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Sun Oct 6, 2019, 01:17 AM

From another chapter of the book: Christian History. Surprising and Hardcore

Trinity arose from doubt at the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. Historian and Christian Father Hermias Sozomen describes resolution of the Arian Heresy, addressed at the Council by writing, “The emperor punished Arius with exile, denouncing him and followers as ungodly, and commanding their books should be destroyed.” According to Sozomen, in his text Ecclesiastical History, Arian doctrine reports there was a period when Christ “existed not; that, as possessing free will, He was capable of vice and virtue.”

Trinity is God, according to the teachings of most modern Christian churches. In mainstream doctrine, God is a single being, existing simultaneously as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed represents formalization of an original doctrine that uses "homoousia" which in Greek means of same substance. Spelling differs by one letter in "homoiousia" a Greek term for: of similar substance. Historically, the Trinitarian view emerges as an article of faith at Nicaea and then evolves into the Athanasian Creed. In 500 CE, to standardize Roman Catholic beliefs, in the face of renewed disagreements, the more explicit Athanasian Creed became integral to Christianity. Affirmation by the Roman Catholic Church led most Protestant denominations to adopt the Holy Trinity.

Doubts concerning Trinity are not easy to relieve in Scripture. Evidence from the Gospels culminates in the baptismal commission of Matthew, while arising from narratives of the Evangelists, which claim that Christ made the idea known to the Disciples gradually. First, He taught them to recognize the Eternal Son of God. Then, as the ministry ended, He promised the Father would send the Holy Spirit. Finally, Matthew 28:19 reports, he reveals the doctrine in explicit terms, bidding them "go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The Nicene Creed is clear, stating, “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.”

Genesis shows Divine plurality, while not describing what plural references mean. Is it plausible that plural references are remnants of Gnostic influence? Sozomen, a Christian historian, mentions no truly Gnostic sect in attendance at Nicaea; however, Arius had a vast female following. Authorities differ, regarding details on Arius. He was probably a Libyan born around 250 CE. Most sources agree he was a pupil of Lucian. Later, he was ordained as deacon by St. Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, who subsequently excommunicated him. While Arius was criticized for defending Paulianist Doctrine, the Christian historian Eusebius of Caesarea, condemned Paul of Samosata, as a heretic.

Canon XIX gave Arius and excommunicated patriarch of Antioch, Paul of Samosata a position in history. “With regard to Paulianists who take refuge in the Catholic Church, it has been decided they definitely need to be re-baptized. If, however, some of them have previously functioned as priests, if they seem to be immaculate and irreprehensible, they need to be baptized and ordained by a bishop of the Catholic Church. In this way, one must deal with deaconesses or with anyone in an ecclesiastical office. With regard to deaconesses who hold this position we remind church leaders they possess no ordination and are to be reckoned among the laity in every respect.” Obviously, women held status in a few Catholic churches, as “deaconesses,” prior to the Council of Nicaea, in 325 CE.

Prior excerpts suggest the importance of grasping Christian history as it relates to Gnosticism. Waite/ Smith style cards depict diverse religious symbolism, which presents a sexual balance. Gnosticism became a catchall terminology of the Catholic Church to demonize other belief systems and combine them into a hostile perception by the public. Gnosis derives from a Greek word for knowledge; but Gnosticism implies wisdom restricted to a select group. After the second century, some Gnostic sects sought a reunification with the Divine through unorthodox Christian approaches.

Due to Crusaders or powerful Christian leaders ordering the destruction of priceless paintings statues and manuscripts, specifics on early European Gnosticism are missing. Generalities on Gnosticism suggest spiritual dualism. Gnosticism, Judaism and other beliefs, which did not strictly comply with fundamentalist Christian doctrine, suffered persecution after the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, under Constantine, the first Holy Roman Emperor.

Clearly, Constantine utilized Christianity, to destroy political enemies in Rome, who embraced polytheistic beliefs, in ancient Roman deities. Before 325 CE, Gnostics, Christians, Muslims and Jews banded together in Rome, as slaves. Freeing the slaves was unpopular with the aristocracy of Rome; but by recruiting the slaves into his legion Constantine increased his power base.

Unlike the early Church, modern Catholicism promotes tolerance of other beliefs. To demonstrate the problems, which occur while researching ancient religions, especially beliefs linked to heresy and historic accounts of the Council at Nicaea, are worth reviewing. A brief comparative analysis between early Church records and actual evidence indicates problems associated with even the most exhaustive research.

