Originally Published at: http://reformationcomingsoon.bravehost.com/ChristiansDivided.htmlRepostedwith permission of the author.
Christians Divided: What Will Resolve the Conflict?
Christianity has been divided into different sects ever since the first century after the death of the Christ Jesus, because after his death even the original disciples of Jesus did not agree how he should be honored and represented, and subsequent followers disagreed even more. In fact, the disagreements continued for many generations.
Then, in the fourth century after the death of Jesus, there was a concerted effort spearheaded by the Roman Emperor Constantine, who thought he had seen the Light and wanted to consolidate "Christian" power and authority under one official church with one head, or pope. He didn’t succeed entirely, because not all Christians fell under the new order. But Constantine did establish a very powerful and dominant Roman church which called itself catholic (which means universal or worldwide). Thus, Christianity was significantly changed when Constantine established it as the official religion of his military empire. It had its own official canon and doctrines, which were expressed in the Nicene Creed and in the approved texts chosen to be the official scriptures of the church.
The product, which Christians know as the Holy Bible, does contain much of the truth that was originally divinely inspired and communicated by the Christ Jesus. But, unfortunately, as you will see, the Nicene Creed and the Christian gospels in the Holy Bible also contain errors and misleading concepts, designed to create a doctrine of preeminence and superiority.
As Thomas Jefferson said, while the Christian Bible contains "many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence," others contain "so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being."
And Jefferson was quite right about that, because some of what is in the Christian gospels as we know them did not come from the Christ Jesus, but from his followers who either did not understand, or deliberately tried to embellish and exaggerate the story of Jesus.
That is why the Christian Bible and the Nicene Creed established in the fourth century perfectly suited militaristic, imperialistic patriarchs and monarchs, and consequently what followed was about eleven centuries of theocratic tyranny, oppression and persecution, now called the "Dark Ages." The erroneous doctrine of preeminence and superiority also caused the cruel Inquisition and the horrible bloody Crusades. And it eventually led to an inevitable attempt to achieve liberation through the Protestant Reformation in the fifteenth century.
Unfortunately, even though many Protestant Christians today believe that the Protestant Reformation cured and totally reformed Christianity, and that the King James version of the Christian Bible was true to the original teachings of the Christ Jesus, that belief is not justified and that is not the case. Even the King James version of the Christian Bible was still flawed and contains errors, and the Protestant Reformation did not truly reform Christianity.
Granted, it did stop some of the religious tyranny, oppression and superstition that the early Roman Church had spread, and it did put an end to the Dark Ages. Most countries in Europe formed their own kind of "Protestant" Christian denominations, and they were generally an improvement over the medieval Roman Church. And even the Roman Church was considerably reformed.
Indeed, the works of liberal and progressive Roman Catholics like St. Francis, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas helped to finally bring back some of the real Christianity into the Roman Catholic Church. And in this freer, less inhibited and far less oppressive religious climate, their work also helped bring about the "Renaissance" (rebirth) of Greek literature, philosophy, architecture, art, and ideals that had been labeled as pagan by the Roman Church when it was first established. In fact, the Renaissance created a tremendous surge of freedom and creativity wherein beautiful new art, music, literature and architecture flourished all over Europe during what are called the Romantic, Classical and Baroque periods. Western academic historians even call that era "The Enlightenment," because it created so much positive change and improvement in the lives of all those living under Christendom.
However, the crucial part of this history, which unfortunately is not generally known, is that in spite of the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance, many of the false doctrines about Jesus and the purpose of Christianity lived on in virtually all of the Christian denominations and sects. And those false doctrines still exist today. That is why, with very few exceptions, organized Christianity has been "off track" ever since the fourth century. That is why there has been so much conflict and division ever since.
Of course, there have been and still are some Christian denominations and sects that have recognized the core universal teachings of Jesus, and "separated the wheat from the chaff." They understand how and why the meek shall inherit the earth by abiding by the golden rule, loving their neighbor, and even loving their enemy, but many Christians do not. Thus many Christians are in conflict.
Right now a very significant division and conflict is in America, because aggressive, proud, militant right-wing "conservatives" on the so-called "Christian Right" focus on the man-made doctrine of preeminence and superiority, and they are opposed to the majority of mainstream Christians who are humble, liberal and progressive because they recognize the core universal teachings of Jesus that still shine through in the scriptures, despite the erroneous, misleading, self-serving doctrines of men that Jesus warned us about.
This is an important distinction, because for the last 27 years in America, the aggressive political activism of the "Christian Right" enabled it to pretty much have its way in the political arena. They became a successful political force in the 1980s supporting Ronald Reagan. They were instrumental in establishing Republican control of Congress in the 1990s, and again early in this decade. They were the main reason George W. Bush received as many votes as he did in 2004 to maintain the power he had assumed and stolen in 2000, and they have been very influential in establishing and supporting the extremely divisive, highly partisan, nationalistic, anti-Christian right-wing policies and actions of the Bush Regime.
In early 2006, however, as it was reported in the Washington Post, some progressive liberal Christians had finally begun to say they have had enough, and they had begun to come together to refute the claims made by right-wing partisan extremists on the "Christian Right" who boastfully and falsely claim they are the only "true Christians."