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July 13th, 2015

"... the sects proliferated. In 384CE Epiphanus counted no less than 80 different forms of Christianity2.

“During the first three Christian centuries, the practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves Christian were so varied that that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists pale by comparison. Most of these ancient forms of Christianity are unknown to people in the world today. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others who insisted that there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365.”
"Lost Christianities" by Bart Ehrm

Types of Christianity in History: Who Were the First Christians?

This looks interesting and i will bookmark it for latter reading! Read more...Collapse )
he Evolution of Religions: The Bad Boys Survive at the Expense of the Nice

Religions compete for believers. They compete for influence because the more influence and exposure they have, the more believers they will get. This competition doesn't have to be conscious, or on purpose, it just happens to be that popular religions that are happy with power will prosper, accidentally inhibiting competing religions. There is interplay not only with believers, but with non-believers who have power. Religions that fall foul of politics are very frequently eradicated or ridiculed into extinction, whereas religions that appear to rulers to support the status quo can prosper.

“It is not surprising that the dominant motif in the world's major religions has been a hierarchical one - the ruling powers of most societies understandably promote authoritarian religious ideologies and suppress the egalitarian beliefs. Early Chinese culture, for example, had two competing traditions: that of K'ung-Fu-tzu, which emphasized the need for strict social hierarchy and respect for elders and political authorities, and that of Mo Ti, who promoted an egalitarian ideology and ridiculed the followers of K'ung-Fu-tzu for their "exaggerated" emphasis on authority. The first tradition was institutionalized as Confucianism and became the official state religion of the emperors, whereas the second precipitated a relatively unstable popular movement that was almost lost over the centuries.”*
"Gods in the Global Village" by Lester R. Kurtz (2007)28

So it came to be that the literalist, nastier forms of Christianity survived the first few hundred years of Christian history, because it appealed to a wider number of people. It didn't require such things as circumcision or strict dietary laws. Literalist Christianity held power in Rome and it is no coincidence that it happened to preach a strict hierarchy, instructing slaves to serve their masters, instructing for taxes to be paid ("give to Caesar what is Caesar's" - Matthew 22:21) and instructing that people subject themselves to their governors (Romans 13:1). This form of Christianity, as we have seen, was oppressive, combatitive and organised, wiping out its nearest competitors, which was other forms of Christianity, with help from the institutions and Emperors of the Roman Empire. This conflict became legendary; pagan leaders, historians and competing religions all commented on the propensity for Christians to be found mostly engaged in battles with other Christians. Qur'an 5:14-15 asserts that enmity and hatred between Christians is a punishment from God for their "abandoning parts of God's message".29

This survival of the fittest was not just relegated to Christian history, but as Christianity aged and further divisions became apparent, the conflicts continued. Read on.


Types of Christianity in History: Who Were the First Christians?

Well, that is one point of view, and one i am inclined to share; but... Read more...Collapse )

* Where does Taoism fit into this scenario??
Types of Christianity in History: Who Were the First Christians?

Not as complete (nor as objective) as i had hoped.  Disappointed.
Worth reading only if one knows nothing about Christian "heresies."
Epiphanus' comments about "80 Christianities" was noteworthy.
For this article, Christianity stopped at the Urals.  Problem is, it didn't.:

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