Most Christians in Western Europe, North America and Australia avoid discussing eras like the Crusades and the Inquisition not just because both events paint Christianity in a negative light but also because more often, they don’t know the truth hidden within the truth. A lot of it comes from how Christianity went from an underground movement after Jesus’ time to the State Religion of the Roman Empire almost 300 years later.
If you ask anyone where the phrase “Christian” came from, they’ll either tell you they don’t know or “It says so in the Bible”, which isn’t true. The term was first used by Roman authorities and Jewish leaders to describe Christ’s followers. In fact, it was meant to be used as an insult but the Early Church owned it and used to for good. In recent times, Christianity has been associated with hypocrisy and rightfully so.
…Its dark history is why.
Those who know their Roman history knows Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity suddenly made a long outlawed belief system the Roman Empire considered the biggest non-military threat to its existence the state religion overnight. A people who were marginalized and brutally persecuted for years were now free to evangelize but it came at a steep price that wouldn’t be realized until almost a thousand years later.
That price was compromise and the mixing of traditions:
- Zeus was replaced with Jesus as the main spiritual figure in the new Roman Catholic Church. Athena was replaced with the The Virgin Mary.
- Idols and statues were everywhere in the Polythiestic beliefs of the Roman Empire. The Old Ways were prettymuch dressed up to be “Holy” in short as a compromise to Pagans.
- The biggest “small” compromise: The Day of Worship was changed from Saturday to Sunday. Sunday was the holiday for the pagans already and honors their Sun God. The explaination given both then and to a lesser extent now for the change was to separate themselves from the Jews, who still honored the original Seventh Day Sabbath. There is nothing in the Bible to support the Sabbath Day being changed from Saturday to Sunday and those claiming there is always presents passages out of context and not even understanding themselves.
- The Pope’s title is “VICARIUS FILII DEI” which translated to English means “Vicar of the Son of God”. In other words, the Pope claims to have power equal or greater to Christ. Of course, it’s code for something else: If you treat the Latin characters in the Pope’s title as Roman numberals, the sum of “VICARIUS FILII DEI” is 666.
- The Roman Catholic Church introduced the concept of baptism by sprinkling to be just as good as baptism by imersion with no biblical backing.
The Roman Catholic Church rose from the ashes of the Roman Empire and used the nearly 1000 years before the invention of the Printing Press to plunge Christianity into a Dark Age. Before Gutenberg’s Printing Press, few outside the Church owned a bible and the reason for this is because the only way to get one was for it to be copied by hand. That made owning your own bible next to impossible unless you were rich.
Before the printing press, most people had no choice but to go by what they were told by church leaders. That made it all the more easy for Catholicism to introduce, spread and popularize practices not mentioned in the Bible. No one dared question what they were told mainly out of ignorance and lack of access to scripture themselves. The church quickly realized it was far easier to control the masses if they kept the truth out of reach. Yes they often helped meet physical needs over time but for spiritual needs, they spread alot of misinformation and untruths.
That brings us from the Dark Ages to The Crusades. Everyone knows Western Europe–specifically England and France–financed three campaigns to “liberate” Jeruselem, which was firmly under Muslim rule. The atrocities committed in the name of God have never been forgotten by the Muslim world almost 600 years later. The Pope at the time basically promised complete absolution to all–as in all sins would be forgiven–to all who enlisted and joined the campaign to take Jersualem from the “Muslim heretics” who controlled it. This is what can happen when Church and State are allowed to mix.
The first Crusade ended in failure but Christianity managed to capture Jerusalem with the Second after the Pope’s decree. The reports say once the gates of the city were break, everyone inside–including Christians–were massacred. The bloodlust of the invading forces was that fervent. The Muslims soldiers who managed to escape with their lives were demoralized but regrouped under the leadership of the legendary Saladin. The hollywood movie Kingdom of Heaven portrays Jerusalem’s rapid fall back into the hands of the Muslims. A Third Crusade attempted a few years later was stopped due to the lack of funding. France and England both refused to fund a third Crusade and…yeah. Jerusalem would remain under the control of the Muslims until the early 1950s after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The US and the UN helped establish Israel as an independent nation but the ancient capital city of Jerusalem revered by 3 faiths–Christianity, Islam and Judaism–was disputed between the newly formed Israel and the Muslim nation that had been there long before, Palestime. A compromise was struck: Jerusalem would be open to all but in exchange, Palestine’s capital would now be Gaza City and Israel’s would be Tel Aviv. Jerusalem has been fought over–I mean literally–ever since but I won’t digress further.