Modern Gnosticism varies from ancient practices, because actual history was blotted from the record, by the Church. Pope Innocent III openly labeled Gnosticism as heresy, unleashing the Albigensian Crusade from 1209 until 1255 CE on Gnostic Cathars of Southern France. During a subsequent invasion of France, Crusaders did not discriminate. These soldiers of God raped and pillaged numerous villages, with reckless disregard for the beliefs of indigenous populations.

After Crusaders captured one city, Papal envoy, Abbot Arnaud-Amaury, declared, "Kill them all! God will recognize His own,” over ten-thousand died in Béziers, a town protecting around five-hundred Cathars. No real evidence of European Gnostic practices survives efforts of the Church, which meticulously attempted to destroy all traces of actual beliefs. If Papal officials perceived tarot-like imagery as a Gnostic instrument, any evidence referring to the icons vanished in the same manner as true Gnostic history. Gnosis is Greek for wisdom or knowledge; but the term came to denote a variety of belief systems, other than those approved by the Roman Catholic Church.

Early Church history includes Gnosticism. In any conflict, however, history becomes the prize of victory. To the victor belong the spoils, including loyal pens of scribes and historians. Even then, information equated to power, with propaganda serving as a potent sword. Centuries of anti-Gnostic propaganda created fear of the belief, by Christian followers.

Church strategy, which features a tactic of lumping rivals together and then portraying them as bringing Divine Wrath upon the world, portrays all religious dissension as a horrific threat. Conversely, in the first and second centuries before the Council of Nicaea, Christianity was too weak to pose a threat to state approved religions. After his alleged spiritual breakthrough, Constantine, the first Holy Roman Emperor, ended the persecution of Christians. However, the doctrines endorsed by his Council at Nicaea set in motion the long-term oppression of many other religions, especially polytheistic beliefs in Roman deities, which most of his political rivals supported.

Destroying records for this seemingly moderate form of heresy suggests all Christian records depicting God as anything other than a father figure only added fuel to Nicene-like book bonfires. Sozomen, like the other Christian Fathers, wrote approved Church history, which was passed down by Catholic monks, who spent their lives copying worn, handwritten manuscripts. Specific description of the main heresy addressed by the Council invited the wrath of book burners, which Sozomen writings survived. The Emperor and bishops at Nicaea gained control over historic records, initiating centuries of manipulation by the Roman Catholic Church they created.

Similar to reports on Gnostic-like Arian practices, condemned by the Council of Nicaea, another important historian, described actions of Paul of Samosata. The ecclesiastical historian Eusebius, a bishop from Palestine, often referred to as the father of church history, reports in Historia Ecclesiastica, Volume VII. Chapter 30, that Paul consorted with “two sisters of ripe age and fair to look upon.” It goes on to say that, he allowed presbyters or deacons to contract platonic unions with Christian women. No actual lapses of chastity are alleged, and it supposedly “only raised suspicions among the pagans.”

Another historian, who lived not long after the meeting at the palace in Nicaea, Socrates Scholasticus, wrote reports of the Arian Heresy. Although condemned by the Council, the theosophy persisted after the birth of Scholasticus, around 379 CE. Socrates also conveyed a detailed report of spiritual experiences of Constantine, which led him to Christianity.

Researchers believe his descriptions for the period from 305 to 439 CE continue the work of Eusebius. This 5th century Byzantine historian wrote seven volumes in Greek called Ecclesiastical History. The work is unusually objective with its impartial descriptions of heresies. His writings consistently show a strong dependence on original primary sources.
Reports on a spiritual conversion of Constantine, complete with his profound vision, certainly provide a point of interest.

The phenomenon, reportedly witnessed by Constantine and his troops, are slightly similar to Sibyl visions; however, use of a spiritual symbol, after the vision of Constantine, more closely resembles propaganda. The interesting point, which emerges from accounts by Socrates Scholasticus, is his hearsay evidence was incorrect, according to archaeological evidence. Constantine likely carried a labarum, which displayed Greek initials of Christ, not a cross emblem, into battle.

Socrates Scholasticus wrote Emperor Constantine “exerted himself to free the Romans from slavery under Maxentius and considered by what means he might overthrow the tyrant. While occupied with the subject, he debated with divinity to invoke for aid in battle. In a state of uncertainty, as he marched at the head of his legions, a vision, which transcends all description, appeared to him. He saw a pillar of light in the heavens, in the form of a cross, on which were inscribed the words, By This Conquer. Scarcely believing his eyes, he asked his troops if they beheld the spectacle; and as they unanimously declared that they did, this Divine, marvelous apparition strengthened the emperor’s mind.

On the following night in his sleep, he saw Christ, who directed him to prepare a standard according to the pattern he had seen; and to use it against his enemies as an assurance of victory. In obedience to this Divine oracle, he caused a standard in the form of a cross to be prepared. He attacked the enemy and vanquished him before the gates of Rome, near the Mulvian Bridge: Maxentius was drowned in the river.

