PAPER 195 – AFTER PENTECOST

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    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

    Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

    Today’s Presentation

    Paper 195 – AFTER PENTECOST

    [INTRODUCTION]

       THE results of Peter’s preaching on the day of Pentecost were such as to decide the future policies, and to determine the plans, of the majority of the apostles in their efforts to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. Peter was the real founder of the Christian church; Paul carried the Christian message to the gentiles, and the Greek believers carried it to the whole Roman Empire.

    (2069.2)195:0.2 Although the tradition-bound and priest-ridden Hebrews, as a people, refused to accept either Jesus’ gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man or Peter’s and Paul’s proclamation of the resurrection and ascension of Christ (subsequent Christianity), the rest of the Roman Empire was found to be receptive to the evolving Christian teachings. Western civilization was at this time intellectual, war weary, and thoroughly skeptical of all existing religions and universe philosophies. The peoples of the Western world, the beneficiaries of Greek culture, had a revered tradition of a great past. They could contemplate the inheritance of great accomplishments in philosophy, art, literature, and political progress. But with all these achievements they had no soul-satisfying religion. Their spiritual longings remained unsatisfied.

    (2069.3)195:0.3 Upon such a stage of human society the teachings of Jesus, embraced in the Christian message, were suddenly thrust. A new order of living was thus presented to the hungry hearts of these Western peoples. This situation meant immediate conflict between the older religious practices and the new Christianized version of Jesus’ message to the world. Such a conflict must result in either decided victory for the new or for the old or in some degree of compromise. History shows that the struggle ended in compromise. Christianity presumed to embrace too much for any one people to assimilate in one or two generations. It was not a simple spiritual appeal, such as Jesus had presented to the souls of men; it early struck a decided attitude on religious rituals, education, magic, medicine, art, literature, law, government, morals, sex regulation, polygamy, and, in limited degree, even slavery. Christianity came not merely as a new religion — something all the Roman Empire and all the Orient were waiting for — but as a new order of human society. And as such a pretension it quickly precipitated the social-moral clash of the ages. The ideals of Jesus, as they were reinterpreted by Greek philosophy and socialized in Christianity, now boldly challenged the traditions of the human race embodied in the ethics, morality, and religions of Western civilization.

    (2069.4)195:0.4 At first, Christianity won as converts only the lower social and economic strata. But by the beginning of the second century the very best of Greco-Roman culture was increasingly turning to this new order of Christian belief, this new concept of the purpose of living and the goal of existence.

    (2070.1)195:0.5 How did this new message of Jewish origin, which had almost failed in the land of its birth, so quickly and effectively capture the very best minds of the Roman Empire? The triumph of Christianity over the philosophic religions and the mystery cults was due to:

    1. Organization. Paul was a great organizer and his successors kept up the pace he set.

    2. Christianity was thoroughly Hellenized. It embraced the best in Greek philosophy as well as the cream of Hebrew theology.

    3. But best of all, it contained a new and great ideal, the echo of the life bestowal of Jesus and the reflection of his message of salvation for all mankind.

    4. The Christian leaders were willing to make such compromises with Mithraism that the better half of its adherents were won over to the Antioch cult.

    5. Likewise did the next and later generations of Christian leaders make such further compromises with paganism that even the Roman emperor Constantine was won to the new religion.

    (2070.7)195:0.11 But the Christians made a shrewd bargain with the pagans in that they adopted the ritualistic pageantry of the pagan while compelling the pagan to accept the Hellenized version of Pauline Christianity. They made a better bargain with the pagans than they did with the Mithraic cult, but even in that earlier compromise they came off more than conquerors in that they succeeded in eliminating the gross immoralities and also numerous other reprehensible practices of the Persian mystery.

    (2070.8)195:0.12 Wisely or unwisely, these early leaders of Christianity deliberately compromised the ideals of Jesus in an effort to save and further many of his ideas. And they were eminently successful. But mistake not! these compromised ideals of the Master are still latent in his gospel, and they will eventually assert their full power upon the world.

    (2070.9)195:0.13 By this paganization of Christianity the old order won many minor victories of a ritualistic nature, but the Christians gained the ascendancy in that:

         1. A new and enormously higher note in human morals was struck.

      2. A new and greatly enlarged concept of God was given to the world.

      3. The hope of immortality became a part of the assurance of a recognized religion.

      4. Jesus of Nazareth was given to man’s hungry soul.

    (2070.14)195:0.18 Many of the great truths taught by Jesus were almost lost in these early compromises, but they yet slumber in this religion of paganized Christianity, which was in turn the Pauline version of the life and teachings of the Son of Man. And Christianity, even before it was paganized, was first thoroughly Hellenized. Christianity owes much, very much, to the Greeks. It was a Greek, from Egypt, who so bravely stood up at Nicaea and so fearlessly challenged this assembly that it dared not so obscure the concept of the nature of Jesus that the real truth of his bestowal might have been in danger of being lost to the world. This Greek’s name was Athanasius, and but for the eloquence and the logic of this believer, the persuasions of Arius would have triumphed.

    ***

    [Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]

     

    #11546
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

    .

    Greetings Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors!

    WELCOME to the OPAD presentation of Paper 195. This Paper is one of the longest, it has 18 pages and ten Sections. It presents a compelling and remarkable history of the aftermath of the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth. The “Christian Era” has begun, time has been restarted and ‘anchored’ to Jesus’ birth.

    Overview of Paper 195 – After Pentecost

    1. Influence of the Greeks
    2. The Roman Influence
    3. Under the Roman Empire
    4. The European Dark Ages
    5. The Modern Problem
    6. Materialism
    7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
    8. Secular Totalitarianism
    9. Christianity’s Problem
    10. The Future

    This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

    Synopsis of Paper 195:

    The Roman Empire was receptive to the spread of Christianity. Conflicts between older religions and the budding new religion were solved through compromise. A revised version of Jesus’ teachings blended with Greek and Hebrew philosophy, Mithraism, and paganism to become Christianity.

    Christianity started growing primarily in the lower classes. After the first century, the best members of the Greco-Roman culture were increasingly drawn in. Early leaders deliberately compromised the ideals of Jesus in the attempt to preserve his ideas. The eastern form of Christianity remained more true to the original teachings of Jesus, but was eventually lost in the rise of Islam. But someday the ideals of the Master will assert their power throughout the world.

    The Roman empire was tolerant of strange peoples, languages, and religions; Christianity was opposed only when it seemed to be in competition with the state. The Romans were successful in governing the western world because of their honesty, devotion, and self-control, and these same qualities provided ideal soil for the spread of Christianity. Although the new religion came too late to save the Roman empire from its eventual moral decline, the empire did last long enough to insure the survival of Christianity.

    Today Christianity faces a struggle more difficult than any it has known throughout history. The rise of science and materialism challenges religion. The higher a civilization evolves, the more necessary it becomes that people seek spiritual reality to help stabilize society and solve material problems. Religion helps us develop faith, trust and assurance. Society without a morality based on spiritual reality cannot survive.

    Science has destroyed childlike interpretations of life. True science has no conflict with true religion; but the change from an age of miracles to an age of machines has been upsetting to modern man. Religious leaders are mistaken when they try to lure people to spiritual practice with methods that were used in the middle ages. Religion must renew itself and find new ways to approach modern people.

