Tag Archives: christianity

South Dakotan Honored by Mongolia

Gruchow, M. (2007). Bringing news to the people: Mongolia honors Sioux Falls man for founding TV station. Argus Leader, 10 March 2007, http://argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070310/NEWS01/703100324/1001/NEWS.

A South Dakotan has, in a fit of inattention, become a Mongolian media magnate:

[Craig] Lawrence, a founder of Sioux Falls-based marketing and advertising firm Lawrence and Schiller, helped start a television station called Eagle Television, based in Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaan Baatar. It was an unexpected offshoot of what started as a Christian missionary effort, he said.

Outside the government itself, we’re the largest employer in Mongolia,” Lawrence said of the television station. “And we’re the longest-lasting American partnership with Mongolia.”

The South Dakotans became involvedin Mongolia as part of Christian missionary work. What began with the Gospel, and involved armed soldiers and a scene worthy of a Hollywood film, is now a great story:

Originally, after the communist government fell in the early 1990s, Lawrence was approached by the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization Lawrence had worked for, to consider a missionary trip to Mongolia.

Not long after, 23 Sioux Falls businesspeople and others, including Lawrence, were in Mongolia, doing humanitarian projects including showing a movie on Jesus Christ, Lawrence said.

The film, in what had been an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation, caught the attention of men drafting the country’s new, democratic constitution.

“We showed the film, and one morning, there was a knock on my door, and when I opened it, there were two soldiers with guns. And they said, ‘You must come with us,’ ” Lawrence said.

The soldiers took Lawrence to meet with those drafting the constitution, which would incorporate articles ensuring religious freedom, he said.

“They asked, ‘Do you think this Jesus could help us write our constitution?’ ” Lawrence said. “So we got to help draft the constitutional elements that outlined their articles of religious freedom.”

The TV station soon followed. Today it broadcasts 16 hours of news daily throughout the country.

Lawrence has now won Mongolia’s Star of Liberty award, and has a long-term view of hope for the Mongolian people:

Lawrence, who years ago worked as editor of the Brookings Register newspaper and spent several years in television journalism, said one looming challenge is continuing the education of the next generation of Mongolian journalists.

Many of the current Eagle TV staff went through Russian journalism schools or were former employees of the state-controlled television station, he said.

It is a constant challenge to keep corruption out of the media, instill journalistic values and try to divorce the Mongolian people from the idea that media was meant only to control the minds of citizens, Lawrence said.

“It’s going to take a long time to build this,” he said. “It’s going to take generations.”

Besides doing good works for others, South Dakota has enjoyed the generosity of others, as well.

4GW Christianity Around the Blogosphere

Barnett, T.P.M. (2007). Why the yin disconnects from the yang. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. February 3, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/02/why_the_yin_disconnects_from_t.html/

Dunbar, L. (2007). Friction. Larry Dunbar. February 7, 2007. Available online: http://connectinginconversation.org/larrydunbar/2007/02/07/friction/.

Weeks, C.G. (2007). Tying loose ends. Dreaming 5GW. February 7, 2007. Available online: http://www.fifthgeneration.phaticcommunion.com/archives/2007/02/tying_loose_ends.php.

Just as last week saw a flurry of discussion on global guerrillas theory (and its definition), this week saw a wave of posts on tdaxp and early Christianity.

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Recently, Larry Dunbar offered his critique of my view of power as displayed in Jesusism-Paulism.

TDAXP has a good, as always, piece going that examines friction and nation building. Because Dan has to, somewhat, pander to his base, his examination of friction is not quite what I believe to be accurate. Overall, we will both probably get to similar conclusions, but our understanding of how forces flow is different.

Dan is correct when he says, “Generally, there are two means to use against an enemy–violence and politics–and two strategies–take-over and take-down.” The tactics are force and the strategies are displacements.

However, his reassigning Peaceful to mean political is grossly wrong. There is nothing peaceful about politics, it is only because it has mostly potential energy does it seem peaceful.


Larry’s corrected graphic

As for my conclusions to Dan’s post, I conclude that the great internal forces that Christianity was able to produce was combined with Rome’s ability to displace across a great area. This created a great momentum that was able to carry Rome, until the internal pressure was destroyed by possibly greed and hate.

My writings on early Christianity are currently divided into five sections.

1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
4. The Fall of Rome
5. The People of the Book

More thoughts, by Curtis of Dreaming 5GW and Tom of Barnett :: The Weblog appear below the fold.


