Innovators World, Introduction, Overview

Moral Innovator perspectives on Christianity #3

This is the third of three essays on Christianity that cover the three Christian breakthroughs from a Moral Innovator perspective:
1. The formation that started 2,000 years ago
2. The split between Orthodox and Catholics 1,000 years ago
3. The split between Catholics and Protestants 500 years ago

In Christianity #1 dated September 11th, 2016, the focus was on formation of Christianity 2,000 years ago. Pre-Christian communities like Essenes and Therapeutae focused on the soul or spirit. Several centuries after the death of Jesus, the writers of the Bible’s New Testament wanted believers to yield their souls to the consubstantial Jesus Christ, leaving all Christian believers only with their personalities. By adopting the Greek philosophers’ “Logos” (instead of Ethos or Pathos) to present compelling arguments for the soul and spirit, pre-Christian communities like Essenes and Therapeutae (and later Gnostics) had to become heretics. This story has not ended, as we may be able to find out more through the Dead Sea Scrolls which have been attributed to writings mostly of the Essenes.

In Christianity #2 dated September 18th, 2016, the focus was on the split between Orthodox and Catholics which was formalized in the year 1054, about 1,000 years ago. Orthodox Christians believe Jesus Christ is full human and full God, part of the trinity. Catholics believe in a consubstantial trinity. Both made Jesus a God even though Jesus himself did not proclaim to be God himself. On the surface, the divergence within Christianity was driven by power and rituals (e.g. should bread made with yeast be used or not during Eucharist/Communions. Catholics say yes, and Orthodox says no.

In Christianity #3, we focus on the Protestant schism from the Catholics. Martin Luther posted his 95 theses in 1517 (in Germany) and John Calvin broke from the Roman Catholic Church in 1530 (in France), leading a confederation of Christians that collectively are called Protestants.

500 years ago, Catholic Christians had achieved independence after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. Not only was there no longer an empire to backup Christians, the lure of treasures in the Americas led the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI (1431-1504) to draft The Tordesillas Treaty adopted in 1493 by Spain and Portugal. This Treaty gave 90% of all of Americas to Spain, and the remaining 10% to Portugal which became Brazil today. 20% of all treasures collected in the Americas had to be turned over to Spain as royalty. Pope Alexander VI was one of the most controversial Popes, partly because he acknowledged fathering several children by this mistress, and partly because he expanded the practice of granting indulgences. For example, beginning July 13th 1495, up to 5,500 days less in purgatory can be purchased for reciting the Rosary, a Dominican meditation on Christians’ 15 greatest mysteries. Martin Luther’s protest in 1517 included the selling of indulgences such as reciting the Rosary.

Protestants generally believe the church belongs to the followers (or congregations), and not a separate institution like the Catholic Church. For example, Presbyterians are governed by their congregations, whereas some Calvinists’ believe in pre-destination. More recognized Protestants include Methodists (England), Baptists (Amsterdam), Episcopalian (USA), Pentecostal (USA), Churches of Christ (USA). Others include Salvation Army, Quakers, Mormons, Unitarianism, etc. Martin Luther’s marriage to a former nun Katharina von Bora also set the model for clerical marriage.

One of the most significant reasons Martin Luther (1483-1546) succeeded with the Reformation was the translation of the Bible into German, followed by the mass printing of German Bibles using Gutenberg movable type. We know that the printing of the Vulgate, or the Latin version of the Bible, started as early as 1450s. Up to 180 copies of were made, most of them in two volumes (the first volume ending with The Book of Psalms). We also know copies of vellum were heavier and sometimes bound into three or four volumes. The introduction of the movable type print was comparable to the internet as we entered the 21st century. No longer were scribes needed. Errors in reproduction were eliminated by the printing press. By adding several principles to the art of translation, Martin Luther also influenced the writing of the English Tyndale Bible (and later the King James Bible completed in 1611).

Martin Luther spent most of the last part of his life translating the Bible into German. After being excommunicated by the Catholic Pope (1521), the German New Testament first appeared in 1522 and the entire Old and New Testaments in German began to appear around 1534. In his later works, Martin Luther also expressed Jewish homes and synagogues should be destroyed, their money confiscated, and liberty curtailed, against some of his own congregation of Lutherans. There is still debate among scholars whether the World War II Nazis correctly characterized Martin Luther’s anti-semitic views.