    Modern secularism sprang from two influences: atheistic science and the protest against the domination of western civilization by the medieval Christian church. For hundreds of years Western thinking has been progressively secularized; most professed Christians are actually secularists. Secularism is barren of spiritual values and satisfactions. It freed humankind from ecclesiastical slavery only to lead them into political and economic slavery. This philosophy leads to unrest, unhappiness, and disaster. The blessings of secularism-tolerance, social service, democracy, and civil liberty-can be had without sacrificing faith in God. 

    Christianity stands in need of the teachings of Jesus. “Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment.” Religion needs leaders who will depend solely on Jesus and his teachings. The world must see Jesus living again in the experience of spirit-born mortals who reveal the Master to all people.

    The true Church is invisible, spiritual, and characterized by unity rather than uniformity. If the Christian church would follow the Master, young people would not hesitate to enlist in his great spiritual adventure. It is not duty that will transform our world, but the “second mile” of freely-given service and devotion by followers of Jesus who truly live and love as he taught.

    Christianity suffers a handicap because it is identified with western civilization-a society burdened with science without idealism, politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without restraint, knowledge without character, power without conscience, and industry without morality.

    SYNOPSIS SOURCE

    ***

    Compromise seemed to be the rule of the day as regards the establishment of the Christian religion. You have to wonder if Peter and Paul realized their trade-offs would still be influencing the church they founded. And would the religion have survived if the early leaders had not made compromises? Whichever the case, the Midwayers assure us nothing was lost forever. From the introduction:

    …But mistake not! these compromised ideals of the Master are still latent in his gospel, and they will eventually assert their full power upon the world…. (2070.8)195:0.12

    We have several people to thank for the Christianity that survived and brought us to the point where we can receive this new super-revelation with its 2097 pages of pure teaching from the government of Michael who once incarnated on little, lost Urantia. There was Constantine, and Athanasius.

    …Constantine was visited by a dream the night before the battle, wherein he was advised “to mark the heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers … by means of a slanted letter X with the top of its head bent round, he marked Christ on their shields.” Eusebius describes another version, where, while marching at midday, “he saw with his own eyes in the heavens a trophy of the cross arising from the light of the sun, carrying the message, In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer”; in Eusebius’s account, Constantine had a dream the following night, in which Christ appeared with the same heavenly sign, and told him to make a standard, the labarum, for his army in that form. Eusebius is vague about when and where these events took place, but it enters his narrative before the war against Maxentius begins. Eusebius describes the sign as Chi (Χ) traversed by Rho (Ρ): ☧, a symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek spelling of the word Christos or Christ. In 315 a medallion was issued at Ticinum showing Constantine wearing a helmet emblazoned with the Chi Rho, and coins issued at Siscia in 317/18 repeat the image. The figure was otherwise rare, however, and is uncommon in imperial iconography and propaganda before the 320s.

    There is much more about Constantine “the Great” HERE.

    About Athanasius (also “Great”), cited in the introduction:

    …This Greek’s name was Athanasius, and but for the eloquence and the logic of this believer, the persuasions of Arius would have triumphed…. (2070.14)195:0.18

    From Wikipedia:

    Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296–298 – 2 May 373), also called Athanasius the Great…was the twentieth bishop of Alexandria…Athanasius is a renowned Christian theologian, a Church Father, the chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century.

    Conflict with Arius and Arianism as well as successive Roman emperors shaped Athanasius’ career. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius began his leading role against the Arians as his bishop’s assistant during the First Council of Nicaea. Roman emperor Constantine the Great had convened the council in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father. Three years after that council, Athanasius succeeded his mentor as archbishop of Alexandria. In addition to the conflict with the Arians (including powerful and influential Arian churchmen led by Eusebius of Nicomedia), he struggled against the Emperors Constantine, Constantius II, Julian the Apostate and Valens. He was known as “Athanasius Contra Mundum”.

    Nonetheless, within a few years of his departure, St. Gregory of Nazianzus called him the “Pillar of the Church”. His writings were well regarded by all Church fathers who followed, in both the West and the East, who noted their rich devotion the Word-become-man, great pastoral concern, and profound interest in monasticism. Athanasius is counted as one of the four great Eastern Doctors of the Church in the Roman Catholic Church. In Eastern Orthodoxy, he is labeled the “Father of Orthodoxy”. Some Protestants label him “Father of The Canon”. Athanasius is venerated as a Christian saint, whose feast day is 2 May in Western Christianity, 15 May in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and 18 January in the other Eastern Orthodox Churches. He is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church, Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches, the Lutherans, and the Anglican Communion.

    200px-Ikone_Athanasius_von_Alexandria.jp

    Icon of St Athanasius

    ***

    Mithraism began its decline as Christianity rose. From Wikipedia:

    The end of Roman Mithraism

    It is difficult to trace when the cult of Mithras came to an end. Beck states that “Quite early in the [fourth] century the religion was as good as dead throughout the empire.” Inscriptions from the 4th century are few. Clauss states that inscriptions show Mithras as one of the cults listed on inscriptions by Roman senators who had not converted to Christianity, as part of the “pagan revival” among the elite.Ulansey holds that “Mithraism declined with the rise to power of Christianity, until the beginning of the fifth century, when Christianity became strong enough to exterminate by force rival religions such as Mithraism.” According to Speidel, Christians fought fiercely with this feared enemy and suppressed it during the 4th century. Some Mithraic sanctuaries were destroyed and religion was no longer a matter of personal choice. According to Luther H. Martin, Roman Mithraism came to an end with the anti-pagan decrees of the Christian emperor Theodosius during the last decade of the 4th century.

    Paganism is still around today. From Wikipedia:

    Paganism is a broad group of indigenous and historical polytheistic religious traditions—primarily those of cultures known to the classical world. In a wider sense, paganism has also been understood to include any non-Abrahamic, folk, or ethnic religion.

    Contemporary or modern paganism, also known as neopaganism, is a group of new religious movements influenced by, or claiming to be derived from, the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe.

    …Paganism came to be equated by Christians with a sense of hedonism, representing those who are sensual, materialistic, self-indulgent, unconcerned with the future, and uninterested in sophisticated religion. Pagans were usually described within this worldly stereotype, especially among those drawing attention to what they perceived as the limitations of paganism. Thus G. K. Chesterton wrote: “The Pagan set out, with admirable sense, to enjoy himself. By the end of his civilization he had discovered that a man cannot enjoy himself and continue to enjoy anything else.” In sharp contrast, Swinburne the poet would comment on this same theme: “Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean; the world has grown grey from thy breath; We have drunken of things Lethean, and fed on the fullness of death.”

    ***

    The_Urantia_Book_Word_Cloud_195_375.jpg

    WORD CLOUD OF PAPER 195

    ***

    In tomorrow’s reading, Section 1. Influence of the Greeks, the Midwayers discuss Paul’s distorted version of Jesus’ message, his ministry to the Greek people, their decline, and the beginning of the spread of Christianity to the Roman empire.

    Listen to Paper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

    Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

    Much love, Rick/OPAD host.