Curtis, a skeptic of early Christianity’s 4th Generation nature, also posted his views:

the abstract description of Christianity as a “Religion of Love” does not mesh well with the actual historical Christianity. Christians in the army did not “turn the other cheek” and love their neighbors, but killed their foes on the battlefield. The implication is that Christianity may have begun as a “religion of love” but became corrupted through interaction with the Roman system. I wrote a comment in answer to Michael, importing ideas from the anthropologist Marvin Harris, which he gave in his book Our Kind:

The Roman Empire gained citizens who cared much less about earthly rewards or avoiding suffering — suffering was indeed a test of faith, “Christly” — which made dying on the battlefield less of a concern. Christians who died defeating heathen invaders would be rewarded with heaven in the afterlife. But also Rome did not need to gain the loyalty of Christians by overseeing their welfare. Given the size of the Roman empire, managing the welfare of all its citizens proved too complex, particularly as populations grew and resources diminished. A citizenry accustomed to seeing suffering and poverty as a test of faith would not be as likely to blame the central government for these things; suffering was a private, personal matter quite related to one’s own spirituality. Also, a citizenry that was leaning toward Christianity was a citizenry less likely to revolt; they’d be “turning the other cheek” and living in “meekness”. However, Christian leaders worked with Constantine to ensure that Christians in the common classes were indeed protected, in order to preserve the meek classes benefiting Rome. As Marvin Harris wrote,

This made the Church economically independent from the state, vitally and dynamically, but more importantly, this shifted oversight of the welfare of the people to the Church from the state, i.e., shifted dependencies. The Church had an additional advantage over the state: It could use redistribution of wealth to help the needy, and thus gain their loyalty, but because it was also the highest earthly authority of God, it could also define the level of suffering required for salvation. The two metrics for determining loyalty were co-operative. The question of what happened to (1) the doctrine of turning the other cheek and (2) the prediction that the meek would inherit the Earth is a good question, given the rise of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the eventual militarization of Christianity. It would seem that the early Christian bishops sold those doctrines to the highest bidder: The mass of Christians would not fight Rome, but fight for Rome, provided that Rome shared power; but to every non-Christian state, the meekness would not be offered. In time, the highest bidder might be England, or France, or any Christian European state that would share power. Meanwhile, the self-interest of individual Christians in Europe, their primary loyalty, required at least an overt display of loyalty to Church and Country, if not a deep loyalty to one or the other or both — for a time.

(The bit about welfare and economic independents is similar to what Tom Barnett wrote in “The Rising Tide of Religion in China.)

On the subject of Barnett, his post “Why the yin disconnects from the yang first echoes comments made in my series on 4GW Christianity, Jesusism-Paulisn, Part I: Love Your Enemy as You Would Have Him Love You:

And here’s the most amazing/infuriating part: you can’t think systematically about the future until you master this most essential rule set–love your enemies more than yourself.

Not pity them. Not get inside their heads. Not access their worldview.

That’s all child’s play–parlor games for TV talking heads.

I mean, really love them more than yourself. Connect in the worst way–humbling, humiliating, can’t-look-away.

To me, that sort of knowledge isn’t sympathy or empathy or any of the “-thies.” To me, it’s the most profound sort of understanding there is, making you capable of great intelligence and even wisdom in your strategic decision-making. You go way beyond the superficial understanding of his “loop” and how you get inside it. You really figure your opponent out in the deepest way. So this isn’t some goofy religious belief system I’m trying to enunciate here. This isn’t a form of intellectual withdrawal. I’m talking about a break-on-through-to-the-other-side type wisdom here–where the whole game slows down for you and you can see the entire playing field from a God’s eye view. I’m talking about serious control–you know, making the Matrix bend to your will.

And then extends them, implying a 5GW path to victory:

Naivete is operating under the assumption that this fight hasn’t already been decided. What we negotiate all along are the terms, and to slant that negotiation to the greatest extent possible, you have to get past the hate (especially the self-hatred), and connect.

The real 5GWer never claims victory, never recognizes a loss. All victories are claimed by others, by design. All “losses” simply set up the next iterative victory.

The most profound manipulation involves the most profound emotions, and love trumps hate every time. That’s why humanity won out over the rest. That’s how we evolve. That’s how we progress.

But if you want to achieve real objectivity, you have to leave the fears behind. As long as you drag them along, they drag you down. You see only what you know and you know only what you see..

