There are numerous books dealing with the history of the Christian Church and whilst that history includes some notable examples of human dignity and quiet spiritual endeavour as displayed by Jesus (Yeshua), a significant proportion of that history represents an ugly and violently cruel side of humanity in the pursuit of secular power and wealth, and all in name of God. Examples of this sort of behaviour are legion and include the violence of the Crusades, the inhuman cruelty of the Inquisition, countless religious wars, the ruthless destruction of all pagan religions that stood in its way – especially those associated with the sacred feminine aspect of the Universe and the subtle intuitive nature of the same – and the nefarious politics of the Christian Church itself. Below is a very short account of the major events that came to define Christian theology.
The First Ecumenical Council 325AD
Most people (and that includes most Christians) are unaware of the history of the Christian Church or that the ‘official’ Catholic (meaning universal) doctrine of the Church was not substantially arrived at until a council of religious leaders (from numerous religions, not just ‘Christians’) met at Nicaea (now Iznik, Turkey) in 325 AD to attend the First Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church. This council had been summonsed by the Byzantine (later to become Roman) pagan emperor, Constantine (285 – 337 AD) in order to establish religious unity within the Roman empire for a whole raft of mainly secular political reasons. Constantine was closely involved in the Council’s deliberations and the resulting doctrine, known as the Nicene Creed, had more to do with political expediency than religious theology. Needless to say, Constantine was the first Roman emperor to adopt the Creed, although interestingly enough he chose not to become a ‘Christian’ himself. (he was allegedly ‘baptised’ at his deathbed) The Nicene Creed of Christianity eventually became the ‘official’ religion of the Roman empire and is used in the Eucharist service of Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Churches. (Source: Oxford Reference Shelf, 1994)
The Fifth Ecumenical Council 553AD – the removal of Reincarnation from the Bible
Most of the references to reincarnation were formally removed from the Christian Scriptures as a result of the 5th Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church convened by the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Emperor Justinian at Constantinople in 553 AD. Emperor Justinian convened the council to declare reincarnation an anathema, he was able to apply the full power of Rome and his authority to stop the belief in reincarnation. He forced the ruling cardinals to draft a papal decree stating that anyone who believes that souls come from God and return to God will be punished by death. The actual decree stated: “If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema. (The Anathemas against Origen), attached to the decrees of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, A.D. 553, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d ser., 14: 318).” specifically the teachings of an earlier Church leader, Origen (185-254 A.D.), and ensured the council was ‘stacked’ with compliant church representatives to achieve this end. Origen had spoken out in unmistakable terms on the question of the repeated incarnations of the soul. For example Origen is reported as saying “Each soul enters the world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defects of its past lives. Its place in this world is determined by past virtues and shortcomings.” (Source: De Principalis) so a really important thing happened to the Bible under the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople on which Pope Virgilius was not present. They introduced the Three-Chapter Controversy which was generated in 531 A.D.. It was a forgotten civil law. 159 eastern and 6 western bishops could participate on the Council. So the real purpose of the 2nd Ecumenical Council of Constantinople was to censure Origen’s writings and not to introduce an unimportant law. As a result of the Council the Decree of Khalkedon, created in 451 A.D., had been abolished successfully glossed over by the Three-Chapter Controversy. On this congress of the Church, held in 451, after a large debate they determined Christ to have human and divine nature as well. The Pope denounced the Fifth Ecumenical Council therefore he was laughed at. There’s no evidence whether they asked the Pope’s approval for the Council. It was a non-religious congress because it was launched by the ones who had been “converted” under the reign of Constantine.
There is some evidence that Justinian’s wife, Theodora, was the driving force behind Justinian’s decision to have the concept of reincarnation declared an anathema. Theodora had been a pantomime actress (and quite likely a prostitute) before she married Justinian and some religious scholars suggest that Theodora didn’t like the idea of possibly having to come back and “reap” what she might have sown in attaining her high position, hence her abhorrence at the notion of reincarnation.
In addition, there were discovered the writings of Procopius who was the historian during Justinian’s and Theodora’s reign. He wrote a Secret History that was to be published after his death, revealing scandal after scandal. In it he describes that just like Domitian and Nero, Justinian was to be a “demon-emperor” who was dedicated to destroying humanity. His fellow, Theodora helped and directed him. Among the alleged crimes were murder, plunder of the wealthy, oppressive taxation of the poor, and destruction of Roman customs. Procopius says of the empress that she is a woman exclusively motivated by vanity and anyone who dared cross her suffered untold horrors. He describes her youth as a prostitute who also engaged in obscene stage performances.
There was a logical reason why the Emperor was opposed to the concept that all of mankind originally came from God and was returing to God via the cycle of birth and death. Justinian had been convinced by high ranking cardinals that it was not in the interest of the empire to allow Origen’s writings to continue to be copied and distributed. A powerful group of Cardinal’s and Bishop’s explained that if every soul had once pre-existed with God, then Christ wasn’t anything special to have come from God. These Cardinals convinced the Emperor that if people realized they were the children of God they might begin to believe they no longer needed an Emperor, or to pay taxes, or to obey the Holy Church. But since they reasoned that only Christ had come from God but God made brand new souls at the time of conception and only the Holy Church could bring these souls to God. Without the protection of the Empire or the guidance of the church, all people would be doomed to be forever cut off from God in Hell. This doctrine was very acceptable to the Emperor. Once Justinian understood the political danger inherent in Origen’s teachings, the rest was simply an Emperor doing what was in his best interest.
The council, as instructed by the Emperor, produced fourteen new anathemas and the very first one condemned reincarnation and the concept that souls pre-existed with God.
From the preface to his book “The Original Jesus” by Holger Kersten:
“The Jesus mediated to us by the Church is not the true Jesus. That is an artificial construction, assembled from true and false fragments of his biography, from authentic and invalid statements, and based on a great deal of inventiveness on the part of Christian writers… the real historical Jesus and his concerns are hidden like a portrait beneath layers of varnish added by 2000 years of church history. If we remove that varnish carefully like a restorer, without destroying the precious original, the primary colours become apparent.”