via the subversion of the early Christian Church, by Roman emperors.
This is the oldest symbol for the Christian faith. It may also be the oldest symbol of divine authority in what passes as “western” civilization. There’s a lot more to say about this particular symbol, but for now let’s focus on it’s elegant simplicity.
Because it was an upstart religion and illegal in the Roman empire, Christians needed a secretive way to identify one another. So, when wanting to inquire about someone’s belief, a Christian could draw half the symbol in the dirt with a finger. If the other party involved finished it, they recognized one another as part of the Church. If not, no harm done, the image quickly erased, easy-peasy.
After the Church was decriminalized, a new symbol was bestowed upon the Romanized religion, the cross.
Constantine and Christ’s Holy Terror
The ruler of the eastern provinces of the Roman empire, Constantine, supposedly had a vision as he tossed and turned in his sleep, worried about an upcoming battle. Either that, or he was given a sign from heaven on his way there. More likely he just made this story up.
Regardless of the inspiration, Constantine was given a sign from some god or another – i’m not sure they ever specify – which he regarded as a license to kill. The two symbols combined in the new banner allegedly signify “by this sign, conquer.”
From this moment on, Christianity was not a religion of love, tolerance, sharing, and community. From this point on, Christianity was some unseen god’s holy scourge, come to rid the world of sinful non-believers with sword and fire. Ever notice how much Catholics have enjoyed burning people alive over the centuries?
The symbol of the cross eventually morphed into the more recognizable “+” form, then further transformed into…something awful.
This is the image of Jesus the ancient Churches like. It’s traumatizing. It’s meant to be.
The message sent by the authorities:
“See that? There’s your god of love for you! He’s DEAD!
If we killed your god, do you think we’ll have any mercy on YOU?”
Christians ever since have been very enthusiastic in slaughter, genocide, rape, and plunder. They are, after all, forgiven. For anything. For everything. By the way, rape is not prohibited in the holey bible. There are a number of responsibilities spelt out for rapists in the old testament, including an obligation to marry the victim. I do not believe the victim is given a say in the matter. And in the new testament, women are encouraged to be submissive to men.
War on knowledge
Constantine undertook a war to eliminate the Zoroastrian religion. Their priests were known as Magi, and were mentioned with quite a lot of respect in the telling of Jesus’ birth.
The Romans killed every living Magi, and burned or otherwise destroyed their teachings.
I can’t help but think this was done because what the Magi taught was self-directed enlightenment and inner growth. What the Christian Church had decided on as it’s doctrine – in the council of Nicea Constantine sponsored ten years prior – was batshit crazy by comparison. Constantine was eliminating the competition. He had to, because no one was going to believe the stupid shit his new Church was passing off as “religion.”
He never made Christianity the official state religion (that would come later), even after his own “conversion.” As mentioned above, this conversion affected the Church more than vice-versa. The emperor had remade it in his own image.
Constantine’s end goal was likely to proclaim himself as the sun god, sol invictus, and Roman coinage, as well as works of art and architecture, portrayed him as Sol’s companion. He never did get around to announcing his own divinity. He did, however, make Sun day the official Christian day of rest and adulation.
Subsequent emperors burned the library of Antioch, and later banned teaching of science in the entire empire. People of other faiths were prohibited from being officers in the army, and a heretical Christian sect – the Manicheans – were exterminated for providing a sane, believable doctrine for Christians.
And just to rub a little salt in the wounds of a bleeding populace, pope Dumbass I outlawed public baths across the empire. Less than century later, unhygienic conditions contributed to a severe outbreak of bubonic plague.
The Church outlawed all forms of date-keeping, navigational charts and equipment, and any reference to the world as being spherical. No one believed the world was flat and the earth was the center of the universe. People started pretending to believe it when anyone saying otherwise was burned alive in public squares.
The Church also outlawed all non-Christian schools and ordered the obliteration of all knowledge kept at the great library of Alexadria – perhaps the greatest repository of human knowledge ever assembled in one place. Not only did they destroy ancient scrolls, books, and other writings, they massacred everyone who had learned to read. Millions of tradesmen, artisans, and craftsmen were slaughtered. Egyptian civilization has never recovered from this atrocity.
A holocaust (burnt offering) of millions of people practicing another “heretical” form of Christianity, the Donatists in North Africa, was ordered. An entire region depopulated. Every man, woman, and child murdered.
The Oronteus Finaeus map,
showing Antarctica with ice-free coasts, mountains and rivers. It was based on older maps, lost to His-story
The church decreed that every book not written by Christian hands be destroyed.
There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity. It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.
–Augustine (354 C.E.- 430 C.E.)
Europe becomes Christian
War was declared against the cultures of Egypt and Greece. The ancient library of Athens was torn down, all the scribes and priests burned alive. Roman facades were put on ancient temples. Others were torn down and replaced with Christian churches.
Ireland was likewise invaded, but the mercenary Patrick was not up to the task and relented after merely massacring half-a-million people. He reported to Rome that the “serpents have been eliminated,” but he was really giving the Celts some time to hide their knowledge.
Just around 200 years from the time Constantine remade Christianity for his own bloody purposes, the population of the ancient European world had plummeted drastically, and human civilization set back thousands of years. Some estimates claim over 110,000,000 people had died due to conflict, sacrifice, disease, and hunger.
AND WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WAS LOST AS A RESULT. We can only guess, based on physical evidence left behind.