After I mentioned the similarity, Tom extended some very kind wishes.

Rise

A friend from the Chicago Boyz has informed me of The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark. The general theme of the book parallels my series, Jesusism-Paulism, in viewing Christianity as a liberating movement that offered love and worth to all humans (a radical new concept at the time). I unknowingly paralleled his work in the earlier posts of my series (parts I, II, and III) and I will put Rodney on my reading list. While he is relatively silent on the Christian conquest of Rome and the early Islamic wars, we seemed to share a very similar view of the rise of Christianity. Touchstone’s interview and Father McCloskey’s review are particularly good sources of information on the question.

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A quick review of Dr. Stark’s academic writings show a lot of wisdom. He argues that religiosity is a consequence of city life (painfully obvious in the increasingly radicalized and urbanized Arab world, but denied for centuries by an intellectual elite) and that Europe’s “secularization” is a consequence of its regulated state (and not the future of all soceities, as parroted for decades by an intellectual elite). Despite being a sociologist, Dr. Stark is a great fan of rational choice theory, and he has applied it in interesting and new ways to the study of Christianity.

Likewise, his (and Alan Miller’s) work on sex and religiosity is worth reading. After attacking gendered/socialization theories of why women are more “religious” than men, the authors write:

One possibility we did not explore is the degree to which risk preference, and by extension the relationship between gender and religiousness, might be physiologically based. While it is still possible that gender differences in risk preference are due to differential socialization, a growing literature suggests otherwise. Furthermore, our results strongly suggest this is not the case. Since general measures of differential socialization are unrelated to religiosity, one would have to propose that risk preference is somehow different: that it alone influences gender differences in religiousness and not other forms of differential socialization, and that it is taught uniformly to all females. Such a proposal, to say the least, is unlikely.

So the more I read of Rodney Stark (including articles such as Hellfire and Delinquency and Becoming a World-saver: A Theory of Conversion to a Deviant Perspective) the more excited about The Rise of Christianity I became.

Thanks for the tip!

Related Post: Economic Man vs. Primary Loyalties by Zenpundit at Chicago Boyz.

The Development of Christianity

Changing Horses,” by Sara Ronbinson, Orcinus, 24 November 2006, http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/11/changing-horses.html (hat-tip to Tanguerena at John Robb).

The history of religion is characterized by fanatical movements that started out full of ecstatic zeal to change the world one person at a time. From the Wahabists to the Methodists, religions are usually founded in a rush of passion — which (if it doesn’t fatally fracture in the intensity of the initial torrent, which is the fate of most new faith groups) gradually subsides to a calmer, more intellectual and inclusive order. In this second phase, the groups typically become more outwardly-focused. They [Religions] start dealing with the world as it is, instead of as their theology tells them it should be. Most of what we think of “mainstream” churches started out in the first phase, but have by now been in this second one for a very long time.

The Mainstream Churches Sara is referring to – the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran, the Presbyterian Church (USA) — may have gone on this path, but I doubt it. Indeed, few major religions start out in this way.

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A Patient Victor

Christianity is an inherently political religion. The faith of the carpenter utilizes insurgent warfare methodology to develop a deconflicted fighting force that the Romans and Jews wisely resisted. Indeed, Christianity turned inward after it conquered Rome, which goes against Sara’s hypothesis.

Broadly, the same was true for Islam as well.

Christianity and the Military-Industrial Complex

Larry Dunbar, a polymath interested in genetics, psychology, and many other subjects has a new post synthesizing his thoughts on Christianity and the Military-Industrial Complex:

Take for instance the statement: the military/industrial complex will bring about world peace. Someone, a lot smarter than I, said something to that effect, and actually believes this to be true; it is his reality.

The real amazing thing is that this person pretends to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Although I have never read the teachings of Jesus, I have been around the practitioners of Jesus all my life.

The military/industrial complex is what Howard Bloom calls a resource shifter. In Jesus’ time the moneychangers would represent them. I think Jesus had something harsh to say about moneychangers. I may have misunderstood, but I don’t think it had anything to do with world peace.

Larry is referring to my writings on Embracing-Defeat and Jesusism-Paulism. In the former series I argue that a military-industrial complex is necessary for victory in protracted struggles, and that are defeats in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia are tied to a lack of a military-industrial-counter-insurgency complex. In the latter, I explain how early Christians used 4GW to conquer the Roman Empire and establish an order based on universal human dignity.