    #11582
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     

    Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

    Today’s Presentation

    Paper 195 – AFTER PENTECOST

    1. Influence of the Greeks

       The Hellenization of Christianity started in earnest on that eventful day when the Apostle Paul stood before the council of the Areopagus in Athens and told the Athenians about “the Unknown God.” There, under the shadow of the Acropolis, this Roman citizen proclaimed to these Greeks his version of the new religion which had taken origin in the Jewish land of Galilee. And there was something strangely alike in Greek philosophy and many of the teachings of Jesus. They had a common goal — both aimed at the emergence of the individual. The Greek, at social and political emergence; Jesus, at moral and spiritual emergence. The Greek taught intellectual liberalism leading to political freedom; Jesus taught spiritual liberalism leading to religious liberty. These two ideas put together constituted a new and mighty charter for human freedom; they presaged man’s social, political, and spiritual liberty.

    (2071.2)195:1.2 Christianity came into existence and triumphed over all contending religions primarily because of two things:

    1. The Greek mind was willing to borrow new and good ideas even from the Jews.

    2. Paul and his successors were willing but shrewd and sagacious compromisers; they were keen theologic traders.

    (2071.5)195:1.5 At the time Paul stood up in Athens preaching “Christ and Him Crucified,” the Greeks were spiritually hungry; they were inquiring, interested, and actually looking for spiritual truth. Never forget that at first the Romans fought Christianity, while the Greeks embraced it, and that it was the Greeks who literally forced the Romans subsequently to accept this new religion, as then modified, as a part of Greek culture.

    (2071.6)195:1.6 The Greek revered beauty, the Jew holiness, but both peoples loved truth. For centuries the Greek had seriously thought and earnestly debated about all human problems — social, economic, political, and philosophic — except religion. Few Greeks had paid much attention to religion; they did not take even their own religion very seriously. For centuries the Jews had neglected these other fields of thought while they devoted their minds to religion. They took their religion very seriously, too seriously. As illuminated by the content of Jesus’ message, the united product of the centuries of the thought of these two peoples now became the driving power of a new order of human society and, to a certain extent, of a new order of human religious belief and practice.

    (2071.7)195:1.7 The influence of Greek culture had already penetrated the lands of the western Mediterranean when Alexander spread Hellenistic civilization over the near-Eastern world. The Greeks did very well with their religion and their politics as long as they lived in small city-states, but when the Macedonian king dared to expand Greece into an empire, stretching from the Adriatic to the Indus, trouble began. The art and philosophy of Greece were fully equal to the task of imperial expansion, but not so with Greek political administration or religion. After the city-states of Greece had expanded into empire, their rather parochial gods seemed a little queer. The Greeks were really searching for one God, a greater and better God, when the Christianized version of the older Jewish religion came to them.

    (2072.1)195:1.8 The Hellenistic Empire, as such, could not endure. Its cultural sway continued on, but it endured only after securing from the West the Roman political genius for empire administration and after obtaining from the East a religion whose one God possessed empire dignity.

    (2072.2)195:1.9 In the first century after Christ, Hellenistic culture had already attained its highest levels; its retrogression had begun; learning was advancing but genius was declining. It was at this very time that the ideas and ideals of Jesus, which were partially embodied in Christianity, became a part of the salvage of Greek culture and learning.

    (2072.3)195:1.10 Alexander had charged on the East with the cultural gift of the civilization of Greece; Paul assaulted the West with the Christian version of the gospel of Jesus. And wherever the Greek culture prevailed throughout the West, there Hellenized Christianity took root.

    (2072.4)195:1.11 The Eastern version of the message of Jesus, notwithstanding that it remained more true to his teachings, continued to follow the uncompromising attitude of Abner. It never progressed as did the Hellenized version and was eventually lost in the Islamic movement.

     

    ***

    [Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]

    #11583
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     

    .Good day nelsong, Bonita, Keryn, Rick B, Brad, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

    Greek philosophy still permeates and advises humanity, especially in the West. It slumbered for 14 centuries, and was revived at the beginning of the European Renaissance, by Catholics working for the De Medici family in Florence Italy.

    From Wikipedia:

    …At the beginning of the medieval period the philosophy of Aristotle became preeminent in the West, having been kept alive in particular by the Arabic philosophers.

    …In the fifteenth century in Florence, Italy, Marsilio Ficino was instrumental in reviving an interest in Plato and translating some of Plato’s rediscovered texts.

     

    ***

     

    From today’s reading:

     …The Hellenization of Christianity started in earnest on that eventful day when the Apostle Paul stood before the council of the Areopagus in Athens and told the Athenians about “the Unknown God….” (2071.1)195:1.1


    The Areopagus sermon is well known to historians. From Wikipedia:

    The Areopagus sermon refers to a sermon delivered by Apostle Paul in Athens, at the Areopagus, and described in Acts 17:16-34. The Areopagus sermon is the most dramatic and fullest speech of the missionary career of Saint Paul and followed a shorter address in Lystra Acts 14:15-17.

    HISTORY

    The background to the sermon is that Paul was distressed to see Athens full of idols and so went to the synagogue and the marketplace to preach about the resurrection of Jesus. Some Greeks took him to a meeting at the Areopagus, the high court in Athens, to explain himself. The Areopagus literally meant the rock of Ares in the city and was a center of temples, cultural facilities, and a high court. It was illegal to preach a foreign deity in Athens, so Paul’s sermon was in fact a combination of a “guest lecture” and a trial.

    The sermon addresses five main issues:

    • Introduction: Discussion of the ignorance of pagan worship. (23-24)

    • The one Creator God being the object of worship. (25-26)

    • God’s relationship to humanity. (26-27)

    • Idols of gold, silver and stone as objects of false worship. (28-29)

    • Conclusion: Time to end the ignorance. (30-31)

    This sermon illustrates the beginnings of the attempts to explain the nature of Christ and an early step on the path that led to the development of Christology.

    Paul begins his address by emphasizing the need to know God, rather than worshiping the unknown:

    Paul then explained concepts such as the resurrection of the dead and salvation, in effect a prelude to the future discussions of Christology.

    According to the Acts of the Apostles, after the sermon, a number of people became followers of Paul. These included a woman named Damaris, and Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus. This latter has at times been suggested as Dionysius the Areopagite, but that may be a historical confusion.

    In the 20th century, Pope John Paul II likened the modern media to the New Areopagus, where Christian ideas needed to be explained and defended anew, against disbelief and the idols of gold and silver.

    V%26A_-_Raphael%2C_St_Paul_Preaching_in_

    Saint Paul delivering the Areopagus Sermon in Athens, by Raphael, 1515.

    Ariospagos.jpg

    Engraved plaque containing Apostle Paul’s sermon, at the Areopagus, Athens, Greece

    IMAGES/TEXT SOURCE

    From the New Testament book of Acts, chapter 17, Paul speaking:

    23 For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you.

    24 The God that made the world and all things therein, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

    25 neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

    26 and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined [their] appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation;

    27 that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:

    28 for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

    29 Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device of man.

    30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent:

    31 inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

    32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, We will hear thee concerning this yet again.

    33 Thus Paul went out from among them.

    34 But certain men clave unto him, and believed: among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

     

    ***

    So, it was a marriage made in heaven, Jewish spirituality and Greek philosophy, with Jesus as matchmaker. The marriage worked and Christianity was born, with terrible labor pains of course, and the baby was scarred for life. But it survived and led to the presentation of our new revelation that we here today study and embrace.

