by Liam Scheff
You can understand how Christianity came to be by studying history: The Hebrew tribes first fought local tribes for dominance. The Hebrews had different gods and goddesses; El and YHWH – and Ashera, the goddess, among others. Their land and their leadership was taken over, again and again, by foreign powers. Under attack, the Hebrew tribes combined their Gods El and YHWH, killed Ashera, and became hardened monotheists.
The Babylonians (Persians) grabbed the land and the Hebrews were powerfully influenced by Persian stories of a great flood, creation, heroes in baskets, the code of Hammurabi (the law) – and by a wealthy priestly class in Babylon. When the Jews returned home, they brought this mythology with them and turned it into the “Torah“: Adam, Noah, Moses and Leviticus.
Then the Greeks took over from the Persians, and influenced Jewish thinking with the big picture philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, bringing them the idea that “the law” (Leviticus) was less important than “Knowing” (Gnosis) the “Word” (Logos) of the spirit of all. Then the Romans took over – and the Jews waited and waited for their new King/Priest to come and overthrown the NEW rulers.
But it didn’t happen. The Romans weren’t philosophers – they were Imperialists, and they kicked Jewish ass into oblivion, burnt Jerusalem and destroyed all Jewish identity (unless it bowed to empire). And when old Jewish leadership was annihilated, the small cults of “Greek-ed” Judaism – “Gnosis and Logos” – crept into the forefront, and these spiritual Jews who believed in baptism and anointing with oil (Chrestos) crawled out of the background and took over the conversation.
Argumentative preachers, zealots, Essenes, Nazarenes and other sects of Hebrew spiritualists walked the land…but Rome destroyed Jerusalem and all things Jewish. So Hebrew thought went even farther underground, abandoning its cry for a King of might, and exchanging it for the myth of a King of supplication – who “Renders unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” Who offers the other cheek when one is struck in violence.
This new “David” wouldn’t be anything like the traditional fables and myths of Hebrew Samsons, Solomons and strong men. He’d be a weakling – who would die – almost willingly – to put off what in reality, the Romans had already done.
The lower classes loved this story of a punished, human god – like their beloved Mithras, Horus, Attis, Dionysus – this anointed deity – Chrestos – one who worships YWWH – Yh-Hoshu – Yeshua – Joshua. And from the Greek into English – Jesus. Christ – the anointed.
The military swelled with soldiers who followed Mithras – Sol Invictus – the conquering SON. The Sun of the heavens, who stuck up for the downtrodden. And one wily, manipulative, opportunistic emperor decided to recognize the soldier’s religion – worship of a Son/Sun God – and put the sign of the FISH on a flag. Constantine made Chrestos – Christians – acceptable.
And then, the bureaucracy moved in. And cut, sliced, reformatted, divided, excluded and made a messy lot of paperwork out of this Hebrew Gnostic tradition. They held council meetings, they waged internal battles that eventually grew into full scale genocides – Christian against Christian – until they could work out the letter of the law – of their new “Faith” in a literal story of a three part God, with a human mother, and a creation, life, death and rebirth story – all increasingly literal, from what had been a spiritual beginning.
1800 years later, we’re all soaking in the remnants of this battle of cultures: Rome and Jerusalem.
Official Stories 2 will cover this in greater depth. Look for it in 2016.