I’m interested in Larry’s thoughts, and I hope he expands on them. However, I don’t think the point he uses in his post is persuasive. Of course anything shifts resources, because anything costs. The question is whether the shifted resources are worth it. In the case of the Military-Industrial Complex the answer is a clear yes. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a more Christian task for a great nation than building one.

Thank God, truly, that we are half-way there.

Jesusism-Paulism, Part V: The People of the Book

John Boyd, the American Air Force Colonel, wrote that there were five stages to victory. In the first two, Penetration and Isolation, one’s forces enter the enemy’s networks and began tearing it apart. In the last two, Reorientation and Reharmonization, the old world is refashioned in one’s desired image.

There is only one grand choice, but that choice is critical. If, for the third stage, one chooses Subversion, one desires to “take-over” the enemy. The enemy’s house — his many mansions — should be viewed as one’s future property, and so their substance must be preserved while the deed is (re)-written

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Victory Through Submission

Christianity, a political philosophy that could accurately be described as Jesusism-Paulism, was designed to Subvert the Roman Empire and seize her institutions in order to remake them. Jesus summed up the essence of subversion — the conquest of force by the service to force — in one line:

If someone [a Roman soldier] forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Matthew 5:41

Of course, there is another strategy. Instead of attempted to take-over, one might take-down. One might Subdue the enemy, destroying what is his, and win through war instead of through peace. Six centuries after Jesus, another Semite elucidated that strategy


Submission Through Victory

It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
The Spoils of War:67

The Rule-Set Revolution of Islam had begun.


Muhammed ibn-Abdullah was clearly aware of Christian victory over the Romans. Muhammed changed two basic strategies of Christianity, by transforming it into a strict monotheism and optimizing it for victory in chaotic conditions. Yet these are details compared to his grandest innovation. Muhammed focused his faith not on the Most High or on His Son, but on a Rule-Set. Islam is, at its core, is not Muahmmed and is not Allah. Islam is the Holy Koran.

Muslims were the first “People of the Book” in all history. The earliest Semites were tribalists who wished for their gods to protect their families, and Judaism falls into this category. Jews may be thought of as People of their Father and Mother. The land of the Jews is given to them because of descent from Abraham:

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates- the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
Genesis 15:17-21

and his wife, Sarah

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” … Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
Genesis 27:15-22

The Christians, meanwhile were the People of the Son

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:20-23

Muhammed saw a basic weakness in loyalty to a personality or Holy Family: ruleset corruption.

An essential difference between Christianity and Islam is that the faith of Jesus focused on resiliency while the religion of Muahmmed centered on resilience. Resiliency is “the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity.” The Christian takeover of Rome exhibited resiliency because the faith could adapt to problems, through unifying mechanisms such as the Nicene Creed. However, Muhammed wanted Islam to have resilience instead. Resilience, the capacity of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically and then, upon unloading to have this energy recovered, focuses on recovering the initial form. Christianity as practiced during its take-over of Rome would not be operationally the same as Christianity after the fall of Rome, because the needs of a 4GW force in its early stages are different from the needs of a 4GW army in its later stages. However, Muhammad wanted Islam to be the same everywhere, he made his words into a universal ruleset.

To Christians flexibility was not a problem — only Jesus was the Word of God and revolution could “unfold.” The purpose of Christianity, after all, was not Law but Love, and Love is a magic cloud beyond words, but it is not measurable and not objectively verifiable.

To Muhammed this was a problem. As he said:

Say: “Of your ‘partners’ is there any that can give any guidance towards truth?” Say: “It is Allah Who gives guidance towards truth, is then He Who gives guidance to truth more worthy to be followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is guided? what then is the matter with you? How judge ye?”
Jonah:35

Mohammed was the first theorist in all history to define religion exclusively as rule-set adherence. Jesus and Paul had integrated a 4GW strategy — loving your neighbor — in with faith in order tow in. But Mohammed integrated every strategy into the faith. Contract law, criminal law, family law, even military strategy were elucidated before hand. Mohammed viewed Judaism and Christianity as failed because of the memetic drift they experienced.