    From today’s text:

    …As illuminated by the content of Jesus’ message, the united product of the centuries of the thought of these two peoples now became the driving power of a new order of human society and, to a certain extent, of a new order of human religious belief and practice…. (2071.6)195:1.6

    The king the Midwayers cite in today’s reading:

    …when the Macedonian king dared to expand Greece into an empire, stretching from the Adriatic to the Indus, trouble began…. (2071.7)195:1.7

    …is Phillip II. From Wikipedia:

    The most devastating intra-Greek war in classical antiquity was the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), which was won by Sparta and marked the demise of the Athenian Empire as the leading power in ancient Greece. Both Athens and Sparta were later overshadowed by Thebes (led by the prominent Greek General Epaminondas, a tactical genius and innovative military strategist) and eventually Macedon, with the latter uniting the Greek world in the League of Corinth (also known as the Hellenic League or Greek League) under the guidance of Phillip II, who was elected leader of the first unified Greek state in history.

    Following the assassination of Phillip II, his son Alexander III (“The Great”) assumed the leadership of the League of Corinth and launched an invasion of the Persian Empire with the combined forces of all Greek states in 334 BC. Following Greek victories in the battles of Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela, the Greeks marched on Susa and Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of Persia, in 330 BC. The Empire created by Alexander the Great stretched from Greece in the west to Pakistan in the east, and Egypt in the south.

    Before his sudden death in 323 BC, Alexander was also planning an invasion of Arabia. His death marked the collapse of the vast empire, which was split into several kingdoms, the most famous of which were the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt.

    Secular history records Christian and Grecian religious interaction. From Wikipedia:

    The first Christians were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish Proselytes. In other words, Jesus preached to the Jewish people and called from them his first disciples, see for example Matthew 10. However, the Great Commission is specifically directed at “all nations,” and an early difficulty arose concerning the matter of Gentile (non-Jewish) converts as to whether they had to “become Jewish” (usually referring to circumcision and adherence to dietary law), as part of becoming Christian. Circumcision in particular was considered repulsive by Greeks and Hellenists while circumcision advocates were labelled Judaisers, see Jewish background to the circumcision controversy for details. The actions of Peter, at the conversion of Cornelius the Centurion, seemed to indicate that circumcision and food laws did not apply to gentiles, and this was agreed to at the apostolic Council of Jerusalem. Related issues are still debated today.

    ***

    There is more than one way to interpret this at the end of today’s reading:

    The Eastern version of the message of Jesus…never progressed as did the Hellenized version and was eventually lost in the Islamic movement. (2072.4)195:1.11

    Is Abner to be blamed for NOT compromising? What do the Midwayers mean by “lost”? How is Islam viewed from above? The UB authors make other statements about this religion that was born in the 7th century. From Paper 95

    …The strength of Islam has been its clear-cut and well-defined presentation of Allah as the one and only Deity; its weakness, the association of military force with its promulgation, together with its degradation of woman. But it has steadfastly held to its presentation of the One Universal Deity of all, “who knows the invisible and the visible. He is the merciful and the compassionate.” “Truly God is plenteous in goodness to all men.” “And when I am sick, it is he who heals me.” “For whenever as many as three speak together, God is present as a fourth,” for is he not “the first and the last, also the seen and the hidden”? (1051.4)95:7.6

    ***

    Tomorrow’s reading, Section 2. The Roman Influence, has fascinating details about Christianity’s expansion into the whole Roman empire, the early persecutions, and the eventual acceptance and embrace–thanks largely to the translation of Hebrew scripture and the New Testament into Greek.

    Overview of Paper 195 – After Pentecost

    1. Influence of the Greeks
    2. The Roman Influence
    3. Under the Roman Empire
    4. The European Dark Ages
    5. The Modern Problem
    6. Materialism
    7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
    8. Secular Totalitarianism
    9. Christianity’s Problem
    10. The Future

    This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

    Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

    Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

    Much love, Rick/OPAD host.

    #11607
    Avatar
    nelsong
    Participant

    I see women in Raphaels art work.

    #11618
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant
    nelsong wrote: I see women in Raphaels art work.

     

    Wonder if he got chastised for such outrageous liberality. ;-)

    #11680
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     

    Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

    Today’s Presentation

    Paper 195 – AFTER PENTECOST

    2. The Roman Influence

       The Romans bodily took over Greek culture, putting representative government in the place of government by lot. And presently this change favored Christianity in that Rome brought into the whole Western world a new tolerance for strange languages, peoples, and even religions.

    (2072.6)195:2.2 Much of the early persecution of Christians in Rome was due solely to their unfortunate use of the term “kingdom” in their preaching. The Romans were tolerant of any and all religions but very resentful of anything that savored of political rivalry. And so, when these early persecutions, due so largely to misunderstanding, died out, the field for religious propaganda was wide open. The Roman was interested in political administration; he cared little for either art or religion, but he was unusually tolerant of both.

    (2072.7)195:2.3 Oriental law was stern and arbitrary; Greek law was fluid and artistic; Roman law was dignified and respect-breeding. Roman education bred an unheard-of and stolid loyalty. The early Romans were politically devoted and sublimely consecrated individuals. They were honest, zealous, and dedicated to their ideals, but without a religion worthy of the name. Small wonder that their Greek teachers were able to persuade them to accept Paul’s Christianity.

    (2072.8)195:2.4 And these Romans were a great people. They could govern the Occident because they did govern themselves. Such unparalleled honesty, devotion, and stalwart self-control was ideal soil for the reception and growth of Christianity.

    (2072.9)195:2.5 It was easy for these Greco-Romans to become just as spiritually devoted to an institutional church as they were politically devoted to the state. The Romans fought the church only when they feared it as a competitor of the state. Rome, having little national philosophy or native culture, took over Greek culture for its own and boldly adopted Christ as its moral philosophy. Christianity became the moral culture of Rome but hardly its religion in the sense of being the individual experience in spiritual growth of those who embraced the new religion in such a wholesale manner. True, indeed, many individuals did penetrate beneath the surface of all this state religion and found for the nourishment of their souls the real values of the hidden meanings held within the latent truths of Hellenized and paganized Christianity.

    (2073.1)195:2.6 The Stoic and his sturdy appeal to “nature and conscience” had only the better prepared all Rome to receive Christ, at least in an intellectual sense. The Roman was by nature and training a lawyer; he revered even the laws of nature. And now, in Christianity, he discerned in the laws of nature the laws of God. A people that could produce Cicero and Vergil were ripe for Paul’s Hellenized Christianity.

    (2073.2)195:2.7 And so did these Romanized Greeks force both Jews and Christians to philosophize their religion, to co-ordinate its ideas and systematize its ideals, to adapt religious practices to the existing current of life. And all this was enormously helped by translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek and by the later recording of the New Testament in the Greek tongue.

    (2073.3)195:2.8 The Greeks, in contrast with the Jews and many other peoples, had long provisionally believed in immortality, some sort of survival after death, and since this was the very heart of Jesus’ teaching, it was certain that Christianity would make a strong appeal to them.