The atrocities the Roman Catholic Church committed during and after the Medieval Times–not just the sex abuse scandals from 10 years ago–was all in the name of holding on to and expanding its power over the world. The current Pope has been taking steps toward regaining some of that terrible power it lost a few centuries ago. The late 1700s saw Europe turn its back on not just the Roman Catholic Church but Christianity as a whole. Many, many people in power at the time had opened their eyes to how corrupt the Papacy truly was and in some cases were establishing their own churches in defiance to the Vatican. King James of England is the most known–the King James Version of the Bible is from that time. When he came to power in France, Napoleon Bonaparte prettymuch outlawed religion entirely.
How did an entire continent that was long considered the bastion of Christianity lose almost 1,000 years’ worth of influence by the start of the 1800s? I just told you: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If not for the almost overnight pivot away from the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant movements that gained traction across Europe in the last few centuries before the French Revolution would not have flourished.
It’s true the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock 400 years ago–about 52 minutes’ drive southeast from Boston–sought Religious Freedom from the Church of England. It’s also true they brought the same intolerances of the Roman Catholic Church whose teachings the claimed to reject to The New World with them: The imfamous Salem Witch Trials (1692 and 1693). That incident which would today be considered a grave human rights violation likely played a role in the United States erecting a wall between Church and State at the time of its founding almost 100 years later. That hasn’t stopped many from inside and outside America to call it a “Christian Nation”.
The problem is its own history speaks to the hypocrisy of this so-called “Christian Nation”. A few things I’ll highlight:
- At the time its founding, the owners of African Slaves fought hard to ensure they would be allowed to continue to own slaves at the time of the country’s founding. It’s true that some of the founders were themselves slave owners but they did grant their slaves freedom out of moral obligation. Most stayed on and were well taken care of.
- During the almost 100 years between America’s founding at the Civil War, slave owners used Scripture to justify their Slavery in the US. Yes, this really happened.
- During the 100 years between the end of the Civil War and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the American Aparthied aka Jim Crowe kept African Americans as second class citizens. Hitler himself once commented the Jim Crowe laws were too extreme even for him. So…yeah.
- More so in recent years, the US Government is hastening to block or at least slow immigrants from entering the country. The irony being America was founded by immigrants.
I’ll stop there but see this blog post I made a while back for even more examples.
I’ll put it like this: The world’s biggest problem with America is the overt hypocrisy. Not just to other nations but the people who live within its boarders. Did you know the current White House Administration is actually violating International Law by threatening to close the US-Mexico boarder? Did you also know it is also a violation of International Law for a country to bar refugees from entering while they are undergoing the process to be legally recognized as refugees? Yes it is and I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that. Repeatedly over the course of it’s history, American Exceptionalism has put it at odds with the rest of the world. The only difference is now, the rest of the world is no longer willing or able to put up with it.
America is being left behind on every level including Spiritual. While it is true almost two thirds of Americans either grew up Christian or self-identify as either Christian or followers of Christ, America is morally and spiritually dead. Not dying or in decline but dead. The broad reason is because of selfishness and a lack of purpose. Most American Christians only care about what they can get and receive. This is what happens when you live in nation that has in recent years hastened the destruction of the wall between Church and State–mostly at the behest of outspoken Christian preachers calling for an America with “Christian Values at its core”. We went through this before with Rome.
…Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I apologize for falling behind with the blog but given the times we are living in, I have been doing quite a bit of watching especially in recent years. Prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes and mant of very people who should be watching the signs and wonders are clueless. I’m talking about Christians just so we’re clear.
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