Judaism and Christianity both “unfold” over time. Judaism can accurately be described as a Religion of Life because the focus is on the promulgation in this world of offspring of Abraham and Sarah. All Jewish Laws must be interpreted as rules to guide the People of Life. A Jewish Law that works against Life is not, in this context, being properly understood. Christianity can accurately be described as a Religion of Love because the focus in on the promulgation of loving kindness as described by Jesus and Paul. All Christian Laws must be interpreted as guide to the People of Love. A Christian Law that works against Love is not, in this context, being properly understood. In contrast, Islam can accurately be described as a Religion of One Ruleset, the Koran, in opposition to all others. The only proper Rules are those that spread the Ruleset. As a genetic program, Islam is frighteningly advanced.

It is fair to say that Judaism is Tribalist, Christianity is Ideological, and Islam is Totalitarian. Not in some particular implementations, but in their meaning and purpose.

The victories of Islam were swift, and they kept coming. A well evolved super-organism, the Ruleset and its Armies move conquered all of Roman Empire, Roman Iberia, all of Roman Asia outside of Anatolia. Fleets would soon sail to the indies, and assist in the flow of labor from Africa to the empire through slavery.

Much worse for the Christian Revolutionaries, the shattering attacks would not stop. The Cosmopolitan Empire, imperfect as it was, of the Greek Christians would be less and less able to export the security a Cosmopolitan faith like Christianity required. The old Maoism of Greco-Roman Civilization, which Christianity aimed to conquer, would re-emerge and the Western Church would fall pray to the barbaric tribalisms of a petty continent.

Islamic ideals would challenge Christianity as the fumbling counter-insurgency of the Romans never could. Before the Christian Revolutionaries could even calculate their losses, the Islamization of Christianity had begun.

But that is a post for another time…


Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
4. The Fall of Rome
5. The People of the Book
6. Embrace and Extend

Islamic Persecution of Christianity

Big Popey,” by J.F. Atkinson, Chiasm, 19 September 2006, http://chiasm.blog-city.com/popey.htm.

FWIW, count me in the ‘WTF Pope?’ legions – despite being a Catholic (if not a particularly orthodox one) and despite finding the fundamentalist frothing at his remarks totally retarded obv, his choice of words seem so-obv-as-to-be-basically-purposely provocative that his soul’s gotta be heavy with guilt over the (obv awful inexcused etc) shooting of a 70-year old Italian nun three times in the back outside a children’s hospital in Somalia and whatever other insane reprisals he has exposed Catholics around the world to. While he was using that quote in the process of making a pretty legit (as far as these things go) point, there’s no reason why he had to use that particular and ripe-for-misrepresentation quote unless A) he really is completely out of touch with the world and/or has a tard for a PR guy, or B) he felt that the provocation served a political-theological agenda more important than the safety of his followers. I’m guessing ‘B’, and if it weren’t the Pope we were talking about I would say that this is ‘kind of a dick move’.

It’s also worth noting, as Christopher Hitchens did today on some C-SPAN jawn, that it’s difficult for even die-hard War on Terrorcrats to be sympathetic on this with a Vatican that sided with these same extremists in condemning the Dutch Mohammed cartoons as blasphemous, no? Wondering if we’re gonna get commentary on this from also-Catholics and staunch connectivists Tom Barnett or Dan tdaxp, who both seem ‘weirdly’ but explicably silent on this issue so far.

Well, I can recognize a smack-down when I see it (and when Sean Meade reminds me by email!). I have been struggling to integrate Pope Benedict XVI’s speech into my series on Jesusism-Paulism, to take the story of the Christians from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Islam, but in the meantime here is my response, slightly reworded:

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We live in an exceptional time when two greatest world religions are each re-experiencing the world of their birth.

Christianity is an ideology that is optimized to spread in unipolar environments. It teaches submission to the state and subversion of resources. Christ’s and Paul’s words were particularly effective against the Romans because a military insurgency could never work, but an ideology one might. The goal was not to spread a reborne Israel throughout the Mediterranean but to convert Mediterraneans to be the new Children of Israel.

Islam is designed for a chaotic, post-superpower world. Mohammed’s words were particularly effective because the Romans had previously destroyed the Persian Empire, and much of the world was lawless and disoriented. Islam provided a grand unifying ideal where none existed and spread this through violence that none could resist.

Two-thirds of the world, everything but the Islamic and African states, is as Rome was. Your security is guaranteed by the police, and your state’s security is guaranteed by the American military. Violent confrontation against the system cannot work, so the best method for spreading your beliefs is co-option of the system.

