has diminished the strength of religion across the West , and since the Enlightenment, when religious institutions started to lose control of public life, education continues to act as an anti-religion force in the world: the more educated a person is, the less likely they are to be religious.
Education is the key to leading successful, happy and above all, a meaningful life devoid of nonsense. The future looks bright for many. Although Europe excels in a patchy way in all-faiths education where religions cannot stamp their particular dogmas over science education, this is not the case in much of the rest of the world, so there is much work yet to do in combatting anti-science religiosity.
Jesus may well have started out as the creation of Gnostics, who were telling a symbolic story with many parables, much mysticism, and little historical truth. But this story paired well with the Jewish community who were expecting an actual Messiah to arrive. Whether or not Jesus existed as an actual person, it soon transpired that the generations after his supposed existence came to believe in him has an actual person.
Christianity in the modern era
Although St Paul wrote exactly like a gnostic in all his early writings, Greek authors forged seven epistles with a strong literalist slant, which they then included in the Christian Bible. Also, six more were written in Paul's name at later dates in some cases some believe the text was written over 80 years after Paul's death. There are 13 epistles epistles which were canonized into the Bible under the name of Paul. The authentic writings are gnostic, whereas the later pseudonymous texts are more literalist and misogynistic.
Religions compete for believers. They compete for influence because the more influence and exposure they have, the more believers they will get. This competition doesn't have to be conscious, or on purpose, it just happens to be that popular religions that are happy with power will prosper, accidentally inhibiting competing religions.
- 1. Christianity Was Always Massively Varied;
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There is interplay not only with believers, but with non-believers who have power. Religions that fall foul of politics are very frequently eradicated or ridiculed into extinction, whereas religions that appear to rulers to support the status quo can prosper. Early Chinese culture, for example, had two competing traditions: that of K'ung-Fu-tzu, which emphasized the need for strict social hierarchy and respect for elders and political authorities, and that of Mo Ti, who promoted an egalitarian ideology and ridiculed the followers of K'ung-Fu-tzu for their "exaggerated" emphasis on authority.
The first tradition was institutionalized as Confucianism and became the official state religion of the emperors, whereas the second precipitated a relatively unstable popular movement that was almost lost over the centuries. Kurtz It didn't require such things as circumcision or strict dietary laws. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
So We have stirred up among them enmity and hatred, till the Day of Resurrection; and God will assuredly tell them of the things they wrought. There has come to you from God a light, and a Book Manifest. Translation: Arthur Arberry.
Missions time line
Academic translation, free from sectarian bias. The downside is that the semi-literal translation can make the text hard to understand in places. This survival of the fittest was not just relegated to Christian history, but as Christianity aged and further divisions became apparent, the conflicts continued. Read on.
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They attended services that were conducted in Latin and were therefore incomprehensible to many. They saw the clergy living in luxurious surroundings and supporting concubines and generally began to regard the Church establishment as corrupt. As a result of this, Christian cults built from among their own began to prove more attractive. The Church viewed this with considerable alarm [ The Marcionites of the 2nd century were lost to oppression , however, their form of Christianity was not completely eradicated.
The Paulicians followers of Marcion and Manicheans fused to form the Bulgarian Bogomils , who like their founding sects, were oppressed. But the Bogomils were carried by Crusaders to Italy and France , where their gnostic-seeming beliefs flourished and were widely accepted. The cause of this wide diffusion of heresy was partly disappointment at the failure of the Crusades, but mainly moral disgust at the wealth and wickedness of the clergy. It seems that the Cathari were dualists and that, like the Gnostics, they considered the Old Testament Jehovah a wicked demiurge, the true God being revealed in the New Testament.
They regarded matter as essentially evil, and believed that for the virtuous there is no resurrection of the body. The wicked, however, will suffer transmigration into the bodies of animals. On this ground they were vegetarians, abstaining even from eggs, cheese and milk. They ate fish, however, because they believed that fishes are not sexually generated.
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- Martin Luther.
All sex was abhorrent to them [ They accepted the New Testament more literally than did the orthodox; they abstained from oaths, and turned the other cheek. This was identified as a Catharist conspiracy and a Crusade was mounted against them, headed by Simon de Montfort.
Some , zealots embarked upon a twenty-year campaign of attrition, funded by the Catholic Church, during which large parts of southern France were laid waste. Essentially, their movement had become too large and too popular to be tolerated. Peter Waldo was a rich merchant who lived Lyons, France. In he declared a 'crusade' for the return to the observance of the law of Christ. He gave everything he had to the poor and founded the 'Poor men of Lyons'.
In an era where the corruption and power of the Church affected everyone, this ascetic, humble and powerless Bible-based movement adhered strictly to virtuous and moral codes of conduct and they proved immensely successful. Pope Alexander III had given them papal approval to preach "but they inveighed somewhat too forcibly against the immorality of the clergy, and were condemned by the Council of Verona in " 42 and were excommunicated But they did not falter. He called upon the king of France to embark upon a crusade against the Albigenses [which affected the Waldenses also], which was done in It was conducted with incredible ferocity; after the taking of Carcassonne, especially, there was an appalling massacre.
In the sixteenth century, they formed a predictable but loose alliance with the Calvinits and suffered intermittent persecution at the hands of the Catholic Church until the seventeenth century. Waldensians still exist in the North Italian region of Piedmont. Professor Bart Ehrman opens his book Lost Christianities 44 with the statement that "it may be difficult to image a religious phenomenon more diverse than modern-day Christianity" 45 excepting, he explains, that ancient Christianity was even more diverse.
Many denominations are intolerant of each other's beliefs. References: What's this? The Bible NIV.
Christianity | Scholastic
The NIV is the best translation for accuracy whilst maintaining readability. Multiple authors, a compendium of multiple previously published books. Book Review. The Koran.