....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb
- Reaction score
- up to my arse in alligators
I may need to remind you said this at some point...The Church didn't hit the ground running with a spelled-out instruction manual ... it had to work out its theology as it went along. The Jews had had centuries to work out theirs, the Christians were in a rather more compressed time period.
I think it is a very reasonable presumption to think if Constantine had either ignored the problem or dealt with it in the "traditional" (i.e. persecution) manner, we would be having a very different discussion.Well, we can't say that for sure, can we? despite all Constantine's efforts, Nicaea didn't solve the problem. Constantine wavered, which didn't help. Successive emperors were pro-semi-arian, pro-pagan, pro-'orthodox' ...
Constantine was in a unique position. His mother (a concubine) was a Christian. His father, a junior Emperor, was tolerant of Christianity (and here we go right back to British Christians, and I will naturally gravitate to Glastonbury and Cornwall and the Dumnonii). So Constantine, who at an early age (about 10 years old +/-) was held in the court of Diocletian as a ransom of sorts to insure his father's loyalty, and when Diocletian retired, Constantine was transferred to the court of Galerius...who did a lot of things to subvert any rise in power of Constantine, and on more than one occasion set him up to be killed. Constantine survived all of these intrigues and more, and went on to champion Christianity - but not at the expense of deeply engrained Paganism. It wasn't a light switch, it didn't happen overnight.
My comment was based on yours, i.e.: "Had there not been a single, identifiable 'Catholic' (ie Universal) Church by the 4th century, then I doubt it would have aroused Constantine's interest." But there wasn't a single, identifiable 'Catholic' Church by the 4th century. So your initial comment was not exactly correct, and why I pulled it out. Christianity was already splintering. We talk about some of the splinters regularly, what about all the really fringe groups, like the magicians and sorcerers trying to tag on and tap into Christianity? Simon Magus comes to mind.
Human nature isn't all fluffy bunnies, there have always been those who profit off of and abuse their fellows, and there were those at that time looking to do the same by affiliating with Christianity. What little we know of was rebuffed, likely why we even know, but that it was going on is so often overlooked in these discussions. I attribute this to the Greek (habitual?) practice of cherry picking what they liked from this one and that one and the other one and combining into something that appealed to a person's individual taste...not unlike some we see even today that you and I both discourage.
There's really no comparison with Judaism that can be made at this point in time. Where was the Cloud by day and Pillar by night? Where was the wandering in the desert?Well I disagree. Christianity was quite well-established by then. Judaism never burned out, did it, and they had a far harder time than us.
Moses is a major figure in Judaism, arguably *the* major figure. Yet he was only a man...a remarkable man no doubt, but only a man.
Jesus on the other hand was a superman, supernatural, transcending humanity...and one looking at the matter from this perspective has to draw the similarity with other Pagan "supermen." There are insufficient dots to connect, so I err on the side of caution, but a curious mind does wander "into heresy."
Most of those Christians who did suffer persecution after Constantine, did so at the hands of the Church. Cathars, Albigensians, Nazareans/Mandaens...just a few examples, and I don't think any of them fared so well, certainly not as well as the Jews.Well Christians had suffered persecutions. We can speculate, but we just don't know ...
This is the answer I've come to expect from you. I hope you will understand I politely disagree.But he did found a Church, and give it authority in His name ... and many who choose to walk their own path still reference that which the Church preserved.