One-third of the world, the African and Islamic states, is as Arabia was. The police are corrupt and the Americans don’t care. Peaceful subversion of the system cannot work, because there is no system. The best way for spreading your beliefs is force.

Hence we see Christianity acting through words and Islam acting through violence. Christianity has been violent, as Islam has been peaceful, but for the first time they are both in their Environment of Evolutionary Adaption simultaneously.

I also take issue with his implication that the Pope is somehow uniquely insensitive to the Catholic faithful. From the beginning, the Church has encouraged martyrdom operations. As I write:

“Insane reprisals” are in no way new to the Catholic faith. Indeed, such martyrdom operations helped spread the faith. If the physical safety of all Catholics was the prime goal of the Church, then suffering under Diocletian and Caiaphas was for not. But then, if the physical safety of all Catholics was the prime goal of the Church, it never would been as successful as it has been.

Islamic persecution — the persecution of others by Islam — and Christian persecution — the persecution of Christianity by others — are how those faiths spread.

“What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”
Ecclesiasties 1:9

Jesusism-Paulism, Part IV: The Fall of Rome

On October 27, 312, the world changed.

What exactly happened is disputed. A “heavenly sign,” apparently some form of crossed disc, appeared to Gaius Constantinus outside of Rome. Constantinus read into it “By this, Conquer.” Within twelve hours the world had have turned. Christianity had a shield. More importantly, the Christians had an army.

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With This You Win

The Roman Legions were not the first military force fielded by the Jesusist-Paulists. The Armenian King Trdat III submitted his armies to Christ eleven years earlier, but if Christianity had stopped at Armenia the plans of Caiaphas and Diocletian (to force Christianity to morph into violent military force that could be processed as a regular insurgency) would have been victorious. When Tiridates III converted, Christianity gained a weak country. When Constantine I converted, Christianity gained the world.

This exponential increase in the size of Christianity’s 4GW militia was not entirely surprising. In spite of being under a persecution that would last until 313, the Christians were using the using the power of women to subvert masculine lines of control and communication. While the fading crypto-Maoist ideals of Greece were passed along in masculine education, Christianity focused on the conversion of women and subsequent mother-to-child indoctrination. Constantine’s mother was a Christian.

Once Christianity began what 4GW theorists call “stage 3 operations,” what traditional military men call “phase IV operations,” or what others call “Reorientation/Reharmonization,” the Christians followed a Boydian program for success. This “Constantinian Shift” was the natural and correct Christian response to winning the war. In the last slide of his epic brief, Patterns of Conflict, John Boyd wrote

Evolve and exploit insight/initiative/adaptability/harmony together with a unifying vision, via a grand ideal or an overarching theme or a noble philosophy, as basis to:
Shape or influence events so that we not only amplify our spirit and strength but also influence the uncommitted or potential adversaries so that they are drawn toward our philosophy and are empathetic toward our success…

Penetrate adversary’s moral-mental-physical being in order to isolate him from his allies, pull him apart, and collapse his will to resist.

Constantine helped unfold Christianity’s grand unifying ideal. The 325 Council of Nicea, assembled by Constantine, defined the unifying vision and noble philosopher of Christianity. The Creed of Christianity would unfold over the years, but in the 325 Declaration the nature of the Religion was promulgated

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty
Maker of all that is seen and unseen,
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, begotten from the father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten not made, one in Being with the Father,
through whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth,
Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down and became incarnate,
suffered,
On the third day he rose again
he ascended to heaven
He will come again to judge the living and the dead,
And in the Holy Spirit,
But as for those who say, There was when He was not, and Before being born He was not, and that He came into existence out of nothing or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or is subject to alteration or change – those the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes.

  • Constantine increased the physical connectivity of Christians. While the Church issues the 325 Manifesto (“First Nicean Creed“), Constantine’s 313 Declaration, the Edict of Milan, not only protects Christians but persecution but also gives to them the physical tools needed to spread the face

    When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I Licinius Augustus d fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought -, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases ; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion.