Protestant congregations also adopted Logos to justify a new concept (such as Quakers) based on logical (moral) values, not credibility (Ethos) or emotions (Pathos). Many cult-like religions have been led by charismatic “lone wolf” leaders who attracted enough followers to sustain a congregation. For example, David Koresh believed he was the final prophet in the Davidian Branch. We probably recognize David Koresh as the child abuser who died in the FBI raid in Waco Texas in 1993.
What were the underlying moral values behind this Protestant Schism? It was the belief that scripture (e.g. Bible) has higher authority than the Catholic Church, and no institution or state such as Vatican can replace scripture. A clear example is Catholic confessions. Whereas Catholic followers confess to a preacher, Protestants repent directly to God in prayers.
Today, we know that Protestants and Catholics each have about 1 billion followers, which when combined with the 200-300 million Orthodox followers, make up 35% of humanity.

After 2,000 years, Protestants cannot reasonably expect the Vatican to just disappear because there is no need for Catholic Churches when congregations follow the scripture. An effective way to address this and other differences between Protestants and Catholics is to return to the original message Jesus himself preached during his three years of actual preaching: Love thy neighbor.

The next essay will introduce Islam. With 85% Sunni and 15% Shiite, there was a similar schism among Muslims. We will then introduce the Indian and Chinese civilizations. After we look at Christianity, Islam, Indians and Chinese, we will have addressed over 90% of the 7+ billion humans, and begin to address how Moral Innovations can facilitate a peaceful, homologous world. It will not be Utopia, but we can still thrive with knowledge of your places in the world, so we can do the right things and make it better.

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Innovators World, Overview

Moral Innovator perspectives on Christianity #2

This is the second of three essays on Christianity that cover the three Christian breakthroughs from a Moral Innovator perspective:
1. The formation that started 2,000 years ago
2. The split between Orthodox and Catholics 1,000 years ago
3. The split between Catholics and Protestants 500 years ago

In Christianity #1 dated September 11th, 2016, the focus was on formation of Christianity 2,000 years ago. Pre-Christian communities like Essenes and Therapeutae focused on the soul or spirit. Several centuries after the death of Jesus, the writers of the Bible’s New Testament wanted believers to yield their souls to the consubstantial Jesus Christ, leaving all Christian believers only with their personalities. By adopting the Greek philosophers’ “Logos” (instead of Ethos or Pathos) approach to present compelling arguments for the soul and spirit, pre-Christian communities like Essenes and Therapeutae (and later Gnostics) had to become heretics. This story has not ended, as we may be able to find out more through the Dead Sea Scrolls which have been attributed to writings mostly of the Essenes.

In Christianity #2, we focus on the split between Orthodox and Catholics which was formalized in the year 1054, about 1,000 years ago. Why was there a divergence within Christianity?
The answer lies in the adoption of Logos which use arguments to justify a new concept (such as a religion) based on logic, not credibility (Ethos) or emotions (Pathos). The Roman Empire played a critical role in Europe that helped Christianity grow without consensus. Catholicism was declared the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380ce. This action obfuscated the concept of “Separation of Church and State” that is a fundamental concept in the USA today. The Roman Emperor Constantine (272-337ce) reigned between 306-337ce. In February 313ce, he declared in the Edict of Milan that Christians could follow Christianity without oppression. In 325ce, he summoned the first ecumenical church in Nicaea where the trinity (or consubstantial Jesus) was established. Anything that disagreed such as Arianism and Nestorianism (which led Christianity into Asia and is the Church of the East today) were rejected and later declared heretical, just like the Essenes.

The Orthodox Church did not adopt the Latin (Roman) influence in various practices, an example of which is the use of leavened (i.e. bread made with yeast) or unleavened (i.e. tortilla or Indian Naan) bread during the Catholic Eucharist (or Protestant Communion). In 1053, the Latin (i.e. Roman) Catholics forced the closure of all orthodox churches in southern Italy. By 1054, all Latin churches in Constantinople were closed by the leader of The Orthodox Church, or Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Michael I. Cerularius (1000-1059ce).

It should not be a surprise that when Pope Leo IX (1002-1054ce) sent a team (or legates) to Constantinople in 1054 to claim supremacy over all Christians, including Orthodox, the leader of The Orthodox Church rejected the claim. Pope Leo IX then excommunicated the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople who, in turn, excommunicated the legates who carried the excommunication message.

