My Argument About "the Church"

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by BluePhantom, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    For the purposes of this discussion I wish to establish the following historical and logical givens. Now all of these are certainly subject to debate on their own merits and I have no problem doing that on a different thread (citations for reference to any historical given I will be happy to provide on such a different thread and by request); however, to focus on the actual point of this thread I suggest that for the sake of argument, let’s assume the following to be true. Note: the term “the church” refers to the central governing body of any religion and/or the Vatican depending on the time frame being referred to.

    Historical Facts
    1) In the early stages of Christianity, there were various sects all who had different beliefs and used their own books of scripture. One sect would use the book of Matthew for example while another rejected Matthew but accepted James. Yet another might reject both Matthew and James and instead only used Mark and Thomas. Essentially, every sect kind of did their own thing.

    2) In AD 313 the Roman Emperor Constantine established the Edict of Milan decriminalizing Christianity and he eventually declared Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire summoning the Council of Nicaea where Christianity was defined and organized according to a given set of beliefs.

    3) The Biblical Canon was first officially organized by what would eventually be the Catholic Church at the Third Council of Carthage in AD 397 during the reign of Emperor Honorius and under the supervision of Augustine of Hippo.

    4) After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the late 5th Century AD, the church arose as the dominant political power in Europe holding significant influence (even over kings) until the Reformation in around AD 1517. This period of time we will refer to as the Middle Ages.

    5) During the Middle Ages the church, enjoying great power and influence, became corrupted by political and financial issues, engaged in acts of atrocity, and introduced and/or altered significant tenants of Christianity using the tradition of Midrash, terror, and suppressing education in order to maintain control and force the obedience of the people.

    6) Many of the changes to Christianity outlined in point five endure to this day and significantly influence modern Christian thought.

    7) After the Reformation the influence of the church continued albeit in different forms and spread over multiple governing bodies. Still, the church retained significant power and influence whether directly (i.e. direct influence on matters of state) or indirectly (influence of the state through the influence of the people) until relatively modern times, arguably even today.


    Logical Givens
    1) An organization of any kind that relies on the willingness of followers to obey must enforce obedience.

    2) Fear is an extremely effective method for establishing obedience.

    3) Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    4) No Roman Emperor or Pope will ever allow a scripture that they deem as “rebellious” or anti-establishment” to become part of the mainstream theology of the state religion.

    5) The political need of the church for obedience by the faithful has not ended. For the church to survive it still requires the willful obedience of the people.


    Spiritual Givens
    1) Communication with the Holy Spirit represents perfect guidance according to the will and wisdom of God.

    Initial Conclusions
    1) Constantine provided an opportunity for what would eventually become the Catholic Church to tip the balance of power in their favor against other sects who did not agree with their views. By forcing a definition of Christianity (the Nicaean Creed) and enforcing it through Roman power, opposing viewpoints were essentially eradicated.

    2) With the rise of total spiritual authority by church, the need to establish the submission of the people and the kings in order to maintain their power, riches, and influence, led to the evolution of Christianity into a fear based theology; something that persists to the modern day.

    3) If initial conclusion #2 is accepted as valid, it means that the original theology of Christianity has by definition been eradicated.

    4) Ancient mainstream scriptures, such as the Gospels of Thomas, James, Mary Magdalene, etc were not accepted in the Biblical Canon as they were too rebellious and anti-establishment to be accepted by the church (who requires obedience) and the Roman Emperors (who required obedience, order, and efficiency).

    5) If initial conclusions 1-4 are accepted as valid, it means that Christianity became “Romanized” and altered in order to meet the political and financial requirements of the church and the Emperors of Rome.

    6) Because obedience and submission of the people remains necessary to the current day for the church to maximize their power and influence, the modern church has no motivation to dispel the alterations and Romanization of Christianity. In fact quite the opposite, the more they can enhance it the better for their future prospects of remaining as a viable and influential political and economic force.

    7) If all the givens are accepted as true it means that the teachings of the church are not spiritual teachings. Instead they are political and financial teachings intended to maximize the power of the church.