    (2073.4)195:2.9 A succession of Greek-cultural and Roman-political victories had consolidated the Mediterranean lands into one empire, with one language and one culture, and had made the Western world ready for one God. Judaism provided this God, but Judaism was not acceptable as a religion to these Romanized Greeks. Philo helped some to mitigate their objections, but Christianity revealed to them an even better concept of one God, and they embraced it readily.

     

    ***

     

     

    [Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]

    #11681
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     

    .

    Greetings nelsong, Brad, Rick B, Keryn, Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

    The first line of today’s reading refers to the lottery method of governance:

       …The Romans bodily took over Greek culture, putting representative government in the place of government by lot…. (2072.5)195:2.1

    From Wikipedia:

    In politics, sortition (also known as allotment or the drawing of lots) is the selection of decision makers by lottery. The decision-makers are chosen as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates.

    In ancient Athenian democracy, selecting officials by chance was the primary method for appointing officials, but this is not sortition as long as those officials were not decision-makers, they did not decide the law, they were only responsible to strictly apply the law decided by others (the citizens).

    The use of chance in selecting officials is widely regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy. It is often used today in forming citizen groups (e.g. citizens’ juries, citizens’ assemblies) to provide input to policy makers and is commonly used to select prospective jurors in common law-based legal systems.

    ***

     

    The second paragraph of today’s text begins with:

    …Much of the early persecution of Christians in Rome was due solely to their unfortunate use of the term “kingdom” in their preaching…. (2072.6)195:2.2

    John Zebedee finally got wise. Recall this in Paper 170:

    …By the time the Apostle John began to write the story of Jesus’ life and teachings, the early Christians had experienced so much trouble with the kingdom-of-God idea as a breeder of persecution that they had largely abandoned the use of the term…. (1861.6)170:2.24

    ***

    That the Romans were a great people is reflected in the longevity of the Roman empire. From today’s OPAD:

     …Such unparalleled honesty, devotion, and stalwart self-control was ideal soil for the reception and growth of Christianity…. (2072.8)195:2.4

    From Wikipedia:

    Ancient Roman society has contributed to modern government, law, politics, engineering, art, literature, architecture, technology, warfare, religion, language and society. A civilization highly developed for its time, Rome professionalized and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republicssuch as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as large monuments, palaces, and public facilities.

    …Beginning with Emperor Nero in the 1st century AD, Roman official policy towards Christianity was negative, and at some points, simply being a Christian could be punishable by death. Under Emperor Diocletian, the persecution of Christians reached its peak. However, it became an officially supported religion in the Roman state under Diocletian’s successor, Constantine I, with the signing of the Edict of Milan in 313, and quickly became dominant. All religions except Christianity were prohibited in 391 AD by an edict of Emperor Theodosius I.

    Constantine assumed the empire as a tetrarch in 306. He conducted many wars against the other tetrarchs. Firstly he defeated Maxentius in 312. In 313, he issued the Edict of Milan, which granted liberty for Christians to profess their religion. Constantine was converted to Christianity, enforcing the Christian faith. Therefore, he began the Christianization of the Empire and of Europe – a process concluded by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages.

    ***

     

    The Midwayers mention the Stoics in today’s reading:

    …The Stoic and his sturdy appeal to “nature and conscience” had only the better prepared all Rome to receive Christ, at least in an intellectual sense…. (2073.1)195:2.6

    This is from Paper 121:

    …The Stoic. Stoicism was the superior philosophy of the better classes. The Stoics believed that a controlling Reason-Fate dominated all nature. They taught that the soul of man was divine; that it was imprisoned in the evil body of physical nature. Man’s soul achieved liberty by living in harmony with nature, with God; thus virtue came to be its own reward. Stoicism ascended to a sublime morality, ideals never since transcended by any purely human system of philosophy. While the Stoics professed to be the “offspring of God,” they failed to know him and therefore failed to find him. Stoicism remained a philosophy; it never became a religion. Its followers sought to attune their minds to the harmony of the Universal Mind, but they failed to envisage themselves as the children of a loving Father. Paul leaned heavily toward Stoicism when he wrote, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content….” (1336.1)121:4.3

    ***

     

    Cicero and Vergil receive lauds in today’s reading:

    …A people that could produce Cicero and Vergil were ripe for Paul’s Hellenized Christianity…. (2073.1)195:2.6

    From Wikipedia:

    Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC), was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.

    His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose in not only Latin but European languages up to the 19th century was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style.According to Michael Grant, “the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language”. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia) distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.

    …The peak of Cicero’s authority and prestige came during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and Montesquieu was substantial. His works rank among the most influential in European culture, and today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history, especially the last days of the Roman Republic. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement.

    Cicero - Musei Capitolini.JPG

    A mid-first century AD bust of Cicero in the Capitoline Museums, Rome

    IMAGE SOURCE

     

    About Vergil, from Wikipedia:

    Publius Vergilius Maro (October 15, 70 BC – September 21, 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.

    Virgil is traditionally ranked as one of Rome’s greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day. Modeled after Homer‘s Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and arrive on the shores of Italy—in Roman mythology the founding act of Rome. Virgil’s work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably the Divine Comedy of Dante, in which Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through hell and purgatory.

    …In the Middle Ages, Virgil’s reputation was such that it inspired legends associating him with magic and prophecy. From at least the 3rd century, Christian thinkers interpreted Eclogues 4, which describes the birth of a boy ushering in a golden age, as a prediction of Jesus’ birth. As such, Virgil came to be seen on a similar level as the Hebrew prophets of the Bible as one who had heralded Christianity.

    A bust of Virgil in Naples

    IMAGE SOURCE

    And Philo is cited in the last paragraph:

    …Philo helped some to mitigate their objections…. (2073.4)195:2.9

    From Wikipedia:

    Philo of Alexandria (c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt.

    Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers, but he has barely any reception history within Judaism. He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle humanity’s view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms.

    Some scholars hold that his concept of the Logos as God’s creative principle influenced early Christology. Other scholars, however, deny direct influence but say both Philo and Early Christianity borrow from a common source.

    …Philo represents the apex of Jewish-Hellenistic syncretism. His work attempts to combine Plato and Moses into one philosophical system.


    ***

    In tomorrow’s reading, Section 3. Under the Roman Empire, the Midwayers discourse on its long march to an end, and the survival of Christianity after Rome’s fall.

    Overview of Paper 195 – After Pentecost

    1. Influence of the Greeks
    2. The Roman Influence
    3. Under the Roman Empire
    4. The European Dark Ages
    5. The Modern Problem
    6. Materialism
    7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
    8. Secular Totalitarianism
    9. Christianity’s Problem
    10. The Future

    This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

    Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

    Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

    Much love, Rick/OPAD host.

    #11723
    Avatar
    nelsong
    Participant

    Ya think Virgil had access to botox?

    #11726
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

    Ya think Virgil had access to botox?

     

    The man had great lips, didn’t he?!

    #11727
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     

    Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

    Today’s Presentation

    Paper 195 – AFTER PENTECOST

    3. Under the Roman Empire

       After the consolidation of Roman political rule and after the dissemination of Christianity, the Christians found themselves with one God, a great religious concept, but without empire. The Greco-Romans found themselves with a great empire but without a God to serve as the suitable religious concept for empire worship and spiritual unification. The Christians accepted the empire; the empire adopted Christianity. The Roman provided a unity of political rule; the Greek, a unity of culture and learning; Christianity, a unity of religious thought and practice.

