Thursday, April 13, 2017

Christ the Schismatist: How History Forged the Hammer (Part I)

Truth to Power

What if the very schism caused unintentionally by Martin Luther during the great Reformation was the exact thing that Christ would've done? What if Christ, who was clearly an agent for change, was essentially a 'schismatist': someone who, like the colonists who caused the Revolution and those confederates who fed the frenzy for the Civil War, recognizes only too well that power vested in the few will always become tyrannical? What if Christ did not come to erect a church for people to attend, but to strike the shepherds, who in truth were only wolves in sheep's clothing, so as to set his people free?

Since power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, any claim to know "the one true God," like any attempt to house that "one true God" in a temple, can only ever lead to evil, as humans have only ever made such claims for the sole purpose of increasing their worldly power, through politics or religion. And that is the army of Goliaths that Christ came to conquer.

 Is that not the nature of power, after all, especially worldly power, that it corrupts precisely because it can only lead people to desire ever more power?  And in the process, that power only ever convinces those who have it that the benefits of the order and stability that they alone feel responsible for providing, is worth the price of any crime or sin necessary to maintain it. Does not power always convince the powerful that they are chosen by God to lead the masses, and that like God, they feel justified in operating outside of the morality they claim they have a moral obligation to impose on everyone else? For them, violence is always a virtue when it is used to 'maintain peace,' and always a vice whenever it is used by the masses to oppose their oppression.

In opposition to the power of religions and priestly classes who proclaimed to speak for God - with the Catholic church going as far as declaring it does so "infallibly" (except on everything from slavery to the solar system, of course) - Christ is a figure who is more like Socrates in his willingness to question the religious powers that be. And like Socrates, he winds up paying the ultimate price for doing so. And like the Sanhedrin, the Catholic Church, out of its conviction that God had given it the sole responsibility to ensure that "the gates of hell would not prevail agaisnt it,"  rose up to become one of the greatest murderers of all those that doubted it's power and authority. You either had to believe, in other words, or you would be "God damned."

 But if there was anything at all that any such "Christ" like figure died fighting, it was exactly this. Today, however, Christians are drunk with the belief that God has given them a special knowledge and "power" to declare what is moral and what is not(isn't that exactly what the serpent promised Adam & Eve if they ate from the tree of knowledge?!), what is "true" and what is false, and who is saved from hell, and who is not. They believe they derive all of this authority, and insight into what is "moral," from Paul, who in Ephesians preys upon the emotions of his audience, and brainwashes "believers" with this empowering bit of propaganda: "I pray that you'll begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe."

 And it is this "power" that Paul mentions, that has led Christians to murder anyone they deem a threat to their special knowledge of right and wrong (oh how the serpent in the garden would be so proud of its children) in the same way the Sanhedrin murdered Christ for daring to challenge their power and authority. (Congratulations, Christians, you have grown up to surpass the abuse of your abusers through the belief that you are always the most abused of all!)

Unlike the monotheistic religions of the ancient Mediterranean and North African civilization, however, the ancient Greek religions were not so serpentine in their power structures, for they had neither a sacred text nor a permanent priestly class of interpreters. One benefit to this de-centralisation of Greek religious life was that you did not have megachurches who's preachers lived in mega-million dollar houses. Those houses, and their cars and planes and yachts, etc, are financed almost exclusively by poor people trying to buy their way out of both poverty and potential damnation, by devoting themselves religiously to preachers who, with forked tongue and apples of wisdom to sell, convince them they are the same thing. 

The pagan temples of Egypt were self-sustaining corporations, which worked much in the same way the Catholic Church and many other "capitalist" Christian Churches work today -- they owned land and lived largely off of rents. "Greek temples by contrast were maintained by the sporadic generosity of worshipers," along with the efforts of  their lay priests, "or the occasional gift from the city." The point being that temples have probably always descended into beehives of money making, as "beliefs" have always been an easy way for a priestly class to turn God into a pyramid scheme for all those who would willingly sell both their mothers and their souls, for a chance at salvation.  

In this way, temples provide charlatans a way to consolidate power through the accumulation of money and property, all of which could be siphoned out of the pockets of willing supplicants who feared God and hell enough to pay any amount of money to insure protection from either one. And this in  part, is why Israels 10 Northern Tribes had always opposed the idea of Kingship (much like the South opposed the tyranny, as they saw it, of Abraham Lincoln). It is also why, after the establishment of the monarchy and David's decision to build the temple anyway (by conveniently declaring that God wanted him to), the prophets were in constant trouble with the kings. Like David, in other words, Jesus would be the stone hurled at all of the Goliaths of worldly power - whether they were political, religious, or both.

 But it is difficult to understand any of this, or Christianity itself, without first understanding something about the Judaism the Christian religion grew out of, especially the historical context of ideas that would've imbued and animated everything Jesus said and did. Doing that can help to show how and why "Christianity," or even "Christendom," was built into the very thing Christ died fighting.  For if it Christendom had indeed been the "fruit of the tree of God," the most powerful Christian countries in the world in the 20th century would not have convulsed the world into a global orgy of bloodshed for power and money - twice. But they did, and continue to do so. And all for the "glory of gold and God."

Although even the Hebrew religion is simply a descendant  of  a number of other Semitic religions that proceeded it, including the Egyptians and many others (and perhaps even astrology, with the 12 signs of the zodiac surrounding the "Sun" of God, born of the "virgo"- i.e. virgin - to bring "ever lasting life" through each agricultural harvest, etc, etc), the focus here is to just look at the history of the 12 Tribes and their relation to the idea of Kingship, so we can see why Jesus was always finding himself in hot water. It will also reveal just how much "Christianity" has sought to empower and enrich itself like modern day Pharisees and Sadducees (or Democrats and Republicans), by sacrificing what was no doubt the true message of Christ.

And even though I am skeptically unconvinced by Joseph Atwill's argument in Caesar’s Messiah, that the Flavian Caesars, Vespasian and Titus, invented Christianity by using Josephus as their chief propagandist, it seems pretty clear today that the Christianity that is now being used by both politicians and "money changers" alike, in the temples of big finance, is very much what Atwill claims the Flavian Caesars were trying to do with Christianity in the first place. But in any event, whether it's the Sandhedrin, the Flavains, the Catholic Church, the Republicans or the Democrats, the Religious Right, or the false prophets who fly their private jets everywhere in the church of capitalism peddling their prosperity gospel, Jesus - regardless of whether he was a character of fact or fiction - was always intended to be the very opposite of what he is most used for today.

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