    8) If conclusion #7 is accepted as true it means the practice of Christianity according to the specific guidelines endorsed by the church is the practice of the desires and requirements of ancient Roman Emperors and religious/political despots.

    9) If conclusion #8 is true it means the practice of Christianity according to the specific guidelines endorsed by the church is contrary to the guidance and wisdom of Jesus.

    Final Conclusion

    1) The practice of Christianity according to the specific guidelines endorsed by the church is contrary to the best spiritual interests of the individual. Instead of enhancing a personal spiritual relationship with God it actually interferes with it. As such organized religion should be rejected, each individual should establish their own religion based upon guidance gained by meditation and opening themselves to communication with the Holy Spirit.


    I will now brace myself for the onslaught of attacks. :D
     
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  2. Dragon
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    Dragon Senior Member

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    LOL well, I'm not going to attack you for that. I find your logic compelling and irrefutable.

    I will say that all this began to unravel at the point where the Church lost its political power. Today, Christianity is well on its way to becoming as diverse as it was in the pre-Constantine days. So it may be that, just as the Imperial Church could not have been created without the power of the Roman Empire, so in the end it cannot be maintained without the Empire's power, either.
     
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  3. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    Why, thank ya. :D

    I would agree completely and actually participated in a discussion on another thread about "coming full circle" in some ways (i.e. the variations on Christianity, followed by the concentration of it into one specific theology, followed by the split back into various theories). Your last point I think is very compelling: maintenance through empirical power. Let me ponder that one for a bit. :lol: It's a damn good point.
     
  4. Iridescence
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    Iridescence BANNED

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    I, too, agree with Dragon that your logic is a bit irrefutable... I just want to mention that the church can be a profoundly empowering entity if she was just used to be so by the men who are in charge of her. I believe in the potential of progressive improvements for the church, it just takes the men of such a mind to bring it about.
     
  5. koshergrl
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    koshergrl Diamond Member

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    I'm not sure the logical givens are actually logical givens. I'm not sure that fear is a completely effective way to control people, but maybe initially, it is.
     
  6. koshergrl
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    koshergrl Diamond Member

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    It seems to me that people behave better when they are allowed to grow in a fear-free environment.
     
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  7. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    I can't argue against that nor do i have a desire to. In my heart I still want to believe that the church is about spirituality. Unfortunately, after years of study and research I am forced to conclude it is not. That's not to say it can't be. It would take, as you suggest, many good men to make it happen. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be its history and I see nothing to indicate that it's about to change course.

    What then are we left with but to simply go it ourselves? And frankly if one reads the gospels of James, Thomas, Mary Magdalene, etc....that's actually what those scripture say to do...and it's my belief that that's precisely why they were thrown out of the Bible. I mean if you are establishing an organization that depends on obedience are you going to include in your handbook something that says "don't listen to a centralized governing body"? I think not.
     
  8. spectrumc01
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    spectrumc01 I give you....the TRUTH

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    I don't think so, people behave better when they are bred that way. The church has been breeding and grooming people for a long, long time. Take "Catholic guilt" for example.
     
  9. JoeB131
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    JoeB131 Diamond Member

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    I agree with most of your premise.

    the thing was that when Christinianity was "illegal" from the period of Jesus (or perhaps just Saul of Tarses, who made Jesus up) to Constantine, is that there were a lot of local variation on practices and beliefs. Constantine wanted Christianity to be a state religion, with the concept of a King in Heaven and his counterpart a King/Emperor on Earth. An understandable concern, as Rome had suffered nearly 100 years of Emperors knocking each other off in one civil war after another.
     
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  10. BluePhantom
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    BluePhantom Educator (of liberals)

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    Well I am happy to discuss those logical givens. Like I said in other threads. I could be completely wrong and I am more than happy to explore that possibility and identify a flaw in my logical process.

    As far as fear....in my experience as a business manager, I think it's a real lousy way to get productivity. My experience tells me that subordinates who fear the manager hate him, they aren't happy, they become passive aggressive, they will never defend him, as a result they wont do their best work and their productivity will suffer...but they will obey. So if all you need is obedience...fear is very effective.
     

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