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How Rome took to christianity, and the first bible

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Early in the fourth century, Roman leaders decide they need a unified religion: a god, any viable god, to hold the flagging Empire together. Emperor Constantine had a choice among many deities believed at the time to be true. The C£1907 admits:

But it was especially in the western part of the empire that the veneration of Mithras predominated. Would it not be possible to gather all the different nationalities around his altars? Could not Sol Deus Invictus [the "invincible sun-god"], to whom even Constantine dedicated his coins for a long time, or Sol Mithras Deus Invictus, venerated by Diocletian and Galerius, become the supreme god of the empire?

Among dozens of candidates, Constantine chose one of the newest, a "Jesus," despite the schizophrenic, violent, racist nature of this latest of "saviors." Constantine could well have selected Mithras as the official god.

In fact the Empire had previously done so: Aurelian in 274 CE declared Mithraism the first official Roman religion; Mithras worship had become widespread in Persia and the Empire long before Constantine, long before Jesus.

It is the beginning of a Brave New World. Rome adopted the Jesus cult in the fourth century in failed effort to keep the Empire together and control the masses: "one state, one religion.... The results were undeniably internecine, destructive, unfortunate: a complete backfire. A century and a half ago Father Alessandro Gavazzi orated:

From the moment that papal authority was established, the Church would fall into schisms . . . Rome preserved her unity, but what unity? A unity of terror, of despotism, of oppression, of cruelty, of inquisition! That is the unity of Rome, and upon that unity stands the supremacy of the Pope!


Many superstitious and religious writings had been floating around the Levant and within the Empire. Along the centuries various philosophers and cult leaders weighed in from time to time regarding which texts they thought were valid and which were forgeries, or otherwise in some way spurious or of little value. In those times and in that region there were scriptures from Mithras believers, from Sandan followers, from believers in Ra, Horus, Hercules, Maat, Isis, Krishna, and so many other gods, including certain decidedly human (yet quite saintly) characters such as Pythagoras and Apollonius.


Eusebius of Caesarea had a box seat at the First Nicaean council of 325, which truly was a genesis, a catalyst for unifying disparate Christian theologies in attempt to quell petty doctrinal squabbles between presbyters. In Eusebius' early fourth century work Ecclesiastical History we are presented an exhaustive list of the hundred or so texts known by church leaders, most of which are ultimately rejected by various Christian authorities (EH 3.25-39).

Down the garbage chute went "epistle of James and that of Jude, also the second epistle of Peter ... Acts of Paul, and the so-called Shepherd [Hermas] ... epistle of Barnabas, and the so-called Teachings of the Apostles" and many more. Saintly Apollonius, peaceful Mithras, benevolent Sandan, Lord Horus and others of their time and region were well-known, but rejected.


Why did they consider only scriptures concerning this "Jesus" person as being valid - a man who may have roamed an obscure and tiny parcel within dusty Judea three hundred years prior? As the Empire was not doing so well at that time, Emperor Constantine reasoned that the gods whom his predecessors worshiped must have been impotent and thus false. He brought superstition and anecdotal evidence to bear against the question of divinity. He also had dreams and hallucinations that he applied to this important question - that is, if you can believe Eusebius. Constantine concluded that it was Jesus who magically helped his army beat Maxentius at the famed battle of the Milvian Bridge.'


The most recent cult thus seemed valid to him. This is a man who apparently believed in the "messages" of his dreams and hallucinations, just as Saul/Paul had done.' The first century character Jesus, a man of sandy and feeble and urban myth, was thus sanctified and anointed by the leader of the Roman Empire, hundreds of years after the nonevents that were claimed in the ancient ignorant scriptures. Thus the Christian Bible would finally crystallize in the fourth century CE -but not at Nicaea in 325, as most people seem to believe. If one reads the works of Eusebius, one may easily come away with the notion that it was indeed the Council of Nicaea where various scriptures were voted upon-but actually no canonization process occurred there. Yet I am sure the works of Eusebius are not why most people seem to think Nicaea was the source of the first official Bible decree. My guess is that the movie Da Vinci Code is a large reason, as that much-viewed film proffered an erroneous account of the events at Nicaea.


Perhaps the most effective outcome of that Council was the formulation of the "Nicene Creed," a mind-numbing submission to myth: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible ... We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father."


Canonization of the Bible would indeed occur, in the 397 CE Council of Carthage, making it more or less official. Prior to that time, the writings were hardly sacred or sacrosanct, but merely collected and conversed among superstitious, ignorant and god fearing (mostly gods-fearing) religious leaders. Carthage made the myths official, with many more edicts to follow -both imperial and papal, and always harmful.

The Christian Bible was not the work of a god as claimed (of course), but a work of humans, demonstrably all male. After its canonization, over a dozen centuries were required to bring the holy tome to fruition and to semi-stable form at the Council of Trent (1545 to 1563)."' Nevertheless scores of different "versions" were subsequently produced, each different from all others. One must ask: Which, of the many, is the "correct" Bible version? How different the world would have turned out if Constantine and his lackeys had chosen Apollonius as their new god - or Mithras, or Buddha. What if they had adopted the peaceful philosophies of Jainism instead of the scatter-brained, violent and superstitious Christian precepts?


It has been conjectured that had there been no Christianity, there would have been a fierce struggle between the Hellenist and the Mithraic, and Greek Enlightenment would have emerged victorious over supernatural explanations of the universe. Ernest Renan, in his book on Marcus Aurelius, stated that "One could say, had Christianity been terminated in its infancy by some deadly illness, the world would have become Mithraist. And thus peaceful."

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