What were the underlying moral values behind this Great Schism? Probably not a matter of whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used during a ritual that is considered a sacrament in most churches (started by Jesus Christ during his Last Supper). After all, the differences between the King James Bible interpretation of the New Testament (e.g. more lenient views on adultery) seems more significant than what type of bread should be used in a sacrament.

The moral values that drove the 1054 schism reflect a splintered religion based on more fundamental issues such as whether Jesus is God, and whether the trinity can have all the soul and spirit of all humans (not just the Christian followers). From a Moral Innovator perspective, both Orthodox and Catholic Christians agree that Jesus preached a moral message. Jesus did not explicitly proclaim he himself was God. Backed by the Roman Empire, Roman Catholics used Logos to present Jesus as part of the trinity. We know that Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476ce, but Eastern Roman Empire continued through 1453 in the form of the Byzantine Empire, through this 1054 schism. We can decide for ourselves whether Jesus is part of the trinity listening to Logos, Ethos, or Pathos approaches, or we can invent another approach that humans can accept over time.

Today, we know that The Orthodox Church has 200-300 million followers, most of them in Russia and Eastern Europe. Like Protestants, Orthodox has no central leader like the Pope in Catholicism. We also cannot ignore the influence of 20th century Communism on Orthodoxy when Stalin industrialized (with the associated Gulag atrocity) Russia, followed by oil and gas money especially after 1973.

An effective way to address the differences between Orthodox and Catholics is to return to the original message Jesus himself preached during his three years of actual preaching: Love thy neighbor. It is still a moral message.

We could not adopt “Ethos” instead of “Logos” to present Christianity because we do not know enough about historical Jesus. Christianity started to present “Pathos” or emotions which cannot be sustained. Since we have not returned to Jesus’ original message, we have continued to splinter in the last 1,000 years. The next major schism was the emergence of Protestants about 500 years ago when Martin Luther and others challenged Catholicism. That will be the topic of Christianity #3.

Similar essays on Islam will be posted after Christianity, followed by Indians and Chinese civilizations. After we look at Christianity, Islam, Indians and Chinese, we will have addressed over 90% of the 7+ billion humans, and begin to address how Moral Innovations can facilitate a peaceful, homologous world. It will not be Utopia, but we can still thrive with knowledge of your places in the world, so we can do the right things and make it better.

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Innovators World

Moral Innovators review of events leading up to the USA

Contrary to popular belief, the truth is the fact that Christopher Columbus never discovered USA. The Italian adventurer reached only the Caribbean Islands during his voyage in 1492. Even though he received approval from the Portuguese King for the voyage first, it was funding from the Spanish King that financed his 1492 voyage. It also appears that the Spanish King (Ferdinand the Catholic and his wife Isabella) used his treasures after expelling (The Fall of Granada) the Muslim Moors from Iberia to pay for Columbus’ voyage. The Spanish Inquisition, original started in 1480 to exert social and religious control, led to the Spanish ultimatum in 1501 in Granada to convert to Christianity or be expelled from Iberia. Perhaps credit can be given to the Muslims who facilitated Columbus’ voyage with their funds…

Upon Columbus’ return to Spain with news of the New World, the newly elected Catholic Pope Alexander VI of Spanish descent (who was among the most corrupt Popes in history) drafted the Treaty of Tordesillas (Valladolid Province, Spain) which was signed in 1494 by Portugal’s King John II and Spain’s King Ferdinand II, his wife Isabella and son Prince John to dispel Portugal’s claim to the New World. Territories east of the 370 meridian belonged to Portugal, and west of the meridian to Spain. This meridian crosses the present day Brazil which explains why Brazilians speak Portuguese, and Spanish is spoken elsewhere in Americas. The longest continuously occupied city in the USA is Florida’s St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by Spanish admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles. The Treaty of Tordesillas was the basis for Spanish Kings to collect 20% royalties on all trades with the Americas. This was an important source of wealth that made Spanish King Philip II one of the wealthiest humans on earth in the last millennium.

Since earth is round, two meridian lines were needed to define an area (or territories). The Treaty of Zaragoza (Aragon, Spain) was signed in 1529 by Portugal’s King John III and Spanish King Charles V that defined Moluccas Antimeridian in Asia as the second line, giving all of Africa and essentially all of Asia to Portugal, even though Portugal did not strongly object to the initial Spanish trading post in Manila, Philippines in 1565. In fact, Philippines was named in honor of the Spanish King Philip II.