This victory, achieved in the seventh year of the conqueror's reign, while Licinius, who shared the government with him, as his brother-in-law, having married his sister Constantia, resided in the East. Emperor Constantine, in view of blessings he received, offered grateful thanks to God as his benefactor; these consisted in relieving Christians from persecution, recalling those in exile, liberating such as were imprisoned and causing the confiscated property of the prescribed to be restored to them.”

Did Constantine embrace Christianity for strategic reasons? By freeing Christian slaves, willing to serve in his legion, Constantine enlarged his power base, making him the most likely aspirant to long-term leadership of the Roman empire. If a Christian cross standard brought Constantine success in battle, why does only the Christogram (labarum) emerge, as the battle standard, from archeological finds, of Roman artifacts, of the period?

More important than realizing a previous quote by Socrates Scholasticus appears incorrect, in describing a new battle standard for Rome, is the fact that the most dangerous enemy a legion faced was a rival Roman Legion. Obviously, his report that Constantine sought to “overthrow the tyrant.” Is accurate. Once the Emperor achieved the victory there was one less contender planning to take control of the Roman Empire. Another aspect of the brilliant strategy of Constantine emerges from the earlier quote. By professing Christianity and freeing a massive Christian slave population, he gained a loyal following, willing to serve in his legion, which increased his potential for ruling, after the overthrow of Maxentius.

While keeping the lack of popular support of this “tyrant” in mind, understand several other popular contenders for his throne assuredly bided their time, in Rome, as they awaited his final fall from power. Those contenders also represented a threat to Constantine. Other powerful people, in Rome, had legions to protect them. Uniting them under a single battle standard drastically reduced any threat from other Roman Legions, which also adopted the Labarum as their standard, after reports of its mystical power.

The Labarum was not a cross. Instead, it was a pennant, which displayed a Christogram. The pennant was square and hung down from a horizontal wooden arm atop a staff to allow soldiers to see it in battle. Replacing the vexillum, a battle standard specific to each individual legion, the Labarum signified the army was Christian. After Constantine, coins and art presented the Roman characters of an "X" superimposed over a "P," which represents the initials of Jesus Christ.

Although very little archeological evidence of wooden crucifixion equipment exists, most of these Roman torture devices did not resemble Christian crosses. Public crucifixion was a type execution, reserved for rebel forces or their leaders. After Roman legions took a band of rebels into custody, they crucified them along a busy road as an intimidation tactic to reduce the potential of future uprisings.

Large iron nails and heavy rope were valuable commodities; and time was a factor. It would have expended excessive time and resources for Roman troops to construct only Christian type crosses for mass executions. Typical Roman crucifixions probably took place on T-shaped wooden structures, which required a single iron nail at the top of each tau (T-shaped) structure. fifteenth century paintings depict these typical, tau crucifixions.

Although crucifixions on other types of crosses occurred – including crucifixions on trees – when Jesus was crucified, a question becomes: Did Roman leaders, who were regularly suppressing revolts by local Jews want the body of Jesus displayed on a fancy cross, after Jewish leaders induced an angry mob to demand his death? An actual Christian type cross would have made Jesus appear more important than typical enemies and offended cooperative Jewish leaders.

According to Scriptural accounts, Pontius Pilate was honoring a Jewish holiday, by allowing the Jews to decide which prisoner would die and who would be freed. While Jesus was crucified among thieves, who were not important enough to be crucified on fancy crosses, a Jewish, rebel leader, named Barabbas, who condoned violence, was given amnesty. However, according to Scripture, Pontius Pilate, the Perfect (Roman Governor) of Judaea planned to post a sign over the cross of Jesus, stating He was King of the Jews. Also, Pilate perceived Jesus as more of a threat to a religion that he did not personally accept, than a danger to Roman occupation of Judaea and might have intended to insult Jewish leadership. An important Biblical discrepancy occurs in the way Pilate interrogated Jesus. While some translations state when Pilate asked Jesus if He was King of the Jews, Jesus answered, “Yes I am,” more accurate translations, including The King James Bible, confirm that Jesus answered in a wiser manner, saying “Ye sayeth I am.”

On edit: Check the link. Are far more ancient religions interesting?
https://www.democraticunderground.com/11941631

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Reply From another chapter of the book: Christian History. Surprising and Hardcore (Original post)
real Cannabis calm Oct 2019 OP
Karadeniz Oct 2019 #1

Response to real Cannabis calm (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 03:03 PM

1. Thank you! I'm fascinated by the evolution of religions. Very interesting read!❤

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