Monthly Archives: July 2015

Not one iota

Throughout history, a person can change our views. Constantine was one. He was born in 272. Rome was in chaos.  Diocletian revived persecutions against Christians. Constantine’s father became Augustus, a title that was under Caesar, the title of the Emperor.

Constantine was a follower of Mithra cult. At this time of Rome, Eastern religions became popular. Mithra was part of Zoroastrianism, Persian religion. Zoroastrianism had Magi (root word for magician), Paradise, Fiery punishment, angels and demons. Ahura Mazda was chief god, and sky god. His opponent was Ahriman. Ahura Mazda’s son was Mithra, sun god. He was accompanied by a blue ox, who would sacrifice himself for Mithra to live. Mithra followers had sacred wine and bread meal. There are three degrees that the men follow. The third degree initiation was a man went down a dug ditch and above him were logs laid  across the width of the ditch. They would sacrifice a bull above him and let the blood cleanse him of his sins. In the afterlife, all would pass a fiery river, the more sins, the longer a person stayed there. The worst would be there for 10,000  years.

Whether Constantine became a Christian is still hotly debated.He and Galerian became co-Emperors of the West in 306 . They proclaim tolerance for Christian faith in 311. After awhile, he became sole Emperor of the West in 314. He fought against the Emperor of East at Milvian Bridge. He lost the first day, but had a dream of the sun with a cross before him with words in Greek, then in Latin, “With this sign, you shall conquer.” Then, it changes into the two Greek letters “Chi” (X) “Rho” (P), the first two letters of Christ. He ordered the ChiRho symbol on shields of his army and marched against his enemy. This time, the enemy crossed the bridge and it collapsed. It maybe because the soldiers marched in step that caused vibrations to collapse the old bridge.

Constantine became sole Emperor. He wanted one Empire, one Emperor and one Christianity. At the time Christianity was very diverse and fighting amongst each other. So, he ordered to have Nicean  meeting. The orthodoxy was majority of the bishops. The next largest group was the Arianism. They argued on the substance of Jesus Christ, whether he was homoostasis or homoeostasis. Difference is one Greek letter,iota (I). Basically whether Jesus was same as God the Father and equal to the Father or whether Jesus was different and lesser than God the Father ( the one the Arians believe in). The majority voted for the sameness, and God was the Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Arians were banished, hunted down, and persecuted. The Emperor was head of the Church. He continued to hold on to his power, fighting against his own relatives. Then, for reasons still unknown, he converted to Arianism. His statues showed him with sun behind his head and rays of glory shining from the sun. Later, it became halo. He was baptized on his death in 337.

Petrarch went camping and changed the world

Petrarch lived in the late 12th Century. He decided to go camping in the mountains. So, he took 12 servants with him who set up camp for him. He came from a rich family and was ever curious about the world around him. He had his servants searched the known world for books, especially Greek philosophers. He went camping to catch up on his reading and to commune with nature. He observed nature and wrote about it with a scientist eye. Nearby was a rushing river. He listened to it for hours on end.

He came off that mountain a few weeks later with an enlightened mind. He continued his scientific researches, and studying the Roman and Greek writers. He also questioned the Church teachings, but was always a devout Christian. His poetry and other publications were read all over Europe and he helped start the Renaissance.

Hello world!

“To bigotry no sanctions”, those are the words of George Washington to a Jewish group in Newport, R.I. It was in part of speech on beginning of the first American  synagogue, Touro Synagogue. He gave that in reassurance to the Jews and his fellow Mason, Moses Seixos, who was head of local Mason chapter and head of his Jewish community.

I thought this should be motto of US. It is ironic coming from a slave owner, but the ideal works. George Washington also wrote Catholics, Quakers, and Baptists that they are to be treated as equals in the new nation that recognize religious freedom.

A good example is that of Joseph Priestly, an English friend of Ben Franklin. This was after the Revolution and Ben Franklin visited him, because he was a noted scientist who discovered oxygen, among other things. He was also an Anglican priest who accepted Deist and Enlightenment ideals. He even went as far as declaring God was not a Trinity. Blasphemy! Ben Franklin left him with invite to come to US. He declined at the time. Then his church was burned down, his followers hunted and he was threatened to be burned at the stake. So, Joseph Priestly decided to take up Ben’s offer and come to America. He wrote Ben Franklin to let him know that he will come to NYC. By the time his ship came to harbor, hundreds of boats and ships greeted him.Church bells were ringing. He was greeted by the Founding Fathers.The mayor of NYC offered him a place to settle down. All this for a “blasphemer”. That was America at its best.