    (2073.6)195:3.2 Rome overcame the tradition of nationalism by imperial universalism and for the first time in history made it possible for different races and nations at least nominally to accept one religion.

    (2073.7)195:3.3 Christianity came into favor in Rome at a time when there was great contention between the vigorous teachings of the Stoics and the salvation promises of the mystery cults. Christianity came with refreshing comfort and liberating power to a spiritually hungry people whose language had no word for “unselfishness.”

    (2073.8)195:3.4 That which gave greatest power to Christianity was the way its believers lived lives of service and even the way they died for their faith during the earlier times of drastic persecution.

    (2073.9)195:3.5 The teaching regarding Christ’s love for children soon put an end to the widespread practice of exposing children to death when they were not wanted, particularly girl babies.

    (2074.1)195:3.6 The early plan of Christian worship was largely taken over from the Jewish synagogue, modified by the Mithraic ritual; later on, much pagan pageantry was added. The backbone of the early Christian church consisted of Christianized Greek proselytes to Judaism.

    (2074.2)195:3.7 The second century after Christ was the best time in all the world’s history for a good religion to make progress in the Western world. During the first century Christianity had prepared itself, by struggle and compromise, to take root and rapidly spread. Christianity adopted the emperor; later, he adopted Christianity. This was a great age for the spread of a new religion. There was religious liberty; travel was universal and thought was untrammeled.

    (2074.3)195:3.8 The spiritual impetus of nominally accepting Hellenized Christianity came to Rome too late to prevent the well-started moral decline or to compensate for the already well-established and increasing racial deterioration. This new religion was a cultural necessity for imperial Rome, and it is exceedingly unfortunate that it did not become a means of spiritual salvation in a larger sense.

    (2074.4)195:3.9 Even a good religion could not save a great empire from the sure results of lack of individual participation in the affairs of government, from overmuch paternalism, overtaxation and gross collection abuses, unbalanced trade with the Levant which drained away the gold, amusement madness, Roman standardization, the degradation of woman, slavery and race decadence, physical plagues, and a state church which became institutionalized nearly to the point of spiritual barrenness.

    (2074.5)195:3.10 Conditions, however, were not so bad at Alexandria. The early schools continued to hold much of Jesus’ teachings free from compromise. Pantaenus taught Clement and then went on to follow Nathaniel in proclaiming Christ in India. While some of the ideals of Jesus were sacrificed in the building of Christianity, it should in all fairness be recorded that, by the end of the second century, practically all the great minds of the Greco-Roman world had become Christian. The triumph was approaching completion.*

    (2074.6)195:3.11 And this Roman Empire lasted sufficiently long to insure the survival of Christianity even after the empire collapsed. But we have often conjectured what would have happened in Rome and in the world if it had been the gospel of the kingdom which had been accepted in the place of Greek Christianity.

     

     

    ***

    [Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]

    #11728
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     .

    Good day nelsong, Keryn, Rick B, Brad, Bonita, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Guests,

    Such a fortuitous alignment of state, school, and spirituality!

    …The Roman provided a unity of political rule; the Greek, a unity of culture and learning; Christianity, a unity of religious thought and practice…. (2073.5)195:3.1

    Without any one of the three we would not have made the progress we did over the last two thousand years. Truly, in unity there is strength.

    ***

    From today’s text:

    …Christianity came into favor in Rome at a time when there was great contention between the vigorous teachings of the Stoics and the salvation promises of the mystery cults…. (2073.7)195:3.3

    About Stoicism. From Wikipedia: (bolded, underlined text corresponds with this in today’s reading: …its believers lived lives of service…. (2073.8)195:3.4)

    Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century B.C.E. The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of “moral and intellectual perfection”, would not suffer such emotions.

    Stoics were concerned with the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life, and they thought that the best indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said but how that person behaved.

    …From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular with a following in Roman Greece and throughout the Roman Empire — including the Emperor Marcus Aurelius — until the closing of all pagan philosophy schools in 529 CE by order of the Emperor Justinian I, who perceived their pagan character as being at odds with the Christian faith.

    220px-Zeno_of_Citium_pushkin.jpg

    Zeno of Citium, cast in Pushkin Museum in Moscow from original in Naples.
    .

    Stoicism in Paper 121

    About the Mystery Cults, from Wikipedia:

    Mystery religions, sacred mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious schools of the Greco-Roman world for which participation was reserved to initiates (mystai). The main characterization of this religion is the secrecy associated with the particulars of the initiation and the ritual practice, which may not be revealed to outsiders. The most famous mysteries of Greco-Roman antiquity were the Eleusinian Mysteries, which were of considerable antiquity and predated the Greek Dark Ages. The mystery schools flourished in Late Antiquity; Julian the Apostate in the mid 4th century is known to have been initiated into three distinct mystery schools — most notably the Mithraic Mysteries. Due to the secret nature of the school, and because the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were persecuted by the Christian Roman Empire from the 4th century, the details of these religious practices are derived from descriptions, imagery and cross-cultural studies. “Because of this element of secrecy, we are ill-informed as to the beliefs and practices of the various mystery faiths. We know that they had a general likeness to one another”.

    …Through the 1st to 4th century, Christianity stood in direct competition for adherents with the mystery schools…

    List of mystery schools

     

    ***

     

    This statement in today’s reading makes one wonder how much the Midwayers and angels suffered having to watch innocent babes slowly die from neglect and not be able to do anything about it:

    …The teaching regarding Christ’s love for children soon put an end to the widespread practice of exposing children to death when they were not wanted, particularly girl babies…. (2073.9)195:3.5

    ***

    …Christianity adopted the emperor; later, he adopted Christianity….  (2074.2)195:3.7

    That would be Constantine, presumably. From Wikipedia:

    Constantine—as the first Christian emperor—is a significant figure in the history of Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus‘ tomb in Jerusalem, became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine. He is venerated as a saint by Eastern Orthodox Christians, Byzantine Catholics, and Anglicans. The Eastern churches hold his memory in particular esteem, regarding Constantine as isapostolos (“equal to an apostle”).

     

    ***

    This (from today’s text) well explains the downfall of Rome, and perhaps even predicts the fate of today’s empires:

    …lack of individual participation in the affairs of government, from overmuch paternalism, overtaxation and gross collection abuses, unbalanced trade with the Levant which drained away the gold, amusement madness, Roman standardization, the degradation of woman, slavery and race decadence, physical plagues, and a state church which became institutionalized nearly to the point of spiritual barrenness…. (2074.4)195:3.9

    ***

    About Pantaenus and Clement, cited in today’s OPAD:

    …Pantaenus taught Clement and then went on to follow Nathaniel in proclaiming Christ in India…. (2074.5)195:3.10

    From Wikipedia:

    Saint Pantaenus the Philosopher was a Greek theologian and a significant figure in the Catechetical School of Alexandria from around AD 180. This school was the earliest catechetical school, and became influential in the development of Christian theology.