Note: Think about what this means. Without any discussions outside Portugal and Spain, the world was divided between them, and the author of the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas was Pope Alexander VI, who had oversight over all Christians before the 1517 Protestant Reformation. Through these treaties, innovative Christians were the first to declare the world belongs to Christians, without any consideration of non-Christians. It is crystal clear in these treaties that Christians did not follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.

No one, including Britain and other European Christians, cared at the beginning. It did not surface as a topic of interest until the informal (undeclared) Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604 over Christianity: Spain’s Catholic King Philip II believed England’s Protestant Queen (Elizabeth I) was a heretic and unworthy to rule England. In 1588, Britain and Europeans outside Iberia discovered the wealth available in the Americas as they pondered the source of wealth for Spain’s King Phillip II to produce 130 ships and 26,000 sailors and soldiers to invade English from the North (i.e. from Ireland).

The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 had two major consequences:
1. Protestants gained confidence and grew as a major force within Christianity.
2. Britain, France, and Dutch Europeans observed the wealth accumulated by Spain from Americas.

There were many failed attempts to settle in the USA before 1600 by many countries. After 1588, there were more attempts but the risks were too high without government funding. To accumulate sufficient funds to explore the New World, Britain innovatively created the concept of “Company” and established the British East India Company in 1600, allowing multiple investors to accumulate sufficient funds to explore new wealth across the globe. British East India Company was formed to pursue trade with the Americas, but ended up trading mainly in Asia (and ruled India when it received monopoly power to trade in opium which the company taught the Indians in India to produce opium that likely spawned the illicit drug trade worldwide today). Netherlands followed with the Dutch East India Company (or VOC) in 1602 with monopoly colonial powers in Asia. In 1604, France granted monopoly rights of furs to Pierre Dugua Sieur de Monts that led to Canadian settlements like Quebec City in 1607. Britain sent over the first of 50,000 (criminal) convicts after first settling in Virginia’s Jamestown in 1607, before the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620.

It took about 150 years for Britain to impose the Stamp Tax in 1765. It was the hidden and illegal taxes that led to the Boston Tea Party (which was a tax revolt) in 1773 and eventually the US Revolution. It should be highlighted that factors that drove the rapid rise of Islam after its Hijra in 622ce also included high Christian taxes relative to Muslims who also offered higher religious tolerance than Christians. Today, USA is still working with a complicated tax system that has given us the biggest wealth gap ever, with 1% of super-rich Americans accounting for about 50% of all wealth. This is clearly against the referendum that led to the formation of our great nation.

Take this knowledge, do the right things together and make our world a better world.

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Innovators World, Warrior World