    Moreover, in the case of the Christians especially we esteemed it best to order that if it happens anyone heretofore has bought from our treasury from anyone whatsoever, those places where they were previously accustomed to assemble, concerning which a certain decree had been made and a letter sent to you officially, the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception, Those, moreover, who have obtained the same by gift, are likewise to return them at once to the Christians. Besides, both those who have purchased and those who have secured them by gift, are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recompense from our bounty, that they may be cared for through our clemency,. All this property ought to be delivered at once to the community of the Christians through your intercession, and without delay. And since these Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other property, namely the churches, belonging to them as a corporation and not as individuals, all these things which we have included under the above law, you will order to be restored, without any hesitation or controversy at all, to these Christians, that is to say to the corporations and their conventicles: providing, of course, that the above arrangements be followed so that those who return the same without payment, as we have said, may hope for an indemnity from our bounty. In all these circumstances you ought to tender your most efficacious intervention to the community of the Christians, that our command may be carried into effect as quickly as possible, whereby, moreover, through our clemency, public order may be secured. Let this be done so that, as we have said above, Divine favor towards us, which, under the most important circumstances we have already experienced, may, for all time, preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. Moreover, in order that the statement of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all, this rescript, published by your decree, shall be announced everywhere and brought to the knowledge of all, so that the decree of this, our benevolence, cannot be concealed.

    Constantine decreased the physical connectivity of non-Christians. Money was diverted from pagan temple to the Christian Church, in nearly exactly the same way later Chinese Communists would divert wealth from churches to the Communist Party. Non-Christians could not own Christian slaves, a measure designed to prevent an anti-Christian reaction by the chattel-owning class.

    The “non-Christian” tag was applied, with some calculation, to those considered semi-Christians. Self-professing Christians who refused to swear the Nicean Creed were exiled, a fate the Communist Leon Trotsky would suffer after running foul of the larger Communist Party of the Soviet Union. (Unlike Communists, however, the Christians did not send assassins after the exiles.)

    Jews, who worshiped the same God as the Christians but did not claim to worship Christ, were recognized as fellow travelers. Treated better than either Pagans or schismatic Christians, their position was superior to contemporary “fellow traveler” parties, such as the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese KMT in China today. The Christians did those both to seperate Jews from their potential pagan allies, and create a broader, generally correlated force to “influence the uncommitted or potential adversaries so that they are drawn toward our philosophy and are empathetic toward Christian] success.”

    Christianity won. The hope of a victorious 4th Generation War was successful. The old Roman Civilization was dead, and with it the ancient communitarianism of the pagans. Everyone was equal in the eyes of God. The slave. The woman. All equal. Even human-rights laws, such as

    • Improvement in the condition of slaves
    • Improvement in the condition of prisoners
    • Improvement in the condition of non-farm workers
    • Abolition of Crucifiction
    • Abolition of Gladiatorial Execution

    were promulgated. But as that philosopher of underground cults, Howard Lovecraft, wrote

    That is not dead which can eternal lie,
    And with strange aeons even death may die.

    The old Maoism of Greek civilization would not lie dead dreaming for long. It spoke to men in strange dreams. It would teach the Romans new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves. All the Christian world would flame. A New Rome would be born.


    Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
    1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
    2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
    3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
    4. The Fall of Rome
    5. The People of the Book
    6. Embrace and Extend

  • Review of "Misquotes in Misquoting Jesus" by Dillon Burroughs

    Earlier this year I received Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman, PhD. Misquoting Jesus (Amazon.com price, $15.72) is a piece of popular, critical scholarship that attacks the notion that the New Testament could be divinely inspired. While the first four chapters of that book are universally admired, Dr. Ehrman completely fails at his given task. Since its publication Misquoting Jesus has become a media darling, leading to an NPR interview, various press reports, and detailed refutations from blogs.

    After my review I received a copy of Misquotes in Misquoting Jesus: Why You Can Still Believe, from the publishing company, Nimble Books. Mr. Burroughs (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) wrote the book-length criticism of Misquoting Jesus to correct some of Ehrman’s errors and generally restore biblical criticism to its primary task of buttressing the Christian faith. This project is successful. (Read on to see how.)


    Misquotes in Misquoting Jesus: Why You Can Still Believe is essentially a literature review of the controversy. I recently completed two much smaller literature review on narrower topics (on OODA and PNM theories), so I can imagine the troubles Burroughs went through.

    The bulk of the book is composed to the basic criticisms of Ehrman’s fallacious Misquoting Jesus. Burroughs aptly separates true things Ehrman says from false things, and it careful to note ambiguous points as well. It is perhaps this last task that is the most important, because a dish of deception with a dash of truth is poison. For instance, the non-controversial false Trinitarian formula in the New Testament is disposed of, because no Bibles before the Modern era had that incorrect verse. (Thus, it was irrelevant to the evolution of Christian doctrine.) Likewise, the question of Christ’s anger before a healing is well described.

