posted on Jun, 2 2004 @ 08:00 PM
KL, reading your thread I was surprised how many well informed people there are here.
Rome and Alexandria were the civil and intellectual capitals of the empire. As I believe it, the christianity that developed there began early to take
on a characteristically Roman anti-semitism, in which they theologically "cleansed" the religion of all "jewish" influence- unfortunately most of
what was biblical in Christianity (they gutted it). I believe they also syncretized in much pagan ceremonialism and mysticism and Greek philosophy.
I think their intentions in doing so were, as they understood, making christianity a more perfect composite of the "wisdom of mankind." What
resulted was a humanistic religion with Jesus' brotherly love teachings reduced to platitudes, and the deepest truths about God rationalized or
allegorized away to nothing.
Here's what I find very fascinating, and tell me if you agree with me. That early Roman church was persecuted by the Roman government, because they
were lumped together with the eastern Christians, who were viewed as a sect of Judaism (and at first that's what they were). Yet all the persecution
created more Christians, as Tertullian said, "The blood of Christians is seed." By the time of Constantine, christians (of whatever sort) were so
numerous, that they had to be co-opted or incorporated somehow. This is the interesting part. What do you have by the third century? A church that
desperately wants to use the state to achieve it's ends and a state that desperately wants to use the church to achieve theirs. Sound familiar? This
is the condition of the religious right, and the Republican party in America today!