    Pantaenus was a Stoic philosopher teaching in Alexandria. He converted to the Christian faith, and sought to reconcile his new faith with Greek philosophy. His most famous student, Clement, who was his successor as head of the Catechetical School, described Pantaenus as “the Sicilian bee”.

    Although no writings by Pantaenus are extant,his legacy is known by the influence of the Catechetical

    School on the development of Christian theology, in particular in the early debates on the interpretation of the Bible, the Trinity, and Christology. He was the main supporter of Serapion of Antioch for acting against the influence of Gnosticism.

    In addition to his work as a teacher, Eusebius of Caesarea reports that Pantaenus was for a time a missionary, traveling as far as India where, according to Eusebius, he found Christian communities using the Gospel of Matthew written in “Hebrew letters”, supposedly left them by the apostle Bartholemew (and which might have been the Gospel of the Hebrews). This may indicate that Syrian Christians, using a Syriac version of the New Testament, had already evangelized parts of India by late 2nd century. However, some writers have suggested that having difficulty with the language of Saint Thomas Christians, Pantaenus misinterpreted their reference to Mar Thoma (Bishop Thomas), who is currently credited with an evangelization mission to India by the Syrian churches, as Bar Tolmai (the Hebrew name of Bartholomew). Others say Eusebius may have confused India with Arabia or Ethiopia as was done by some other Greek writers. St. Thomas Christians themselves have always maintained that Thomas the Apostle himself was the first to bring Christianity to India.

    Saint Jerome, apparently relying entirely on Eusebius’ evidence from Historia Ecclesiastica, wrote that Pantaenus visited India, “to preach Christ to the Brahmans and philosophers there. ” It is unlikely that Jerome has any information about Pantaenus’ mission to India that is independent of Eusebius. On the other hand, his claim that “many” of Pantaenus’ Biblical commentaries were still extant is probably based on Jerome’s own knowledge.

    In fact “the apostle Bartholomew” was Nathaniel’s father. And it was not Bartholomew, rather Nathaniel, who served and died in India. From Paper 139:

    …Nathaniel’s father (Bartholomew) died shortly after Pentecost, after which this apostle went into Mesopotamia and India proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom and baptizing believers. His brethren never knew what became of their onetime philosopher, poet, and humorist. But he also was a great man in the kingdom and did much to spread his Master’s teachings, even though he did not participate in the organization of the subsequent Christian church. Nathaniel died in India…. (1559.4)139:6.9

    ***

    Lastly, the Midwayers give us insight into their speculations:

     …we have often conjectured what would have happened in Rome and in the world if it had been the gospel of the kingdom which had been accepted in the place of Greek Christianity…. (2074.6)195:3.11

    What would have happened to Urantia in that case? Would we be on the brink of the age of light and life about now?

    ***

    In tomorrow’s reading, Section 4. The European Dark Ages, the Midwayers discuss the hibernation and survival of Christianity during long, terrible centuries when religion became “second-hand”, something that rested in the custody of a handful of saints and priests, and left the individual out in the barren cold.

    Overview of Paper 195 – After Pentecost

    1. Influence of the Greeks
    2. The Roman Influence
    3. Under the Roman Empire
    4. The European Dark Ages
    5. The Modern Problem
    6. Materialism
    7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
    8. Secular Totalitarianism
    9. Christianity’s Problem
    10. The Future

    This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

    Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

    Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

    Much love, Rick/OPAD host.

    #11745
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     

    Welcome to The OPAD Online Study Session

    Today’s Presentation

    Paper 195 – AFTER PENTECOST

    4. The European Dark Ages

       The church, being an adjunct to society and the ally of politics, was doomed to share in the intellectual and spiritual decline of the so-called European “dark ages.” During this time, religion became more and more monasticized, asceticized, and legalized. In a spiritual sense, Christianity was hibernating. Throughout this period there existed, alongside this slumbering and secularized religion, a continuous stream of mysticism, a fantastic spiritual experience bordering on unreality and philosophically akin to pantheism.

    (2074.8)195:4.2 During these dark and despairing centuries, religion became virtually secondhanded again. The individual was almost lost before the overshadowing authority, tradition, and dictation of the church. A new spiritual menace arose in the creation of a galaxy of “saints” who were assumed to have special influence at the divine courts, and who, therefore, if effectively appealed to, would be able to intercede in man’s behalf before the Gods.

    (2075.1)195:4.3 But Christianity was sufficiently socialized and paganized that, while it was impotent to stay the oncoming dark ages, it was the better prepared to survive this long period of moral darkness and spiritual stagnation. And it did persist on through the long night of Western civilization and was still functioning as a moral influence in the world when the renaissance dawned. The rehabilitation of Christianity, following the passing of the dark ages, resulted in bringing into existence numerous sects of the Christian teachings, beliefs suited to special intellectual, emotional, and spiritual types of human personality. And many of these special Christian groups, or religious families, still persist at the time of the making of this presentation.

    (2075.2)195:4.4 Christianity exhibits a history of having originated out of the unintended transformation of the religion of Jesus into a religion about Jesus. It further presents the history of having experienced Hellenization, paganization, secularization, institutionalization, intellectual deterioration, spiritual decadence, moral hibernation, threatened extinction, later rejuvenation, fragmentation, and more recent relative rehabilitation. Such a pedigree is indicative of inherent vitality and the possession of vast recuperative resources. And this same Christianity is now present in the civilized world of Occidental peoples and stands face to face with a struggle for existence which is even more ominous than those eventful crises which have characterized its past battles for dominance.

    (2075.3)195:4.5 Religion is now confronted by the challenge of a new age of scientific minds and materialistic tendencies. In this gigantic struggle between the secular and the spiritual, the religion of Jesus will eventually triumph.

    ***

    [Each OPAD presentation is copied from The Urantia Book published by Urantia Foundation. Questions and comments related to the Paper under discussion are welcome and encouraged. In-depth questions and related topics may be studied in branch threads in the OPAD, or other subforums, as you require. Thank you for studying with us.]

    #11746
    Rick Warren
    Rick Warren
    Participant

     

    .

     

    Greetings nelsong, Rick B, Keryn, Bonita, Brad, Alina, Carolyn, Carola, Fellow Students, Forum Friends, Members and Visitors,

    Wonder if the Midwayers, Melchizedeks and angels were worried that the religion about Jesus was doomed after the fall of the Roman empire? The prospects for religious progress surely must have appeared rather bleak from the 6th to 14th centuries. That Christianity survived and revived is indeed a testament to its inherent vitality.

    From Wikipedia:

    …The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature. Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as “dark” compared to the light of classical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages (c. 11th–13th century), including the lack of Latin literature, and a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Later historians and writers picked up the concept, and popular culture has further expanded on it as a vehicle to depict the early Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.

    From today’s text:

    …In a spiritual sense, Christianity was hibernating…. (2074.7)195:4.1

    Interesting that Petrarch also used a sleeping metaphor:

    “…This sleep of forgetfulness will not last for ever. When the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance.”

    …As an Italian, Petrarch saw the Roman Empire and the classical period as expressions of Italian greatness. He spent much of his time travelling through Europe rediscovering and republishing classic Latin and Greek texts. He wanted to restore the classical Latin language to its former purity. Humanists saw the preceding 900-year period as a time of stagnation. They saw history unfolding, not along the religious outline of Saint Augustine‘s Six Ages of the World, but in cultural (or secular) terms through the progressive developments of classical ideals, literature, and art.

