Sunday, February 15, 2009

First Council of Nicea

I'm not going to be encyclopedic about it. The record is very clear. Let's just state the problem. Did the bishops who attended the Council edit all the reincarnation and female divinity and suchlike out of the Bible?

I don't actually know whence such claims arose -- I mean, it came from Satan, of course, but in terms of its appearance in the historical record. And it's the record that is the problem, after all, either its editing by bishops or its fabrication by occultists. I expect the accusation against the bishops was manufactured in the middish 1800s, and I really expect that Madam Blavatsky will have had a hand in the matter, although it's just a reasonably informed supposition. Made-it-up Blavatsky.

Upshot is, there is no historical basis for the charge -- history being a word that means "facts known through documents". The history of the Council is well-attested. Men who attended wrote their accounts, most prominent of course being Eusebius. We know who attended, mostly, and we know the agenda, and we know the outcome.

The main issue was the nature of Christ -- was he of the same substance (homoousias) as the Father, or of a merely similar one (homoiousias). Hardly matters? An argument about orthography? The difference between a jot and a tittle? Well, they thought it mattered, these bishops who two short years before had faced persecution and martyrdom. They took it to mean, was Jesus God, or was Jesus a created being, however much God.

Arius of Alexandria -- a Berber -- argued for a created Christ. Athanasius of Alexandria argued the orthodox position. Lots of questioning, which resolved unanimously in favor of orthodoxy. Unanimous save for two votes. A score of heterodox bishops had supported Arius, until many of his writings were read, which where shocking in their blasphemy. Not profanity -- literal blasphemy, of a defaming of the revealed character of God.

Arius was expected to defend his position when confronted with actual scripture. In every case, he had a new, a novel interpretation. Ingenious, no doubt. But it would have to be expected that he and only he had discovered the true truth, after 300 years, when all who went before him, like the Gospel writers and the actual eye-witnesses of Jesus and the students of his disciples -- all of these must have gotten it wrong. Sometimes "wrong because new" isn't such a narrow-minded position. And it would have to be supposed that every single one of the Bishops conspired to suppress the written words of their records -- every inconvenient sacred manuscript destroyed or altered -- in favor of an actually new doctrine, of no reincarnation and no goddess. Sort of a topsy-turvy view.

A few other issues, like when to celebrate, uh, "Easter". Some in-house business. And all is settled, for a while. Any discussion about reincarnation or the Goddess or how Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene? The record, by which I mean the record, is silent. Unless we count all the noise that started 1500 years later.

Haven't you heard these people, on the radio or at the party or where ever? "Well y'see actually they took out a buncha stuff from d'bible as a matter of fact at that cownsul they had there at that place, an evrywon noes it!!! YOu crischuns is so dum!! an nayrow minud 2 an ingerunt!!" I've had blood relatives say such things. My response has always been to ask, "You mean the Council of Nicea, in 325 AD, called by the newly victorious Constantine to settle matters of doctrine so that he might rule a harmonious empire?" "Uh, yeah, that's the one." "Oh. Well, could you provide some citation for your claim? -- something from a primary-source historian? Cuz I got Eusebius, who was there." "Well, you've obviously read a lot about it, with your facts and stuff, but you don't have the whole story." "But I'd like to have it. Will you provide it? -- I mean, the evidence, rather than just the assertion that everyone else is wrong and you're right?" And here it dribbles off into vague assurances or backstepping. I don't belabor it. It's not about humiliating anyone -- cutting their legs out from under them. If they have eyes, they'll see. Eventually.

I'm still waiting. I'd love to see the evidence, if there is any. I don't mean the gnostic writings, the pseudepigrapha and the like. I've read all that. There have always been heresies. I mean evidence that the historic Christian Church has changed its doctrine. That's what my side has done -- provided evidence. I've just hacked this out from memory, but here's someone who did the homework. Such diligence is necessary. After all, who wants to believe lies? A lot of people, apparently. You know them by how they react to evidence. They ignore it. That seems like such a low thing to me.


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