On this the 15th anniversary of 9/11 attack, let’s take a deep breath and reflect upon what happened.
Christianity includes Orthodox, Catholic and various sects of Protestants. There were three Christian breakthroughs from a Moral Innovator perspective:
- The formation that started 2,000 years ago
- The split between Orthodox and Catholics 1,000 years ago
- The split between Catholics and Protestants 500 years ago
Let’s only focus on the formation or the first breakthrough here. There will be future discussions on #2 and #3 which will address the divergence of moral values within Christianity. Unless we know the key differences of moral values that drove the schisms, we will not understand Christianity which is followed by a minority of humans (~35% of 7+ billion humans). After we get to know Christianity, we can compare the moral values of Muslims who follow Islamic values; Indians who follow primarily but not exclusively henotheists (which is different than polytheists) values; and Chinese who follow primarily but not exclusively atheist values. Over 90% of humanity today is represented by Christians, Muslims, Indians and Chinese. Once we appreciate their moral values, we can begin to address how we can develop a more peaceful homologous world together. In this globalized world we live today, we cannot effectively address global peace and harmony if we only have Christian values.
To address the formation of Christianity 2,000 years ago, let’s look back more than 2,000 years ago in the western part of Middle East and Europe (primarily Turkey, Greece and Rome). Please remember this geography does not represent the world, as there were the eastern part of Middle East (including Sumer) and all of Asia, Africa, Americas, etc. The expansion of the Christian world beyond western part of Middle East and Europe happened primarily within the last 500 years, which will be addressed in the third breakthrough between Catholics and Protestants. Search for Moral Innovators perspectives on Christianity #3 which has not yet available in September 2016.
For a lot more than 2,000 years,we have been curious about what happens before our birth and after we die. Sumerians have stories like the arrival of Annunaki people from the Nibiru planet 400,000 years ago, and Egyptians left different versions of “Book of the Dead” which correlated to the times of mummification. A lot more can be introduced through the Chinese invisible “Qi” that occupies the universe and the myth of Pangu descended from heaven, or the Indian concept of “Karma” and reincarnation. The existence of “Qi” may have been proven through the recent discovery of “Dark Matters” that occupy an estimated 27% of energy and matter in our universe.
Focusing on the formation of Christianity 2,000 years ago, there were two communities of humans whose values focused on the spirit or soul outside the body. These were the Therapeutae people living mostly in Alexandria, Egypt, and Essenes people living mostly in Palestine. We know the Essenes much better today as the community that gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls we are studying today. These communities believed in their own spirits which thrived in a polytheistic world they lived at that time.
There are at least three modes of persuasion to prove the existence of an unknown spirit or soul.
- Ethos rely on credibility and reputation (which is far more difficult to apply to a new concept),
- Pathos rely on emotions (which defies reasoning and not sustainable over time), and
- Logos rely on logical deduction (which was popular with the likes of Socrates and Plato).
Clearly, the Greek influence supported the logos approach which had to be based on mythology. For example, the mythological King Minos, whose civilization in Crete paralleled that of Egypt, was believed to be a son of Greek God named Zeus (whose womanizing behavior and the number of children he sired parallel that of a cult leader today), took the Zeus tribute to a higher level when seven boys and seven girls from Athens were thrown as food to feed King Minos’ pet Minotaur, a terrible monster, that lived in a labyrinth. One of the boys from Athens was a prince named Theseus who, supported by the daughter of King Minos named Ariadne, managed to kill the Minotaur and saved future Athenian children.
This is an illustrative example of righteousness overcoming tyranny when humans interpret what is the proper tribute to this spiritual being (or God) before the time of Jesus, or the beginning of Christianity.
The Bible is the most referenced source document and the foundation of Christianity. It is estimated that Jesus preached for only three years before he was crucified, and his main message was along the line of “love thy neighbor.” There are four gospels in the New Testament, but only one (Book of John) mentioned the Lazarus miracle where Jesus raised a human named Lazarus of Bethany from the dead, four days after his death. It is shocking that the bedrock of Christianity is based on how Jesus came back from the dead to live for 40 days, yet three of the four gospels failed to mention the Lazarus miracle. Bart Ehrman also published multiple books about how Christians made Jesus a God through the trinity (also known as consubstantial or homoousios) after his death through interpretations of the Bible.
To make Jesus who he is today, all the spirits and souls of mankind must be concentrated to Jesus alone. Communities like Essenes and the later and larger group of people named Gnostics had to be declared heretics in order for the Logos mode of persuasion to work. That is what happened, and followers like Paul took Christianity away from the location of only Jerusalem to establish churches as places of worship outside Jerusalem. Augustine reinforced the need to go to church by strengthening the belief in The Original Sin that requires prospective believers to go to a nearby church and cleanse their souls.
After 2,000 years of Christianity, we are still following this Logos that force us to take extreme positions, like only Christians can get to heaven, and non-Christians go to hell. Christians are asked to believe the Bible cannot contain errors, and the Catholic Pope is infallible. We must change our mentality from this perception of perfection towards a Moral Innovators’ view of continuous improvement. Otherwise, Bible’s armageddon is a self-fulfilled prophecy.
Stay tuned for how Christianity faced major schisms 1,000 years and 500 years ago.