    Francesco_Petrarca00.jpg

    PETRARCH

    IMAGE/TEXT SOURCE/MORE

     

    About the making of saints cited in today’s reading:

    …A new spiritual menace arose in the creation of a galaxy of “saints” who were assumed to have special influence at the divine courts, and who, therefore, if effectively appealed to, would be able to intercede in man’s behalf before the Gods…. (2074.8)195:4.2

    That “menace” still abides. The eastern and western church anoints more “saints” every year. Adherents are taught to pray to this saint or that saint, depending on the particular bent or specialty of the saint being prayed to. But all religions have their venerated ones. We humans are not slow to sanctify ourselves.

    From Wikipedia:

    A saint is one who has been recognized for having an exceptional degree of holiness. While the English term “saint” originated in Christianity, historians of religion now use the term “in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people,” with the Jewish Tzadik, the Islamic Mu’min, the Hindu rishi or guru, and the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva also referred to as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either through official church recognition or by popular acclaim (see folk saints).

    In Christianity, “saint” has a wide variety of meanings, depending on its usage and the denomination. The original Christian usage referred to any believer who is “in Christ” and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth. In Orthodox and Catholic teachings, all Christians in heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered to be worthy of higher honor, emulation, or veneration, with official church recognition given to some saints through canonization or glorification.

    One of the most influential “saints” of the whole Catholic pantheon was Augustine. From Wikipedia:

    Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine or Saint Austin, was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria) located in the Roman province of Africa. He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in the Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are City of God and Confessions.

    According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine “established anew the ancient Faith.” In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory.

    When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book of the same name), distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine’s City of God.

    In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint, a pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace.

    In the East, many of his teachings are not accepted. The most important doctrinal controversy surrounding his name is the filioque.Other possibly unacceptable doctrines include his views on original sin, the doctrine of grace, and predestination.Nonetheless, though considered to be mistaken on some points, he is still considered a saint, and his feast day is celebrated on 15 June. He carries the additional title of Blessed as opposed to Saint among the Orthodox Church, due to his teachings controversial with the doctrine.

     

    220px-Augustinus_1.jpg

    Saint Augustine

    Born 13 November 354
    Thagaste, Numidia (modern-day Souk Ahras, Algeria) Died 28 August 430 (aged 75)
    Hippo Regius, Numidia (modern-day Annaba, Algeria) Notable work(s) Confessions
    City of God
    On Christian Doctrine

    At the other end of the dark ages was Aquinas:

    Thomas Aquinas, OP (1225 – 7 March 1274), also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an ItalianDominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the “Doctor Angelicus” and “Doctor Communis“. “Aquinas” is from the county of Aquino, an area in which his family held land until 1137. He was born in Roccasecca, Italy.

    He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or opposition of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Unlike many currents in the Church of the time, Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle — whom he referred to as “the Philosopher” — and attempted to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity. The works for which he is best known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa contra Gentiles. His commentaries on Sacred Scripture and on Aristotle are an important part of his body of work. Furthermore, Thomas is distinguished for his eucharistic hymns, which form a part of the Church’s liturgy.

    Thomas is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church and is held to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology. In modern times, under papal directives, the study of his works was long used as a core of the required program of study for those seeking ordination as priests or deacons, as well as for those in religious formation and for other students of the sacred disciplines (philosophy, Catholic theology, church history, liturgy, canon law).

    Also honored as a Doctor of the Church, Thomas is considered the Church’s greatest theologian and philosopher. Pope Benedict XV declared: “This (Dominican) Order … acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the special praises of the Pontiffs, the master and patron of Catholic schools.”

    ***

    About the sectarian fragmentation of Christianity at the end of the dark period, noted in today’s reading:

     …The rehabilitation of Christianity, following the passing of the dark ages, resulted in bringing into existence numerous sects of the Christian teachings…. (2075.1)195:4.3

    …was brought about by men like Martin Luther. Luther became the father of sectarian divides when he called the church to task for granting “indulgences”, bribes to forgive sins and enter heaven. The Lutheran church branched off and became the first sect of Christianity.

    From Wikipedia:

    Martin Luther, OSA, (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German friar, Catholic priest, professor of theology and seminal figure of the 16th-century movement in Christianity known later as the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God’s punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.

    220px-Lucas_Cranach_d.%C3%84._-_Martin_L

                      Luther (1533) by Lucas Cranach the Elder

     

    Some estimates of the number of Christian sects today run into the tens of thousands. From the website, About Christianity:

    Number of Christian Denominations:

    According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations. Center for the Study of Global Christianity (2011)

    ***

    Reformation is a term that has been attached to the resurrection of Jesus’ adulterated religion after it was entombed in the womb of the Catholic church for so many centuries. The Midwayers seem to think it has not run its course. This is from Paper 196:

    …Some day a reformation in the Christian church may strike deep enough to get back to the unadulterated religious teachings of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (2091.10)196:2.1

    From the last line of today’s OPAD:

    …In this gigantic struggle between the secular and the spiritual, the religion of Jesus will eventually triumph…. (2075.3)195:4.5

    As bad as things are, and may become over the next millennium, it will end well. The old gamblers’ axiom: “the house always wins” applies even more so with regard to things spiritual.

    ***

    In tomorrow’s reading, Section 5. The Modern Problem, the Midwayers speak directly to us, declaring religion must rise over and above logic, beauty, politics, even morality. The love value of religion trumps all other pursuits, ideas and ideals.

    Overview of Paper 195 – After Pentecost

    1. Influence of the Greeks
    2. The Roman Influence
    3. Under the Roman Empire
    4. The European Dark Ages
    5. The Modern Problem
    6. Materialism
    7. The Vulnerability of Materialism
    8. Secular Totalitarianism
    9. Christianity’s Problem
    10. The Future

    This group of papers [121-196] was sponsored by a commission of twelve Urantia midwayers acting under the supervision of a Melchizedek revelatory director. The basis of this narrative was supplied by a secondary midwayer who was onetime assigned to the superhuman watchcare of the Apostle Andrew.

    Listen toPaper 195: (click the speaker icon at the top of the page)

    Thanks for reading. Members’ thoughts, reflections, insights, observations, comments, corrections and questions about today’s OPAD presentation are invited.

    Much love, Rick/OPAD host.

    #11750
    Ray
    Ray
    Participant

    What a beautiful presentation of this paper! Feel I’ve been transported; better yet the past is brought into my presence – here and now. It gives me great hope for the current generation that seemingly shuns cyrstalized rituals of religion, abhors the misuse of technical advancements and realizes the ineptness of politico-economic policies as are currently practice. They seemingly have a grip on service motive – which consciously or unconconsciously will move us ever slowly away from the materialistic grip of the profit motive. They are compassionate and educated. Their personal morality appears to be the step in uprooting the ethics of materialistic-humanism. Even the leader of the Catholic church is attempting to shine light on the virtues of humility. Nice to put this into context with Rick’s expose. Peace be unto you, especially in thanksgiving for our continuing evolutionary progress.

    Walk with God. May His Peace be unto you.

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