Evolution of Abrahamic religions Scripture

We know that Abrahamic religions basically mean Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Christianity has Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant major branches plus hybrids like Church of the East (that started as Nestorians), and Islam has Sunni and Shiite major branches. How do we find the moral foundation(s) of these religions? We start with the written scripture for their followers.
Abrahamic religions began with Judaism. Many Jews believe the first Jew was Abraham, a person born in the city of Ur in current day Iraq about 4,000 years ago, 1,000 years before the Hebrew language became a language. We donot know how the Jews created its calendar (the first day was the birthday of Adam or the first human created by God in the Abrahamic religions – this year (2014) is the year 5774 in the Jewish calendar). We also do not know when exactly Judaism started to teach its faith (be very careful reading the words and spellings in Judaism because they can be confusing with multiple meanings). Judaism, like other religions started as an oral (i.e. not a written) teaching, and the Hebrew word for teaching is torah. In other words, we donot know when oral torah began, other than it cannot be older than 4,000 years if Abraham was declared the first Jew, making all Abrahamic religions younger than India’s Hindu religion, for example. This assumes the first language of Judaism was not Hebrew.
2,400 years ago, there was apparently a “great synagogue” meeting to discuss what should be included in the scripture, presumably in Hebrew. The reference that this meeting took place appeared in the Mishnah component of Talmud which was first published 1,800 years ago. This could be the first written draft of the Jewish scripture.
Around the time the Second Temple was destroyed at 70ce, there was concern that Jewish culture may not survive. This fear facilitated a more rigorous effort to write down the Jewish tradition.
1,800 years ago, the first attempt to write the Jewish scripture was redacted by Rabbi Judah haNasi that became the Mishnah, written in Tannaitic Hebrew. This was the accepted core text component of the Talmud which should not change.
1,500 years ago, Talmud’s core text (i.e. Mishnah) added commentaries and notes that are called Gemara. There were two versions of the Gemara – one by Israeli scholars 350-400ce, and one by Babylonian scholars ~500ce. Unless specified otherwise, the Babylonian version of the Gemara is the accepted version of Gemara. These are the commentaries and notes in both Hebrew and Aramaic languages that form the second part of the Talmud. Some core text (i.e. Mishnah) is not supported by commentaries and notes (i.e. Gemara). In other words, Mishnah plus Gemara are the two components to the Talmud. However, the term Talmud could mean Gemara alone, or the Mishnah and Gemara as printed together. The oldest full (Israeli or Jerusalem) Talmud manuscript we know I’d dated 1289ce, known as the Leiden Talmud. The oldest full (Babylonian) Talmud manuscript we know is dated 1342ce, known as Munich Talmud (Cod.hebr. 95). The entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates in 6 orders. In standard print it is over 6,200 pages long.
1,000-1,200 years ago, a group of Jewish scholars led by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher (?-960ce) and Moshe ben Naphtali (890-940ce) created and published the 24 book Masoretic Text Hebrew Bible.
Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christians all reference primarily the Masoretic Text Hebrew Bible with the acronym Tanakh (5 books of Moses or Pentateuch or Chumash or Torah (Ta in the acronym), 8 books of Prophets or Neviim (na in the acronym), plus 11 books of Writing or Ketuvim (kh in the acronym)). The first seven books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges) are in the same order for Tanakh, Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christian Old Testaments. The other 17 books of Tanakh are all in the Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Old Testaments except in different order and sometimes split into two (e.g. Samual and Kings were split into 1Samual 2Samual, and 1Kings 2Kings, etc.). Catholics also used seven books (from Septuagint) which came from the Greek and not Hebrew origin. When Protestants reformed Christianity, they removed the 7 Books of Greek origin from Septuagint that the Catholics used in the Old Testament. Therefore there are 39 Old Testament books in the Protestant Bible.
800 years ago, Mosheh ben Maimon, aka Moses Maimonides (1135-1203 ce) created Halakha or Jewish Law when he lived in Egypt. This version is called Mishneh Torah (not to be confused with Mishnah, Torah, Talmud, Gemara, etc). Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christians do not use this Halakha, even though Maimonides was known to have influenced Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). For example, Aquinas specifically referred to Maimonides in the book “Commentary on the Sentences.” Aquinas had an important role to incorporate Aristotle’s philosophies and ethics into Christianity.
In summary:
1) Judaism has the Talmud (Mishnah and Gemara), Masoretic Text Tanakh, and the Mishneh Torah (aka Halakha) written between 2,400 – 800 years ago.
2) Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians rely mostly on the 1,000 year old Masoretic Text Hebrew Bible for the Old Testament. The New Testament is a separate story of Greek and Latin versions. For example, the King James English Bible was based on a 12th century incomplete Greek version of the New Testament that includes at least one page of Latin translated back into Greek before the Greek was translated into English.
3) Muslims use a completely separate source for their scripture Koran (or Quran) which traces back to 610ce when Archangel Gabriel facilitated a dialogue between Allah (God) and Mohammad (570-632ce) in a dark cave. The first caliph Abu Bakr (573-634ce) directed Zayd ibn Thabit (610-660ce) who was Mohammad’s personal scribe to collect the verses and produced the first hand-written manuscript of the Quran. Under the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan (577-656ce), Abu Bakr prepared a standard copy of the Quran, both in scripta defective Arabic in simple lines and strokes, completely different than today’s Arabic script. The Arabic script as we know it today, the scripta plena, was not perfected until the middle of the 9th century. Another original version of the Quran was written based on chronological order by Ali ibn Abi Talib (~601-661ce) who was the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammad. The order of the Ali Quran differed from the Abu Quran, but Uthman’s standardized version written by Abu Bakr was accepted without objections. It is believed that Jesus is an accepted prophet in the Quran, but not a God.
It would be interesting to explore the original source of the Quran, especially in the context of how Jesus was recognized as a prophet, not son of God. It seems the two ways Mohammad would know Jesus as a prophet would have to be 1) told by Allah or 2) told directly or indirectly by Jesus followers.

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