    Burroughs is a critical scholar, and Misquotes in Misquoting Jesus is an excellent example of such a work. Near the end of the book the author describes how anti-Christian texts can be responded too, and displays an excellent grasp of unintended consequences of hasty actions. Christianity is an essentially political religion, going back to Jesus and Paul, and Burroughs’ work is a fine contribution to that tradition.

    The weakest section of Misquotes in Misquoting Jesus is chapter 9, “Women’s Issues in Misquoting Jesus.” The controversy over sex and gender roles in Christianity is sidestepped, in spite of its fascinating implications for Christian victory. Perhaps the author is avoiding the issue out of fear of controversy. If so, too bad.

    Several of Burrough’s comments would make for fine discussion topics. A serious consideration of King James Only arguments was informative. (While the KJV-Only Movement is almost certainly wrong, every proponent I have heard argued with reason and conviction.) Likewise, many of Burrough’s strategic comments can placed along the spectrum of meaningful conflict, if one wished to use modern Christian apologetics as an example of ideological struggle.

    Misquotes in Misquoting Jesus is a fine summary of Christian responses to Misquoting Jesus. I am grateful to the publisher for supplying me with a copy. It runs roughly 65 pages, and is available for $12.94 from Amazon.com. The book’s publisher, W. Frederick Zimmerman of Nimble Books LLC, is also a blogger. Another review of the book is available from Evangelical Textual Criticism.

    A reflection on both books, and this review, is available from Brett Maxwell. My own book on Christianity, Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity: 4th Generation Warfare (4GW) Against the Roman Empire, and the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Campaign to Save It, is now available from Amazon.com.

    Catholic Enterprise Resilience

    My recent podcast discussed Christianity and evolution, and my blogfriend Sean Meade raised some issues with my understanding of the faith. It’s delightful to have this sort of conversation, and I am very grateful to podcaster Phil Jones for the discussion his work has brought. My short answer to his questions “Paul believed in resilient enterprises.” For a longer answer, read on…

    Paul summarized Christianity in three words, one of which is most important

    “There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.”
    (1 Corinthians 13:13)

    Paul was explaining Christ’s commandment to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39). But Paul didn’t just apply the commandment to the individual-level-of-analysis — teaching Christians how they should treat each other — but also the system level — how Christian groups should interact with each other. Using circumcision as an example, Paul writes

    “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth… The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:6-7,14-15)

    Paul gives a tricky prescription for the church. Paul is insisting there are both relevant and irrelevant doctrinal questions. The relevant one is love, without which the everything is forfeited. Yet an irrelevant one is circumcision, which doesn’t matter, and which Paul wishes Christians would just stop arguing about.

    alpha_chi_ro_omega_md
    sicut in caelo et in terra.

    In other words, Paul is insisting that Christianity be a resilient enterprise. It should be a realm of limited competition, in which affiliates are free to adapt themselves to local conditions but not free to engage in destructive competition. The Catholic Church comes the closest to any organization in history in implementing this. A plethora of bishoprics, orders, uses, and rites fill up the local niches, bending to this preference and that, in order for the basic message to remain the same against ideological encroachment.


    Given this, even the very beginning of the Protestant Reformation is regrettable. As opposed to the internal diversity encouraged by the Church, Luther’s first two theses were

    Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

    This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

    Luther presents an always-everywhere variation of Christianity, directly aimed at Christians who disagree with him on neither faith, nor hope, nor love, but an even outer Christian belief.

    As opposed to Luther’s narrowing of the faith, the Jesuits (formally known as the Society of Jesus) believed in inculturing it. For example, if faith, hope, and love — but most importantly, love — are made easier for a Chinese peasant by assuring him that the Lord of Heaven really does love him, then assure him of that. For it’s certainly true. John Paul II described this as “the insertion of Christianity in the various human cultures.” This is a far more human undertaking than attempting to build culture anew.

    This blog’s old masthead was “Beauty. Victory. God.” Victory is a beautiful concept — it’s what Paul talked about in his racing analogy, and what John Paul was aiming for describing a 4GW-style insertion of Christianity into existing social networks. If we bite and devour each other — if we lose — we destroy each other. Missionaries realizing the power of darwinian competition while inserting Christianity is no less Christian than missionaries realizing the power of gravity when they decide to take the stairs instead of jumping.