Posted by panch from pool0076.cvx25-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net (188.8.131.52) on Friday, June 14, 2002 at 8:28AM :
Many nights I wake and think about the Roman Empire co-opting Christianity...we brainy people do things like that. I can't figure out what they did it for. I know it isn't the obvious, that in between screwing his sister and cutting off his mother's head, a Roman "saw Jesus".
The Roman's world was about as morally bankrupt as it could be...as Will Durant wrote..."everything conspired to prepare the way for Christianity". But what was the actual draw?
Did Constantine dandle his mother on his knee and say..."gee, mom....this Christian business would be good for the Empire". Surely he didn't buy any of it...including his vision at the battle of Milvan Bridge when the night before, Jesus... that military strategist, appeared to advise Constantine that if his soldiers painted a cross on their shields they'd kill even more men and orphan lots of children. Hardly the way to spread a religion of peace.
So what was it? Was it just a cynnical ploy, calculated to attach the morals of the first Christians, a fairly quiet and decent and hard working lot who seemed to be able to ignore the orgies and Circus shows...who were more sober and industrious than your average Roman, to make them examples to the rest of the citizens?...caught up as they were in this beneficial delusion that a god who would make such a hell hole of a world would have a place for them up in the clouds if they could just pass threough all this filth and stink without getting soiled themselves?
Was adopting Christinity supposed to be a tonic for the Empire, a form of chastisement to show the rest of the people a new ideal...one promoted by the government that went on nonetheless killing as madly as it ever had...including the murder of the founder of its new religion?
We all know the Romans were no Christians of any kind...though this new ideal of the self-sacrificing soldier of Christ could now be held up for all to see. But the Romans always extolled the virtues of manliness and service...even unto death, for the emperor and Empire.
There was goodness and charity and decency, even in Rome, before Christianity...and after it there certainly wasn't an overflowing of Christian kindness. Constantine had his son and wife murdered. And Helena, that old fraud, went hunting in Judea and came back with the True Cross...enough nails from it to have built a million more...the crown of thorns...the spear that pierced the side...and as a bonus, the three bodies of the Wise Men. had there been more room in her chariot I'm sure she would have found the foreskin of Abraham as well.
This is all stuff and nonsense, and the reason we are still the barbarians we are, may well be that in order to believe all this stuff you have to do damage to very sensitive parts of your brain and therefore, your soul as well. That while you may be a rocket scientist like Werner Braun...or a genius like Hitler OR Eisenhower...or any of the many "brilliant" people we have produced...there is still some small corner of your reason that has to be cut out, like another foreskin...or stunted...or denied and straved, in order for the human animal to take any of this seriously. With that one small part gone it remains possible to essentially act like Romans of the old school, still on a rampage, still extracting tribute and executing enemies of the state...even though, and maybe in order to, save their souls.
Something...something not right about all of this. I don't say that because i WANT it to be that way...but I have to wonder why we haven't come as far in morals and manners and love of humanity as we have in physics or chemistry....which are also killing us while they claim to improve our lives.
Red Foxx said that health food nuts were gonna be sorry one day, lying there in the hospital dying of nothing.
That's us. We're gonna be so rich and powerful and insulated from the harm we're causing each other, the planet and especially each new generation...that we'll die of nothing.
pss. I chose Hitler as a "genius" on purpose. One of the favorites myths of modern Christians is that Hitler was a dmented abberation. He was demented indeed...but he wasn't alone. The Nazis were the darlings of many civilized countries, such as England and America. No one likes to remember it now but them boys was mighty popular and why not? They hated Jews, and who didn't...and they hated Blosheviks and who DIDN'T???
The Germans are more blunt and less polished, more direct and forthright...and they were willing to do what the rest of Europe and Christian America also wanted done, though by someone else.
To think Hitler was a one time mistake, an anomally...a freak...is to risk the rise of others like him...even among those who should know better...ahem. If you see him as pretty typical in his sentiments...and not THAT out of touch in his methods...it will scare you a lot more and make you more vigilant than if you think of him as a force of nature that comes every ten thousand years and needs to be thought on no more.
Hitler was us...without the buffer. And we are the "good" Germans.
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