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How Modern Christianity Got So Mixed Up

The game of Telephone explains exactly how

from http://mp.blogs.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/10/03/phonegame.gif modified without permission

From Wikipedia

In the game variously known as Chinese whispers, Telephone, Arab Phone (from the French Le téléphone arabe), Russian Scandal, and Stille Post (Silent Post), the first player whispers a phrase or sentence to the next player. Each player successively whispers what that player believes he or she heard to the next. The last player announces the statement to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first. The game is often played by children as a party game or in the playground. It is often invoked as a metaphor for cumulative error, especially the inaccuracies as rumours or gossip spread, or, more generally, for the unreliability of human recollection. The game has many other names, including the telephone game, Broken Telephone, Crazy Telephone, operator, grapevine, whisper down the lane and Pass It Down.

The early development of Christianity had little or no written tradition, the story of Jesus was orally transmitted from one person to the next. It has to be the case that many if not all parts were embellished and diverged and evolved as they were passed along for much the same reason a Telephone game causes modification of both meaning and content of spoken communication. There are many clear examples of modifications of Christianity, Telephonized entire versions like Protestantism and Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnessism which spun off even after Gutenberg. Changing the story of Jesus has been happening from the earliest days, apparently many if not most of the early Christians had expectations that Jesus would return to drastically alter the world within their lifetimes. After a while that belief subsided although some among every generation have hoped and wished and believed it would happen in their lifetimes; that belief only persists today among more nativistic groups. The point being that any oral tradition cannot fail to be embellished and modified as it passes orally down generations, this is obvious, and we see that even having a written tradition hasn't prevented the Telephone effect from working on Jesus' story. As different groups formed different opinions on hairsplitting theological issues, disagreements escalated and hostilities ensued. Today we are left to wonder how much the story got changed, perhaps which version is closest to the truth. That's if we ever do wonder because after all most Christians already have the answer to that question: the version of Christianity they already believe in. That's the normal lazy way many people stay stuck in their religion ABOUT Jesus, but any serious follower of Christ must dig deeper to a fuller understanding of his actual message to the world so that they can follow that message and actually live the religion OF Jesus. The first part of that process is to begin to strip away the veneered layers of superstition and nonsense which have long obscured a clear view, which begins to happen by understanding something of the history of how religions ABOUT Jesus were formed in the first place and understanding that establishment and then the worship of religious dogma is the culprit which replaced the religion OF Jesus.

Theological differences among early Christian sects were becoming severe by the third century

So the greybeards held meetings to establish and clarify Church doctrine:

From Wikipedia

The First Council of Nicaea was held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 AD, was the first Ecumenical council[1] of the Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent general (ecumenical) councils of Bishops' (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy -- the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

The purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father; in particular, whether Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father or merely of similar substance. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arian controversy comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two voted against Arius[2]).

Another result of the council was an agreement on when to celebrate the Resurrection, the most important feast of the ecclesiastical calendar. The council decided in favour of celebrating the resurrection on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, independently of the Hebrew Calendar (see also Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). It authorized the Bishop of Alexandria (presumably using the Alexandrian calendar) to announce annually the exact date to his fellow bishops.

Early efforts to unify Christianity may have been well-intentioned but they largely missed the boat by already becoming oblivious to the religion OF Christ that he lived by example and tried to teach them to follow. The oral tradition that had produced so many variations on the Telephone messages passed instead brought them together in efforts to resolve and codify evolving superstitions ABOUT Christ. By turning away from Christ's actual message to what other people said about him, they got completely sidetracked and lost and finally fragmented in the Protestant Reformation. Since then the Christian Church has splintered and diverged into numerous versions having widely disparate values. Some have become so bad that their adherents still call themselves Christians but actually advocate war, a position that's clearly and obviously a horrific perversion of Christ's values. Some wrong turns have clearly been taken and much of modern Christianity is anything but spiritual in its nature.

They Just Can't Agree

Conflicting versions of Christianity can't all be right. Protestants broke off from Catholicism and their disagreements have reached such extremes as murdering each other in Northern Ireland, though the worst of that is over now. But it can be fairly said that every murder in the name of religion has been an act of invalidating the religion it was performed for. There are many so-called Christians who think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are religious wars and who want Muslims to die, the very opposite of the compassion and mercy and humanity Christ tried to teach them. Clearly, religions ABOUT Jesus (or Mohammed or anyone else) often spawn such spiritual perversion and evil desires for death and destruction. It is a kind of insanity on a mass scale. Consequently it is long past time to reject religions ABOUT Jesus in favor of following the actual religion OF Jesus, and live a sane life rich with Christ-inspired spirituality.

 

 

 

I like your Christ
I don't like your Christians
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ
Gandhi

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